More than half of the people in the United States have smart phones, which means they can connect to the Internet with their phone. Many people use applications on their smart phones to help them do a variety of things. App is just a shortened version of the word application, as in a software program or group of programs. A mobile app is simply one designed to be used on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.).
Now that you know that, why should you care? 1) Because while the desktop and laptop computer are still the top ways people access the Internet, the use of mobile devices for these tasks is growing quickly each year and will soon surpass the stay-at-home versions of connectivity; and 2) apps provide functionality and tools that are not inherent on a mobile device or computer.
To address the first reason, mobile devices, you should understand that if you have a web presence, then more and more people will be accessing that website or social media channel through their mobile device. (You can check this on your Google analytics.) If your website is not “mobi-friendly,” then you run the risk of losing customers because of a bad experience when they are trying to look at your website on their smart phone. Trying to look at a full-blown website on a small cell phone screen can be very frustrating.
As for the second reason why you should care, there are many apps in existence that can help you. Here are a few of my favorites (I use an iPhone, so these all might not be available on other platforms):
- HoursTracker (keeping track of various clients and jobs for payment, and I love the piggy bank icon on your phone)Convertbot, a conversion tool (speed, mass, length etc.)
- FastFood (not just McDonald's, but geo-locates local food locations based on where you are; great for traveling to horse shows or events)
- Genius (expands the uses of the phone’s camera)
- Dictionary (from Dictionary.com, which also has a thesarus)
- Translator (there are many of these for free and paid, pick the one you like)
- iCurrencyPad (if you are traveling and need to convert currency)
Your favorite social media channels also have mobi-friendly apps to make it easier for you to post and keep up on those networks.
News and information providers also have mobi apps.
You can have an app!
If there is something special you do, or some service or tool that is unique to your farm or stable, consider designing and building an app to enhance your customers’ experiences and attract new customers.
Developing an app isn’t cheap, but depending on your needs, it can be very profitable for your bottom line.
Using, and possibly even creating, an app could be the next step in your business.