Who's your customer?
‘One of the most obvious things is understanding your customer demographic,’ says Sarat Pediredla. Understanding who you're targeting dictates the strategy for your app: is your customer base young and tech-literate? Or will you have to establish new behaviors for them?
It's very common for businesses to dive into creating an app without first validating a use-case. ‘Before you do demographics, you need to validate the customer need,’ says Sarat. Speak to your current customers, look at what competitors are doing and think about what you're hoping to achieve in terms of conversion rates, sales and customer numbers.
What will it do?
The next big step is figuring out what you want your app to do. Sarat recommends drawing up a lean canvas. ‘It's a one-page business plan of who your market is, what's the need and what's the pain that's [being] solved,’ he says. It could also include key components, features and designs you want the app to have.
Apple or Android (or both)?
According to Sarat, this is a key decision that's often overlooked. Choosing whether to build an Android app or an iOS app first – or to dedicate the time and effort to developing one that runs across both key operating systems – can inform how you proceed. Do your research and understand the nuances of both systems.
How should you proceed?
‘There are multiple options here,’ says Sarat. A larger business may choose to build an in-house development team and task them with creating and maintaining the app. One of Hedgehog Lab's clients hired a team of four or five developers because they identified that the app would be core to their business. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also numerous no-code or low-code tools that allow you to drag and drop functionalities to help you build your app with ease. And then there are also integrated platforms like Tapcart that'll do all the hard work for you.