When I talk about apps I usually talk about creating either entertainment apps or utilitarian apps that give some type of value to the end user. What I haven’t talked about that you MUST know is there’s a market that most people don’t think about when they’re trying to get into apps – the local business app.
Apps for businesses are catching up to where the web has been for business for at least a decade. When you look at a business, if they don’t have a website or their website isn’t very good, you aren’t likely to trust them. The credibility just isn’t there.
Because so much of people’s mobile experience now is in native mobile apps, if they go to a business’s website and don’t have a customized mobile experience, it has a similar effect on their level of trust with that company.
Now before you shake your head and tell me there’s no money in small businesses apps, check out these statistics:
- There are 50M small businesses in the US and 500M worldwide.
- 80% of small businesses don’t have a mobile app, but 37% of small business owners plan to have an app in the next few years.
- Apps command 86% of the average time spent on mobile with the average time spent on apps equating to 2hrs & 19 mins a day.
- The mobile app market is predicted to grow 270% to $189 billion by 2020.
- The mobile app industry is forecast for over 270 billion downloads in 2017.
- The App Store is predicted to have 5 million apps by 2020, more than doubling its current size.
There are so many types of local business that can benefit from a mobile app, but Food & Dining is an excellent example. You’ve got loyalty cards, push notifications to tell customers about special deals or coupons, awareness of the customer’s location, one-touch calling and directions, and in-app ordering & payment just to name a few possibilities.
Not to mention, it directly impacts a restaurant’s bottom line:
- 69% of consumers say their experience paying affects willingness to return to a restaurant
- 79% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience
The most important technology feature for guests are:
- online reservations (36%)
- free wifi (23%)
- online or mobile ordering (19%)
Some other key industries:
Community-Oriented Business/Coaches: It can be difficult to bring a community together. An app can go a long way in connecting nonprofits with members, donors, and volunteers. It can even provide a personalized experience for each type of user.
Or imagine your Personal Trainer checking in during the week to see if you’ve been sticking to your workout, or your Life Coach checking in to see if you’ve hit your meditation goals. What if you could also talk to other people who were working to improve their lives to get encouragement along the way? A mobile app is a great fit for facilitating those kinds of connections.
Real estate: Real estate agents need to stand out in a sea of competitors. A mobile app can serve as a marketing and prospecting tool. When it came time to pick an agent, if one had a crappy, non-responsive website and the other had an app you could use to browse properties and get alerts when new properties that fit your specifications came up, who would you pick?
Education: Education and communication go hand in hand. A mobile app can be used to send notices about things like the next Parent Teachers meeting or field trip, share homework assignments with parents to make sure they know what their student needs to turn in and when, or even to deliver educational content to the students.
Health & Beauty: The health and beauty industry is highly competitive. A mobile app can help boost customer acquisition and retention for gyms, spas and salons with many of the same features that benefit restaurants. Imagine registering for your next gym class with a couple of taps on your phone, or having your phone congratulate you when you meet your gym goals for the week.
Partnering with local businesses to make apps for them definitely takes a different approach and business model than making games or utility apps for the app store and requires a bit more of a sales approach when it comes to getting them on board to work with you. However, for people who love their community, are good at selling, or are just sick of sitting at home making apps without making a real connection to the people who need them, this can be a great opportunity to try something new.
Now keep in mind, not every business should have a mobile app. What kind of business won’t a mobile app be a good fit for?
Ones that never have multiple contacts with their customers or prospects. If someone has to download an app to interact with a business one time, and they don’t intend on repeating that interaction, it’s more likely to hold them back from contacting the business.
This isn’t the “next big thing” like AR/VR/AI, so it’s slipping under a lot of people’s radars, but there are a lot of businesses ready to get their app made. That’s why it’s such a great market to get into right now.
We’ll be offering helpful tips on getting this kind of app business started over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for more. Feel free to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can address them in future posts!