“You need an app.” How many times have small business owners across the country heard that phrase from one of their customers or business partners? Moving into the world of mobile experiences can be a big undertaking and costs can quickly skyrocket. Which, for a small business, is likely an additional expense that’s difficult to plan for. Not to mention the hours of research and development are needed before embarking on such an experiment. For a small business, knowing when to go mobile, why to go mobile, and what you and your customers stand to gain from the innovation are critical questions to ask before hiring someone to build an app.
The right way to innovate as a small business
Innovation often trickles down. We owe countless advancements in technology and user experience to big tech firms across the globe. They are the ones pushing the envelope, investing in research, and opening these design changes to the world at-large. Technological investments, such as mobile apps, are often first spearheaded by the big firms and then their designs and principles are used as a foundation for others.
Many believe that if big companies are doing it, small businesses should, too. Or, small business owners take the opposite view and feel that if a big company invests in technology, it’s not right for the small business. In both cases, small businesses could miss out on an opportunity to improve their customer experience and drive growth. While it’s undeniable that that small businesses should be designing for mobile traffic, it’s not necessary to follow every trend or existing blueprint from big corporations.
Make a good experience better
The question any small business should ask before jumping into app development is, “what is my customers’ mobile experience like today?” Asking a fundamental question like this could open up a world of improvements that the business hadn’t previously considered. Improving the mobile experience doesn’t always have to end with mobile app development. Improving an existing website to be responsive and provide customers with access to the essential functionality needed for them to engage with the business could be the first step to creating a great customer experience.
The Golden State Warriors, a global brand that also happens to be a small business, learned this when they looked to Adobe Sign to transform the way their fans purchase season tickets. Instead of a cumbersome, manual process, they transformed the entire purchasing experience to a mobile-friendly, flawless, digital walkthrough freeing up staff time to focus on the fans, not the paperwork.
“Adobe Sign was the clear choice for us,” says Brian Fulmer, Director of IT, Golden State Warriors. “…it underscores our commitment to use cutting-edge technology to enhance the fan experience wherever possible.”
In the world of mobile technology, your company needs every advantage it can get. No longer is it “good enough” to have a website and assume customers will be satisfied. Small businesses especially need to be thinking of mobile first designs and putting mobile-using customers where they belong: at the top. Small businesses stand to gain the most from improved mobile experience because it can generate exponential growth and customer satisfaction. If a small business can have all of the conveniences of a big corporation without the unnecessary challenges inherent in doing business with large companies, then it’s a win-win situation.
Why the mobile experience matters
Mobile traffic has exploded in the last decade, and with it, their command of the market has increased. It has become an essential part of every business’s digital strategy. Businesses are now in a world where investing in mobile assets is not just for staying in vogue in the digital space, but a critical element of future company growth.
The first investment small businesses make should be a mobile strategy, figuring out how customers are using mobile tech to access the business. It may be that a dedicated app would help them, but it could be as straightforward as implementing e-signature capabilities first.
Beyond looking at their own customer data, small businesses should also look at their competitors’ mobile strategies. Are they in the mobile space? Do they have an app? Does their app have a good user experience? These are the first questions to answer before fully investing in mobile technologies.
Benefits of going mobile
The good news is that the upside to mobile investment is almost immeasurable. Mobile apps provide a personalized marketing channel that businesses can push content and offers to their customer base without the noise of the rest of the internet. Business owners can build brand loyalty like never before and boost existing customer engagement. It can also complement an existing web presence.
But, the one thing mobile investment has to do more than anything is solve a problem. A mobile strategy should be able to highlight the pitfalls of current tech investments and find out where a mobile app could shine. One thing is for certain, mobile access is only going to grow and the threat of being left behind as competitors continue to invest in that technology is very real. For so many consumers today, customer experience begins and ends on smartphones and small businesses need to deliver, or risk being left behind.
Lisa is the Digital Media Enablement at Adobe, she has 20+ years of experience in the technology industry utilizing various enterprise software solutions. Experience includes pre-sales, client development, project management, marketing, software development and customization, and training for large customers. Excellence in managing and supporting multiple sales personnel, customers and projects across a large geographic area. Extensive experience in preparing presentations and customized demonstrations to various audiences and mediums. Strong expertise in forms design, workflow analysis and design, systems integration, and accessibility.