Mobile Apps: The Missing Game Changer for Your Business

Mobile Apps: Can’t Leave Home Without ‘Em

Question: What are some things you can’t leave home without? Without thinking too much about it, the core necessities are things like keys, wallet, and phone right? Maybe add in a few other bits and bobs like a portable charger or some hand sanitizer, but that’s the main gist of it.

Unmistakeably, phones are one of the things 99.99% of people can’t leave home without (#firstworldproblems). And what’s on the phones that everyone brings with them all the time? If you guessed apps, then you guessed right!

If 99.99% of people bring their phones with them all the time (thereby, also bringing apps), why wouldn’t you want your business to have an app?

More and more companies are creating apps for their business whether it’s to support direct retailing, communication, marketing purposes, updates, or rewards!

Zara, Foodora, Starbucks, Sephora, Tim Hortons, Door Dash, Nike, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, you name it … the list just keeps going on and on. I mean, check your phone now, how many apps do you have on your phone? Case in point.

The Growing Need for an App

A few years ago, mobile apps weren’t exactly a necessity for businesses because smartphones weren’t easily accessible to everyone yet (and not to mention the lack of GB space to download them). But today, times have changed and things are different. Everyone is on always on their phones and using apps to make purchases, stay up to date, and connect with the world around them.  

Two decades ago, there was a time when websites were considered to be a competitive advantage, but today that’s no longer the case. In fact, now you need a website or it’s like your business doesn’t exist (just kidding, but you get the point). And guess what? Mobile apps are going to be essential to your business just like websites are now.

Considering all of this, your business definitely needs an app more than you think. If these reasons weren’t enough for you, don’t worry, we’ve got more. Get ready. 📱

1. Marketing and Communications

Things like email marketing are great (don’t get me wrong), but let’s be real, who checks their email anymore? Or at least, who checks their email more frequently than their phone? (Email push notifications don’t count because those come from apps too).

If you want direct and immediate communication with your customers, push notifications are the way to go. Because these notifications go straight to their phone, they’re bound to see it immediately.

Sometimes, you have time-sensitive offers or codes that you want to push out immediately. Mobile apps allow you to do exactly that. With push notifications, you can push your promotional content directly on phones and notification screens to keep them updated with all the things your company is up to. Have a sale going on? You can notify your customers right on their phone the second the sale goes live. Think of all the possibilities you can do!

2. Data and Analytics

One of the great things about an app is that you can collect data and analytics straight from it. All of the data is practically handed to you on a silver platter as your customers download and use your app.

By having an app, you get data on where your users are located, what time they’re using the app, how long they’re on the app for, what they do on the app, their demographics, and much more!

If your business allows you to do online retailing and sell actual products, you can even see what things people are buying the most on your app. Plus, by having a clear understanding of how customers respond to your app, you can improve it to make it better and provide them with a better experience.

3. Accessibility

One of the great things about an app is that it’s accessible practically 24/7 and is with them wherever their phone is. Your users can constantly access it (even at home or when your store is closed!) and they don’t need to wait for you to open your doors every morning to use your app.

And as a bonus, if your business can sell your products on your app, you can drive sales even when you’re sleeping! What’s not to love about that?

As we’ve discussed, a mobile app is evidently an asset your business needs. What are you waiting for? Start building your app today. Contact us if you’re interested in building it with Evilnut.

Why Your Business Needs An App!

In 2018, there were approximately 25.32 million smartphone users and counting in Canada alone. These 25.32 million users are bound to have at least a few apps on their phone – whether they’re social media, shopping, traveling, or other related apps.

Less and less people are spending time on their desktop and laptop computers as mobile use now accounts for approximately 65% of total digital media consumption. With these numbers, it would seem like an advantageous idea for your business to invest in developing an app – and it is! Back in 2016, there were 90 billion app downloads, a significant increase from 2015’s 77 billion app downloads.

Mobile apps are programs downloaded onto mobile devices – making it easily accessible. Apps can serve multiple purposes such as entertainment, shopping, or customer service functions for users. 

If you know that your business has a problem that needs to be solved or an optimization that needs to be made, you should consider developing an app. The most successful apps aren’t created because a channel needs to be filled, but because there is an opportunity to optimize a process. Apps don’t need to be able to do everything or have an eternal lifespan, instead, the best apps identify short- or long-term purposes and determine how that purpose can be conveyed in the app.

1. Push Notifications

More than ever before, individuals (and youth especially!) are glued to their phones and receive a rush of thrill when their phones light up with notifications from social media networks and their friends. With an application, your business can submit these push notifications to your users as well. The ability to notify your users about important information on their mobile device becomes invaluable. These notifications can inform users of abandoned shopping carts, new products, special offers, and upcoming events. Your business and brand become easily available for your customers – making your content visible and relevant.

