100 years down the line, if you were to ask historian what the biggest advancements of the early 21st century were, chances are very good that the smartphone will make the cut.
With almost 4 billion unique worldwide users, uses that number the thousands, if not millions, and the fact that over half of all internet traffic today comes from the mobile web, it’s clear that smartphones are taking over the role of “man’s best friend.”
There’s just no escaping it…businesses included.
But for them, unlike seeing smartphones as friends, they see them as opportunities for growth.
How to Use Smartphones for Business Growth
Apart from the general usefulness that smartphones bring to business in terms of mobility and 24/7 connectivity, the smartphone’s impact on business—the biggest impact—can be seen when you consider what makes them different than their normal counterparts: the “smart” that precedes it.
With that moniker comes the ability to use a multitude of applications, which come in various shapes and sizes that vary by use.
For example, you can have an app that allows you to dabble in the stock market, and another that lets you play Scrabble with people around the world.
More on the business side, smartphone business apps usually fall into two categories:
● Internal applications that benefit a company by streamlining tasks and creating more efficient work environments
● External applications that benefit a company’s customers, thereby benefiting the company itself through branding and loyalty perks, data gathering and, if an eCommerce, extra sales
After all, with increased productivity from internal apps comes business growth, and as we all know, a happy customer is a loyal customer (also key for growth), which external apps are excellent at fostering.
Internal Smartphone Business Apps
Starting with internal smartphone business apps to showcase how to use a smartphone for business, the key here is focusing on increasing productivity.
The good thing is that because applications can be programmed to do pretty much anything—helping employees throughout their day included—they can be used as tools to fix anything that’s lagging or needs improvement.
In this way, business growth comes internally, as employees are able to work harder and smarter, resulting in overall better company productivity and a better return on the business’ investment.
For example, you can create the following types of applications among many to improve your business’ processes:
● Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps that help you manage customer relations
● Lead generation apps that help you identify potential customers
● Inventory management apps that help you keep track of everything
As to where or who to go to for inspiration, because these apps will be the tools your employees use as they go about their workdays to streamline tasks, improve efficiency and help the company run more smoothly, they’re the ones to turn to.
External Smartphone Business Apps
Unlike internal applications, the idea with external, client-facing apps is to present your company to your audience in mobile form to maximize interactions with them and make the most of them.
After all, considering that 71% of total digital minutes are spent on mobile devices, it makes sense that you’ll use mobile, their apparent preferred mode of communication, to connect.
In doing so, you’ll be turning your app into a marketing channel that works at all times of the day, and may even bring its own revenue if you can sell products and/or services through it.
However you choose to make use of external apps, some of their benefits are that they:
● Improve communication between you and your audience
● Provide information to your audience at all times of the day (even better if a chatbot is used)
● Present your offerings in a visual and convenient way
● Ensure loyalty through rewards and promotions
● Gather customer data and insights through usage statistics
More on the last point, one of the biggest benefits of client-facing apps is that they’re a literal goldmine of user data, including their browsing and purchasing habits, which is a great help when creating and tailoring marketing strategies.
The Current Smartphone Landscape
When it comes to growth through smartphones, though internal applications will give you much-needed help running things within the business, external apps are where true growth will come from.
For example, think of the 125 Million U.S. consumers who own smartphones and that, as of December 2017, 82% of online users in the U.S. used a mobile device for online shopping, with 35% being mobile-only online shoppers.
Apart from eCommerce, think of one of the main uses for apps: entertainment.
As it happens to be, the mobile entertainment market—comprised of games, videos, and music—is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% during the period between 2018 and 2023, with games generating $40.6 billion in revenue in 2017.
With these stats, it’s clear that pairing an app with an eCommerce business is not only the logical thing to do, but what will open doors for more sales to come through, and that putting out an entertainment app that gives your users new ways of discovering and viewing your content is exactly what they want.
With the ability to do practically anything through an app, smartphones are absolutely wonderful for businesses and consumers alike.
For example, while consumers gain a new channel to browse and buy products, or learn more about a company, businesses also gain a new channel, this time to sell to and connect with their audience, and the ability to create apps that streamline various processes.
Putting it all together, smartphones are definitely a “win’ for business.