Being a business owner means making hard decisions about your company’s future. When you see a multitude of opportunities in front of you, it can be difficult deciding which ones to pursue and which ones just aren’t a good fit.

Mobile devices have exploded in recent years, with over 3.5 billion users globally. It stands to reason that it might just be in your best interest to have a mobile app for your store. However, there are some benefits and downsides that you should be aware of before starting. Here’s what you need to know if you’re weighing your options.

Why You Should Have a Mobile App for Your Store

First and foremost, there’s already a good chance that your competition already has its own retail app. When it comes to meeting your customer’s expectations, it’s a matter of convenience for them whether or not you choose to offer a shopping experience through a mobile app.

While at this point you should definitely already offer a mobile shopping experience through your website, that may not be good enough going into the future. According to Smart Insight’s research, 89% of mobile users spend their time using apps rather than visiting mobile websites. Since your customers are already more likely to use apps, you should try to accommodate them, or their shopping may decline.

Having a consistent experience through an app is one benefit for choosing an app over a mobile website for your customers. Another advantage is being able to stay updated on sales and offers through push notifications. Avid shoppers can make purchases at a moment’s notice during peak buying seasons. Push notifications are also the most powerful way to reach your customers on their mobile device.

Top of mind awareness is much higher when providing an app shopping experience as well. By having a presence on the home screen of your customers’ phones, seeing your icon, notifications, and alerts can spark an increase in their buying habits. Having a core group of motivated shoppers a push notification away can become a boon to your business.

To Keep In Mind When Launching An App

Mobile apps are technically involved, so some investment is expected upfront. There’s also the additional cost of maintaining the app across devices, as well as the customer support of dealing with it when things go wrong. You may want to take out a loan so you can invest in the future of your app.

You also should prepare to promote and market your app in addition to how you handle your regular store. An addition to your marketing budget should not be unexpected when launching an app. While you will have existing customers moving over to your app, you should also try to get first-time buyers to use it as well. However, if you’re not in a position to do this, the added expenses of an app could become costly to launch it correctly. Make sure you work with a budget.

There are a variety of options to explore when creating a mobile app for your store, many of which are very budget friendly. Should you decide that having one for your store is in your best interest, you should definitely take action to launch one.