For customers, having their favorite brands available in mobile app form may seem like a given. The portable convenience and exclusive features that come from a well-designed app are valuable tools in building customer engagement and staying top of mind for shoppers on the go.
 
According to a new study from app development research firm Clutch, about half of small businesses plan to have an app within the next few years. In a surprising piece of data, however, over 30% indicated that they have no intention of designing or utilizing an app.
 
Many app developers see the numbers as somewhat surprising, but not necessarily a cause for concern. As mobile engagement continues to grow, more businesses will become aware of the unique benefits offered by the channel.
 
"Many small businesses don't even consider building a mobile app, but this is changing fast, with more and more traffic coming from mobile devices," says Viktor Marohnic, CEO of the mobile app creator Shoutem. "Three years ago, a small business might see 10% of its total traffic coming from mobile, but right now it's closer to 70%. Within the next couple of years, a shift to a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site will become obvious."
 
Customer-facing businesses are far and away the most common adopters for mobile app development, as customers are looking increasingly toward engaging with brands within the mobile space. Perhaps less apparent is the advantage of designing an internal business app, enhancing workplace efficiency and enabling an increased level of productivity.
 
"Cutting down the time in which someone can make an order or a purchase is a key factor," explains Zach Cusimano, the COO of the mobile app builder Bizness Apps. "Having that ability in their pocket is much easier than visiting a business or going on a desktop. If a business can convince someone to download their app, that person is essentially giving them a place in their pocket at all times. It's an extremely valuable concept which has never been a part of business outside of the last three or four years."

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