Digitization through the web and mobile apps created a level playing field for businesses of all sizes to compete with one another. Business startups can quickly get discoverable to their target audience through cutting-edge mobile app development features and sophisticated user experience. This is why startups, when rolling out their apps, particularly need to focus on choosing the right app features.
App features happen to be the building blocks of any mobile app project. App features make an app functionally useful for the users and hence they need to be chosen discreetly.
For your startup to know how to create an app from scratch, it is essential to focus on the features that make their app relevant, useful and competitively unique.
What key features should a startup prioritize for their app project? Let us explain them here below.
Some app features remain common for most small businesses and startups regardless of the business niche and app objectives. For example, it is common for developers to create a user login page or send push notifications as part of any app project. These features are now part and parcel of app development.
App developers over and above these standard features need to add unique and innovative features as per the nature of the solution the app provides. This is where the creative opportunities and innovations remain open for an app project.
But these elementary app features can be tweaked with value additions. For example, social login or personalized notifications have more unique app features to ensure better onboarding and user engagement.
Here we would focus on the list of app features trending across small business or startup apps.
Among all the mobile app development features, quick login allowing a smooth onboarding experience is crucial. By integrating social media, you can quickly help users fulfill the registration and login requirements. By clicking on the integrated social media button, users can provide authentic credentials instead of creating a fresh new username and password.
Since most app users already use one or several social media platforms, this app feature will help them log in faster and start using the app instantly. On the other hand, app onboarding through integrated social media platforms also provides businesses access to valuable user data such as the following.
Geolocation tracking remains one of the key mobile app development features for businesses focused on sales. The on-demand delivery apps particularly use this feature for helping the customers to track the location of the delivery personnel. The same app feature also helps delivery personnel make faster delivery by guiding them on delivery routes. Most on-demand apps such as Uber, Zomato, and others provide great examples of geolocation tracking.
For businesses with a large number of on-field employees, the fleet of vehicles, and logistics, this appears to be one of the most relevant mobile app features.
A business can easily track its employees, vehicles, and cargo through real-time geolocation tracking and ensure smooth operation.
Through real-time geolocation tracking, a business can easily track its employees, vehicles, and cargo and ensure smooth operation.
When the network connection is gone, some app content remains visible, and some app features are accessible. Many of us have experienced this, particularly with leading apps. Yes, this is possible because of syncing online and offline access. Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Sheet are great examples of synced online and offline access.
Thanks to modern caching techniques and technologies like edge computing, providing offline access to app features and content is no longer impossible. The app content and offline activities are dynamically synced to deliver the most updated results as soon as the network connection is restored.
This is one of the quintessential startup app features because they need to be more watchful to the key business metrics and performance indexes than established and large business brands. A small business or startup should keep a close and constant watch on the traffic movement, use patterns, session duration, frequency of user footprint, etc.
Based on the specific business niche, a mobile app development company can introduce the important KPIs about sales and other processes. It is important to weave these varied KPIs and key metrics into an easy-to-use and smoothly accessible dashboard.
Voice search has emerged as one of the most sought-after app development features. It became popular among millennials who prefer to use voice commands while searching Google or finding content on YouTube.
A whopping 45% of millennials in the US prefer using voice assistance for online and mobile shopping. More than 50% of the users of voice assistants use voice commands or voice search every single day.
Are you considering the most engaging small business app features that instantly resonate with the customers? Well, interactive voice interface and voice search feature should top your list. The effortlessness of getting things done with voice commands can help your app engage more users and keep them engaged longer.
Let us have no misunderstanding. Gamification has nothing to do with games. It is one of the unique app features that create a sense of healthy competition among users in a variety of ways. By buying more, the customers of an e-commerce app can earn more loyalty points and win a prize. The loyalty point system used by Lifestyle stores is a great example of the use of gamification.
Gamification is closely interlinked with loyalty programs. You can incorporate gamification in a variety of ways to engage users competitively and push business conversions. It is one of the app development features that sales-focused organizations will find more useful.
Deep links are parts and parcels of all digital platforms that mobile app marketers find extremely helpful. The gap between apps in terms of performance and user experience is becoming thinner. This is why an app needs to focus more on personalization than just doing things right. Deep linking is a key mobile app development feature to push the boundary of limits for personalization.
