As the demand for mobile apps continues to rise (66% of Americans between the ages of 24 and 35 now own a smartphone), your business is in danger of being left behind if it hasn’t ventured into the mobile sphere. With consumers all over the world downloading millions of apps from a growing number of connected devices every day, it’s becoming increasingly important to stay abreast of the improvements and trends in app development so that your business can capitalize on them.
So with this in mind, here are some trends that you will need to consider in order to develop easily accessible, quality apps that prove as profitable as possible for your business.
1. Mobile web is leading the way.
The rise of mobile over traditional desktop browsing means that your app should be available to your consumers no matter what their device. Having to create an app for every platform and deal with differing store policies is a pain for developers. Now it is unnecessary with progressive enhancements, such as HTML5 – which allows you to support multiple devices with a single code base – and Universal Applications – which enables developers to use the same code base with different skins for each form factor (desktop, phone, tables, etc.).
However, the debate between mobile and native web applications rages on so make sure you pick the right one for your business.
2. Mobile commerce is the new e-commerce
Mobile commerce is an extension of e-commerce. Consumers are buying on their smartphones and want to be able to access streamlined apps that make this secure and easy to do. Responsive web design (adapting your site to respond to how it’s being viewed) while important, isn’t enough.
Developing unique mobile app functions such as the ability to ‘check in’ to a store or restaurant (think loyalty generated incentives) could improve brand fidelity and recognition. Linking this ability with social networking sites is also a powerful marketing tool, allowing a consumer to broadcast his location and shopping habits to his peers, or put another way, potential customers.
3. Targeting and personalization are expected.
Personalized app content is another trend for 2012. The use of mobile devices allows businesses unprecedented access to information that helps target marketing to specific consumers. Location-based services that deliver features dependent on the user’s position can be used creatively, while targeted in-app advertising (based on gender, age, profession, search history etc.) offers a more intelligent user experience that can anticipate their needs and serve up the most appropriate content.
4. Apps aren’t just for customers.
Apps don’t just have to be business to consumer; think business to business, business to employee and you’re only beginning to unearth the potential benefits of investing in cutting edge app technology.
Likewise, mobile apps don’t only encompass traditional apps hosted on our mobile devices, but is also a way of thinking: mobile, as in “on the go.” Web apps can streamline business procedure and make life easier for employees by letting them be constantly connected.
For example, OutSystems is an application development platform that allows businesses to produce custom web and mobile apps that allow employees to collaborate over the cloud. Remember, mobile isn’t just an app – it’s becoming a lifestyle.
5. In-App analytics is the way of the future.
Analytics are paramount in understanding what is and isn’t working in all aspects of business. This is also true for apps. Providing a user with the ability to tell you what they like and dislike about the app that you have developed can help you to make the changes that you need to keep them engaged.
Author’s Note: This post is written by Adria Saracino. Adria is a marketer and blogger. When not consulting on business strategy you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.