Danny gave Steve a family. Steve gave Danny a place where he could belong. The words I used in this edit just came to me while I was making it and it could be said both for Steve and Danny. Just look at their eyes and how fond is Steve of his Danno… Dressing up as Santa for his daughter, and creating memories with her and for her.
Mobile business is exploding and today’s column is about five ways to find your place in the world of apps and commerce.
Smartphone apps for the iPhone or Android will become commonplace over the next two years. As feature phones are replaced with smartphones, people will come to embrace apps as part of their daily lives. Just as the personal computer revolutionized home and office computing, smartphone apps are the clincher for moving more than half of all computing to the handheld device. As such, businesses need to have an understanding of how to monetize or profit from apps in business.
1) Pay for downloads.
This model is the most apparent, but probably the least profitable. Outside of a few outliers who become very successful, convincing people to pay for an app is a slow, challenging process. Having said that, some companies are finding they can charge more than $1.99 for their apps, getting close to the same price they might get for off the shelf software at a local computer store. Keep in mind, the Apple app store will take 30% of your revenue in most cases but the Android store is much more generous.
Advertising is a great model for local businesses, Chambers of Commerce, Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus and local event centers. When tourists or others are coming into town, it’s likely that one app will become the dominant place for visitors to find restaurants, attractions, places to stay and resources. If there is a casino in town or mall, its within reason that a prime advertising sport can be sold to pay for the cost of the app and then recurring revenue thereafter. Of course, it requires a solid promotional campaign since the initial sale will go away if the app fails to gain users, but nevertheless, this option will prove itself over time.
3) Sales tool.
Traditional sales tools don’t provide the ease of use of a handheld sales system, complete with GPS mapped lists, easy one touch response gathering, updates live to the Cloud and quick data entry for notes and changes. Creating or purchasing a sales tool for staff out calling on potential customers, provides a sales manager with more tools to monitor progress and ideally increase sales through a smartphone app.
4) Product Sales.
While the shopping experience is best in the store, and good on a large screen computer, it can be most convenient on the handheld. For example, wine sellers frequently come across limited cases of wine that they may offer at a great price. Last week my wine broker emailed an offer of a 93 point wine for $29. I received it in email when I sat down at my desk two hours after it had been sent. Unfortunately, all 40 cases were already sold. Ideally, I could have an app that gives me a push notification and I get into the habit of checking for great deals. Clearly the vendor sold all their wine that day, but if those occasionally great deals create a habit of checking specials as they roll through, they would potentially have greater sales every day. It’s as easy as a 1) send a push notification which opens the app, 2) list specials with easy finger swishing from page to page and 3) an link to a mobile page with quick and easy check out via either a credit card, PayPal or any of the other payment options coming into their own.
5) Create a Platform for Others to Use
Over the next few years, there will be many app platforms created for non-profits, schools, businesses, associations, leagues and almost every other institution we can imagine. Who will create the platform that local youth football leagues will flock to, or who will create the platform that churches will use to provide sermon notes and youth group notices. The effort of platform development is well under way, but its rare that the first platform developed becomes the de facto platform that gains critical mass in an industry. Google was not the first search engine and Facebook was not the first social network. Platforms matter and while being first is a big advantage, its not the only advantage. Think about the industry you are in. Think about what your company or institution needs, then think about how that can be created in a way that benefits an entire industry.
These are only five ideas. There will be many more, but the bottom line is mobile business will scale quickly and figuring out where you fit into it can only provide benefits in the short term and long term.