In the digital age, the development and maintenance of mobile apps pose challenges for SMEs.
SMBs have many reasons to create a mobile platform. A regularly updated mobile app can help SMB owners attract more customers, target larger markets and increase brand visibility. The challenges of developing an app within a small organization often stem from a lack of dedicated programmers and IT support staff combined with a lack of upfront cash.
However, the increasing popularity of no-code and low-code development offers new opportunities. A 2021 Gartner report states that low-code development is a growing trend, with the COVID-19 pandemic further driving the shift to non-IT app developers.
Still, coding is only the first step in building a company’s mobile presence. As an SMB owner or IT admin, you need to regularly update the app with new company and product data to keep customers engaged.
Regular app updates can help SMBs connect with customers. Push notifications for program updates can also help maintain your digital presence and increase brand awareness.
Creating the application for an SME
After you’ve decided to create a mobile app, you can use an app builder that provides a simplified template to build from. You can also hire an external programmer or development team to create a special program.
You should know how you want the app to look before choosing a template or app builder. Make sure you choose an app builder or template that supports the features of your business needs.
You should also consider which mobile platforms a template creator supports. Some templates only support Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android mobile OS, while others support both. Unless you want to create an app that is individually aimed at iPhone or Android target groups, your app should support both variants of mobile operating systems.
Also, SMBs should check the technical support of the template creator. You need a template provider that responds to requests quickly and effectively.
If you need a simple mobile app, e.g. For example, a digital menu for a coffee shop that updates regularly, or a salon schedule that smartphone users can easily modify, a cheap or free template maker should meet your needs.
In general, SMBs should keep the app and user interface simple. Once you’ve rolled out the app, you don’t need a lot of features to make it a success. In fact, customers generally prefer a no-fuss, uncluttered look for mobile apps. The platform should simply provide the information that users need.
On the other hand, if your application requires customers to enter passwords to access financial records or other secure information, you should consider security. In these cases, you need a programmer or a team of programmers to build the mobile platform and strengthen cybersecurity for your SMB. Keep a technical staff on-site if possible. A third-party app builder or template provider that doesn’t regularly update their security logs could leave you – and your customers – vulnerable to data breaches.
If your SMB plans to regularly change the template design, update the code, or port certain functionality from your mobile-responsive website, consider hiring a programmer to develop the app. Third-party mobile app builders may lack a fast, dynamic, and flexible mobile app build service.
Supporting the application as an SME
Unlike a mobile-responsive website, a dedicated app requires a customer to download it from an app store. Therefore, you may want to reward users for choosing to download your app. You can offer points for purchases in the mobile app, organize events in the app, or offer discounts on users’ birthdays. Simple actions can help build a dedicated customer base.
You should also check app store user comments on competitor mobile apps. A competitor’s customer comments—good or bad—can provide important clues and potential pitfalls to avoid before launching your app.
When your SMB’s mobile app is live, you or your team should set up mechanisms for in-app customer service, including prepared customer support replies, in-app chat support, or an email address for customer inquiries.
Key insights for SME owners
A decade ago, a small business owner might have scrapped the idea of creating a mobile app. The cost and time would have been too great.
Now third-party mobile templates simplify app development. And thanks to the ubiquity of mobile app stores, customers can easily search for any mobile app they want. Likewise, it is easier for an SME to know what its customers want. With a mobile app, a business can reach and serve its customers more efficiently than ever before. Knowing how to properly build a safe, effective mobile app makes it possible for even small organizations with limited resources to use this tool.