Appy days

Andy Ball, managing director of Balls2 Marketing, talks about the rise of the app in everyday business.

On our summer holiday in Santorini, Greece, this year, one thing that struck me was how many of the small, independent restaurants on this tiny island were using apps to run their businesses. Almost every place we visited had waiting teams taking orders with phones or tablets, sending them straight to the kitchen via personalised apps.

More recently, I hired a car while we were in Scotland, and when I returned it at the airport, the guy just popped the reg plate into his phone and all the information on their system was there in a flash. Not just my details, and that of the car, but also the info about the existing scrape on the front bumper.

Interior design companies are using apps to their advantage, too. A popular window blind manufacturer can take a photograph of a room and show homeowners what different blind styles and fabrics will actually look like in their home, on the screen in front of them.

We’re seeing apps being used by companies to improve business processes and customer service. According to a 2016 study by Intuit Quickbooks, an accounting software provider, more than 71% of small businesses in the UK are relying on apps to run operations, streamline admin, and grow profits.

Mobile payments, social media integration and customer loyalty programmes have all been quoted as some of the best uses of apps by small businesses.

And the development of apps to improve customer service is working. Flurry found that app usage in the UK grew by a massive 28% in 2016.

What’s even better, is that app development costs have plummeted, so it’s a great time for businesses to invest. Apps can be great for window installation companies too. With the ability to show more options to homeowners, photo libraries, brochures and product information, they could be the future for home surveys. Start investing now.