ec Newsletter #83
Greetings from a not so sunny Gisborne and welcome to a new EC Newsletter.
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All about Apps
Apps (“applications” that run on smart phones and tablet computers) are very popular and are a topical subject at the moment.
If your business isn’t getting to grips with how it could leverage Apps then it risks falling behind the technology race – or losing customer share to a competitor that arrives in your marketplace with the “killer-app”.
For most businesses the revenue model and successful business plan they work with relies on growth – either growth in the number of customers or growth in the number (and value) of sales to each customer – there’s now an app to increase the possibilities of this happening.
Another way of ensuring growth is to continuously reduce costs and overhead in a business – there’s now an app to do that too…
And how about creating your own app – yes – there’s lots of help out there on the web to do this too…
So let’s look a little deeper look into what apps are, how they work and how they can be used by your business to help better the bottom line.
An app is an “Application” designed to run on a smart phone or tablet or the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows 8 on your PC.
Think of an app as like a program that you could install on your PC or Laptop.
Most apps have some kind of database behind them – either on the device itself (local storage) or “up on the cloud” in remote or web based storage.
There broadly three types of app – those based on Apple devices (3 & 4 version of iPhone and iPads), Android devices (many different phones and tables suppliers) and Windows based devices (phones and soon – tablets).
An app that works on one platform needs to be slightly re-configured for each platform.
The amount of re-configuration depends on the complexity of the app and how much of the underlining features of the device the app interacts with.
Apps can make full use of the features found on most “smart” devices such as location based features (GPS), access anywhere based features (Mobile Broadband, Bluetooth or WiFi), sharing (social media, emails, pxts and txts) and also access your contacts list.
Apps can also make use of moving or shaking the device and can accept input via the touch screen or a virtual key board displayed on the touch screen.
Some advanced apps can also use a hardware device plugged into the smart headphones socket on the device and so can monitor things outside of the standard features built in to the device.
For those companies wanting an inexpensive mobile credit card processing facility: - Paypal has just launched its mobile payments mechanism – should be available in NZ soon.
Having a smart device is the first step on your business using and benefiting from apps.
Smartphones are coming down in price and tablets are also getting cheaper to purchase.
Mobile broadband in New Zealand is still expensive on a world stage point of view but when you are being considerate of the traffic that the apps use on your smart device can minimise the amount of data that you use.
Be cautious of the many free apps that are based on Advertising Revenue for the developer – these refresh adverts while you use the apps and can cost a lot in data used with little real gain.
There are many productivity apps that you can use in your business – or you can consider creating your own.
To find apps – use a search engine first to find reviews or “best-of” available apps articles – or if you are using an Apple Device use the inbuilt Apps Store to find apps.
Android users have a little more flexibility to find apps as there are several different app stores – the main Android Marketplace run by Google called “Google Play” and there is also your specific device manufactures app store.
If you want to create your own app – streamlining the sales process is one place to start – perhaps you have reps on the road – they could use an app to check stock levels and place orders directly into your computerised accounting system.
Or if you have a consumer product – let you customers order directly through an app such as the great Dominos Pizza App.
Apps can also be used to deliver content – such as a free (or paid) travel app or by providing access to your resources / articles that you have created within your business.
The app could be an income earner by selling the app to others in your industry – or you could give it away to allow people to “test drive” some aspect of your businesses products before they become customers.
You could give the app away free and have adverts placed within the app that you get revenue from or you could control the adverts yourself in some way.
Let us know if you have an idea for an app and we can help plan it and get it to market for you…
This is the Google Android App Store and gives you some idea of the depth and breadth of what apps are available for Android devices.
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