When you hear the word “app,” you probably think about something on your phone that has a pretty specific use. Something like the Facebook app or your bank app. They’re useful and handy – but, ultimately, incredibly niche-specific. You can’t use Facebook to check your bank account… or vice-versa.
However, apps are a bit broader than that, and you don’t need to be a digital native to use them effectively. An “app” is really just the rebranded moniker we now use instead of “software.” It’s easier to say – and sell – and with the state of smartphones these days, the name isn’t going anywhere soon.
This broader definition opens some doors, especially in the laundry industry. You don’t need a dedicated, branded app to succeed in today’s world. Instead, you can find apps to use internally that benefit the way you work, how you manage your store (or stores), and how you approach your online presence and brand.
With this in mind, I want to share three distinctive types of apps that anyone can use, no matter what you’re selling. I won’t share direct apps, but I encourage you to check out the different types listed here and find the perfect fit for you. It just might change your world!
We’re jumping straight into the deep end on this one, but there’s good reason.
Chatbots have been all the rage for the last year or so, and the use cases range from impractical novelties to super-selling machines. You should be more interested in the latter. The technology currently available to businesses can allow anyone with a Facebook page or a website (preferably both) to create a unique chatbot that helps attract customers and win business.
But what does this mean for laundry businesses in practical terms? That’s fairly simple. Most of you reading this article want people to find your website or your social media, and to then engage. That typically means your customer asking questions or just generally looking for information in your message inbox – and chatbots can help meet that need.
Think of it this way: how long does it take you on average to respond to messages through your business’ Facebook page? Unless you’re constantly checking and replying, it can take you hours at minimum – and more likely days to reply to a potential customer. If it takes that long on average, you may be losing customers.
Not so with chatbots. You can design one (using an app) that instantly replies to a wide variety of questions, meaning your service is instant. You never know when an instant answer might turn into an instant customer. So, if you’re looking to get ahead, I highly recommend looking into how one of these tools can help you stand out from the crowd.
Content Management System
Do you create content?
If not, you need to. It’s by far one of the most effective ways to get to the top of search engines and take advantage of social media engagement. You can provide tons of value through blog posts and website copy that educates and engages your customers. However, many shy away from this for one reason: they don’t know where to start. Thankfully, that’s another area where the right app can come to the rescue through your content management system.
Such systems are how your website (or online presence) hosts and shares content on the web – and it is indeed an app. Even if you don’t think of it that often, you should at least familiarize yourself with one to help improve your brand. Most websites are built on WordPress these days, which is a built-in content management system itself. Another popular (and very user-friendly) option is Medium – and that one’s free to use.
My point is that finding a CMS that you can use regularly with ease will go a long way to help you create content. If you get less frustrated by the application you use to create and post content, you’ll be more willing to go in and share your insights with your audience. That can keep them coming back again and again.
Accounting Services and Mobile Pay
Keeping up with your books is a difficult task, especially if you’re still dealing with tons of coins on a daily basis. This then translates into a whole host of issues that makes it difficult to grow your business. For instance, if it takes you a few days (or even weeks) to know where your cash flow is, how much you have on hand and how much money is going in versus coming out, then it’s difficult to think about elements like hiring, new locations or even repairs.
Of course, the alternative to all of this is to hire a bookkeeper, which isn’t exactly feasible for small operations that prefer to minimize costs and keep that kind of information in-house.
Accounting apps can help make that a little simpler, especially if you take it on with new tools like Mobile Pay. Imagine how much easier and simpler your life will be if you can instantly know your entire financial picture at a glance. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not far-fetched. This is 2019 after all!
Consider looking into accounting software, if you haven’t already. It can change your business by empowering decision making and saving tons of time.
At the end of the day, how you use the technology at your disposal is up to you. My hope is that I’ve broadened your horizons and that you don’t think of an “app” as just something on your smartphone. It’s so much bigger than that. Start looking into how you can expand your business’ technology and find new ways to compete in your local marketplace.