5 ways Australian small businesses can benefit from more streamlined mobile apps

Published on 19/07/2023 by Ojasvini

For some small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) that offer their services online, their mobile app might be the primary way customers can access their services. Our survey article gives insights into typical consumer behaviour regarding mobile app usage and downloads, and how SMEs can benefit from more efficient mobile apps.

How can Australian small businesses benefit from more streamlined mobile applications?

When it comes to Australians, a Google report says that they continue to spend five hours everyday on mobile apps, using them basically for everything from shopping to budgeting. The same report also highlights that people in Australia use mobile apps now more than ever. 

Clearly, lots of people nowadays have a variety of apps on their smartphones. Some could be utilitarian, some offer news, others can be used for shopping, and so on. Having said that, businesses should ensure that their apps are effectively functioning to serve their customers better. In that sense, application performance management software can help SMEs measure their apps' performance levels and improve end-user experience. 

For SMEs offering an app for their customers, several questions could arise, such as how much people use them, which apps are opened most frequently, and which apps end up being deleted. How can SMEs ensure their app gains visibility and offers a helpful customer experience?

To help with this, Software Advice conducted an online survey with 1,026 Australian residents who use apps at least a few times a week to assess consumer behaviour and gain insights into how people utilise this technology in their daily lives. The full methodology can be found at the end of the article.

Majority of users only download an app in real need

Isn't it challenging to create an app that has it all? Users today could often be overburdened with multitasking, so they may choose an app that meets their demands and has a basic and conveniently navigable layout. 

Similarly, when we asked our survey respondents what factors typically influence their decision to download an app, 58% answered with ‘real need’. This ‘real need’ factor could vary from person to person. A potential example could be a person who uses a cab daily to travel from home to the office and vice-versa needing an app that offers cab services at nominal charges. Other elements that influenced the decision to download an app included:

  • App functionality at 49% 
  • 35% said ‘recommendation from friends’
  • 26% mentioned ‘rating and reviews’
  • 21% saying ‘price’, and 19% said ‘getting discounts’ was their motivation

On the basis of our findings, businesses should ideally focus on developing a functionally effective app that provides unique solutions that not only help people but also influence them to recommend the app to their friends/relatives. This can be done via referral incentives using referral management software.

Having said that, in such circumstances, app development software can also help create custom applications according to the needs of the business. Such software are typically designed to work with a variety of common programming languages and platforms. Additionally, with the help of such platforms, developers can assess the progress of projects, and assist businesses in automated debugging and better collaboration.

44% respondents typically learn about new apps through word of mouth

As mentioned above, 35% of our survey participants believe that ‘recommendation from friends’ is one of the influential factors behind downloading an app. This is basically what word–of–mouth marketing is all about. It can be seen in situations, for instance, when a customer visits a restaurant and has a great experience with the food and hospitality and spreads the word using any social media channel so their friends and acquaintances can know.  

To add more emphasis to this, we found that 44% of our survey participants stated that they learn about new apps primarily through word-of-mouth.

How can businesses create an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy?

  • Providing visual triggers could help. For instance, posting an aesthetically pleasing picture related to your business on social media so that customers would be tempted to re-post and share their experience. 
  • Promoting your reviews and ratings and app experience feedback from your customers and displaying that in your marketing campaigns on different channels. Even an article by The Bazaar Voice states that ‘rating and reviews are the number one online feature shoppers rely on when making informed product decisions faster’.
  • Try and establish referral marketing programs wherein existing customers can refer your app to other people and get a bonus amount credited or win discount coupons.
  • Introducing loyalty programs and focusing on more user-generated content, which is basically original content —such as blog posts, unboxing videos of products, and social media updates— generated by consumers

Users seek free/reduced subscriptions before downloading an app

While some apps are completely free, others require a subscription fee to use. Users of subscription-based apps are often charged a regular membership fee, which can be paid weekly, monthly, or yearly. Furthermore, with a subscription-based model, brands can typically estimate recurring revenue and make suitable business decisions. 

But, who doesn’t want free or affordable versions of applications, right? In the same context, we asked our respondents about what benefits they look out for when downloading an app, and the responses are depicted in the chart below:

App users look for free/reduced subscriptions when downloading an application

Almost 50% didn't make a one-time payment for the apps they own

Delving deeper, we also learned that 49% of the surveyed respondents didn’t make a one-time payment for any of the apps they have, likely meaning that the apps on their phone are basically free. Additionally, when we asked them how much they’re willing to pay to purchase an app, 41% answered with: 'I am not willing to pay any amount’.

The combined stats from this and the section above indicate that some users prefer free applications over paid ones.  In case your business offers paid apps, how can you help customers in seeing the value in downloading your app? Here are some suggestions: 

  • A free trial might assist users in becoming acquainted with the idea of subscribing to an app. You can also highlight the advantages and advanced features of the paid subscription.
  • After the trial period has expired, you can display a comparison of all the features of the free vs. paid versions. Personalised and informative messages about major features and prospects associated with a subscription service may also aid in keeping users engaged with an app.
  • Furthermore, when users pay for an application, they want to know that it is worth their money. Businesses can ensure the app's software is regularly updated with bugs repaired, new features added, and any glitches removed.

