Tag Archive for: custom app

4 Ways Service-Based Contractors Can Benefit from a Mobile App

In industrialized economies, service-based contractors grease the wheels in the market segments in which they compete. They allow enterprises, large and small, to outsource vital business processes to function more smoothly and cost-effectively. And that’s great, but how do contractors reduce their costs while increasing efficiency?

A way to change gears and turbo charge any service-based business is with a mobile app. And why that’s the case is because a mobile app helps automate various crucial tasks. Thus, reducing or cutting out staffing overheads almost entirely. Furthermore, a mobile app never sleeps and provides service around the clock.

And if you’re a contractor, all this may sound very enticing. But a mobile app doesn’t only help automate things, as it’s also capable of so much more. Below, we’ll go into greater detail about what mobile apps can do for service-based contractors.

1. Reporting Tools For Contractors Working Out In The Field

Let’s consider for a minute that you run a data center maintenance service in your area. And you have several technicians that drive out to these data centers, many of which are out of town. Now, you want all these technicians to keep you informed and report on all the maintenance work done at these sites. Preferably, you’ll want to have all reports submitted as quickly as possible to inform the client of any issues that will impact business.

But how do you do this without having your technicians come to the office or engage in costly phone calls?

Well, the most efficient way is by implementing powerful reporting tools in a mobile app, which may run on a tablet or smartphone. And this app may also include a checklist, which technicians need to check off to show that they’re working within established maintenance protocols. Furthermore, technicians can conduct security audits and report any breaches and discrepancies.

Once they input this information, the app will immediately send it to your servers and update the client’s maintenance report in real-time. In case of a breach, you can respond immediately by sending out a cyber security specialist and notifying your client. The quicker you respond, the higher your chances of dealing with a security breach and keeping your client’s data safe.

2. Enhance Collaboration With A Project Management App

It matters not if you’re running a data center maintenance or a packing service, as you’ll be dealing with customer demands, deadlines, and staff management issues. So, you’ll need tools that make collaboration a breeze, regardless of whether your staff comes to the office, works remotely or both.

A well-designed custom project management app will empower you and your staff to make the right moves. It should have an easy-to-understand user interface (UI) that your non-tech-savvy employees can navigate easily. But user-friendliness isn’t what this app is all about, as it will also need several vital features.

It should have a task tracker that can handle multiple projects, even thousands, if necessary. Moreover, it should accurately track and record the following: assigned staff, client information, due dates, project status, task descriptions, and task priorities. To better organize tasks, use a Kanban board combined with advanced filtering features to sort through multiple projects quickly.

And it’s necessary to implement a timer that accurately tracks the duration of all tasks. You may record this information and make it available in a timesheet. It will also help you determine the completion of projects, bill clients, and pay staff. Furthermore, you can integrate multiple payment processing platforms such as PayPal and Stripe for all digital transactions.

So, you can effectively turn your project management app into a central hub for handling the most crucial business processes. And when you grow your service-based business and need additional features, you have options. You can either add these to your project management app or develop another app that integrates with your existing systems.

3. AI Chatbots Apps Make Contractors Available 24/7

Clients hate it when they can’t reach their contractors on the phone or have to wait for an email response. They expect to speak to a company representative immediately to help them with any issues they may encounter. But as we all know, that’s not always possible, especially if the contractor is small in size without enough staff on hand. Or can’t afford to hire a call center to handle all incoming calls.

However, neither is a good excuse as to why contractors of any size can’t respond to their clients. Not only is this unprofessional, but it will also cause clients to reconsider working with contractors that don’t seem helpful.

So how do we solve this problem and provide clients with a 24/7 response channel? Well, a mobile app can act as a viable communications channel. And if we implement AI chatbots within the app’s messaging service, clients can have their queries answered by these chatbots immediately. In fact, AI-powered chatbots will seem so convincing that many clients won’t even realize that they’re not conversing with actual humans.

