Specials, prices and promotions are available to customers at the click of a button. This means the promotions you are working hard to push in stores are more likely to be read and invested in while shoppers are sitting on their phones at home. Your store probably has a website, but have you considered an app?

One study shows Americans spend an average of 162 minutes a day on their phones and 86% of this time is spent using apps, up 6% from last year (1). If your company is looking to grow with the times, a mobile app is a great way to get things started.

People Are Used to Mobile AppsIn 2013 alone, 11% of Starbuck’s overall sales came from their mobile app. On average, Starbucks generates four million mobile app purchases per week (2). Mobile apps are just another way to interact with your shoppers. In a profession that puts great emphasis on the quality of products, an app can help ensure trust in customers that they are getting what they pay for. One retailer used its app as a platform to show just how fresh their produce was by displaying 20-second clips of farmers speaking about the fruit and veggies in the store.

Things to ConsiderSoftware matters. There are many sites available to assist individuals with little to no experience in programming with creating an app for their business. Your company may have to consider hiring an outside source to aid in this creation if you want something more complicated.

The layout matters.Forty percent of consumers have turned to another store after having a bad mobile experience with an app (3). This means that you must carefully consider how the layout of the app will be. What do you want users to be able to do? Apps need updates. It is important to understand that creating an app and launching it to the world does not mean your job is done. The average time to create an app is about three months, while successful companies tend to make updates every six months (4). It is important to budget not only how much you are willing to invest in app creation, but also for upkeep.

Get feedback during creation. The best way to ensure your app is going to generate income is to receive feedback from test groups, family/friends or anyone that is in your target market (5). This is where you are able to determine what bugs or glitches need to be fixed. Don’t be afraid to change things up halfway through creation either. The goal is to have a successful app that is worth the cost and helps generate more revenue.

Choose How to Make MoneyThere are three ways that companies can make money from a mobile app. In–app purchases, or online ordering is a popular way that companies make profit off of mobile apps, but one must consider if your store has the means to fill orders efficiently enough through online ordering. Pay to download is a rare but fruitful option. A company may charge a small fee when shoppers download the app, but one must be careful with this option, because many apps are available for free and a fee may turn shoppers off. Lastly, advertising is an effective way to not only spread the word about new products, but also an effective way to build profit.

Consider What you Want in Your App Some ideas are: • Nutritional facts for products available at your store. • Recipes that include products sold at your store. • Consider a place for shopping lists for customers. If you make the entire selection of products at your store available on an app, shoppers can then add items based on what is needed. There may be apps available for this task already, but by implementing it into your store’s app, you make it easier for shoppers. The easier, the better with mobile apps. • Monthly reminders. This is a great option for smaller stores looking to create an app for reminding shoppers weekly or monthly to stock up on their supplements.

Consider the CostsThe cost of creating an app will vary widely depending on who you make the app available to, and how you choose to create it. The price will differ if you decide to make an app that is available solely for iPhone users than if it is also available for Android. According to a survey of 96 mobile app developers, the average cost for creation is $6,453. Smaller business apps range from $3,000 to ­­8,000 for a simpler app (6).

References1. T. Soper, “Study: Americans spend 162 minutes on their mobile device per day, mostly with apps,”http://www.geekwire.com/2014/flurry-report-mobile-phones-162-minutes/2. ”Why Is The Starbucks Mobile Payments App So Successful?” http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2014/06/13/why-is-the-starbucks-mobile-payments-app-so-successful/#7c461b344c2a3. “Mobile Apps vs Mobile Sites: Which One Is Good For Business?”http://buildfire.com/mobile-apps-vs-mobile-sites-good-for-business/4. “How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?”http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4773-cost-to-build-a-mobile-app.html5. “The True Cost Of Building A Mobile App.”http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/11/11/the-true-cost-of-building-a-mobile-app/#5980f3ef76766. “How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App?”http://appmuse.com/appmusing/how-much-does-it-cost-to-develop-a-mobile-app/

Published in WholeFoods Magazine November 2016