A local Calgary app has just hit a huge milestone, and we wanted to send our congratulations to the team responsible for its creation. Oilfield Lease Locator has hit ten thousand downloads. This is a huge milestone, just ask any local app developer, and one that deserves to be celebrated.
Efficiently locating leases has been an ongoing issue in the oil and gas industry, as GPS tools aren’t ideal because coordinates can’t be directly converted. Since everyone is now using Google Maps on their phones, employees were manually converting coordinates and then navigating to that general area through their mobile devices. This often lead to frustration because the location wasn’t accurate.
Oilfield Lease Locator is a simple solution as it converts LSD, NTS, UTM, and latitude/longitude inputs and then opens up in Google Maps directly on a worker’s device. The app accesses a database of over 20 million data points- essentially saving time and money. When Terraform came on-board with the team looking to develop Oilfield Lease Locator we knew it was a problem many people out in the field were experiencing, and we excited to be a part of the solution.
Companies struggling with wasted time, frustrated employees, and hard to navigate systems have saved face by using this solution based app. Available on all devices it is free to use for up to ten searches a month, or a $9.99 yearly subscription fee for unlimited searches. You can download Lease Locator on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
A new consumer report put out by Technology Strategies International reveals the top contactless payment methods Canadians are using when making purchases through their phones, and they might surprise you.
In TSI’s study almost half of respondents didn’t have a payment app installed on their phone at all, and out of those that did many were not a mobile wallet, but rather a single branded product. Paypal came in overwhelmingly at the most installed application, with Starbucks behind by almost half.
Apple Pay comes in at the 6th most installed app, with only 5% of the people surveyed downloading it. With the Apple Pay expansion announced recently, and with more phones in the future having the capability of using the Apple Pay wallet, we are sure to see these numbers rise.
In fact, the study says that by 2020, 90% of Canadians will have a smartphone, and three quarters of those phones will have NFC technology. This means in the next 5 years we can expect to see mobile payments ramp up drastically.
In 2015 alone contactless payments doubled in Canada, accounting for around $60 billion dollars worth of transactions. With technology only getting better at an alarmingly fast rate, and companies dedicated to making shopping easier for consumers with more focused payment applications, we are sure to see payment through mobile phones become an everyday part of our lives sooner than we think.
Last week a huge Canadian Apple Pay expansion was announced. Until now only American Express holders could use the virtual wallet in Canada, but now Royal Bank and CIBC customers, as well as ATB and Canadian Tire card card holders can make credit and debit transactions using Apple Pay. TD, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Bank of Montreal customers will reportedly be able to use the service within weeks.
So how exactly does Apple Pay work, and what does it mean for the mobile app industry?
Apple Pay Basics
Apple Pay works pretty much exactly like your NFC chip card when you ‘tap’ to make a purchase, except the card is virtually represented by a token, and you tap your phone (or other Apple Pay enabled device) instead of the credit or debit card. You can use Apple Pay on most iPhone 6 devices, as well as some iPad’s and the Apple Watch. To activate it look in your settings under ‘wallet’ and add your credit card or banking information.
One of the major concerns people have raised with Apple Pay is the insecurity of funds, and Apple has taken many measures to ensure this is not an issue. For instance, you need to use your fingerprint to enable a purchase, which is actually a step above the current chip card security, which can be tapped without any approval process. Also, Apple Pay is limited to transactions of $100 or less, and your actual credit card number is never recorded. Rather, a virtual token is stored so if your device is lost or stolen you don’t have to cancel and replace your credit card, instead you deactivate it.
Benefit to Mobile App Developers
For app developers and those profiting from a mobile app, Apple Pay represents a huge opportunity for greater financial gain. The ease of use for in app purchases facilitates a quicker and easier purchase. There is no need to input card information, and the swiftness encourages impulse purchases. In fact some statistics from Apple Pay’s past year in the United States show purchase frequency is up a staggering 30% among Apple Pay users, simply because of the ease of use and the ability to spend more time shopping.
Apple Pay makes it simple for people to buy what they want, when they want it without every having to take out a card or punch in credit card information. More and more Canadians are ditching the physical wallet and amalgamating all those loyalty cards into virtual spaces and apps on their phone, so it’s a natural progression to move banking into the virtual realm as well. While some people remain concerned about what this means when you lose your phone, in reality it is a safer prospect than losing your wallet, because information is encrypted, requires your fingerprint to use, and can be remotely deactivated instead of having to replace everything.
Integrating Apple Pay into your mobile app, or developing a new app with Apple Pay as the purchasing system not only gives current users the ability to make faster and easier purchases, but it opens up your app to a whole new audience, and bringing in new users means more sales. Research is showing the easier access people have to funds the more people will spend. Now is the time to take advantage of this amazing technology, and profit from it!
10 Questions to Answer Before Developing a Mobile App
Can you explain your app in 30 seconds? If the premise is too complicated, try to narrow the focus. You can always expand your mobile app, or develop a new one, once the main aspect takes off and you gain a user base.
2) Do I Need A Custom App?
Some app development companies have affordable app templates that may fit your needs. The cost will be significantly less, however a subscription fee is likely and you will not own the source code. If you business requires something simple a turnkey app may be the way to go.
3) What Platform Should I Choose?
The platform you choose for your app really comes down to a business decision. iPhone, Android or Universal? Native apps cost more but provide an amazing user experience. Universal apps reach a broader range of people, but will likely need to be re-developed once a large user base is established.
