You wake up, check your email on your iPhone—there’s one app. Browse Facebook, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal all on your iPad—that makes four apps used before you even go to work. Sure, you’re on the Internet, but you’re not on the web and neither are your customers.
Our relationship with smartphones has changed from one of occasional use into one of utter dependency. Our phones hold more than just our contacts – their online application menus hold the keys to our own unique interests, investments and motivators.
When the iPhone first came out, few anticipated the huge success of apps. Apple, Android and BlackBerry each host hundreds of different online applications, adding more each day as new businesses enter the online market and new services become available. While games are currently the most popular apps selling, followed by social networking applications, observers project that the app market in general will gross no less than $17.5 billion by 2012.
all about apps
Consumers crave apps for three key reasons:

  1. Apps deliver. Apps typically focus on an organization’s most marketable products or services, whether they be information, entertainment or tangibly based.
  2. Apps are fast. One click on your smartphone’s main screen brings you directly to the app purveyor’s most desired service marks, without the long, confusing website search.
  3. Apps are low-cost, low-stress investments. Some apps are free. Some apps are $0.99. Some apps are closer to $5.00, and on very rare occasions, some apps run a little more. Whatever the price, the majority of available apps fall toward the less expensive end of the investment spectrum. It’s a one-time investment customers pay in exchange for an excellent, nearly unlimited service benefit.

find your niche
To develop a successful app that customers will WANT to purchase or use, you must first design your app to meet the above criteria. However, another critical factor to consider is the product or service distinguishes your business. Are you the only organic pet food provider in town? Does your website make headlines sharing all the 4-1-1 on local volunteer activities? Do you get customers unheard of deals on concert tickets? Figure out what niche service or product makes your business valuable to customers. To make your mobile app valuable as well, build it around this feature. Make it simple for customers to view and request your services or products, providing them with a strong incentive to purchase your app.
future business
Creating an app for your company ensures that customers will be able to reach you from anywhere. The app gives them the opportunity to immediately shop and purchase your product or service online. It creates a better customer experience and adds value to your organization’s professional image and presence. It extends your brand, providing your business with a potential new revenue stream.
App platforms are growing. Apps’ pervasiveness, usability and inevitability as a consumer tool render it critical for businesses attempting to reach a mobile audience. Keep a close watch on the app as the mobile market continues to develop, and prepare your company to align its strategy accordingly.