The DIY Craze: Mobile App Edition
By Allison Howen, Associate Editor
Mobile users have an insatiable appetite for apps.
In fact, a recent Flurry study found that 86 percent of the time consumers spend on their mobile devices each day is spent interacting with apps, while just 14 percent of their time is spent using the mobile Web.
Clearly, apps present a significant opportunity for businesses looking to tap into the growing mobile customer segment. The time and costs associated with app development and maintenance, however, forces many enterprises to watch from the digital sidelines. Fortunately, “do-it-yourself” (DIY) presents a more affordable option.
DIY is a trend that is not unique to the Home Depot crowd - it’s also carving out a spot for itself in the mobile industry with various app-building platforms. These solutions offer an affordable way for companies to create and customize applications for smartphones and tablets. Many provide robust features to make functional, engaging mobile apps a real possibility for businesses, including the three platforms featured below.
ShoutEm features an intuitive dashboard where users can create an assortment of mobile applications, including business, publisher and event apps. Companies have the ability to customize everything from the app’s layout to the colors, fonts and graphics used.
ShoutEm also offers a Shopify extension that enables merchants to create an m-commerce app for their stores. Through the extension, they can create a place for mobile shoppers to browse, search for and purchase products. Plus, retailers can offer mobile shoppers exclusive rewards as a way to increase conversions and encourage engagement and loyalty.
ShoutEm's design dashboard
Businesses looking for professional help developing a unique app can also leverage assistance through the platform. ShoutEm also offers measurement and monetization options including in-app subscriptions and mobile advertising, as well as a hassle-free publishing process that allows users to update their apps in real-time and includes auto updates to maintain app performance.
Good Barber offers more than 50 customizable designs for iOS and Android apps. Through the platform, businesses can incorporate a variety of content sources into their apps as Good Barber supports 37 different connectors, including WordPress, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Brands can optimize their apps over time thanks to the platform’s user data, editor stats and traffic stats, to name a few. Plus, businesses can plug in external tools into Good Barber, including Google Analytics and Flurry, which makes it even easier to mine data. Moreover, Good Barber offers a variety of testing tools, including a real-time Web preview and an “app twin” that can be installed on mobile devices before the app is published.
Good Barber's app design dashboard
Other noteworthy features include automatic push notifications, which can include various targeting options, like country, city, language, loyalty and device, so that businesses can better engage their audience segments. Additionally, Good Barber enables users to plug in their apps to ad networks for monetization initiatives, as well as provides users with an HTML5 Web app that can be accessed from the browser of any device. Businesses also have the ability to link their domain name to the Web app to make it their dedicated mobile site.
With Appy Pie, businesses can create more than 20 different types of mobile apps, including information, restaurant, insurance and real estate apps. The platform features a drag-and-drop editor and real-time app analytics, as well as allows users to add custom code and embed iframes.
Moreover, Appy Pie offers a variety of integrations, including social integrations with networks like Facebook and YouTube, integrations with restaurant tools like OpenTable and GrubHub, as well as with blogging platforms like WordPress and Feedburner. It is also important to note that businesses can build apps that accept credit card orders and enable consumers to schedule appointments, which is an ideal feature for doctors or salons.
Appy Pie app page editor
Businesses can create apps for a broader range of devices with Appy Pie, as the platform supports Kindle, iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices. In addition, Appy Pie offers App Promotion plans that can help businesses gain visibility for their apps within Google Play and iTunes. Through the promotion plans, companies can receive description and keyword data optimization assistance, and an app speed consultation.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
These are just three of the many DIY app building platforms available on the ’Net (discover six more solutions at wsm.co/6diyapp), but they provide a good starting point for anyone looking to venture into DIY mobile app construction and capitalize on the rapidly growing app market.