If you want to increase the volume and value of your sales and spread the word about your brand to build a loyal and engaged audience, then investing in a smartphone app for your business makes sound sense.
The App Store and Google Play Store each boast more than two million unique apps, with more than 200 billion downloaded per year around the world.
It is all well and good having a fancy website and a strong social media presence, but if your customers can’t find you on their favourite app store, you’ll struggle to cement your position as a leading, trusted consumer brand – and your competitors could overtake you.
The case for enterprise apps is also growing, with many businesses choosing to build their own smartphone application to unlock efficiency and transform the way they run their day to day operations, relying on their own technology rather than overpriced third-party software.
Indeed, enterprise apps allow you to give your employees access to inventory, sales info and client communications and deliver a better service to your customers, regardless of industry.
But as the UK app developer market becomes more competitive (data suggests that there are more than 8,000 app development companies in the UK, employing more than 380,000 people and counting) finding the right app developer for your project can be hard work.
Fear not: we’ve rounded up some common questions to ask developers when enquiring about a new app, so you can separate the wheat from the chaff and build an app that will not only add more value to your business but deliver a significant return on your investment…
How will our app stand out from the rest?
Got a bright idea for a new app for your business? The chances are that, in some form or another, it’s been done before, so it’s important that you work with a developer that can not only take your ideas and suggestions on board but elevate your vision and build an app that people will actually want to interact with. It’s all well and good saying that you need an app, but if you don’t know what features and functionality you want to include, you could end up throwing money down the drain, being left with a half-baked app that doesn’t deliver returns.
When speaking with app developers, get a feel for their understanding of your niche, their passion for their craft, and their ideas for your application. Choose a developer who knows what they’re talking about and has bright ideas for your application. If they’re not passionate, then they’re not going to put in the effort to create a product that stands out from the crowd.
Who have you worked with in the past?
Determine whether the app development company is right for you by looking at their previous app development projects. Read through case studies on their website and ask for specific examples that are related to your niche. Some developers specialise in particular industries, whilst others are generalists and build apps for businesses of all backgrounds and niches, so work out what you’re looking for and reach out to the most appropriate company.
Can you build an app for both iOS and Android?
Data from March 2019 shows that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS have a fairly even market share in the United Kingdom with a 49.9% and 49.28% share respectively, so make sure you choose a developer who can build apps for both platforms. Unless you’re on a tight budget, we recommend launching apps on both iOS and Android on the same day, allowing you to offer a consistent experience for users on all platforms. If you only release your app on iOS, for example, then you’ll be missing out on almost half of all UK smartphone users.
However, if your budget only allows you to develop one app at a time, you might want to start with iOS first. iPhone users tend to be more affluent, earning on average 40% more than an Android user, meaning they have higher levels of disposable income and are more likely to spend money inside of apps like yours, whether for virtual services or e-commerce products.
What features are included as standard?
As is the case with most things in life, an all-bells, all-whistles smartphone application won’t come cheap – and many features you might expect to be included out-of-the-box might be charged as an extra. When speaking with app developers, ask what features are included as standard (things like a home page, contact functionality, and shopping cart for e-commerce) and what you might need to pay extra for (augmented reality, loyalty schemes, integration with third-party software, cross-platform compatibility, etc). Once you know what is and is not included, you can whittle down the most important features and ask for a quote.
How much do you charge for maintenance?
The work doesn’t end when your developer has finished mood boarding, developing, testing, and publishing your app – it’ll need ongoing maintenance and tweaks to ensure it’s secure and compatible with the latest version of iOS and Android, so ask your developer how much that maintenance will cost. It may be that they promise to support your app for a minimum of two years, or they might ask for a monthly retainer to pay for maintenance and any changes you’d like to make. We recommend you get everything in writing before signing a contract.
Will our app still work in three years?
Apple and Google regularly release updates and patches for their operating systems, so it’s important to know how long your app will be compatible with each OS. It’s unlikely an update will break your app outright, but having that confidence and peace of mind that your app will be supported for a minimum period will make your initial investment easier to swallow – and ensure that you won’t have to rewrite your app from the ground up a year after it’s released.
Will you help us market our app?
The hard work only really begins when your app is published on the App Store. Unless you’ve got the backing of an A-List celebrity, it’s unlikely your app will top the charts on day one, and so an effective app marketing strategy is essential. App store optimisation ensures your mobile app is found and downloaded in an increasingly competitive space, and you can also use Search Ads on the App Store, take attractive App Store screenshots and encourage users to leave a review on your app to increase its rankings on search engine results pages. Ask your app development agency whether they offer such services as part of a package; if your app is managed by a single team, you’ll save time and money and ensure consistency.
Why should we hire you over other companies?
Finally, ask your app developer why you should choose them over their competitors. You’ve got more choice than ever before when looking for an app developer, so if the agency you’re talking to isn’t going above and beyond to impress, it may be time to look elsewhere. Meet with the developer face-to-face to discuss your ideas, ask for feedback, and don’t be afraid to negotiate on price. As we’ve said time and time again, it’s important to listen to your gut instinct – if you’re confident that you’ve found a developer with a good track record who is excited about working with your business, then don’t delay – start building your app today!
At Zudu, we believe we are amongst the best UK app developers, having previously worked with companies such as the BBC, NHS Scotland and NPower, building award-winning apps that both clients and consumers love.
To find out more, call us on 01382 690080, or click here to drop us a message. We can’t wait to discuss your project in more detail soon!