The first question you should ask yourself before creating any type of app is “why on Earth would someone download this?”
I see dozens of clients and potential clients who walk in and say, “I need an app!” but often there is not necessarily the need or the requirement.
Like any form of marketing, it needs to give you a return on your investment (ROI) otherwise it’s just about keeping up with the Jones’.
In the restaurant industry you have some major convenience issues which certainly highlight a need amongst your consumer base – especially the takeaway market.
We’ve seen success with large franchise organisations like Domino’s iPhone app that allows you to select your pizza and have it delivered without having to even get up off the couch.
This has freed up phone operators and allowed them to streamline their process.
This becomes much harder for a small business though and again you have to ask why someone would want to download your app?
Content will be the key. We recently completed an app for a local bar and restaurant that has a good consumer base (including a strong following on Facebook) and also provides quality entertainment for patrons along with weekly specials on food and drinks.
This app is yet to be launched, but the expectation is that with a loyal customer base – who can be directly called upon to download and interact with the content – the business will yield a reward in additional customers through the door.
You also need to choose your platform. With Android continuing to grow in strength and the imminent arrival of Windows 7 Mobile on the Nokia platform, you will soon have three strong mobile operating systems (OS) to choose from and could find yourself divided and confused.
This scenario bodes well for quality mobile sites that can perform on all platforms.
This format also makes it easier to develop and implement mCommerce (Mobile Commerce) solutions that match with your standard and existing eCommerce solutions.
Either way, you’ll need to market your mobile website or app in some shape or form to develop engagement with your market.
QR Codes is another great way to drive them easily to these online environments and can be easily implemented into your point of sale.
The key is to look at your ROI and step inside your customers’ shoes.