Furthermore, the beauty of chatbots is that they’re incredibly versatile. You can make them conversational so that they can be more engaging. Alternatively, they can operate as virtual assistants and be very informative to help clients with deeply technical issues.

And from a development standpoint, all the major technology companies have a chatbot or virtual assistant platform. Apple has Siri, Google has Dialogflow, and Microsoft has Azure Bot Service.

4. AR & VR For Interactive Training Sessions

Perhaps your company offers online and offline training services to clients. But you want to stand out by providing them an interactive and meaningful experience they won’t get anywhere else. And the best way to do this is with augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) mobile apps.

You’ll opt for an AR app if your training sessions require interaction and representation of the real world. For example, you may be training a client’s employees to detect and repair gas leaks on actual gas pipes. The AR app will aid them in correctly identifying the fittings, piping, and tubing as they pass the smartphone camera over these. And on the smartphone display, a description of the part with a visualization of the tooling and repair methodology will pop up.

But you may opt for a VR app if you need to simulate various dangerous scenarios related to gas leaks. Perhaps, you need these employees to fix gas pipes located in areas with highly combustible materials nearby. But you don’t want to put these employees in harm’s way, so it’s preferable for them to receive training in a virtual environment that’s completely safe.

The VR app will show a realistic 3D representation of the test environment with the pipe fittings. And each employee will wear a VR headset made exclusively for smartphones, such as the Samsung Gear VR. Then, the app will use a smartphone’s accelerometer to track head movements and the VR device’s controller to execute actions. For most employees, the experience won’t seem much different from playing a game from a first-person perspective.

The Bottom Line

Service-based contractors have become indispensable in modern economies. They help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals by providing services that are beyond the capabilities and scope of these businesses. And with the right kind of mobile apps, contractors can meet and surpass the expectations of even their most demanding clients.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create outstanding mobile apps for your service-based contract business!

4 Reasons Why Retailers Should Be Using Mobile Apps

Retailers don’t have it easy, as they need to navigate a competitive and uncertain business environment. And considering how much Covid-19 has impacted the retail space, the old ways of doing business no longer apply.

So what should business leaders do to sail the rough seas and come out ahead on the other side?

Firstly, all business leaders should learn about and embrace the latest mobile technologies. Secondly, they should assess how these technologies will fit their business needs and fulfill goals. And thirdly, they should work with an experienced developer, such as NS804, to create the right solutions for their needs.

For retailers, mobile apps can radically transform their businesses for the better. These apps can automate and enhance specific business processes, excite and expand the customer base, and introduce several m-commerce opportunities.

But it’s not only brick and mortar businesses that can benefit from mobile apps but also online retailers. And by online retailers, we don’t only mean those that sell and ship physical goods but also those that sell digital products. The versatility of mobile apps makes them ideal for a variety of businesses.

Now, we understand that it’s not always easy to pinpoint how mobile apps can serve your business. So we’ve compiled this handy list to help you identify the pain points your business and customers may experience and how mobile apps can mitigate or solve these issues.

1. Build An Ecosystem That Serves Your Business Entirely

Have you noticed how big tech companies have built walled gardens to herd their customers? Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others have gained tremendous leverage by locking users into their platforms. And even smaller players such as Funimation, Netflix, and Spotify have monopolized specific segments of the media streaming market.

Sure, all these platforms offer numerous opportunities for savvy businesses. But consider for a minute that you’re running an indie record label that has signed up several promising artists. You decide to make available recordings of these artists on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube Music. And this isn’t necessarily a bad move, as all these platforms have huge audiences you can reach.

However, you’re also driving business to these platforms, diminishing your brand, and limiting your potential revenue. And that’s because your customers can only get hold of your music on these platforms and not directly from you. Furthermore, the branding of each platform holder will always overshadow your brand. And with streaming services such as Spotify, you’ll receive a pittance every time a user streams songs from one of your artists.

The good news is that you can avoid all these issues by building a mobile app that your customers can download. Within the app, you may allow your customers to download or stream music and even purchase physical copies (on CD, tape, and vinyl) of albums. And any time you release a new album, you can notify your customers via in-app and pop-up notifications.

