I hear of lots of businesses that want to build “an app.” They don’t really have an idea for what the app will accomplish for their business, they just think they want “an app” because it seems like a neat thing to do.
Let me be direct: having an app just for the sake of having an app isn’t going to move your needle.
I’ve always enjoyed Chipotle, but I’ve never seen one without a long line at lunchtime. That’s still true, but now I have the “license to cut in” app from Chipotle. Of course, that’s not what they call it, but that’s how it works out!
- It’s easy. I eat the same two or three menue items, and I can pre-load them. I click about three times total in the whole process, and my order is waiting.
- It’s convenient. My debit card is pre-loaded, so I don’t even have to pay when I get there.
- It’s fast. I walk in, walk right by the line (which is usually to the door when I get there) and stroll up to the cash register. “Online order for Doyle,” I say and they hand me my bag. I’m usually in and out in less than one minute. I often get dirty looks. I don’t care.
Because it’s easy, convenient and fast, I now go to Chipotle a couple of times a week rather than a couple of times a month, and I tell others. An added benefit: I didn’t talk about Chipotle much before, if at all!
There are many outstanding apps that help me do business with a company. A few that come to mind include TripIt (the app is so helpful I buy the premium membership every year), Zinio (magazines on the iPhone or iPad at a reasonable price) and even the New York Times (yeah, I’m happy to pay for that level of reporting).
While some apps are just for fun and get your business in front potentially millions of users, too many make me scratch my head and wonder why.
When your client or your boss says, “we need an app!” think of Chipotle. Will it delight your customers, or is it an exercise in ego so you can say “we have an app?”