Do I need a Web App for My Business? How Do I Get Started?
Posted By Josie Moran05/07/21
The first mobile app to be released was by Nokia, and it was the highly addictive and groundbreaking game Snake. That was in 1997, and since then, web apps and mobile apps have evolved from the most basic to the highly advanced.
As a small business owner, you might be looking to take your digital experience for your customers to the next level. Perhaps you’re thinking of creating an app to run alongside your existing website or social media campaigns- but how do you get started on this journey?
Well, Code & Create are here to help, and in this blog, we can show you some high-level stuff that you need to know before embarking on this exciting journey.
Getting Started With Making Small Business Web Apps
Research, Research, Research!
So important we said it three times! One of the biggest mistakes any business owner can make is to rush into a decision to launch a web app without thinking about how it will impact their business. Yes, it is exciting to think your business could be up there with the next BooHoo’s or the Wiggles of this world. But in reality, is it going to benefit your business? And more importantly, offer you a return on your investment.
That being said, almost all businesses could benefit in some way from having a web app. With almost all businesses having customers that are smartphone users, the key to a high engagement rate from your customers is offering them ways to interact with your business. On their terms – not yours.
A web app could be used to boost this engagement, such as appointment booking for a hairdresser or table reservations for your restaurant. Or even selling your products to a wider audience!
The possibilities are endless for small business owners when embarking on their own app. But it is still important to know what you are getting into, the costs involved and the long term goals.
You Should Research
- Who are your main competitors?
- What is their strategy?
- Can you find strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you know their unique selling point?
- Are there a lot of competitors offering an app as part of their service?
Figuring out if your competitors are benefiting from having an app can be hard. However, a little trick is to check out the company reviews! Such as people leaving reviews praising their ease of booking or how easy it was to use their services. This is always a good indicator that their digital strategy is working – as people are praising it!
Research is boring, let’s be honest – no one likes to do it. It can seem like your diving into an Alice In Wonderland-style pit that never seems to end. As boring as it is, research will allow you not only to see if an app is going to be suitable for your business but to see what is working for others. And also what gaps there are that you could slide into. This then leads into our next subject!
Define What You Want Your Web App to Do
Getting a web app for your business does not always have to be about making direct sales- it could be to simplify a process like those mentioned above. Things like table bookings for a restaurant or hairdressing appointments, so defining the end goal and the app’s purpose from day one is critical.
Some of the many uses for apps can be things like:
- Customer loyalty program system
- Order tracking apps
- Booking systems
- Two/one-way communication systems
These are just a few of the benefits having a web app for your business can offer. However, the key benefit is allowing customers to communicate or use your services on their terms, which is a key way to build a loyal customer base.
Without getting too technical, you will also need to think about what platform you want your app to be on, such as Apple, Windows, Android, etc.
You can have it available on all platforms. Still, if for whatever reason you decide to only make it available on the Apple App Store, for instance, then you will need to be sure that the bulk of your customers are on that platform as opposed to an Android App.
Pick The Right App Developer
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for when making an app, and choosing the right web app developer is critical to its success.
Yes, there are free mobile/web app builders much the same as there are free website builders. These might offer some of the functions you need, but the perception that these apps give off about your business has far-reaching consequences. In most cases, they are also rammed with adverts- and in some cases, for your direct competitors! Which is never a good thing- trust us!
You Should Be Looking At These Aspects When Choosing App Developers
Choosing the right web app developer is hard if you are not familiar with the terminology and practices needed. As a rule, always look for these few things when speaking to them:
- The company are interested in your business – not just your money. Working smoothly with the right development team is critical to its success! Work with a company that is interested for more than just monetary value-and you will have significantly better results.
- Check out their portfolio – now portfolios can be hard to judge as at the end of the day it is the clients choice how something looks and works. But does the app developers portfolio stand out to you and fit in with what you have in mind for your app?
- Think of the whole package, not just the initial design and development. Chances are you are going to have to work with the app developer long term be it for the hosting or design changes needed. So look at what they are offering long term, not just upfront.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Web App for My Business?
Like the age-old question, how long is a piece of string? It’s hard to put an exact price on how much it will cost to build an app for your business. It comes down to the technology, and to make it fit the intended brief. This can be taxing and full of technicalities so it requires specialists!
Rough costs can be anywhere between a few thousand to hundreds of thousands when building web apps. So it’s not for everyone. However, the benefits that this can offer regarding customer engagement and return on your investment are limitless.