Ultimately, you’ll establish an ecosystem that serves your business and yours alone, which means that your customers remain yours. And a third party doesn’t get to determine how much you can earn, how you market your music, and how you reach fans.

2. Increase Your Cross-Selling Capabilities

Let’s stick to the indie record label example for now. And let’s consider how a mobile app can increase cross-selling of your products.

But you may ask, “How does cross-selling benefit a record label?”

It’s likely that fans will want to purchase merchandise such as caps, t-shirts, and posters of their favorite artists. It’s even possible to upsell, such as enticing a fan that has added a digital album to the cart to purchase the limited-edition vinyl release at a reduced price.

And how you go about cross-selling merchandise can take several forms with a mobile app.

You may notify fans with in-app and pop-up notifications whenever you have new merchandise available. And if these fans have opted in to receive emails, you can cross-sell merchandise via this additional avenue. When done right, an email marketing strategy can effectively drive customers down the sales funnel.

But since your mobile app will also have a database on the backend, you’ll have an accurate record of all your customers’ purchases. For customers that have bought one or more albums of a particular artist, you can target these customers specifically with merchandise. Thus, you don’t have to waste your marketing efforts on customers that prefer other artists or don’t bother purchasing merchandise.

Another way this data may aid you is by identifying the locations of your most loyal customers. And if you have the necessary funds available, you may decide to have artists perform gigs at these locations and set up a merchandising table at all live venues.

You may also set up a pop-up shop at a fair or mall for short-term selling and cross-selling purposes. In all cases, your app will serve as the hub to inform fans and merge your digital and physical endeavors.

3. AR & VR Benefits Clothing Retailers

Now let’s shift gears and focus on a more traditional business, such as a clothing retailer. If you’re running such a business, it’s likely that you’re operating out of a physical location such as a store in a mall or shopping street. And most, if not all of your customers, need to visit your store to try on and purchase your clothes and accessories.

While this is a common way clothing retailers do business, it’s not very efficient or forward-looking. But what will it take to change course and deliver a more convenient shopping experience to your customers? Thanks to the advent of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), it’s now possible to serve customers that live far away from your store.

You can craft a mobile app with AR or VR functionality that contains accurate 3D models of all the clothes and accessories you have in stock. And if the app has AR functionality, it will utilize the accelerometer and cameras of the phone to detect the customer’s physical form, angle, and view orientation.

Then, the customer will pick a clothing item displayed on the app, which will then show the item superimposed on top of the customer on the phone’s screen. The customer will also have the ability to adjust the fit, size, and color (if available) of the item on the fly. Once the customer is happy with how the item looks on them, they can add it to their cart or initiate a one-click purchase.

Now, you can ship the order and conduct an in-app survey soon after the customer receives the item to ascertain their satisfaction or lack thereof. Having this information will help you make changes to the products you offer and service levels if necessary.

4. Mobile Apps Power Up Fast-Food Restaurants

Finally, let’s focus on fast-food retailers of all shapes and sizes. Mobile apps have already proven their worth in this particular market segment. And with the many excellent food delivery apps available, customers have a growing appetite for quick and convenient food purchases.

A well-conceived fast-food mobile app allows customers to view an outlet’s menu and place orders with as few clicks as possible. Furthermore, all food items, descriptions, prices, images, and UI elements must be clear and crisp so that elderly customers and those with vision impairments can easily discern these and place orders.

But this mobile app isn’t only for placing orders, it’s also a powerful promotional tool. Instead of printing thousands of expensive full-color glossy flyers, you can promote your latest gourmet burger directly inside your app. Moreover, you can utilize animations, motion graphics, sounds, and a step-by-step video of how you make your gourmet burgers.

Not only is this more impactful than using printed materials, but customers can also tap on this visual promo, which will take them directly to the checkout page to complete their order. And that’s powerful because fast-food restaurants rely heavily on impulse sales.

