Developing a mobile responsive website can be a great start for businesses who wish to get their feet wet. However, if you really want to stay at the forefront of change, developing a branded mobile app may also help your business’s mobile presence.
Mobile apps are not exclusive to giant brands and tech companies—they can be relevant to almost every type of company, from pizzerias to auto-body shops. Even if you don't have a mobile app, your competition might, which is why you may want to consider adopting a mobile strategy paired with a branded mobile app. Push notifications, loyalty programs and mobile coupons can all be part of this mobile marketing strategy.
Innovations in technology are expanding not only what can be done with mobile apps, but also increasing their accessibility to a larger number of consumers. The development cost of apps has dropped significantly due to the rise of intuitive app builders. This newfound affordability has allowed nearly any small business to join the mobile revolution.
Here are some of the top mobile app trends to watch:
1. This year will see an explosion of small-business mobile apps.
Like some trends that start with bigger companies, small businesses may be looking to capitalize on the mobile app trend in the same way and learn how to create an app. According to a 2016 survey done by research company Clutch, of 352 small businesses in the U.S., close to half (47 percent) will likely have a mobile app by 2017 or later.
2. Location-based services (LBS) will capitalize on GPS.
Using LBS or geofencing software, mobile app users are alerted of a business surrounding their location. Companies can send out special promotions to nearby customers through push notifications, which can be tailored specifically to individual user preferences. As a result, customers may purposefully travel to an establishment, rather than relying on their own impressions.
3. Augmented reality (AR) and utility apps will integrate.
Apps are meant to make things easy for people, and utility apps, such as apps that record memos, turn your phone into a flashlight or serve as an alarm clock, make your mobile device even smarter. As businesses learn to integrate digital information into the physical work environment, utility apps will be needed to manage this digital information.
—Andrew Gazdecki, CEO, Bizness Apps
Right now, the energy industry is testing how augmented reality (AR) and utility apps can increase efficiency and reduce error in the workforce.
For example, a pair of AR glasses paired with a well-developed utility app placed inside a construction helmet can eliminate the need for papers, manuals and even laptops. Workers can easily manipulate their projects with AR right in front of their faces.
4. Artificial intelligence (AI) will appear in more technology.
Embedded AI will become a popular innovation among developers and can take many forms. In commerce, AI can be used as a virtual worker, providing customer service and guiding consumers toward products best suited to their needs. Personal AI assistants can help a shopper by making a list of what they need and adding the goods "to the cart," allowing the user to simply click "Buy."
5. Internet-of-Things apps will connect the world.
Our entire lives are becoming smart and integrated. Everything from TVs to crockpots are connected to the internet, turning it into a web that transcends beyond a website. Internet-of-Things means that mobile apps will be able to connect with more devices and more customers. This interaction allows the collection of data, which can help make life more efficient.
6. Mobile apps could generate $88 billion in revenue.
More than 268 million mobile app downloads are projected to take place this year and could result in $88 billion in revenue, according to German statistics company Statista. It should be noted that this revenue may not necessarily be just from downloading the apps, but from the marketing potential inherent in its technologies. Apps can help customers discover what your business can do for them and help make it easier to buy your product or service.