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Mobile Matters

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Curing the Biggest Headaches Afflicting Small Business Apps

by: | March 29, 2012

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If you’re a small business owner that still hasn’t launched a mobile application, then the obvious question is “Why not?”

Does mobile app development seem like too big a headache? Do you believe it’s too expensive? Is the technology too daunting? Is content management too time-consuming? Do all the different device models and operating systems confuse you?

All are legitimate concerns, but the reality is that mobile applications are now as essential to doing business as conventional voice service or broadband access—which is why it’s no coincidence that communications providers are now rolling out mobile app services and support targeting the small business segment, promising relief for their SMB customers’ biggest pain points.

Last fall, AT&T launched its cloud-based Mobile Website Hosting solution, offering small business customers a do-it-yourself tool to build their own websites and then auto-create mobile versions optimized for smartphone access. Now, rival Sprint is teaming with mobile software firm DIDMO to introduce Magmito for Business, offered in conjunction with the carrier’s Sprint Biz 360 effort. The service leverages DIDMO’s Magmito cross-platform mobile content creation platform, enabling Sprint SMB subscribers to build mobile apps within a matter of minutes—no previous programming experience necessary.

Apps developed via Magmito for Business can be used to do most anything SMBs want them to do, like promote sales or events, illustrate new product features or even train staffers. Apps can include text, photos, video clips, maps, RSS feeds, feedback forms, and click-to-call capabilities; users also can choose from multiple distribution options including auto-generated QR codes, social media add-ons, selected app stores or email. Prices begin at $9.99, with one-year subscriptions available for $99.99.

What’s compelling about Magmito for Business-built applications is that each app identifies the user’s specific device model, delivering a native app for smartphones or a web-based experience for feature phones. That means SMBs can reach virtually everyone in their target market, regardless of what kind of phone they carry.

Small businesses—and anyone else going mobile, for that matter—won’t have to concern themselves with feature phones for too much longer, however. Research firm Nielsen reports that as of February 2012, 49.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones, up from 36 percent a year earlier. Nielsen adds that two-thirds of subscribers who acquired a new mobile device within the last three months selected a smartphone over a feature phone. More consumers with smartphones means more consumers looking for mobile apps, which means your company has no choice but to build one. And the longer you snooze, the more business you’re going to lose.Marketing Zeus

Posted in: B2C, E-Commerce, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, Professional Services, Usability

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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