In Conclusion

Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses through to online retailers can all benefit from having their own custom mobile app. The examples we’ve described above present a few of the possibilities that help enhance businesses. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create a mobile app that can transform your retail business for the better!

Do You Need A Custom App? Here Are 5 Signs That You Do

Deciding if your company needs a custom app may seem like a no-brainer. Then you come across online articles that sing the praises of off-the-shelf solutions. And these articles may convince you that the cost savings and ease of implementation of these turnkey solutions will have you covered. 

But that’s not entirely true, especially if you need a solution that must address specific business processes unique to your organization. That doesn’t mean that you should never use turnkey solutions, but keep in mind that these have a one-size-fits-all approach. 

So, they may be good at addressing problems experienced by businesses in general. Yet they seldom solve problems exactly the way you want, as they pertain to your organization’s needs. Thus, there are many ways your business will benefit by going with a custom app, which we’ll cover in more detail below. 

1. A Custom App Will Address Unique Business Needs

Every organization is different, so why rely on generalist solutions? And that’s also a question you should be asking if you need to solve complex problems. 

Let’s assume for a minute that you need to develop a mobile app that must collect a lot of data. Not only that, you want the data made available in JSON, XML, and your in-house encrypted and proprietary file format. And you want to retrieve, store, and transmit these files seamlessly across all your existing systems. Systems that may be outdated but still serve your needs perfectly. 

Now that’s a cumbersome problem — but will you find turnkey solutions that will solve it? If you look hard enough, you may find several off-the-shelf solutions that may work. And you’ll likely need programmers to make these diverse solutions function correctly. 

But things will get messy, and you’d better hope your in-house programmers or outsourced team are up for the task. If competent, they’ll likely cobble together a workable solution, but one that’s a Frankenstein of a creation. But if that’s not the case, you’ll have sunk time and money into a failed project. 

However, you can avoid such an outcome by working with professional custom app developers, such as NS804. You can discuss and outline your needs and the specifications that the custom solution must meet. And you can rest assured that the finished app will have all the features you need while meeting and even surpassing your quality standards.

2. Scale Your Custom App Only When Necessary 

Developing a custom app gives you total freedom to decide its future. Perhaps, you’re happy with your app and have no plans to scale up for the foreseeable future. But if you go with an off-the-shelf solution, you may not have this luxury. And the reason being is that many turnkey vendors like to lock in customers to the way they do business. 

Many operate as a Software as a Service (SaaS) and rely on subscriptions with a tiered pricing model. So, you may miss out on features or receive additional features that you don’t need based on your tier. Worse still, vendors may remove mission-critical features or enforce version upgrades at the most inopportune times while offering no tangible benefits. 

And then, there’s no guarantee that these vendors will be around for the long haul. You may want to scale up your app two years down the line but find out that the turnkey vendor has gone out of business. Or they may abandon specific APIs and toolsets essential to the continuous development of your app. In some cases, they may break compatibility with earlier versions of their own solutions or even operating systems, such as Android and iOS.

In a nutshell, relying on off-the-shelf solutions presents many risks. And if you’re a startup, you shouldn’t be wasting money on solutions that bring too much or too little to the table. It’s better to work with a custom app developer to scale up your app only when necessary, as this will free up funds that can go into other areas of your business.

3. Enhanced Security That Surpasses That Of Turnkey Solutions

As a business leader, you want your mobile app to have the tightest security possible. That’s especially true if you need to pass around valuable company data or handle payments. But that’s only possible if you have a clear understanding of the underlying technologies and security protocols. 

That’s the beauty of custom app development, as you’ll know exactly what technologies power your app. And there won’t be any hidden surprises if the custom app developer and your in-house security team work closely. Furthermore, they can further tighten security immediately after encountering a vulnerability. Something that’s not always possible if you were to rely on turnkey solutions.

Apart from the additional control over your security, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of improved integration. There’s no guarantee that off-the-shelf solutions will integrate with your existing systems. And even if they do, it’s unlikely that this will result in an elegant and optimally secure process.