2. Constant Visibility and Exposure

With the amount of time that the average person spends on their mobile device, having an application can increase exposure among your customers. While only a handful of apps consume the majority of mobile consumption time, it doesn’t change the fact that users still need to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the apps that they’re looking for. Because of the way our mind unconsciously records every image and/or text we come across (even if it’s unnoticed), being “in the way” can be advantageous for your business.

3. Superior User Experience

Your app will and should be developed in a manner that allows users to engage with common, desired functions, without the messiness of a website. Apps will seamlessly guide them where to go and what to do in a personalized manner. With superior user experience, there will be more positive reviews, more followers on social media, more brand loyalists, and more repeat customers.

4. Stronger Customer Engagement

Apps maximize customer engagement with your brand and business and allow users to easily connect with your company on social media. With easily shareable content, your customers will want to share – helping expand your social media reach and earning you new followers.

Regardless of what type of product or service you provide, your customers need a way to quickly contact you. Having messaging features within your app can improve communication and engagement. Providing the ease of being able to contact you directly without any tedious processes encourages your customers to be more inclined to connect with you.

5. Brand and Recognition

By having a mobile app for your business, you contribute to your brand awareness and recognition. By developing an app, you can showcase your brand in the palm of your customer’s hand. The way your app is designed and functions is up to you – so use that to your advantage to highlight and emphasize your brand! With a beautifully-designed functional app, your customers will more frequently visit your app. The more often your customer frequents your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service – referred to as the “effective frequency.” The more often your visitors are exposed to your brand, products, and services, the more likely they will engage in an action or response.

With the number of people globally who have and use smartphones, it’s a smart idea to invest in an app.  If you’re interested in building your own app for your business, contact Evilnut today!

Web Apps 101

Web Apps 101

In the past, we’ve provided a brief of mobile apps 101. Today, we’ll discuss a different but similar topic – web apps.

A web application, or web app, is any computer program that performs a specific function by using a web browser as its client. These web apps use websites as the interface or front-end, making apps easily accessible from any computer connected to the Internet using a standard browser.

Web apps perform specific functions and can be as simple as a message board or contact form or as complex as a word processor or multi-player mobile gaming app. Web apps are also different from traditional desktop apps as these are installed on a local computer. Think of Google Drive as web apps and Microsoft Word as desktop apps. While web apps and desktop apps are different, almost any desktop software can be developed as a web app.

The Function of Web Apps

Because web apps are programs on the Internet that can be accessed in web browsers, they provide almost any kind of functionality for businesses and organizations to run smoothly. Some examples of webs apps include product catalogs, search engines, project management tools, web mail, and more.

Web apps are not only dynamic and ever-changing, they also allow users to automate day-to-day tasks and interact with the apps’ data to get the information they want. They can get users to interact with them either by contributing content (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) or by gathering data from other sources and presenting it as such (Google Analytics, Klout), or even both!

Web App Clients

In the context of web apps, clients are applications that communicate with a web server, using the programming language of HTTP.

In client-server environments, clients refer to the program the person uses to run the application. The “client” is the application used to enter the information and the “server” is the application used to store the information.

Before Developing a Web App …

If you’re considering building a web app, you probably want it to be as successful as possible. In order for it to be successful, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is it aimed at?

You need to know who your app is aimed at and figure out who your potential users are. Are they business professionals? Females under 30? Dog owners? University students? Who your app is aimed at doesn’t matter as long as you know who.

2. Why will they use it?

Now that you know who your app is aimed at, you need to know why they will use it. What need is your web app answering?

Remember, there’s a difference between answering someone’s need and want. Is their desire for it enough for them to use it even though they don’t need it? To figure this out, you can ask people that you trust – what’s their first reaction? You can even interact with your potential customers to get them to tell you what they need.

Regardless of whether your web app answers their needs and/or wants, make sure it’s practical. If it’s not, maybe the app isn’t worth the risk.

Web Apps Benefits

Developing a web app provides many business advantages for your company.

1. Cost-Effective Development

With web apps, because users can access the system through a uniform environment (a web browser), the app itself only needs to be developed for a single operating system. This saves the developer the time and effort of developing and testing it on all possible operating system versions and configurations.

2. Accessible Anywhere

Web apps can be accessed anytime and anywhere through any PC with an Internet connection. Unlike traditional applications, users have control of where and when they access the application, allowing real-time collaborations to occur on platforms like Google Drive.

3. Easily Customizable

Unlike traditional desktop applications, the user interface of web apps is easier to customize. With simple customization options, this makes it easier to update the look and feel of the app and/or customize the presentation of information to different user groups.

Just like our segment on mobile apps, it’s difficult to summarize web apps into nothing less than an essay. This brief 101 session should provide you with the basics of web apps, but if you’re interested in learning more, contact us today for more information. We’d love to answer any of your questions. 🙂

Mobile Apps 101

What’s an App, You Say?

What is an app? While you may think that you already know what an app is, your perception of one may be misleading to what it actually is. There are two different types of apps – mobile apps and web apps. Today, we’ll be talking about mobile apps and save web apps for another day.

