8 Easy, Cost-Effective Upgrades For A Small-Business App

A mobile app can be an effective way for a small business to enhance its customer experience and develop a genuine brand community. It’s important to remember, though, that users’ expectations about how mobile apps should look and operate are constantly changing. If your competitors regularly refresh and update their apps and you don’t, your stale offering may become more of a liability than an asset.

A total overhaul may not be necessary, though. Getting more bang for the buck is essential for every small business, so it makes sense to focus on one or two upgrades that can make your app feel fresh and new for users (and a more effective tool for your business). Here, eight members of Forbes Technology Council share their top tips for easy, cost-effective upgrades a small business can make to recharge its mobile app.

1. Push Notifications

Push notifications are the best marketing tool of all time, and they are severely underutilized. The best mobile apps focus on one core user path. Unlike the Web, mobile experiences aren’t linear. There is a true back button! So think about a user loop and which notifications can augment it. Then let loose and send pushes! You really cannot send enough if it makes sense to the user and the app. – Eric Futoran, Embrace

2. Gamification

Gamify your app. Add a simple chatbot that will keep your users informed and well-entertained. Work with a business analyst to understand your consumers’ pain points and interests and how those can be reflected in the app and the bot’s languaging. Give your users a sense of accomplishment and a reason to complete an action or socialize, and your engagement rate will grow. – Konstantin Klyagin, Redwerk


Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?


3. In-App Chat

Everyone knows the key to user retention is user engagement. Implementing messaging to your users and for your users is a low-cost way to add that community feel and an added level of interaction. Being able to talk to your users more also adds an opportunity for gathering user feedback, which helps you to focus on the users’ needs rather than your own. – Iman Bashir, Craftly.AI

4. A Customer Feedback Portal

Add the ability for customers to offer feedback right within the app. There should be a simple, intuitive way to report a bug, request a feature or provide feedback right at customers’ fingertips. There is a huge impact on customer satisfaction when such feedback is addressed. And who doesn’t want customer retention? – Sujeeth Kanuganti, AspectO Technologies

5. Features Of Recently Released Apps

Renovating your mobile app is a great way to add value and make your company more appealing by creating new features or making it easier for customers to use. Look at other apps that have been released recently; they might offer inspiration on how best to approach your upgrade without spending too much time or money up front. – John Giordani, NCheng LLP

6. A Fresh Design

A mobile app’s effectiveness always begins with its design. Keeping your app’s design fresh will help your business retain current customers and attract new ones by enhancing the user experience. Since you don’t have to start an entire design from scratch, upgrading your app’s design is a time-efficient and cost-effective solution. – David Gasparyan, Phonexa

7. What Your Customers Want

Know how and when your customers want to use your app, and focus on what they want. Many companies add features to their apps when what customers really want is to quickly get in and out of an app. Make sure your app is fit-for-purpose, and only spend money on things your customer will value—regardless of how “cool” the technology is. – Laureen Knudsen, Broadcom

8. What The Captured Data Is Telling You

To best align resources with new functionality or features, immerse yourself in the data and your users’ behaviors, usage, actions, activities, purchases, reviews and so on. Weighting decisions based on analytics and user experience can make a difference when it comes to adding updates that truly captivate your audience, advance your brand and increase downloads. – Neil Lampton, TIAG