4. Unlock A Plethora Of Marketing Opportunities 

Your mobile app won’t only help promote your brand but also give you a direct marketing link to your users. And you may decide to initiate your marketing campaigns via well-planned push notification strategies. After all, push notifications are powerful at delivering value, driving sales, and enhancing brand loyalty.

But if you take the custom app route, you can optimize your direct marketing endeavors. And you can increase or widen your marketing pipeline according to your needs and do this at any time. Furthermore, you won’t deal with any limitations imposed by turnkey vendors or wait for them to introduce the marketing features that you need. 

Another reason why you want to have complete freedom over your direct marketing channels is that you want to build long-term relationships with your users. Thus, you don’t want a third-party vendor to become an intermediary that gains access to your users and their data. There’s always the risk that they turn out to be a bad actor or suffer from security vulnerabilities down the line. And it’s not just their reputation that will suffer, but yours too.

5. Deliver A Superior User Experience

Nobody knows your users better than you do, so you’re in a position to create an app they’ll find appealing. So the most sensible choice is to develop a custom app that will meet or surpass your users’ expectations.

You want to create an app that allows users to complete tasks with as few taps as possible. A quality app with a well-designed user interface (UI) will reflect positively on your brand. Moreover, this will build brand loyalty and help with retention, so getting repeat business will be much easier.

And you can also improve the perception of your organization by allowing users to connect via the app. Thus, allowing them to communicate, give feedback, and lodge complaints, directly and quickly. If users see that they can resolve issues inside the app without being inconvenienced, they’ll likely keep it installed on their phones and recommend it to others.

The Bottom Line

Developing a custom app is usually the right choice for most organizations. And that’s because the end product will be far superior to that made with turnkey solutions. It will be more secure, run smoother, have better custom marketing pipelines, offer scalability when necessary, and deliver a better user experience. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create cutting-edge custom apps that will engage your users! 

9 Signs Your Business Is Ready for a Custom App

Most enterprises see a paradigm shift in their success when they build a website and provide more information and tools for their customers. However, some businesses may even see more success if they create a mobile app.

The adoption of mobile apps has accelerated business development in several frontiers – customer service, employee performance, operational efficiency, and productivity. The rising adoption of mobile apps by enterprises is due to the increasing smartphone ownership and higher internet penetration rates.

But how can you determine whether your business is ripe for a custom mobile app? And once you decide whether you’re ready for an app, how do you figure out what to put in the app? Below, NS804 lends its expertise to discuss clear signs that your business is ready for a custom app.

1. Business Development

If your business is facing declines, it’s a clear indication that you’re not engaging with your customers right and adapting to new trends. Businesses must consider adopting an app but only if it adds substantial business value. Today, mobile apps are being used to increase employee performance and productivity by optimizing business processes to improve outcomes and productivity. The business app empowers workers, enabling them to stay connected and obtain real-time insight in and outside the office. Business apps increase engagement, boost loyalty, retention, leading to improvements in business process development.

2. Competition is Adopting Apps

When your competitors are increasingly adopting apps, it indicates that times are changing and so should you. Look around at your competitors and you’ll realize that they more likely have an app. Customers and normal folks are becoming connected, underscoring the importance of a mobile app for your business. However, before developing a custom app for your business, ensure that it links to your website, has push notifications, and supports contact information.

3. Slow, Manual Processes

Humans are slow being with a limited capacity to collect and store information. However, machines present classic opportunities to run several tasks simultaneously and store huge chunks of information datasets in one place. If a company lacks resources to automate manual processes, it’s a clear sign it needs a mobile app. In addition, if the business keeps relying on outdated, archaic machines, equipment, and systems, it’s a clear sign it’s lagging in technology adoption. Businesses and organizations that still rely on outdated systems show a desire and the need for a custom mobile app.

