The average American spends two hours a day using a mobile device. Mobile applications are no longer an option for small businesses--they're a necessity for a business of any size. Research shows that a typical user spends 85 percent of her time online using various apps. This is a huge business opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss.
One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers – including special sales and promotions – is right at their fingertips. Through push notifications, you’re getting even closer to a direct interaction, and can easily remind customers about your products and services whenever it makes sense.
Apps serve many functions: they can provide general information, prices, booking forms, mobile food ordering from a menu, messengers, and a lot more. This helps to increase revenue and expand the customer base while increasing customer satisfaction thanks to promotional incentives or weekly specials.
Here are just some of the benefits of having your own business app:
- Push notifications: Instantly grab the attention of your customers
- In-app coupons: Invite your customers to check out your best deals
- Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feed: Streamlined content marketing channels to promote your brand.
Now it’s possible to build an app without hiring a team of developers, even if you know nothing about mobile development. Building a mobile app is a simple 4-step process with all the templates and features pre-built and ready for you to use. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a mobile app for your business with AppInteract.
Navigate to Appinteract.com and click Sign Up in the upper right corner.
Create an account. Enter your details, write them down and keep safe.
Click Register to continue. Receive an email that verifies your email address. Click on the link to confirm.
5. Log in and get started building your app.
Setting Up The Basics
Choose the business segment that your best describes your business, such as Retail, Non-Profit, or Professional Services. Enter the name of your business and the full URL of your website (e.g. http://yourwebsite.com)
2. At the next screen, the platform will suggest several features that are most relevant to your industry. The system recommends the most popular features for your chosen segment. You have an option to accept the suggested features or create the new app from scratch.
Note: Choose mobile app features that your business needs most: ordering and payments, social sharing, promotions, or reservations. Other popular in-app features are scratch cards, in-app coupons, push notifications, scheduling, and forms.
If you choose to accept the suggested features you can move to the Appearance section in the upper menu with circles.
Managing the App Design and Settings
1. To set up a theme, select the first option Theme and choose from the pre-designed themes. Click Save.
2. Select a Layout depending on how you want your features to be displayed on the app screen and click Save.
3. Choose Navigation option and manage the way that the user will be moving between features. Click the arrows to move the features that are more important to you to the top so they would be more visible. Click Save.
Note: there are helpful explainer videos at each step of the app creation process.
4. Choose the Background image of your app. You can upload your own background image. Make sure that the file size doesn’t exceed 10Mb. Click Save.
5. Choose Colors of background (if not using a custom image), bar icons, navigation, context box, buttons, and text in various parts of the app. You can keep the suggested colors or set custom colors. When done, click Save.
6. Choose the Font which will be used for headlines and body text. Click Save.
Note: please remember to hit the Save button after you have added features or made changes to the Appearance or when you move between sections. You can also come back later on to complete any section.
7. Set up the Icon. This is the most important marketing tool of your app. The app icon will appear in app stores and on your users’ devices so it must catch attention and promote your brand. The file in the PNG format should measure 1024x1024px. Here’s a tutorial on creating attractive app icons.
You also have an option to add an icon image from the library of stock photos provided by Pickit. You can save images to your own library in the platform.
Once uploaded, click Save.
8. Set up the Splash Screen. This is an image that your users see when the app is loading. Most commonly, it contains your logo on the background which helps to improve your branding. Upload an image in PNG format sized under 1MB. It will be automatically resized to fit any screen resolution.
You also have an option to add a Splash Screen image from the library of stock photos provided by Pickit. You can save images to your own library in the platform.
Alternatively, you can remove the Splash Screen. Click Save to continue.
Note: Always move between steps after saving your progress inside the AppInteract website and not your browser back button, otherwise you will be sent back to the Dashboard.
9. Select the Currency which you plan to accept and which is configured in your payment gateways. Currently, AppInteract is integrated with PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Choose all the currencies that you plan to accept and click Save.
Navigate to Features pressing on the next circle in the upper menu.
