More and more companies are developing their own apps to reinforce customer loyalty, optimise public and in-house communication, or to push sales. In the B2B segment, too, apps can be very worthwhile. Discover here the benefits that apps for this segment can provide.
The German app market hits a new record high
The number of apps on offer is continually growing. The app market is experiencing a boom like never before: between 2019 and 2021, sales nearly doubled, to 2.9 billion euros, according to Bitkom. Around three-fourths of these sales are generated by sellers offering so-called in-app purchases. Normally, additional functions are activated for a fee. A comparable small share of the sales recorded is due to smartphone advertising (16 per cent). And only every tenth app costs a fee to download.
All in all, Germans downloaded around 3.3 billion apps in 2021. Including such programs that do not at all aim to generate sales directly, but which focus on improving relations to end consumers or business partners. For this reason, and others, it can be worthwhile for B2B companies to develop their own apps.
Benefits of a company app in the B2B segment
B2B companies won’t be able to earn much money by offering an app. It’s difficult to believe that business customers should pay to download the company app of a seller in order to enjoy better service or more favourable conditions. But an own app can offer an additional touchpoint for customers and employees – besides the company’s own website and social media channels – and can, depending on its focus, provide various benefits:
- A well-designed app can boost the brand image of a company.
- Thanks to special service offers, it can reinforce customer loyalty.
- The salesforce can present offers via a specially designed app, instead of with presentation software.
- The app’s data ca be automatically updated via a connection to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
- Faster access for potential buyers: the app can be accessed via a symbol on the home display, while the link to the online shop first has to be made.
- Profit from communication with customers thanks to the push messaging function, which can instantly show special offers and boost the reading rate.
- User behaviour can be analysed to find out more about customers.
- Interaction across all sections of the supply chain can be optimised.
- Internal company processes can be organised via the app, such as a replacement for paper for service staff.
What a promising B2B app should offer
An app should always provide a significant advantage compared to other solutions. If this is not the case, the costs and efforts for its development, realisation and maintenance are not reasonable – particularly considering that the bar for the app is quite high in terms of its user experience. Generally speaking, it may make more sense to develop the app to first focus on solving a problem, instead of wanting too much at one go – such as either focusing on service or on sales.
What’s important is that the app has an offline mode integrated in order to be continually accessible. The app should also be able to scan QR codes from the company’s own products, with the aim to provide the user with information about the items later on. For instance: a company sells complex machines which consist of various components. By scanning the respective QR code, the customer can access instructions for assembly via the app or for maintenance. Ideally, spare parts can be directly ordered via the app.