A good mobile app can be a game-changer for businesses

How mobile applications have revolutionized the world of business

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When entrepreneurs want to increase their productivity and improve organisational management, a good business application may be just the trick.
Mobile phones have transformed communication channels, making the world a much smaller place, while mobile applications have revolutionised the world of business.
Julie Oates, owner of Pixel Shoes in Walmer, said she found instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and We Chat to be useful for communicating with manufacturers and potential business partners from all over the world.
“With instant messaging it makes communication with people in the other countries easier and more convenient, due to the fact that it is instant and can be done on the go, even when we do not have power,” Oates said.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram opened a space for engagement with consumers and clients.
“There is a huge target market reach which we are able to obtain,” she said.
“It helps us keep up to date with the latest shoe and handbag trends around the world.
“We like to use these platforms to get feedback from our followers by getting them involved in our posts,” Oates said.
“We are developing an app that streamlines all forms of communication, from agents to stockists to stores.”
Port Elizabeth’s Lawula Group CEO, Ongama Mtimka, said he also used social media applications for outward and customer-oriented interaction.
Mtimka said information which ordinarily would have been shared via e-mail in years past was easily and efficiently sent through WhatsApp.
“There are also iOS apps that I use for creating content, such as iMovie, the phone’s camera and Keynote to come up with marketing collateral.
“These have largely replaced activities that would need a separate writer and layout and design person,” he said. “There are a number of personal budgeting and personal effectiveness tools.
“Todoist is the best for me, when it comes to managing day-to-day tasks.”
The industry has millions of app developers and billions of smartphone owners use apps.
The main tech companies driving the ecosystem include Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
According to statistics portal Statista, consumers downloaded 178.1-billion mobile apps to their devices in 2017.
In 2022, this figure is projected to grow to 258.2-billion app downloads worldwide.
By 2020, mobile apps are forecast to generate around $189bn (R2.7-trillion) in revenue through app stores and in-app advertising.
The Social Media Landscape 2019 report says there are now 21-million Facebook users in SA, representing 28% of the population – up from 19million users in the country a year ago.
According to the report, released by brand intelligence organisation Ornico and World Wide Worx in October, SA’s big five social networks are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Though Twitter growth has flattened – both globally and in SA – it still picked up an additional 300,000 new followers in the past year – to take it to 8.3million users.
With more than one-billion users in more than 180 countries, a single WhatsApp message can simulate a contractual agreement, confirm batch orders and perform several other business-to-business transactions.
Due to SA’s ongoing power crisis – brought on by struggling supplier Eskom – multidevice market intelligence platform SimilarWeb has seen EskomSePush top the downloads leader board on the Apple App Store, ahead of WhatsApp, Instagram and Netflix.
EskomSePush offers the latest load-shedding notifications, schedules – and predictions.
Effective tools to help you organise your day
Whether you are a problemsolver, communications manager or financial expert, here is a list of The Herald’s five favourite business apps to help get you organised:
● QuickBooks’ accounting software helps you run your business and provides a sense of your company’s overall financial health.
● Competitors have tried to knock Skype off its videoconferencing throne, but the app remains effective and popular, with more than 10-million reviews on Google Play.
● Trello’s boards, lists and cards enable you to organise and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.
● Boasting 500-million users and 200,000 businesses, Dropbox is the most popular platform on which to store and share files in the cloud.
● Square Point of Sale, a payment app, is a good fit for businesses such as food trucks, beauty salons and retail shops. Its users get a small, portable card reader that attaches to a phone or another mobile device to process fast, convenient payments.

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