Mobile apps for business today are what websites were a decade ago. Mobile apps are a new frontier and businesses are trying to figure out what is good and who is good at making a Great Business App.

In the last three years, I’ve learned that not all apps are equal. I’ve observed that businesses…

are seriously investigating apps and within the next decade every business will have an app the way they have websites now. Companies are confused about how to choose a great business app, and some businesses have spent a shit load of money trying to be first to the game only to realize they need to start over again.

The five qualities of a great business app are below. However, there is so much more that goes into a truly fantastic app. The design is ultra important; you need to have an app that is easy to navigate, intuitive, simple, clean, fast, and crisp. You need to understand how the human brain works – especially about consumer behaviour. Changing peoples habits can be hard to achieve, but learning how you can make it fun for people is much easier. A professionally designed user interface (UI) created to release dopamine for an exceptional user experience (UX) is a must!

1. Helps your customers choose you over your competition without offering a discount.

A Great Business App will help your customers choose you over your competition without providing a discount. One of my first ahha moments came one day when I craved a coffee. I was standing on a street corner, on my right was a Starbucks, on my left was a Waves Coffee House. Which place do I choose? Then I remembered I had the Starbucks app installed on my phone. I opened up the app to find out I had a $20 balance. The decision was over! Starbucks won my business.

2. Increases your customers average spend per visit.

A Great Business App will increase the average spend per visit. Psychologically a balance on a gift card is the same as having a chip at a Casino. The balance on a gift card is “FREE” money. Free money is much easier to spend, and it’s much simpler to be spontaneous and generous. We never look to see how much we’re spending rather we look to see how much we have to spend. Making sure your customers carry a balance on your app is a key ingredient.

Another key component is a well-crafted reward program. Imagine this: You’re sitting at your favorite pub with one of your best friends, it’s almost time to leave, and you see you’re only 20 points away from your next reward. You quickly calculate that two more drinks get you the 20 points needed, so you offer to buy another round.

3. Your customers will visit more often.

A Great Business App will increase the frequency of visits. This comes back to helping your clients choose you over your competition. By doing this, you naturally increase the number of visits typically made by your customers. Harvard business review showed that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Send push notifications about specials or create automated reminders to say “Hi” to your customers if a week or a month has gone by and they have not visited.

4. Your app builds you an amazing digital database.

A Great Business App will build you a digital database like nothing you have ever had. Your app is cool, and so is a Dewalt drill; the drill is not what you want, what you want is the hole the drill makes. Your app should have artificial intelligence to give you the power to make smart business decisions as well as real-time analytics.

Your customers should happily give you their gender and birthdate. We know having a balance on an app is a key ingredient and to do this, you need a way for your customer to load money onto the app. By allowing mobile payments, your customers will connect a credit card and a postal code is required. Because your clients use the app to pay you can learn how much they spend and when they spend.

With all the data collected, you can now send a message to women under 35 who frequent your business two times a week and live within a 10-minute drive. The database is your gold mine, not the apps.

Get feedback directly from your app, have this feedback sent by SMS to your managers in real time. Sometimes people just need a place to vent so provide them an outlet instead of going to social media. Since the feedback is sent in real time now, your manager might be able to turn the problem around before they even leave.

5. Say no to 3rd party apps

Your customers search your companies name on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store not some 3rd party app. A great business app is your app with your companies logo and colors. You do not want to be building someone else’s digital database you want to be building your database. You also don’t want another company promoting your customers to your competitors. 3rd party apps have directories of surrounding businesses.

Apps for businesses of the future are going to be like email marketing services (esp’s) such as MailChimp, Aweber, and Constant Contact. Only the large national chains build custom email management system to manage their database of email subscribers. 95% of companies use ESP’s, and the advantage of an ESP is they are multi-million dollar systems for pennies, they are extremely customizable and are always improving with no extra cost to you.