Technology

Business apps 101: Your need-to-know guide (part one)

Dennis Benjamin /

Here’s your simple guide to understanding the benefits of mobile apps, what you should be paying, who you should be paying it to and how to find a good developer suited to your business’ needs.

The Benefits of Apps

There are some reasons every company should consider having an app built, including:

Convenience

Having a mobile app that integrates directly with your website makes it easier for you and your customers to communicate. This is particularly important if you haven’t fully optimised your website for smartphone users.  By not offering a mobile responsive website you are making it difficult for customers to interact with you. Clearly this is not what you want.

Awareness

Those who download your app have your logo permanently on their device, delivering priceless brand awareness for you. Downloads aside, having an app in the Android and Apple marketplace will broaden your company’s online footprint – more than you imagine

Revenue

Research company Canalys reports apps will bring in $36.7 billion worldwide by 2015, and indications are this was a conservative estimate. The possibility of securing a slice of those earnings is difficult to ignore. Unlimited free push alerts to customers can deliver additional revenue streams. When supported by well thought out strategic and promotional plans, your app‘s return on investment should be assured.

Customer service

Apps make it easy for companies to keep their customer service lines open 24/7. Sending a free push alert through an app is far more customer-friendly than asking them to leave a phone message or send an email.

Branding

Your brand in the App Store and Google Play is a statement of innovation about your business.

What You Should be Paying

Small business owners naturally are influenced by price – and pricing disparity is immense in the mobile app industry.

Why should you pay a developer $10k, $20k, $30k or more for an app when there are enticing websites offering to create an app for you for as little as $1k or even for free? Many business owners will presume “you get what you pay for”. They just expect to pay upwards of $20k for an app that might only work on iPhones and iPads. “If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” right? Not necessarily with apps!

There are two main reasons a company might charge you tens of thousands to develop an app and neither of them relate to quality. The first (cynical) reason is that the company knows they can take advantage of the fact that most small business owners know very little about this space. That is, while potential customers are not aware of the high level of competition between developers, some companies just get away with being uncompetitive in their pricing structures.

The second (less controversial) reason is that the company’s expenses are too high so they simply have to charge more to make a sustainable profit on every app they produce. Their expenses could be high for a number of reasons, including:

  • They are not developing the app in-house, and need to add margins to their various technical consultants’ fees.
  • They don’t specialize in apps for your industry and haven’t developed a range of industry-specific features, so developing an app for your business is a huge time, research and resource commitment for them.
  • They have had to invest significant cash to establish credibility and build brand awareness through mainstream marketing channels.
  • They have over-spent on resources and infrastructure to obtain the capabilities to develop high quality mobile apps.
  • They don’t have the appropriate platform.

Therefore, don’t assume that the company quoting you $30,000 will always produce a better quality app than the company charging $1,000. The former company may be overcharging you because they can get away with it, or may have greater expenses to cover. As always, it pays to do your homework.

Get ready for Part Two of Business Apps 101 in next week’s blog post.

Dennis Benjamin is the chief executive of AppsWiz.

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Dennis Benjamin

Dennis Benjamin is the founder and chief executive of mobile apps specialists AppsWiz and the Informatel Group. He is an expert in the areas of mobile trends, mobile apps, apps for businesses, entrepreneurship, and startups.

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