Modern apps don't make users land on the home screen and leave everything there. Through deep linking the particular app pages, the app marketers can directly take users to specific pages or sections such as product pages, a particular content, shopping carts, etc.
Deep links to app pages and sections are generally spread across the digital footprints of the company. By clicking on a link embedded in a web page or push message or email or social media post, a user can directly land on the respective app section or app page. Thanks to deep linking, one can search for an app on Google and directly land on your app page from the search engine listing.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the two most popular technologies incorporated by mobile apps across all niches. Both in their capacity help bridge the virtual and real gap in a meaningful way and ensure a superior user experience.
Augmented Reality (AR) introduced as a mobile game feature, now helps retail and e-commerce apps to help their shoppers have a more immersive shopping experience. While walking in a store, customers can scan the products on display with their mobile apps and process payments. When purchasing garments online, customers can experience the look and feel of the products on their bodies right through a mobile screen. The IKEA furniture app allows its customers to try products on their interior images virtually.
Virtual Reality (VR) allows an ELearning app to create an immersive environment for teaching and training learners. The immersive experience of the Virtual Reality (VR) medium can also allow real estate customers to remotely experience the inside and outside environment before making a purchase. Experience Real History (ERH) is a great app allowing you to learn history through AR-based simulation.
All businesses prefer mobile wallets for their customers to make payments. They are least time-consuming, tested for security concerns, and involve almost zero concerns over performance issues like failed transactions.
No wonder small businesses and startup apps using mobile apps to push sales beyond their physical outlets always prefer integrating mobile wallets. When allowing customers to pay through mobile wallet, choose several popular wallet options to cover your audience in target regions. Almost all mobile e-commerce apps allow paying through GPay, Apple Wallet, Amazon Wallet, and several others.
The omnichannel mobile experience has also emerged as a popular mobile app development feature for businesses relying on physical and digital stores. Omnichannel experience allows customers to buy online and pick up the product from a nearby outlet or complete the purchase offline from the local store while browsing the products and transacting online. Both Lifestyle and Spencer's Store offer this omnichannel experience.
This smooth transition between the online and offline modes of transactions and buyer interactions comes as a solid boost to the store's shopping experience. Customers hate constraints of any kind, and they like to interact and make purchases from a brand as it suits them, whether online or offline, whether through social media or the next-door brick and mortar store.
Finally, ensuring the utmost security to the customer transactions and data is paramount to the brand presence. Naturally, mobile app development features corresponding to security should get utmost priority irrespective of the app niche. When you are handling a lot of customer data, it is your responsibility to safeguard them from unwanted access or security breaches.
Once the security of customer data and in-app transactions are compromised, customers will no longer trust your business. Naturally, all your future growth prospects depend upon how you maintain strong data security for the app.
Security remains the uncompromising focus of app development features.
Let's provide here a list of app features that play a key role in strengthening app security.
Chatbots became the new normal of modern customer support for customers. Chatbots also became the personalized recommendation tools and guiding assistants to help customers navigate and find what they need. Chatbots have become one of the most sought-after and trending app development features now.
According to a survey by Gartner, around 46% of small and medium businesses responding to the survey either have already begun using chatbots or are planning to do so within a couple of years.
When incorporating chatbots, a business can either opt for simple rule-based chatbots that make predetermined responses based upon static questions or conditions or opt for dynamic and intelligent chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) technologies. Intelligent chatbots are more effective in guiding customer interactions, recommending the right products based upon individual intents, and solving customer problems based on context.
Apart from ensuring a smooth and delightful customer experience, chatbots through a mobile app also help a business gather many customer data and data-driven insights based upon in-app behavior, customer intents expressed through queries, satisfaction, and pain points. On-demand delivery apps such as Zomato use chatbots to solve customer issues in real-time.
Most of the mobile app development features we explained so far have an uncanny focus on addressing individual customer concerns. Whether through effective chatbot communication or gamification, or social media login, the purpose is to help each user get things done effortlessly and in the manner they like. But personalization as an active ingredient of apps doesn't just stop with chatbot messages. Personalized app notifications and in-app messaging also play a crucial role in making the app popular for each user.
