What apps have you used today? Probably a few if you’re like most Americans. The typical smartphone user spends more than 80 minutes a day using mobile apps according to analytics firm Flurry – more time than is spent web-browsing on a computer.
With smartphones and tablets often used for work, the app sphere is gaining in popularity as a marketing channel for building business, especially considering that 59% of adults with household incomes of $75,000 own a smartphone (Pew Internet Project). Consider the hunger, and ease of delivery for information and content: more than half of all local searches are on mobile devices and there are more than 200 million YouTube views daily on smartphones.
Opportunities abound for building business with apps that provide utility. Simply put, they make people’s lives easier. In the home products realm, this can be accomplished for trade professionals and homeowners with examples such as existing building material calculators and paint-matching apps.
“Visualizer” apps could be a very exciting tool for a variety of home products sellers, installers and consumers – from roofing and siding to flooring and lighting. Manufacturers who already have a form of this technology on their website can extend this utility to the mobile web. Imagine being able to take advantage of a smartphone’s high-quality camera to snap a picture of a house and then using an app to superimpose various roofing materials. There’s also the option of taking it a step further by using geolocation to tell app users the nearest location where the product is sold.
Calculator and visualizer apps could be used by companies producing a multitude of exterior and interior materials. In addition, a savvy home products company can add functionality like making a complete line catalog searchable via the app – creating a simple, functional solution for people like designers and contractors often on the go.
There’s also important potential revenue enhancement with in-app purchasing. Forrester Research now expects U.S. mobile commerce to reach $31 billion by 2016. In meetings with clients, product selections can be made on the spot with a smartphone or tablet app used to compare best options.
With augmented reality functions, you could provide quick, interactive information at showhomes or showrooms with layers of content delivered when a device’s camera displays the surrounding area and geolocation confirms a structure’s location. This could also be used for trade show apps delivering information for key contacts, exhibit details and Tweet streams.
Do you have some favorite apps for building your business?