2. Configure the Features:
Home: Add this feature to showcase customized content in your app. Add an image and create a message for your users.
Contact: Add your address, customer service email, and a phone number.
If you enter your business street address, the app will show your business on the map. Remember to save often.
About: tell the customers more about your company, its history, careers, or investor relationships. You can add an image and a text using a text editor.
Gallery: choose one of two templates (grid and list) to arrange your product photos.
Facebook: connect to your Facebook business page to let your customers follow your business activities on social media.
Twitter: connect to your account to engage your customers via Twitter.
Store: This feature creates a showcase of your products for your customers to browse through.
Notifications: Add this feature to get your customers attention to your offers with push notifications. Press on New Notification and customize your message with images and text. Choose the Trigger Time to manage the way the notifications are sent out.
You can fully customize the time of notifications being sent. You can either Send Now or Send Later. This will give you the opportunity to send recurring notifications or repeat them at a certain day of the month.
Coupons: invite your customers to check out your best deals and seasonal offers. Add the image and the text of the promotion using the text editor.
Scratch Cards: give your customers an incentive to stop by with a chance to win an exciting prize. Use gamification to drive engagement with your customers and promote your products. You can add images for Lucky and Unlucky versions, messages for winners and losers, and also set up the percentage of lucky and unlucky occurrences.
Content Page: you can create unlimited custom content pages depending on your business goals.
Open Table: this feature allows your customers to make reservations directly from your app via OpenTable or any other third-party service that enables customers to reserve a table online. To enable, add your URL from any appointment management service that you use.
RSS Feed: Add this feature to provide news and updates directly to your customers.
Note: you can fully customize the look of all of your features, including the color, size, and font.
Events: create an event for your customers and followers. You can enter the event description, location, date and time. You can also customize the RSVP style to receive notifications from people who wish to attend, and you can make the guest list visible to the visitors.
Appointments: here you can manage your appointments for anything from haircuts to dog walking with the following settings: Services, Staff, Resources, Business Hours, Payment Options. To enter the new appointment, click on New Appointment, then enter details of your service, the duration in minutes, the date and the service rate. Click Save.
Age Verification: here you can communicate with your users to verify the age if your product category requires that. Add the details and hit Save when done.
Forms: this feature allows to add a form page to your app to collect data from users. You can fully customize the look of this page including fonts, colors, and field values. You can also opt-in to receive email alerts when a new submission was added.
Publishing the App
After completing the setup of your app’s functions you can move to the Payment section in the upper menu.
Choose your payment plan and enter the redemption code if you have it. Receive confirmation of successful payment.
Navigate to the Publish page. You have two options: to publish the app yourself or to provide AppInteract with login details of your publisher accounts in Apple App Store, Google Play store, and Microsoft Windows Store.
If you want to download the files to publish yourself, download the package of the files and submit your mobile app to the Apple iTunes, Google Play (Android) and Microsoft Windows Store. Make sure you choose the right format:
Apple iTunes - iOS Store Files
Google Play - Android Store Files
Microsoft Windows Store Files
Note: If your app is already live in any of the app stores and you edit or update your app name, icon, Splash Page, features or the package ID, you need to rebuild your app and re-submit it to the applicable app stores. Only this way the changes will be reflected.
To download the files, click Download on the Publish page and you will be taken to the screen where you can choose which app packages to download.
Once you click Submit, you will receive a notification from the AppInteract team with APK packages and instruction on how to create app store accounts and submit the app. Press OK.
4. Your second option is to provide AppInteract with your login details to developer accounts on selected marketplaces and AppInteract team will submit your files for you. Keep in mind that both options make your app subject to checks for quality at all marketplaces.
5. Once you have published your app, you can view its performance in Dashboard which you can see at the first login to AppInteract. Here you have the following options:
Edit - return to the features and appearance editing options.
Analytics - see the total number of downloads and users of the app
Delete - if you wish to delete the app, it also cancels your subscription at the end of the billing cycle.