Customers are spoilt for choice, in the Indian mobile industry plenty of smart phones within reasonable prices. So many attractive options that make the phone “smart” – OTG, processor, resolution etc., sometimes too complicated for customers to even comprehend benefits. But, even the most rudimentary users check on the system version before buying a smart phone, because that alone determines what kind of apps you can download. For many of us, the sole purpose of using a smart phone today, is the various apps, which makes life simple.

Even as five years back, not all companies believed it was important to have an app for their services, they had just become accustomed to running a website and learning to do business over the internet (so many organizations had stagnant and rudimentary websites even in the late 2000’s). Today even children animation firms, who have just one show on TV ensure longevity of memory by releasing gaming apps. An entire industry has been spawned on apps. Geeky, teenagers who came up with simple but extremely popular apps have suddenly been thrust into the limelight and have acquired wealth beyond their craziest imagination. The apps are here to stay and are going to evolve and become even more a necessity.

The entertainment/social apps aside, the apps industry is catering to niche fields and jobs, due to which, cost of doing business or ease of doing work has significantly increased. For example, the medical industry has an app that helps physicians review drug prescriptions, safety nets and even insurance coverage in US. They have medical calculators for formulaes, an app with snippets on new procedures and drug effects and even a “Linkedin” kind of network only for physicians.  Simple apps are making redundant the health-scribe industry. For non-profit organizations such as Doctors-on-Wheels, these simple apps help them not only find alternative medication in new countries but it also allows them to add or catalogue new procedures/medications in various countries.

In larger organizations, apps serve as another platform to reach out and transact with the customers. But do small and medium businesses need to invest in apps?  Here are few reasons on why I think, organizations should begin to invest in mobile apps:

  1. Be Visible to Customers at All Times – We spend humongous amount of time glued to our phones. Study shows that, younger customers are likely to use an app for services rather than a website, which still appears clunky on most palm held devices. There are couple of popular retail organizations who are currently “app-only”, that is not available on the website. Cater to this segment, which are dependent on apps for information.
  1. Create a Direct Marketing Channel – Apps can do many functions for you. Organizations start with creating an app of their basic information and a catalogue along with case study of work that they have achieved. And then build other services, eventually into the app. Business are just a click away for their customers, even for those on the go.
  1. Provide Value to Your Customers – It could be a simple customer loyalty program or customer satisfaction form that is easily available .If you belong to the knowledge industry; it might make sense to have case-studies, white paper kind of information that is available for clients to use.
  1. Improve Customer Engagement – The more intuitive you think of your customer’s problems and help them solve those issues, the more value they derive out of the transaction. For tangible services, the ease of reaching customer service, buying the goods, listing of goods is a big help . In a knowledge industry, it could be an alternative to the email exchange and create a communication platform for ideating and tracking work.
  1. Create a brand – Build a brand around your business. A beautifully designed app with key features ensures customers regularly use the app and build a connection, hence more likely that services/products will be used /purchased. Chances are, that small to medium organizations have the ability to experiment on what kind of services or products that they can offer via an app than larger firms.
  1. Internal employees – Your intranet and communication platform available as an app. A one stop place for employees to be able to login and talk to each other, enter quality data or sales targets. A tool to build efficiency in the system.

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