Cardinal Sins Your Business’ App Has To Avoid
In 2018, it is fairly well-established that any business that truly wants to make its mark in the world needs to have an app. Apps are slowly but surely replacing websites as the go-to for customers, thanks to the simple interface and the improved speed that they offer. If your business doesn’t have a mobile app in this day and age, then you’re already lagging behind your competition.
However, just having a business app doesn’t mean that your work is done. Your app has to be usable, useful; an efficient tool for the marketing and promotion of your business. It has to be the kind of app that users want to use, are happy to interact with, and find stress-free and enjoyable. If your app isn’t able to offer these features, then it will soon languish unused on your customers’ phones, before inevitably being removed when they need to create more storage space.
To prevent your app falling victim to the above scenario, you have to focus on the things you need to do well. That a subject that has been covered a thousand times, and yes, it’s important– but it’s not the be-all and end-all of business apps. As well as knowing what your app should do successfully, you also need to know what your app absolutely shouldn’t do. Below are the five most common sins of business apps; the ones so severe that if you don’t rectify them, your app could be resigned to a sad uninstall in the future.
#1 – Third-party advertising
Your business app is for the purposes of your business. If customers download your app, they will expect to see some amount of advertising for your company– that’s pretty much a given. However, what your customers don’t want to see is third-party advertising.
It’s easy to see why many business owners decide to sell ads within their app; it’s an extra revenue stream after all, and one that can be lucrative. The revenue can help to offset the cost of the app’s development in and of itself. When these factors are calculated in, many business app owners think: “well, why not?”
Here’s why not: third-party advertising will annoy your customers to the point of uninstalling. People hate adverts on apps as it is, but they will tolerate it even less with business apps. Why would they continue to use an app when they can just head to the business’ website with an adblocker installed, thus ensuring they don’t have to encounter adverts at all?
Third-party ads might seem like a good idea, but they will kill your business’ app for good– avoid them at all costs.
#2 – Poor navigation
Have you ever downloaded an app and realized that you have no idea how to use it? Despite being a savvy tech user, you find yourself rolling your fingers across the screen, trying to find a menu bar or something that will help with the functionality. It’s happened to us all, and the end result is usually the same: that app is getting uninstalled.
Navigation is perhaps the most important component of your app. It needs to be clear, simple, easy to use, and intuitive. If customers can’t see, at first glance, how to navigate through different sections, then they’re not going to stick around to find out more. People are impatient about the apps they allow on their phone and with good reason, given the limited storage capacity on most smartphones. The navigation for your business app has to be spot on from the first time a user encounters it.
If you’re not sure if your app has achieved this, then ask an older friend or family member to try and perform a simple function on your app. If they can’t perform a basic task within 20 seconds, then your navigation and UI needs some work.
#3 – Slow loading times
Admittedly, judging how quickly your app loads is difficult. You may check it on your smartphone and it works absolutely perfectly, but those with older, less up-to-date smartphone models may experience lag. The speed an app works is always partially going to be dictated by the speed of the phone that’s using the app, and there’s not much you can do about this.
However, you can use market research techniques to give you an insight into loading times across a range of devices. Here’s how to do it:
- Use your email list to contact your customers, inviting them to a market research experiment. You may need to offer some kind of incentive to participate, such as vouchers or discount codes that can be redeemed against future purchases. This is an expense, but the information you need to gather is worth it.
- Select at least five users for the research. These users should cover a wide span of smartphone devices, ages, and operating systems.
- Request that the users download the app and use it to perform a function of tasks.
- These users can then provide feedback regarding their experience. You can use online feedback forms such as WuFoo.com to request the exact information you need.
- The results of this feedback should allow you to see if the loading time problems are phone-based rather than app-based.
- For example, if all five users say the app is slow, then the app is likely to be the problem. If only two users say the app is slow, and these are the users with the oldest phones/operating systems, then you can conclude that their phones are to blame.
However, even if you conclude the problem isn’t with your app but with the individual phones, you still need to address this issue. You can’t expect all of your customers to have fully-optimised and up-to-date phones. Consult with your app development team to ensure the app is as small and nimble as possible, so it works as well as possible across all smartphones and operating systems.
#4 – Bugs, errors, and crashes
Even if a user really loves your app, they are only going to tolerate bugs, errors, and crashes for a short while. Errors are a huge problem for your business app, as not only do these errors mean that your app is effectively unusable, but they also increase the chances of your app being consigned to the uninstalled bin. No customer is going to want to keep a faulty app on their phone. Also, it can colour their opinions of you as a company.
Finding bugs can be a huge issue for business apps and can require a huge amount of time-consuming work that many businesses just don’t have the resources for. If you can’t manually assess your app regularly, then systems like Exceptionless.com can do the hard work for you. You will be able to see the problems your app is experiencing and take action to remedy them, helping to ensure that your app remains on your customer’s phones as a result.
#5 – Offering nothing new to customers
You’re likely hoping that customers will use your app to generate sales. However, what happens in between those purchases? Do customers have another reason to open your app, explore it, and ultimately engage with your business?
For most business apps, the answer is “no”– and that’s a problem. If your app really only has one use — to generate and process sales — then your app is simply going to be neglected by users. If they only need to buy from you once or twice a month, then the rest of the time, your app is just taking up memory space.
It’s important to invest in content for your app; something that gives users a reason to stick around and return to the app even when they are not making purchases. The content that you choose for this function is largely up to you; informative app-exclusive articles is a good choice, as are chances to win discount codes, cheap games, interesting photographs, and anything of a similar nature. Your app needs to constantly be supplying customers with information that makes them want to open it.
Many business owners don’t like the idea of making their app multifunctional; they just want the app to be able to process transactions. They’re not in the business of keeping their customers entertained, they reason, so what’s the point of doing so? This is short-sighted thinking. If customers are coming back to your app to be entertained, they are being reminded of the fact that your business exists– it’s essentially a marketing tool, a constant advert, a way of increasing customer engagement. Providing occasional content shouldn’t be beyond the reach of the vast majority of businesses, especially if you integrate app content into your overall advertising strategy.
Having an app for your business is an essential in this day and age, but that app has to be beneficial, functional, and simple to use. It’s important to remember that persuading customers to download your app is just the first step; you then have to try and ensure your app isn’t uninstalled. This is often a trickier proposition that persuading customers to download in the first place.
However, if you avoid the mistakes listed above, you stand a good chance of ensuring that your app will take pride of place on your customers’ phones for as long as possible.