A native B2B (business to business) mobile app, is more than a mobile optimized site. A B2B mobile app is essentially a complete rethinking of the user experience for the needs of a mobile user. It avoids components that don’t work well on the small screen, such as pulldowns, opting instead for slider bars, large buttons that are easy to see and use on the small screen, and simple, consistent navigation.
B2B mobile apps may also be centered around a specific function. A company could, for instance, offer a branded mobile order app that incorporates a barcode scanner to allow users to scan an item as it goes out of stock and automatically order from the app. The app could also allow them to research past orders to create a reorder for the item.
Reasons Why Your Business Needs B2B Mobile Apps
- Mobile browsers aren’t user friendly. Mobile users report that the experience of using a mobile browser rather than a mobile app provides more challenges, such as having to pinch and zoom screens, or the lack of push notifications to provide rapid, relevant updates. Mobile sites are also slower than apps, a crucial consideration for B2B buyers who are likely crunched for time.
- Improves value proposition. You can use a mobile app to give your B2B customers customized discounts, information about new products and support.
- Better personalization. Personalization is a crucial consideration for B2B mobile apps because this is where the mobile experience can really shine for your B2B customers. Unlike a website that you have to sign into every time you want to access your account, a B2B mobile app automatically signs users in, providing instant access to their personalized profile. For business users who may have multiple accounts on multiple websites, the ability to quickly and easily log in, search for the products they need, review past order history and complete their transaction quickly is a real bonus.
- B2B mobile apps work, even offline. The ability to continue researching purchases and entering orders even offline is another important reason why mobile users prefer B2B mobile apps over mobile optimized sites. Mobile devices were made to use on the go, and it’s often the case that connectivity may be lost while traveling through areas with a limited data signal. In the life of a time-crunched B2B buyer, being able to continue working even without an internet connection is a significant advantage of B2B mobile apps over an optimized site.
For companies that want to deliver on the promise of mobile, B2B mobile apps offer a way to increase engagement with mobile users, and turn more of their site visits into actual purchases.
Mobile App ideas for Β2Β businesses
1) Supply Ordering App: Are you a business product supplier? Create a supply ordering app that lets people order new supplies by scanning a bar code on the product they need restocked. Users can securely store their shipping and billing information in the app, edit the quantity, and quickly get more of the supplies they need. Make it even easier by tapping into their buying history and providing push notifications for when they are likely running low on a certain supply. You should also include loyalty functionality, reviews, recommended products, and shipping status notifications for a superior experience.
2) Event App: Plan on hosting an event this year? Create an event-specific app with exhibit maps, session schedules, speaker bios, and attendee-provided contact information for networking. You can also let people push out messages to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook right from the app.
As well as the initial effort to design, build, test and deploy an app, long-term support implications should also be considered. If users report bugs or suggest improvements, there needs to be resource in place (either internal or external) to act upon this feedback. Similarly, mobile operating systems do not stand still, usually being updated on an annual basis. Each update can cause compatibility issues, which must be fixed. A broken and unsupported and app can seriously undermine the image of a business.
If an external agency has been tasked with building an app, it is vital that they undertake the necessary due diligence work to ensure that the app is sustainable and likely to be around for the long-haul.
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