Apps are cool. Apps can drive loyalty. Apps can let customers know when they are close to one of your locations, house your customer database, and provide quick reminders (via push notifications) to your customers of your specials, deals, etc. They are also not terrible expensive to make – an app can cost anywhere from $1500 – $5000 to produce and maintenance is minimal and can typically be conducted by an employee once the app is developed. However, there are still many considerations to be taken before investing in an app.
First off – do you need it? Do you have multiple locations? Do you have a loyalty program that customers can tap into? An app that doesn’t have a purpose is not likely to be an app that your customers will download or use – and even if they do – what’s the point? Make sure there is some functionality built into your app which will allow it to be a valuable tool for your customers.
Second – what is your competition doing? Download the apps of all your competitors and study them. Some may impress you and some may not, but chances are good you’ll learn valuable lessons from seeing what they are doing and what is in the market before you begin creating your own app.
Next – who is going to make this app for you? There are multiple freelance vendors and agencies who can assist. Get someone you can trust and beware ongoing monthly fees – if the actual cost is low but there is an ongoing maintenance cost, chances are you’ll pay much more long term for the same product and you may want to look at the competition. Quarterly or annual app updates may be necessary, but a monthly service charge will significantly increase the cost of your app over time.
Once you’ve established what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with, consider your marketing plan. People will only download the app if you tell them about it. Will you advertise it? Put it on your social media? Hand fliers to your customers in their check bills or at your register? Not matter what your method, you’re going to want to make sure to get as many downloads as possible for your new app, and market it constantly moving forward as you attract new costumers.