I was in London recently and it struck me looking around the tube how immersed we are in technology. The ability to pay for a ticket using a phone, receiving live updates and announcements on services. Where once people struggled for space to turn the pages of their newspaper, they now fight for space on their tablet or phone to watch a movie, catch up on that TV series or read the latest news. Even the adverts in the Tube are promoting services to make life easier through an app. Whether it’s getting your shirts ironed and delivered to work, booking your next holiday, online dating or food delivered to your door, there seems to be a business and an app for everything.
Despite being a tech powerhouse here in the southwest, coming back from London, I feel that we have no quite got our heads into the digital revolutions as some major cities have. Yet at every business event I attend or conversation I have it feels businesses and citizens are crying out for new and exciting ways to embrace technology. I would argue that every business, no matter of its size or purpose can benefit from an app and adopting good technology. That said, I would also say that many apps don’t meet a purpose and are simply a website in an app, offering nothing more than our good friend Google.
If you are thinking how can technology help me and my business? Here are three simple ideas to get you started...
Create New Experiences & Value
Whether you want to create a consistent customer experience or build brand loyalty, apps unlike any other technology can provide a personal experience not only based on behaviour, but also location. Enabling you to engage with your customers without lifting a finger. Whether saying “Hi, and pop in for a coffee”, when a customer next presents themselves in Bath reminding them of their hair appointment on Saturday, letting them know when they get off the train you have a great offer on tonight’s dinner menu or simply saying thanks for shopping and purchasing from Bath independent shops. Apps can provide a tailored and personal experience that can build on your brand and the experiences your customers get when arriving at your business. Whether you offer hotel accommodation and want to provide a 360 tour of your rooms or bring your restaurant to life, apps can provide exciting ways to attract people to your organization. The wider world beyond tech circles was presented with Augmented Reality (AR) in 2016 through Pokemon Go. Going beyond little characters in strange locations. AR and mixed reality can offer any business the opportunity to bring their service or product to life. Whether placing your products in my home, seeing what that dress would look like or visualising an event with all the decorations and atmosphere.
Increase Sales & New Revenue Streams
Apps offer a means to create new revenue streams and increase sales. Unlike a website, they can track and hold information and use it to support and respond to customer needs. Whether or not you have an online store, apps can give you the opportunity to offer that local service. Be it click and collect, browse and buy later, deliver, wrap for a special occasion, pay via my phone or even offer that personal experience through a digital assistant. They can also deal with price matching, promote special offers or even track usage.
The one thing great apps have in common is community. Building something for everyone is a challenge, but build something that everyone wants to be part of or can’t do without is the key. An app for example that enables people to buy local to support independent businesses, find out where the food on my plate comes from or even what is happening locally and share my experiences of the local environment or simply aggregate information across the internet together into one place are key to making an ok app a great one. Gamification is a great example of this and often it can drive changes in behavior and learning. The reason why we had people running around cities chasing small creatures last year was because it was fun. Imagine walking into a toy store and through AR being chased by dragons or going into the Jane Austen Museum and changing your partner into Mr Darcy.
Think about how you learnt when young. The modern world experiences of this are games that blend technology with the real world.
If you have an idea for an app, are struggling to understand how to apply technology to your business, or have a business challenge you are trying to overcome, we are always happy to chat over a coffee or a beer. Get in touch and see how technology can help.