Mobile apps are software programs developed for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets – turning mobile devices into mini powerhouses of function and fun. Mobile apps are also different from mobile websites as an app is usually smaller in scope than a mobile website, offers more interactivity, and presents more specific information in a format that is easy and intuitive to use on mobile devices. Mobile apps are also not like web apps as web apps are computer programs that perform specific functions by using web browsers as its client.

The Function of a Mobile App

The function of a mobile app ranges anywhere from utility, productivity, navigation, entertainment, sports, fitness, and much more – with social media being the most popular. These apps can help you find your way, watch your favourite movie on demand, track your footsteps, and chat with your closest friends.

What Should Mobile Apps Have?

Not every app is built equally or with the same features. But, there are some features that every app should have to make it user-friendly. The first and foremost feature is a search bar to help users find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Along with a search bar, apps should be optimized so that most of it is touch-based (rather than type-based). Having a touch-based app will significantly improve user experience. Additionally, in order to provide as much usability as possible for users, develop an app that has the ability to work offline. Apps that are able to function offline offer much more convenience and accessibility for your users – especially if they’re in roaming areas or can’t connect to the Internet. 

Benefits of Mobile Apps

Because of the ease and functionality of mobile apps, there are many benefits to having one. For starters, you save your customers time. Mobile apps are much faster than mobile websites because browsers require users to launch a web browser, enter a URL, and wait for the site to load – whereas mobile apps only take a second to launch because the majority of information is stored in the application itself. With apps always on your customer’s device, they are a constant reminder of your business – increasing visibility and reminding them of your presence. Additionally, while apps may be an initial investment, they still reduce the costs of communication methods with your customers by reducing the cost of SMS messages and paper newsletters. With mobile apps, you will be able to securely, instantly, and directly communicate with your customers – reducing the need for phone calls and information requests.

While condensing mobile apps into 500 words is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s an introduction that should familiarize you with the foundations of mobile apps. If you’d like more information on mobile apps or are interested in building your own, contact Evilnut today. 

The Different Ways to Develop an App

Did you know that there are several different ways to develop an app? You’ve probably used tons of apps on your phone by now, but haven’t realized that there are different ways to make an app. Some of the ways which we will discuss are native apps, react native apps, hybrid apps, and Xamarin apps.

Native Apps

Native apps are considered to be the standard among the mobile world, and the majority of apps that you’ve used are native apps. Because native apps are coded for specific mobile operating systems, they can only be accessed through a dedicated app store – generally Apple or Android’s store. The dependence on a dedicated app store allows the programming language to be faster and far more reliable as it’s tied to one specific platform.

Native apps also offer a rich user experience and better functionality as they are able to access the mobile device’s features such as the accelerometer, camera, and address book.

Native Apps

Pros

Complete device integration

Easy to find in the App Store

Superior UX Design and performance

Fast and responsive

Cons

Requires more time, effort, and skill

High development costs

More than one codebase

Getting approval from the App Store can be a tedious process

React Native Apps

Expanding native apps, react native apps use a framework that turns JavaScript code into native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Because react native apps allows the re-use of codes across the web, Android, and iOS, it decreases the amount of time, effort, and cost of developing rich mobile applications.

React Native Apps

Pros

Faster to build

Fast applications

Simplified UI

Cons

Less smooth navigation

Lack of some custom modules

Must abide by Facebook’s rules

 

Xamrin Apps

Xamarin apps are a cross-platform development package that uses C# and .NET. With Xamarin apps, developing iOS and Android apps become more streamlined and easier to maintain.

When you are developing Xamarin apps, there are two routes you can take, both of which require Visual Studio – Xamarin Native and Xamarin Forms.

Xamarin Native development divides the Visual Studio solution into three parts – the iOS and Android projects and stand-alone code-bases, C# wrappers, and the Portable Class Library.

Xamarin Forms attempt to abstract the development of both platforms into its own self-contained project. With Xamarin Forms, developers write codes once for both platforms, so the native framework for either platform doesn’t need to be altered. Xamarin Forms use its own markup language in the form of XAML to build the UI of the app.

Xamarin Native

Pros

Shareable Code

Strong performance

Cons

C# doesn’t offer as many features

Relatively large binary sizes

Xamarin Forms

Pros

Quick to build basic applications

Ability to drop down into native development

Cons

Small community

Difficult to create apps that need special interactions and apps that need high polished UI designs

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps, like the name suggests, are a hybrid form of an app and can be considered to be the swiss-army knife of apps. Hybrid apps are websites that are packaged into native wrapper and offer the combined advantage of web apps and native development approaches. Essentially, it’s installed like a native app, but it’s actually a web app on the inside.

The blend of the apps allows developers to be able to easily program a significant part of the app through web technologies.

Pros

Fast development process

Allows for small, regular changes in the app

Reduced development costs

Cons

Mediocre UX

Reduced efficiency

Presence of lags

Now that you are a little more informed on the different ways of developing an app, consider these points before your business embarks on its own journey to develop an app.