Why your business needs a mobile app

The easiest way to reach audiences is through their smartphones.

Businesses are always looking to innovate on ways to enlarge their customer base as well as keeping an eye out for emerging trends, making sure they catch on quickly.

At the moment, one of the best ways to engage is through people's smartphones. For this reason it is absolutely vital that companies who want to sell software try to tap into this market.

People everywhere are keen to have the newest and best mobile apps at the moment, with Gartner predicting that mobile app stores will see 102 billion downloads annually by the year 2014.

These figures suggest that this is a very lucrative market to reach. But if companies really want to make an impact, they need to tap into it early on. With ISVs, for example, if they want to be known for selling good apps then they need to make a name for it early on.

Gartner explained that this is because while new apps may boom now, they could slow down later.

Research director at Gartner Sandy Shen said: "The average downloads per device should be high in early years as users get new devices and discover the apps they like. Over time they accumulate a portfolio of apps they like and stick to, so there will be moderate numbers of downloads in the later years."

One thing that may skew the success of an app, however, can be price. Free apps generally do a lot better than those that cost money, so businesses need to decide whether users should be charged for an app before they begin selling it.

Research director at Gartner Brian Blau pointed out that free apps account for 60 to 80 per cent of downloads on Apple's App Store as well as Google Play. A statistic that high must have some sway.

Yet this trend towards free apps need not mean businesses should stay away from charging users. What you are using the app for could be a basic rule of thumb. For instance, if your app is your product then it could be better to charge them but if you are offering it as part of a wider service then perhaps you should offer it for free.