4. Customers Struggle Accessing Your Brand

If a mobile app would give your customers greater access to your brand, then you need to invest in a custom app solution. An app is created to provide customers access to a portal for personalized services, at any place and time. An app translates to greater communication between the business and its prospects. So, if your business struggles connecting with prospective clients and customers, it’s a fool-proof sign that you need a custom mobile app.

5. Customers Would Benefit from Offline Access

Mobile apps have the benefit of being accessible even without an internet connection. That ensures they are functional even in situations where there’s simply no internet connection. Offline access is an essential element in giving users a better experience, and ensuring that users download and use your app. So, if your customers benefit from accessing the tools that you offer, information, profiles, content, and shopping, it’s a sign that you’re ready for a custom app.

Here are some customers who may benefit from an app that’s available offline:

  • Customers who are using your app for traveling purposes, such as traveling itinerary or looking for directions to a remote camping location
  • Impatient users who don’t want to depend on slow and unreliable internet connections to reap fast apps
  • Consumers and users based in rural and regional locations would highly benefit from offline apps because these locations have poor internet connections.
  • If your app is precise and offers a few target features or specifications, offline accessibility would be an easy model to deploy to customers. This means that customers would access every feature in your app without an internet connection.
  • Consumers who want to access diverse content such as blogs, eBooks, videos, music, and podcasts in transit. Spotify is an ideal app that can be accessed offline. In addition to how much internet streaming for long hours, it would take, think about internet connectivity on highways. Offline access makes sense where there’s a demand for internet streaming for prolonged hours.

Your business is ready for a custom app if your customers would benefit from offline access!

6. Market Gap to Fill

There are over 10 million apps in the market right now. So, with a staggering amount of digital resources available to consumers, it’s crucial to think about what your app idea can do that other apps cannot do. If there’s a market gap your business could fill with a custom app, it’s a sign that your business needs an app.

Case in point, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Walmart reinforced its e-commerce capabilities with a robust app model. This transformation was intended to overhaul the traditional e-commerce experience with a more modern, high-tech retail experience.

Walmart mobile app for iPhone and Android lets users browse products, search and buy merchandise in different locations. Walmart has achieved massive cost savings and optimized retail opportunities amid a crisis. So, if there’s a market gap you can bridge, it’s an indicator that your business needs a custom mobile app.

7. Siloed Information

Today, data is being used to optimize business processes and to provide the best use. Connected IoT devices offer the possibility for collecting harnessed data, processing, and drawing insight from stored data. However, traditional organizations have information stored in central databases that are managed by authorized personnel.

If you find yourself relying on centralized data points, it’s an indicator that your enterprise has not evolved with time, and you’re still relying on siloed information. Mobile apps extend the possibility of collecting information from different sources and distributing this information to several users. The interoperability (interconnectedness) of devices and systems ensures easier and faster information transfer, promoting collaboration and improving productivity.

8. Fewer Sales Channels

This is one of the reasons companies give for integrating mobile apps into their business models. Undoubtedly, mobile apps provide additional sales channels that companies can use to bolster their revenues. Mobile apps simplify the task of buying or acquiring customers. For instance, if a mobile app offers the possibility of paying for products without ordering or going out to the store, it can become an efficient solution for the sales channel.

9. Inefficient Communication with Customers

Traditional communication applications like Skype, WhatsApp, and Hangouts have been nifty for companies. However, sometimes transferring important information like reports and files to multiple users and managing minutes can be difficult with traditional applications. Not only is internal communication solved by mobile apps, but communication with customers and prospects is also made agile and faster. For instance, the ticket system can respond to incidents to avoid communication problems.

NS804 – Accelerating Your Mobile App Adoption

At NS804, we believe that knowing the difference between “necessary” and “useful” will enable you to decide whether you need to hire an app development company to simplify your process, or whether you want to do it alone. Identifying signs like manual processes, system upgrades, inaccessible information, and inefficient procurement methods indicate that your business needs a custom app.

You can contact NS804 for inquiries and solutions in custom mobile app development solutions.