Every day businesses release new apps because they create a uniquely powerful connection between a business and customers. The potential for connecting with customers through an app is limitless, as the customer is carrying around that connection all day, every day. So many entrepreneurial success stories revolve around having an app in an industry that did not have one previously or having a better app than the competition.
Don’t let common misconceptions about custom app development discourage you from pursuing the undeniable value of an app. We will happily answer some of the most common questions about apps below, and we encourage you to reach out to a custom mobile app development company when considering if this is the best choice for your business.
Top Questions & Concerns About Custom App Development
#1: I Already Have a Website, So Do I Need a Mobile App For My Business?
While a mobile-responsive website is an absolute necessity for modern businesses, a mobile app can create unique opportunities to reach customers where they prefer to interact online. We know that users of all ages are spending more time on mobile phones, but according to MindSea, many users largely prefer mobile apps over mobile sites. Mobile users spend 87% of their time in apps, and only 13% of mobile time on the web, making apps a great outlet to reach customers.
Another one of the benefits for businesses using mobile apps is making direct connections with customers, particularly through push notifications and mobile purchasing. Push notifications are alerts on your phone sent exclusively to users of your app. Your app users are a select cohort of people interested in your company, and push notifications are a direct line right to them. There are numerous ways to take advantage of this, the most obvious being simply telling your most loyal customers about sales and discounts that might interest them. Push notifications can be used to tease upcoming events, let clients know about a change in hours, or alert them to limited time offers. Push notifications can link up well with sales, especially if customers can purchase products and services right in your app.
Companies not looking to sell through their app can still take advantage of the direct connection apps provide. Many companies use internal apps to communicate with their staff and facilitate remote work. Companies with staff that work remotely or on job sites, such as in construction or engineering, often use internal apps to efficiently communicate between the job site and the office or send technical data to a database. A fleet of vehicles can be safely tracked with an app without requiring employees to text while driving. Other companies use apps as an opportunity to showcase their brand. Apps take up the whole screen and create an experience for the client that is more immersive than viewing a webpage in a mobile browser. A stylish app icon that opens into a slick animation and brings you to a polished layout with your colors and themes can be a uniquely impressive and aesthetic extension of your brand.
Developing an effective mobile app allows you to double down on your most loyal customers and generate more repeat business. You can offer rewards for downloading the app or for purchases made through the app. These rewards encourage people to check back in on the app, regularly engage with you, and discover new products or services they didn’t know about previously. Using a well-designed app digitally transports customers into your shop, and just like when they are in your space, in your app you have their full attention.
#2: How Much Does It Cost to Create an App?
The complexity of an app will certainly affect the time and cost of development. An app that is a mobile-friendly exposition of your brand will probably be quicker and cheaper than an app with point-of-sale or loaded with custom features. Do you want your app to use the camera, the motion sensor, GPS? Do you want it to integrate with maps or run continuously in the background? Do you want to include videos? Will your app be sending data to or receiving data from a service? Do you need a companion service to process data from or supply data to your app? Do you want your app to make use of cutting-edge technology on new phones, or do you want a common experience for all users regardless of how old their phone is? These are the questions our custom mobile app development company asks up front in order to provide accurate estimates. More features and greater scope will take longer to develop and such an app will generally be more expensive.
However, Blue Compass has a unique option that can deliver a custom mobile app to you at a lower price. Included is a backend service allowing you to make updates to your app layout and presentation without having to update your app in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, saving countless hours in maintenance and updates over the life of the app. By working with you to identify your goals and needs, we can efficiently craft a custom mobile app that delivers for you and for your customers without breaking the bank. Blue Compass has experienced web designers and developers whose creative and technical skills harmonize to create a beautiful, functional extension of your brand. And when you are ready to launch, our digital marketing staff can help you share your app to the widest possible audience.
#3: Custom App Development is an Enormous Undertaking
Not necessarily! App development can be intimidating given that Google Android and Apple iOS have their own code and market share, and customers will ideally have the same experience across devices.
So what are the differences between Apple vs. Android app development? iOS is the operating system for iPhones, iPads and Apple products. Android is the operating system used on phones and tablets manufactured by Samsung, Google and numerous other companies. Android code is written mainly in Java and C++, and is known for relative flexibility and a variable user experience compared to iOS. iOS code is written mainly in Swift, Objective-C and C++, and is known for less flexibility and a more consistent user experience compared to Android. A shared user experience available across devices and written entirely in native code can be a lengthy undertaking, and costly to maintain. To deliver a common user experience and minimize development costs, we use Xamarin to create apps that will work on both Apple and Android.
