Creating a mobile app: Step n°5 – FUNCTIONS

Blog n°1 of this series showed how research was the first step to determine the direction in which one should proceed with regards to getting the right app for their business. Step n°2 was to anticipate what users would want, and step n°3 to ensure versatility and ethos in design and application, and step n°4 was the choice of platform.

You might have come to the decision that having a mobile app for your business is of strategic importance to your sales and for the general reinforcement of your brand’s name. So now to the business of choosing the right kind of app that doesn’t end up being a disservice to you, in this 7-blog series we have listed some of the cardinal questions you need to be asking yourself in order to make well-informed choices.

And now to step n°5. You might know what you want from an app. But what do your customers expect from an app that ought to already be there? Some features they take for granted and expect you to provide as obligatory mandates to an app.

Here’s a check-list:

  1. Dashboard

(to help you create the app the way you want)

A dashboard will allow your clients to modify the app as they like, e.g. the data, themes, add-ons etc. Additionally it should provide analytics. Analytics are the judges of the app. It can tell them how the app is faring, its performance, the number of installation (or uninstallations), the usage, sales, the input to understand their demographics, and so on.

  1. Real-time design updates

(you would like to constantly make improvements without customers being peeved about manually updating them each time)

An app is not a static medium. It’s ceaselessly buzzing with activity and intercommunication and needs to adapt, improve and change as the need arises. Naturally you can’t anticipate every nitty-gritty requirement when you start out. But you will keep taking those necessities into account and then accounting for them. But if you think your customer is going to be delighted to regularly update the app to accommodate those updates, it’s actually the contrary that’s bound to happen. When your app offers real-time design updates, the user’s app gets updated automatically without them having to do anything themselves.

  1. In-app analytics

(this gives you indisputable information on your clients’ browsing/purchasing patterns and, therefore, your demographics)

Analytics provide the kind of accuracy that you can’t get even from brick-and-mortars where customers are physically in your store. With the latter, after going through the trouble of doing the accounts and inventories the most you can infer is which products sell and which don’t and what the sale was. But with the former, you can sit back and let the software compute not just what has been sold, but which phones those purchases came from, what kinds of things those people tend towards, the click rate, the number of app downloads or un-instalments etc. This information helps you understand your customers and target the right audience with the right campaigns.

  1. Push-notifications

(barring phone calls, this is the fastest way of reaching them)

You can announce flash sales, regular sales or new arrivals, inform customers of what’s going on and other new or improved or revised updates to your store, and remind them of how much they love you – all through instant push-notifications. In-app analytics give you an understanding of your demographics, so you can use that information to target campaigns to the right people using this feature. People want to know what’s new but they also have preferences of which categories they are interested in. This feature bridges that desktop-to-target-audience gap. E-mails may not be read immediately and can be diverted to spam.

  1. Themes & Add-ons

(there is no one-app-fits-all-businesses; you need options to customise the app to suit your business needs)

An app will offer you a basic set of standard features. Additionally it should offer themes and add-ons so that different companies can pick what suits them. For instance, a jewellery store may have a feature which allows customers to virtually try on a selection of trinkets, but an automobile customizer won’t have any use of this feature. Instead they would require a feature which allows customers to virtually try out looks on their vehicle. And grocery marts have no use of either of these because all they want is to have a good look-book of what supplies they have. When an app maker offers a range of themes and add-ons, you have ample choice to pick the best ones to empower your app.

  1. Abandoned cart notifications, wish-list, e-trolley, transaction checkout

(these are the basics that you should take for granted will come with the app, however, just check that they’re there)

Allowing patrons the option to add things to their wish list, having an e-trolley, notifying people of wares they left in their e-trolleys, ensuring the checkout and billing is fluid and not glitched, offering support…these are few attributes that really ought to go without saying, but just to be sure – since we are making a check list of the important things – we are mention these, too. Apart from helping the customer you actually help our own business too. For instance, wish lists let you know what customers want. Abandoned cart notifications remind customers about thing they have forgotten so they can go back to it when they are ready to make the purchase, as opposed to forgetting about it completely. Or they can be notified if something in their cart is on sale. Just remember while making the big and fancy refinements to the app you don’t forget the basic and more important ones!

So if you can tick off all these points, then you’ve got a good grasp on functions and an understanding of what your business needs from a mobile app.

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