4) How Do I Choose a Developer?
Narrow your choices and interview a few mobile app developers. Ask them to provide you with a breakdown for all modules incorporated into your app. Get a cost and time quote. Review their portfolio and go with your gut!
BE WARY OF A DEVELOPER WITH NO PUBLISHED APPS!
5) What is the Potential Competition for the App?
Have you done extensive research for mobile applications with a similar premise? Ensure you find out how many users they have, and what the likes and dislikes about the current apps on the market are.
6) What is your USP?
Your app doesn’t need to be a completely unique idea, but it should have a unique selling point. What sets your mobile app apart from the competition? What will make people want to use your app over the others?
7) What is My Budget?
Quality does come with a cost. Ensure you know what your budget is for your mobile app, and talk with your developer about what to realistically expect within your app in return for your set budget. Have a bit of a slush fund for unexpected changes as you begin to see the app take shape..
8) What is the Visual Design of My App?
Do you have logos and a color scheme designed already? What is your taste when it comes to graphic or simple design? Where do you envision the placement of the buttons and menus on your app? It is a good idea to have all the visual aspects of your app thought out before development begins.
9) Do I Need a Wireframe?
Are you presenting your mobile app idea to investors or partners? Wireframes are visual representations of how a user will interact with your platform. Beyond the visual, wireframes are a resource to have the feasibility of your design and function tested before development begins. It is a good idea to have your developer draw up a wireframe to ensure your idea is technically sound.
10) What is My Marketing Plan?
Developing the app is just the start. Without a marketing and media plan, your app may not be seen by your target market. Start your mobile app marketing plan when you are still in development. This way you have a game plan when the app is complete, and you can hit the ground running.
With thousands of mobile apps competing for a user’s attention, how does yours stand out from the crowd?
Acquiring app users can be tricky, but if you set yourself up for success, and make a game plan, you will be prepared for the business of marketing, and feature your app to a very captive audience.
Beta Launch and Pre-Launch Users
Do not expect things to be perfect at the start. Once you are ready to launch your mobile app, do so on a beta platform, and get feedback from your users. This is some of the most important knowledge you can gather, so pay attention and transfer that information for future app users. Have a large mailing list of possible app users ready, so at launch time you have eyeballs on your product. Create social channels ahead of time, and invest in growing your following.
If your platform requires interaction, and a user downloads your app and finds nothing going on, they will not invest their time. Creating the in-app activity to begin with is not uncommon, in fact some very big names in the online world, including Reddit, did just that. Spend the time making that interaction interesting and valuable to the user, and you will not only acquire more app downloads, but user loyalty.
Narrow Down Your Target
Start your marketing campaign on a micro audience. Many successful apps or platforms began with a niche market or area. Don’t feel like you need to be worldwide from the get go. Focus on acquiring app users in a very specific section, respond to that growth when needed, and adapt your strategy from there.
Blogging increases your visibility online and brings people closer to your product. It creates awareness of your brand and can make you be seen as an active resource. Don’t get lost in only writing about your product. Target your market and give content they would be interested in. You never know what possible new user you will draw to your app with interesting relevant posts.
App Design and Performance
You can not underestimate the importance of the user experience within your app. The look and feel must be seamless. Acquiring app users with a buggy or counter-intuitive interface is almost impossible. Invest time in finding the right developer, and plan all aspects of your app before starting development.
Social Media and Organic Marketing
Word of mouth and a natural excitement in your user base is imperative to an app. Make it easy for people to share your product by adding an easy rating feature and share option within your app.
Acquiring app users requires paid advertising. Extend your marketing over a wide variety of networks, not just one or two areas. Think about not only paying for adverts on social media, but also creating a feature video, or acquiring an endorsement. Be broad at first, because different networks are going to speak to different people.
App Analytics & Tracking
It is imperative to track and follow your user’s habits. Get to know your users likes and dislikes. Adjust your strategy based on this data. Improving your platform will not only help you acquire more app users, but keep them engaged.
Apps are HUGE business. Consider this: last year 100 million apps were downloaded from the Apple App Store, and over $40 billion has been paid to app developers since the innovations conception. But all of this means nothing without the marketplace to sell them. And Apple has a giant monopoly on that exact market.
Did you know that until recently the ‘Best New Apps’ section of the iOS App Store was only being updated weekly? I know half-assed food bloggers that update their content more than that! It might not sound like a super big deal, but think about what that meant for the lucky few selected apps. Their product was exposed to millions of eyeballs because Apple only refreshed the list on Thursdays, while thousands of other new apps received zero views because no one knew they existed.
It was discovered recently, and seemingly confirmed by Philip Schiller on twitter, that the App Store has started to refresh the ‘Best New Apps’ section daily. And with this small simple tweet by the Worldwide Marketing SVP for Apple, even more changes were insinuated.
Well hallelujah! Finally someone might actually see the potential the App Store has. This monolithic online marketplace that makes buckets of money actually has the ability to do so much more than it is currently. It’s amazing what a simple thing like updating the exposure opportunities for new apps can do for developers and users alike. Apple has so much power in their hands, and it looks like they may have finally realized that what they have been doing with their App Store is outdated and in massive need of overhaul.
It should be exciting to see what Philip Schiller and the Apple team unveil in the next year with the iOS App Store. You can bet, as avid mobile app developers ourselves, we will be watching.
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Phone: (403) 464-4554
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TERRAFORM 1001 1 St SE Suite #260 Calgary, AB T2G 5G3
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