Try to think back, in a time where phones were connected by chords, and the internet used the same phone line as your house phone. This is not our distant past, this was our current state of technology just two decades ago. Now, we do not go a second without internet access, thanks to a handy device we all call a “smartphone”. We are always online, and we have access to the world at our fingertips. As a business owner in the 21st century, the number of valid reasons small businesses can offer up for not having a mobile app decrease each year. By now, you should be quite familiar with many of the statistics relating to smartphones and internet usage:
77% of Americans now own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. This has seen the number of Americans who are smartphone-only internet users climb from 8% in 2013, to 12% in 2016.
The number of minutes spent using mobile apps and the mobile web has increased steadily, while desktop usage has decreased.
In business we are told to know your customer, and this extends to understanding their behavior. So if they are using their smartphones as their main device, shouldn’t you be on it? Making it easier for them to engage with you? The benefits of building your own mobile app for your restaurant far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.
The great amount of brands and companies within the food and beverage industry makes competition between them much more aggressive; because today is not just providing a good service and a great taste, it is about keeping them informed and making them loyal customers.
It’s rare to visit a business and not be asked for your loyalty card, or encouraged to sign up for their loyalty program. This gives customers some incentive to keep them supporting your restaurant.
So, if you’re thinking on developing an app, there must be a wholesome strategy around it, and this overwhelming effort must focus on these next points:
• You must provide personalization within the app experience for each user, knowing users’ data will help you on generating much more segmented communications.
• You must deliver ads and promotions that can be only obtainable through the app, in other words, you’ve to turn your app into an advertising channel.
- You must generate a much more agile sense of service, this can be achieved through processes and marketing automation.
Push notifications are key! They have a higher view and click-through ratio than emails do, but they also have a significant impact on app engagement and retention rates. Mobile apps using push notifications have a 26% higher app open rate, along with 92% higher retention rates. However, this depends on you applying the right push notification strategy – ideally no more than one push notification a week, but more than one a month. Sending out too many or too few immediately reduces any of the benefits outlined above.
Push notifications work because:
• People have their mobile devices with them most of the time,
• They bypass the lock screen, so people can see them without having to launch another app
• They are, by nature, short and can be digested more easily than an email message.
Having an app for your restaurant and utilizing the push notification has a better Marketing Return on Investment, Most digital marketing efforts have a medium to high cost attached to them, but push notifications are low-to-no-cost. Aside from the time needed to create the notifications, and maybe a bit of time to segment your lists and create geo-targeting rules, the actual cost is minimal.
Larger businesses are usually the first to implement any new marketing techniques including app development, but with app building platforms, this makes development easier and more affordable for small businesses, this means they can no longer ignore the benefits of having a mobile app. Launching your own mobile app ahead of your local competitors can give your restaurant a valuable boost – both in terms of visibility, and business.
This industry is full of challenges, but it’s always possible to innovate through new technological and marketing perspectives that can provide a unique experience to each user. Having a website doesn’t mean you don’t also need a mobile app. As consumers switch to using mobile devices more than desktops, your own approach to digital marketing needs to evolve. Your website remains an important tool for discovery, and your mobile app serves as a way to market more effectively to customers with a known interest in your restaurant. Growing your restaurant isn’t only about attracting new customers, but also about increasing support from your existing customers.
So, what are you doing today for innovation purposes within your coffee shop, restaurant or food company? If you need help, just contact us.