The future is bright for mobile. Sales and apps are increasing and the audience is growing. No one can argue that you need to make the most of the opportunity in your business. The problem is we have all seen the apps that are out there, there are hundreds all exactly the same.
- What is the opportunity on mobile for your business?
- What do the next generation of mobile apps look like?
The current app world
Today, apps that you have on your device, or that are available in the stores are generally in one of four categories.
- Discovery (News readers/aggregators, search tools like real estate, ebooks, magazines)
- Productivity (Evernote, email, calendar)
- Social (Facebook, Twitter etc)
There are lots of apps for any discovery task, and they are all but identical. If you take a look at real estate in the Australian app store right now, you will see close to 100 apps that help you find a house. 2 of them come from the major aggregators domain.com.au and realestate.com.au and they have the biggest inventory. The others have built an app to do this because they believe they need an app to appear modern.
That is not a good reason to build a mobile application. This reason has been much of the reason why so many apps lay in the app store with no engagement and few installs – there is no unique value.
Mobile and smartphones are incredibly personal
As we grow with our devices we ensure they are personalised to our habits, needs and interests. We look to find more ways to get things done and invest time in finding the right ‘there’s an app for that’. Of all the apps we have on our phone we return to a few every day. Those are generally related to productivity and social activity.
There is no other device that allows communication that is more personal than our phone. We invest time in selecting apps, and lock it so only we can use it. Users put in the headphones and sink into the community via the phone on the bus to work relaxing, learning, reading or socializing ready for the weekend.
Users are now investing time into getting the right application and spending time there if it solves their problem. The big differentiator between good and great apps is social interaction. If you can get some great information around something you care about, and bond with others over it you will return to it. This can be seen with publishers like the auto magazine TopGear who have a big and dedicated following in a specific niche.
Introducing the ‘micro-niche app gap’
Currently there are very few applications that concentrate on a micro niche topic, build community around it, and provide amazing value to that community. Here are the reasons this is a great opportunity:
- This personal device allows users to engage on a deeper level than they would on a computer in the office or at home
- Users invest time into finding the app, so are more likely to return to it
- Community need is already evidenced by social sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Having a community all about our favourite interest is less distracting than on Facebook
- We love a few things in life, and will go and find it, and keep using it, of there is value
- Mobiles and tablets are used more in a day than computers
- Mobiles have features that go beyond the web browser and can help link back to the physical environment
- Access to a global audience
Think of it as a business card that is always with your prospective client. Wouldn’t you like to be the celebrity in their pocket? The one place your user comes to find information and share or get help about your speciality?
Consider rebuilding community around a village or city suburb. The old high street has mostly disappeared from our lives, but a mobile app could help a council and local chambers bring the information about the local area back to its residents, and also help tourists and out of town visitors. You could engage on local issues, find out about events in the area, essential services, retailers, or even get coupons for special offer that you can claim in store.
Or maybe a community around how to cope with some sort of distress or illness? Self diagnosis on the web can be considered a bad thing, but what if people could help each other out with depression, abuse or addiction? The service can provide videos and articles to help with the issues, or give exercises to do at lunch time. People can share their wins and get help on the down days. You can provide a list of events and service providers that can be contacted or engaged all around the world.
There are many ways mobile can benefit us as humans, and the businesses that decide they can rule that niche.
If you’d like some assistance in making your website work well on mobile, or creating and launching a mobile app for your business, drop us a line, we’d be only too happy to assist you.
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