Personalized and highly context-aware notifications and in-app messages sent according to user intent and context can be tremendously effective. Just when a user is in the right mood to look at your lucrative offers, you should send them. Apart from timing, several different triggers vary from one user to another. The success of your customer communication depends on how well you can utilize notifications and messages based upon these triggers.
Personalized and dynamic menu options in many on-demand and sales-focused apps are another way to serve customers right in a tailored manner. Let customers choose their preferred quick-access menu options and allow them to fix certain parameters and labels to browse and get things done quickly. Here a machine learning algorithm from behind adjust to individual customer choices and use patterns over time and provides quick access to their preferred menu options.
Now we have almost explained all the most sought after and trending app development features for modern mobile apps. But features and functionalities alone do not make a great app. You need to present everything through a user-centric design. App users are lazy, and don't expect them to find out hidden greatness in your app. On the contrary, a user-centric design will allow them to find what they need effortlessly.
User-centric design presupposes designing the app by keeping the users in mind. You need to keep the common constraints and pain points of the users in mind at every step. You need to find out how with minimum effort, users can do maximum with the app. The user-centric design efforts should go through incessant A/B testing for every design element to ensure that the design decisions are well-validated and not just taken for granted.
According to a study by Localytics, less than one-third of users keep using an app beyond the first three months after downloading. According to the same report, a staggering 21% of users never return to an app after a single use. Since information overload through digital platforms is already a reality for most users, even a brilliant app now needs to struggle to gain visibility and traction.
The small business app features need to be chosen cautiously because any efforts in rectifying and redoing will lead to unnecessary resource drainage. On the other hand, instead of failing to make an impression with your first attempt, it is always better to take small steps toward the far receding success. This is why the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach to app development has become so much popular these days.
With a minimum viable product (MVP) development approach, you must choose the most elementary features for the initial release that best describe your app product. Based on the user feedback, you can make small incremental value additions and changes to the app. Over time, you build a perfect app completely validated by user feedback. Onn the one hand,the approach saves the initial cost and time of development while helping you build an audience-validated product over time.
Now let us spare a few words on how to choose the right features for your mobile app. While certain mobile app development features like login, registration, and notifications remain common for most apps, the choice of advanced features depends upon the app objective, the business niche, and the audience it is going to serve.
Every app comes as a solution to one or multiple user problems. So, your app cannot be any different. Just figure out the particular customer problem you want to solve. It is very unlikely that your app idea will be a groundbreaking one like Uber.
So, never mind if there are already several apps representing the same solution. How well and how effortlessly you allow users to use the app to solve their problems does also matter. Only when you know the solution you are going to offer and how your app will stand apart from the competition can you figure out the features that describe your app best.
The second most important thing is to know your target audience. Know the age, gender, social background, and other demographic attributes of the audience. You may wonder how the demographics will be decisive for deciding app features, but it has a great impact on certain features. Millennials prefer voice interactions more than their 40+ counterparts. Younger people, especially professionals, prefer mobile wallets or online payments for transactions.
Now you have a fair idea of the features that your app is going to have. But still, you are not done with it. You also need to set your priorities right. Make a list of app features that describe your app best or the ones that are crucial for the app's functioning. You need to build the MVP app with these features first.
Then have a list of features that you fancy to create more values. They can be experimented with incrementally through future app updates. Once the user feedback starts pouring in, you can know where you need to improve and make value additions.
Create a detailed mobile app Product Requirement Document (PRD) describing the entire app concept, elementary features, secondary features, user experience attributes, corresponding project challenges, required technology stack, and skills, required IT resources, and pretty much everything in between.
With a meticulous and well-articulated Product Requirement Document (PRD) you can be in complete control of the entire app project from day one. This will also help you bring changes and adjust future requirements as the project unfolds and updates appear.
Of course, we couldn't be exhaustive enough to explain all the app features that set trends for modern apps. Blockchain, cloud computing, and IoT support are three critical features for many mobile apps that we missed here. Lastly, it is important to say that more than picking up the features, orienting them with the user experience and app objective is more important.
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