Want to put your business ahead of the competition? There’s an app for that

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If you run or manage a business, you can’t help but notice that competition gets more fierce with every passing year. It is being seen in each sector and across all sizes of business, from the Walmarts and Microsofts of this world to sole traders working in every sector from web design to window cleaning.

The online revolution is partially responsible for this – it has made it easier for new businesses to start up and for existing ones to explore new markets, both geographically and demographically.

But it also forms part of the solution. With a good website, you can at least compete on a level playing field with everyone. But in this mobile age, is a website enough?

Download our app

“Visit our website or download our app” – it is a phrase you see every day. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and this is now the number one way of getting online.

Doing so via an app is far less hassle than visiting a website via a browser, and offers additional functionality. Research carried out in 2016 showed that smartphone users spend 80 percent of their time using apps, and today, that statistic will  have only got higher.

If you want to keep pace with the rest, an app is the way to do it. Here are five rules to keep in mind if you decide to develop one for your business.

Choose the right developer

Search online and you will find hundreds of developers who can help you build an app, so you can afford to be choosy. Of course you need to factor in the price, but also take a good look at their portfolio.

What sort of apps have they created in the past? Are they experienced in your industry, and even more importantly, are they in your target demographic?

Testing is crucial

A good app will increase your business’s revenue, generate more customers, improve customer loyalty and strengthen your brand. A bad one that is full of glitches and crashes all the time will do the opposite.

At every stage of the development process, mobile application testing is absolutely essential to make sure you get all the gain without the pain.

Be involved

However good your developer might be, nobody knows your products, services and customers like you do. It is tempting to “leave it to the experts” but while they might be the ones who understand the technical side, it needs your vision to make an app that is on-brand and delivers value.

User experience is key

See the business from your customer’s perspective. What questions are they asking or needs to they seek to fulfil that will bring them to your app? The answers to these questions must be central to every aspect of the design.

Look to your surroundings

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at your competitors and their service offerings. People are often reluctant to do so, feeling it is in some way “cheating.”

But if you are designing a car or a chair or a chocolate bar, you will of course check out the competitor’s offerings, it is a basic principle of market analysis. This is no different.

Tech Digest Correspondent