In a global world dominated by the internet and Smartphones, the importance of mobile apps can’t be dismissed by the naysayers. In time, I believe they’ll become equally as important (if not more so) as websites. I’m not alone in this observation.
At CTIA in Las Vegas last May, Gibu Thomas, global head of mobile for Walmart, discussed how smartphones are “likely to become as necessary as the shopping cart when wandering the aisles of your nearby Supercenter.” Walmart and other retailers have made it abundantly clear that they’re all “tapping into the power of mobile apps to help you shop more effectively and, hopefully, more often.” Even Starbucks has an app.
The role these phones play in society is huge, and their roles will be increasing. You can’t dispute it without looking a bit foolish. Whichever platform you’ve chosen—iPhone or Android—apps make the experience more efficient, and for some, more enjoyable. More than ever it’s a “give it to me now” world and apps do just that, taking less time for you to get what you want using mobile apps as opposed to an internet search.
But competition has become fierce and the apps roll out with daily regularity. Although some people only maintain about 20 apps on their phones, many have well over 100; some as many as 200. Most admit to purging older apps from time to time, either because they weren’t as useful as they’d hoped or they’ve found something else.
Some people download apps merely for fun time purposes; games, gambling and even horseracing. Others use apps to stay informed with news or up to the second stock information. And the ability to generate daily (even hourly) reports of all kinds using financial, sales or meeting apps is becoming a potential game changer.
I peruse the internet nearly 24/7, but I’ve slowly segued into owning an Ipad Mini and making use of apps on an increasingly consistent basis. For example, I rarely use the internet to check my bank account these days; I use their app on my Ipad or iPhone. You know the saying. “If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind.” Those who can’t or won’t move with the times are doing just that—falling behind.
11 Reasons Mobile Apps Are Here to Stay
I asked a number of people I either know or have interviewed (three of which own companies that sell apps) to chime in with me about why people love mobile apps and why they aren’t going away any time soon. Between us we came up with over 20 reasons…here are a 11 of them:
1 – Standard Operating Practice: “The explosion of smart devices essentially dictates the need for mobile apps today,” says Mike Williams, VP of Operations at Point N Time Software. “Personal and business lives overlap more than ever before. Whether mobile devices drives that or vice versa can be debated, but mobile devices allow us to more easily and efficiently navigate this overlapped terrain.”
“We have a long ways to go,” says PR guru Cheryl Snapp Conner, “before learning to fully benefit from mobile apps and marketing. It won’t take long before this new arena becomes standard practice for businesses as the primary means of engaging a customer base.”
2 – Ease of Use: “Apps offer a user-experience which mobile Websites or widgets are unable to provide,” says Natasha Nova, Co-founder of Wedeeo. “The best apps have an intuitive nature, encompassing the needs, perceptions and feelings of users before, during and after they use the app. Perhaps that’s why so many of us are “addicted“ to our Smartphones and Ipads.”
3 – Efficiency: “Whether it’s entirely positive or not,” says Conner (see her illuminating piece on mobile marketing here), “I spend my working time (and even much of my personal time) closely connected to the devices that can put me quickly online. It makes me much more productive to be able to answer questions or provide quick pieces of information on the fly as opposed to stopping all work to answer email and make calls twice a day.”
Why Mobile Apps Are Here to Stay4 – Exclusivity: “People like to feel special,” says Etien D’Hollander, CEO/Founder of Front Row Solutions. “They like to belong to something that they perceive is different and/or better. Something exclusive. I think it’s very important when creating an app.
The app should give the perception of exclusivity. This deal is only for you, this information is only for this group, you are a V.I.P and we will treat you special. Whether a local coffee shop or a national chain, understand this: break the exclusivity rule and watch your app and your company struggle.
5 – Endless Possibilities: “In the world of mobile apps,” says Williams, “there will often be a requirement to integrate with important Data Center systems; there must be the ability to work in an “offline mode,” then provide the ability to easily sync important information with the Data Center. The best apps provide this seamlessly.”
6 – Fun: “One of the things we focused on while designing our app,” says Nova, “was to make sure that it was fun to use as well as being functional. That’s one of the things about great apps—they can become important to businesses but also be easy and fun to use; having fun and doing business at the same time is a winning combination.”
7 – Visibility: “The mobile phone has become the focal point of the modern individual,” says D’Hollander. “Nearly everyone has one. It’s each individual’s connection to their world. If as a business you’re not in that world, you don’t exist. Mobile access to your web site isn’t enough. You need an app that will speed up and improve the access to your company, two critical components in today’s fast paced world.”
8 – Pervasiveness of Smartphones: “Nearly anyone can use a Smartphone,” says Conner. “Smartphones are ubiquitous as the fastest and most convenient way of staying online and connected along with serving the critical purposes of texting, email and phone.”
9 – Immediacy: “The best apps are the fastest apps,” says D’Hollander. “If you can get in and out of the app with the information you need in seconds, chances are you’ll have a successful app. While content is also important, people today are impatient. They want precise, specific information and they want it now; any clutter or delays and they are gone. Over the years companies have taken great pride in their store fronts. No expense was spared. Companies today have to put the same kind of effort into their apps. Consider your apps as the first impression a consumer has about your company; whether they “visit“ you or not depends on that impression.”
Why Mobile Apps Are Here to Stay10- Bringing People Together: We all know there are those who hate Facebook and other social media platforms like Google+ and Twitter. They feel it drives people apart. It certainly can when people use these platforms foolishly. Speaking for myself, if it wasn’t for the internet, there are dozens of people who wouldn’t be a part of my professional and personal life. For example, meeting and becoming friends with Cheryl Snapp Conner through a mutual Facebook friend led directly to a huge increase in my internet presence via my Forbes collaborations with her.
11 – Uniqueness: Conner is a self-professed addict, keeping no less than three devices—MacAir, iPad and iPhone—within easy reach of her fingertips at all times. “Each has unique uses; so for me they’re all required. I find it comforting to stay close online to my family and closest set of personal friends as well as a way to stay “grounded” and connected on our areas of mutual interest, share news tidbits and reactions, and be at least peripherally “present” for each other throughout the day.”
If you still think mobile is for the birds, ask yourself just one question: Are you moving ahead or falling behind?
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