If you are a business owner today — no matter what size your business is — you need to start thinking about a mobile-first strategy if you have not already done so. In today’s world, businesses everywhere are looking for an edge, especially small businesses. Mobile can be that edge. It is no longer a question of if your business should adopt a mobile strategy, the question is when.
AT FIRST GLANCE – COST PROHIBITIVE
When small business owners start their research into app development, they might be discouraged when they find out what it is going to cost. The average mobile app can cost $270,000 to develop, according to a survey from Kinvey.
Those figures are sure to scare away most small business owners, and even some of the bigger ones. I have some unique insights into this process, having seen it from both sides.
SHARING MY SOLUTION
I have a retail background and in 2014, I was looking for a way to better connect with my customers. I tried many of the marketing tools available to me, including radio, magazines, flyers, email, social media and paid web. Some avenues had results and others did not, but with all the competition for the attention of my customers, it became increasingly difficult to stand out.
The goal of my marketing efforts was to get my message in front of my customers in the most effective way possible and to increase sales as a direct result of those efforts. A Google search for how to increase sales resulted in my “aha moment.”
BUILD LOYALTY TO INCREASE SALES
Businesses with loyalty programs generally have profits that are higher than businesses without one, and companies like Starbucks saw a 26% increase in profits after introducing a loyalty program. I began looking for ways to implement a loyalty program for my business and after a few days of research settled on a mobile loyalty app. In 2014, the mobile app landscape was not where it is today and what I was looking for did not exist, so I went out and built it.
ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE
As a retail owner who also founded an app development company, I know that a business owner today can design, build and publish their own custom mobile app for less than it would cost them to publish 10,000 flyers just once. The mobile app today is as essential to businesses as a website has been in the past. Over time, I believe it will become the most effective way to connect with and engage your customers.
So, I ask you….if not now, when?
Here is one business we’ve worked with to go mobile. Watch this video about Denim Industries:
This article was originally posted on Forbes.com. Ali Ispahany is a regular contributor for Forbes.