6 key functions to consider when developing a mobile app

There are six key types of apps that businesses, regardless of size and stature, need to think about when creating a mobile app. Pocket App's Paul Swaddle explains.

For small businesses and big corporate companies alike, mobile is the latest frontier. Yet rather than simply developing a mobile-friendly version of your website or adding a cool e-commerce capability to the mobile user experience, more and more businesses are wisely delving into the mobile market by developing a smartphone app that can improve business processes and functions. Here are six key functions that businesses, regardless of size and stature, need to think about when creating an app.

Data collection apps

There are numerous potential benefits in using mobile technology for data collection, dependent on the organisations goals and scope. For example, where the goal is to enable communities to alert authorities to illegal activities, mobile data collection can enable data to be shared fast enough for a successful, timely response. The app can capture a wide range of data, including audio, video, camera, GPS and text, making them incredibly versatile and removing the need to carry lots of expensive, specialist equipment. Organisations can also replace bulky training manuals with something that is not only more compact, but visually more engaging with online demos and video tutorials. Another benefit is fewer data errors. Using paper brings the risk that errors will be made when data is transcribed into a digital format, ready for analysis. Apps can reduce the number of these data transcription errors. Data analysts can correct any errors without creating a messy paper trail that can be hard to interpret.

Digital data collection forms can also incorporate data auditing features that improve the quality of the data and help standardisation. Examples of data auditing are mandatory fields, or more sophisticated features such as rejecting or querying values outside a defined range. Instant data visualisation through mobile-based applications can also help quickly identify any issues or problems with the data before analysis, and enables quick feedback for the data analysts.

Lead generations apps

One of the most important roles which a mobile app should fulfil within your overall marketing strategy is that of lead generation tool. On many levels, mobile apps are even better than social media because they promote interaction and personalisation of communication at a localised level. As the race for winning customer trust and loyalty becomes more and more competitive, businesses need to employ all the tools to attract qualified leads and build long-lasting relationships with new and existing customers. A successful lead generation app can promote relation building by localisation, creative engagement and the sending of news notifications and updates.

With the ability to collect very precise data relating to a user’s location, mobile carrier, phone model and other similar information, a mobile app is a valuable tool for customer profiling. For example, knowing where customers are when they prefer interacting with your company is incredibly useful. Localisation also helps you create push notifications, offering your mobile app subscribers a promotional offer or discount code when they are within walking or driving distance of your business.

Creating engagement at the right moment is an important tool whenever you organise a public event, notifying all your app subscribers and offering them a series of promotional discounts or a promotional discount for your newly launched product. If users understand that this is a special promotion available specifically for them, users will feel special and will be more willing to share more personal information and to interact more frequently with your business through your mobile app. This will strengthen the customer-company relationship immensely. Sending latest news through push notifications compared to mobile notifications are more likely to be opened and read straightaway, therefore, the potential to bolster customer engagement is immense.

Product demo apps

A compelling demo will always make your product stand out and the right app will help create a global campaign and build assets. Demo apps can also help support events at product launches, helping to demonstrate the product in action and guide event attendees through a step-by-step initial learning process so they can trial the product more easily.

Campaign apps

When creating a campaign app, it is important to understand the business goals and take customer habits in terms of user interface and engagement preferences. For example, one of our customers, A leading technology provider required us to design a development app, which included multiple assessment and questionnaire tools. This would generate reports, key insights, graphs and charts which help the user in making decisions for future growth and planning. Another app developed by us was for The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal app, launched in 2014.  The app ‘My Poppy’ was used to provide an engaging solution for people to donate money and helped people to download and donate, whilst receiving a text.

Sales engagement app

We where was tasked by Epson to develop a comprehensive sales tool for the company’s salesforce. The platform featured access to product catalogues; sales presentations; meeting planner and number of calculator tools to assist staff during client meetings. The app allows the sales force to provide better analytics to customers and provide faster feedback on products and planning. The sales tool was available across all major mobile platforms.

Employee engagement app

As working from home or mobile staff becomes an increasing trend. Many companies are introducing employee engagement app. This is where a version of the desktop website is available in app format. This allows staff who hot desk or are mobile achieve the same level of access and help improve performance objectives without disturbance to their activity.

Businesses now more than ever require solutions to everyday tasks and challenges. Development of specialist apps that aid business functions provide long term, cost effective and paperless trails that are data driven, error free and improve functions.

Paul Swaddle is the CEO of Pocket App.

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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