After you have created your customer-centric MVP, you'll want to expand and refine your app to expand your prospective audience. What better time than now--when apps have grown to become the center of our daily lives (think: Slack or LinkedIn for our professional lives; Instagram and Facebook for our personal lives). In short, the digital world has revolutionized life. App-based experiences make it easier to engage and retain customers across the spectrum. The brands that have been able to deliver the best app experiences are now ruling the charts on the app stores--apps like Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, Airbnb, TikTok and more. None of this would have been possible as little as a decade ago. So what are some of the core features of customer-centric mobile apps? Read on, Builders!
#1 Have a solid core purpose
Every app (and indeed, every piece of software, or business, say) exists to solve a customers' problem. It's driven by a goal statement. Questions you'd ask yourself here is, "Why does this app exist?" And, "How do we specifically help our customers?" Like we mentioned previously with your MVP, you should solve one core problem. Every small business or entrepreneur needs to clearly define what they want users to get out of their app--solving two core problems maximum helps you stay true to your core promise. Once you’ve figured out this bottom-line purpose, build your app around that.
#2 Test, test, test!
Yes. A great, customer-driven mobile app should be simple. It should also provide value for its users in the form of actually being useable. If your app doesn't work--it doesn't work. Streamlining your app (especially, doing QA on your app by using it often) helps you get ahead of user issues in the most direct way possible. No software is ever error-free, but ensuring you not only get ahead of your bugs, but focus on the values that drive your app (see the above point) makes the experience smooth and enjoyable.
#3 Test your functionality across platforms
Continuing on the above point, expand where you test your app. You don’t restrict yourself to one type of device (think about when you're watching TV, your laptop, tablet and mobile phone at the same time). Neither do your users restrict themselves to one device. If your app doesn’t work equally well on all prominent platforms, you’re going to lose out to someone else whose app is more versatile. Test across different devices to ensure your app looks and functions well and bug-free.
#4 Test through generating in-app analytics
You can't manage what you can't measure--ever hear this gem? In-app analytics are a major app development tool. Users opt-in to share some amount of data with the developer so the app can be refined for the best performance and solution delivery. In-app analytics helps you understand what users do (and don't) want so you can add or remove features to maintain a more efficient and enjoyable user experience. Dually, listen to your users comments where your apps are hosted, whether they're on the Android or Apple app markets.
#5 Achieve offline functionality
Though internet connectivity is available nearly everywhere globally, the ideal app-based experience should not rely solely on the internet. If your app works efficiently and provides access to core functionality in offline mode, your users are far less likely to be frustrated with an unresponsive app. Additionally, when considering a global (and especially, rural audiences) coverage isn't everywhere so offline functionality solves that challenge.
#6 Be mindful of free
Mobile apps are businesses. Ensure you balance your need to be financially viable with your need for increased user engagement. Ads and in-app purchases are nobody’s favorite part of the online experience when they're done incorrectly. The only thing worse is having to pay to download your app in the first place--when it isn't reaching your target audience. If ads and in-app purchases are what it takes to get your app downloaded for free, continue on that route. If you’ve done your job right, once users test and regularly use your app or software, they’ll fork out the money to unlock the premium features. Questions to ask yourself here include, "What's my business model?" As well as, "How are we making money through this app?".
#7 Update your app(s) regularly
It’s not enough to just build the perfect version 1 app. You have to keep building it to version 1.2. Then version 1.3. And on and on and on. This goes for both app stores. Your app needs to be updated on a regular basis to address the feedback you've heard from customers as well as keeping your users' data security in mind. What's more, an improved layout (UI) and new features will keep your app fresh and avoid the deadly pitfall of user burnout.
#8 Encourage sharing
Stay in touch with your audience and encourage them to share your app with their friends. Continue the feedback and you'll be able to focus on an app that works with your target audience while also remaining profitable through expanded audiences.Are you ready to create your next mobile-based customer experience? You really should try Builder! And beyond your app being built, we also offer BuilderCare and Builder Cloud to scale your app to perfection.
Katherine loves to write about technology and business operations.