Halifax has launched a new smartphone app that stands out from the crowd.
The bank's free Home Finder app goes beyond showcasing properties for sale and offers features such as being able to contact a mortgage specialist, work out how much loan repayments would be and makes use of the smartphone's camera.
Potential buyers can take a photo of the street they are in and the app will notify them of any available properties in that location.
SMEs that want a successful multichannel marketing presence should consider launching their own smartphone app. This takes advantage of the fact many consumers now browse and purchase on the go, while having a well-designed, interactive and easy-to-use app can set you apart from your rivals who have not utilised the technology.
Why SMEs should bother with apps
Small businesses should not make the mistake of thinking that smartphone and tablet apps are for tech-savvy and larger companies only.
A recent Lightspeed Research report noted that 73 per cent of smartphone owners access social media apps every day, while an additional 19 per cent do so at least once a week. Tablet owners prefer to access business (63 per cent) and finance and banking apps (56 per cent) daily, although social networking ones remain popular (32 per cent).
Lightspeed Research's Ralph Risk commented: "It is clear that smartphone and tablet users are multi-taskers, with many using their devices to browse the web and update social networks whilst taking part in other activities, like watching TV. But with the different content usage and take-up rates on smartphones compared to tablets, brands and marketers need to ensure that they are providing apps that meet the different needs of consumers when using those two devices, be that business, gaming or social."
SMEs should conduct customer research in-store, online and via their social media pages as to what features their consumers would like to see in an app.
Some of the main points to remember are:
• Buttons should be as large as possible to take into account smaller screens.
• The navigation should be clear so customers know where to find what they want quickly.
• Payment needs to be secure, fast and convenient.
• Make it clear when the app is loading, or people might think it has frozen.
Further advice about how to have a successful small business mcommerce presence can be found here:
If your small business has an app, leave your design tips and advice below.