Many businesses have opted to develop an app to supplement their existing online and contact platforms for many different reasons. Having an app for your business can be a great way to engage with your customer base and even increase sales and income, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are a few things to consider before you start to build your app.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Building an app is expensive. Not only do you need to pay for a developer (or pay a developer if they’re on your payroll), but you also need to pay the relevant device maker for a developer account so you can submit it and list it in their App Store. Some manufacturers like Apple also take 30% of any money you make via in-app purchases that aren’t for physical goods or services, so you’ll want to keep that in mind too. It’s important that you critically examine your app and budget to ensure you can afford what you want to get out of it and what it will do for you.
Know Your Customer
Before you start the design and development process, it’s recommended that you take some time to really get to know who is going to be using it. Knowing your customer means knowing their demographic, age, gender, location, and any other relevant information about them. This information can be used to better understand what the app should offer and by really understanding and getting to know the end user first, your app will be more successful and relevant to your audience.
Define Your Minimum Viable Product
It’s quite easy to get swept up in making your app bigger and better and trying to cram in loads of features that can do things that you’ve always dreamed of. It’s important then that you think long and hard about what the app should be able to accomplish at a minimum and what would constitute a minimum viable product. Additional features can always be added via updates and starting from a base of what is the least it should do can help you get it to market without spending a fortune. It also gives you an opportunity to get your app into the hands of your customers and that can be powerful for usability feedback and improvements before you add things to it.
Reach More Than One Platform
The two big platforms you’d undoubtedly want to get your app onto is Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but there’s more to it than that. Apple, for example, have a whole app category just for iPad, so do you want it on both iPhone and iPad, or is just iPhone enough? What about the Windows or Xbox App Store? Would making these versions and having it available there also suit your brand and needs? Think carefully about platforms during the planning phase.
Analyze the Competition
Only a fool would neglect to look at what the competition is doing. If there are apps similar to yours of companies similar to yours, install their apps and look around. See what you like and don’t like about your competition’s apps and take this feedback to your design team and planning meetings. If you can learn lessons from others, take the opportunity to do so. You might also get inspiration from other apps. Just don’t copy them directly, rather add your spin and unique brand to your own app.
These five things scratch the surface of what you should consider before you start your app development journey, but they’re a great jumping-off point to plan and produce an app that your customers will love using and in turn generate more business for you.