Alternatively, it could be a good idea if your company has the financial resources to offer a fully free downloadable app. In this case, you can integrate in-app purchases while keeping the app free to download. 

The next section focuses on how our surveyed respondents typically use apps in their daily lives.

Social media applications are the most used apps

Be it any task —from purchasing a product/service to getting our news or watching TV shows— some users may prefer using apps over more traditional mediums. With that said, when we asked survey respondents which apps they use more than ten times per day, we got the following results:

Social media applications are the most used apps by respondents

Based on our findings, we found that social media applications are the most popular compared to other types of applications. From this, we may be able to assume that consumers find it easier to access information and communicate/network via social media channels. If an SME wants to gain more visibility, they could consider using social media platforms to advertise their apps.

Majority only keep notifications on for their most used apps

There might be many communication channels a business may use to reach customers and boost their sales. ‘Push notifications’, which generally operate via downloaded mobile applications, can be an effective way to interact with consumers.

What are push notifications?

These notifications can help brands keep track of the buyers' browsing behaviour. For instance, which type of content will prompt users to take action or which times of the week/hours of the day users are most likely to interact with your notifications.

To determine how consumers feel about such notifications, we asked our survey participants how they manage their app notifications. These are the results:

  • 58% of the respondents said, ‘they only keep notifications turned on for the apps they use the most’
  • 17% said ‘they keep notifications turned on for all apps’
  • 15% only prefer to keep notifications turned on for their favourite brands' apps
  • And only 9% turn notifications off for all the apps

Based on the data, we can conclude that push notifications can potentially be a practical approach to notify your customers about your app while also increasing interaction. Businesses may leverage this marketing tactic to boost their online visibility and tailor such notifications to reach customers even when they aren't actively using the app. 

However, businesses should try not to send customers too many app notifications, and make sure that the notifications they do push out are relevant and beneficial for users and are sent out at the right time. For example —if you operate a food ordering app— the ideal time to send out notifications for food discounts could be one hour before lunch/dinner.

Going forward, we will discuss instances when users typically delete an application, followed by ways in which businesses can improve the usability of their applications to potentially prevent app uninstalls.

Apps are deleted when no longer required or if the app takes up too much storage

96% of our respondents admitted to deleting an app with varying frequency in the course of a year. While some do it a few times a month (33%), a majority of them do it a few times a year (56%). Building on that, we questioned people who claimed they delete an app ‘more than once a week,' 'once a week,' or 'few times per month/year' the major reasons for doing so. We got the following results:

Primary reasons why respondents delete an app

Evidently, here also, the main element is the ‘need’, with the majority (67%) stating that they would delete an app when they no longer need it or the service it provides.

Tips for SMEs to prevent app uninstalls:

  • Brands should constantly keep collecting consumer feedback via online forms, SMS messaging, social media channels, emails, and even calls, and solve any potential issues as quickly as possible.
  • Try offering incentives like a bonus or a discount to draw customers’ attention towards the app.
  • Above all, monitoring critical drop-off points could be essential. App metrics can typically tell where your customers are dropping off, which can help figure out the ‘why' behind it and ‘what’ you can do to prevent it.
  • As per a report by Security Brief, ‘more than 70% of consumers are likely to cease using an app from a brand that has experienced a cyber incident’. To avoid this and to improve app security, businesses can use static application security testing (SAST) software. Such solutions typically analyse coding environments for security flaws during the app development process.

5 ways small businesses can benefit from more streamlined mobile apps

‘The mobile application development industry has grown strongly over the past five years, in line with the rise in smartphone penetration and mobile data consumption in Australia’, says a report by Tech Business News. Having said that, every time a customer makes an online or mobile transaction, a sale may not always follow. So how can SMEs ensure potential leads convert to paying customers through their app?

  1. Effective mobile applications can help SMEs build a more direct connection with customers. In addition, push notifications, in-app messaging, and personalised discounts can help increase customer loyalty and retention.
  2. Mobile apps can help increase brand recognition and simultaneously provide an efficient and reliable way for customers to browse products and services and make purchases. This can potentially lead to increased sales and higher conversion rates.
  3. Mobile apps can allow businesses to reach wider audiences with different demographics and needs. An app can make people aware of what your business does, and make it convenient for them to use your products and services, leading to potentially increased engagement. 
  4. Apps can help brands can gather valuable insights via customer feedback and usage analytics that can ultimately aid in improving marketing strategies and product offerings. By keeping track of user behaviour and preferences, brands can make data-driven decisions to enhance overall performance. 
  5. Data security can be one of the concerns people might have when it comes to app usage. An efficiently built and ideally secure app can help allay such concerns and build trust.
Looking for application performance management software? Check out our catalogue!


Methodology

For this statistical report, Software Advice conducted an online survey starting on 1 June 2023, gathering the participation of 1,026 Australian respondents. The selection criteria for the participants are mentioned below:

  • Australian residents aged between 18 and 65 years
  • Those who use apps on their smartphones ranging from ‘a few times a week’ to ‘more than 20 times a day’ 
  • Those who are either basic, intermediate, or advanced users of apps on their smartphones

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.