Xamarin is a cross-platform solution that uses C# code to achieve performance equivalent to or greater than native code from a codebase that is dramatically easier to develop and maintain. You may be familiar with the unpleasant situation of hearing about an exciting new app only to learn that it is not available for your phone yet. Xamarin facilitates harmonious development of both Apple and Android versions of the same app, reducing the likelihood that one is going to be months ahead of the other. Using Xamarin, you can release your app to the Google Play Store and the App Store at the same time, providing a shared experience to your users regardless of their phone choice.
The Benefits of Mobile Apps For Businesses
Whatever your industry, a mobile app can transform your business. Two particularly common uses of apps are to encourage repeat business and sales, and to provide an informational platform full of resources for employees or customers.
Mobile Apps Can Be Used as a Sales Tool
Mobile users prefer to shop online and make a purchase within an app rather than through a mobile website. According to BuildFire, mobile apps have conversion rates that are three times higher than mobile sites. A mobile shopping experience that works well on an app can entice additional purchases, as a fleeting idea can easily be converted to a purchase with a couple of taps.
An attractive app that highlights your products or services and allows users to purchase them simply and quickly will become the focal point of your new sales strategy. Blue Compass has the expertise to develop such an app for you and connect your app to the appropriate payment processor so you get the maximum value for your sales.
Custom Apps Give Your Loyal Customers More Perks
Coupons and punches are increasingly antiquated in the age of apps which reward you for purchases, visits or other activities. Do you want to set up a points system based on purchases? Do you want your users to be able to unlock a perk by scanning a QR code on a box? Are you interested in a game open only to your repeat customers? There are endless opportunities for rewarding your most loyal customers. Apps can also be a great way to show off new products to your repeat customers who are probably the most likely to purchase your latest offerings. Blue Compass can help you develop a fun, interactive loyalty program to strengthen your relationship with new customers and entice repeat purchases from your biggest fans.
Mobile Apps Are Used as a Resource to Provide Essential Information
Many nonprofits rely on apps to provide materials and information to the public. This option gives them the opportunity to provide branded content that’s easily accessible and in a preferred format.
Large corporations can use custom mobile apps in a similar manner for their employees. By creating a password-protected app, your employees can access important files, forms and learning materials from anywhere. This can help with productivity and work well with businesses whose employees work remote or away from the office.
Examples of Custom App Development by Blue Compass
Blue Compass has years of mobile app experience, with apps in active use both by public users through mobile stores and by private users through internal distribution channels. You can find our work in the App Store or the
Cementech ACCU-POUR Mobile (iOS, privately distributed): Cementech’s cutting-edge volumetric mixing trucks perform on-the-go custom mixing, eliminating the need to go to the depot between tasks. To facilitate this process, Blue Compass developed an advanced app enabling users of Cementech cement mixers to wirelessly share data between the office and the mixer and control mixing parameters in real-time. This allows them to track orders and deliveries from the devices in their trucks and is a key part of Cementech’s industry-leading technology suite.
United Way 211 Iowa (iOS & Android): United Way is a local nonprofit that has a wealth of information about services available in Iowa, and they wanted a handy way for users to access that data. Blue Compass built the United Way 211 Iowa app to connect Iowans in need of help with a multitude of local resources and social services. Users can access thousands of services across many categories from this single app.
Ruan Hub App (iOS & Android): Ruan’s employee intranet is available on-the-go via this app. Here, Ruan employees can log in to access news, videos, training resources, documents, and more. As a major leader in the trucking industry, this is essential for their employees to remain connected. This mobile intranet enables remote work and allows important messages to be sent as push notifications to the employee’s phone.
Responsible Screens (Android): Blue Compass was approached by the founders of Responsible Screens to create an app to help parents teach their kids about having a healthier relationship with technology. Every day there is more coverage of how much time children are spending in front of a screen, and they aimed to help with the problem. This app allows parents to restrict and monitor their children’s app use from a web account. They can set blocks and time limits for individual apps or categories to promote responsible technology habits among children.
Get Started With Our Custom Mobile App Development Company
Whether you have a fully formed idea or are just exploring the idea of custom mobile app development, get in touch with Blue Compass today to get started developing your mobile app. Our experience and expertise will ensure your app sets you apart. Contact our team to discuss your options and ideas.