Story in partnership with Atif Nisar, FAZ Australia.
One of the primary rules of business has always been that those who fail to adapt to the times inevitably lose the ability to compete. Embracing new technologies is key.
However, with the entire world now emerging from prolonged lockdowns - where people were forced to do just about everything digitally - we're now crossing a new frontier in business.
That's why one Canberra based entrepreneur is warning local businesses that if they're to remain competitive into the future, they're going to need a high quality app that maximises user experience.
Atif Nisar - Director of FazCon Apps and owner of the digital agency FAZ Australia - has been in the digital space for almost 20 years. He has extensive experience working with both the private and public sectors, working on major projects.
Throughout his long career he has witnessed many changes in the online landscape. However, nothing compares to just how disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic has been.
"Online traffic has grown significantly (in the last 18 months) and this is the wave businesses need to catch now because if they don't get into the online market now, it will be too late," Mr Nisar explained.
"Because people haven't had a choice to get out of their houses, those constraints have actually broken down a lot of traditional barriers in the market, especially those of having to physically be somewhere (to access a service)," he continued.
"Families are playing high intensity workout videos in their homes to exercise; they're shopping and learning online; and a lot of startups have really taken off in ways people never could have imagined just because there is such a demand for those services right now."
With people having spent the last 18 months changing their consumer habits, Mr Nisar doesn't believe they will go back to their old ways easily.
The bottom line, he says, is that apps are just a simpler and easier way for consumers to conduct their business. They're more easily accessible than any other method and provide a better user experience than traditional websites.
Moreover, they're also highly advantageous for business owners, allowing them to both increase efficiency through automation and have a more direct relationship with their customers.
"What apps really give your customers is a much quicker way to access your website," Mr Nisar said.
"They can also hold some user data to save people from having to constantly log in and they allow you to present information in the way you want it to be seen."
With the constant threat of new COVID variants, businesses are going to need to be far more flexible in the way they operate, he says, and eliminate as many inefficiencies as they can. They will also need to find more creative ways to have more personalised relationships with their customers.
"One thing a business could do is, say for example if you own a restaurant, you could have your booking schedule in the app to show your customers your current capacity," he said.
"This way, they will know if they can book a table or come down. It saves them having to call ahead and it stops you having to be on the phone while you're trying to serve customers," he continued.
"You could also use your app to add on multiple complimentary service bookings; for session bookings; you could advertise menu options and specials; you could process takeaway orders; you can even link it to social media, which gives your customers a more personalised user experience."
The presence of the app on their smartphone or tablet also acts as a great piece of advertising. Every time a customer checks their phone, they'll see your logo.
Better still, customers can allow for notifications if they wish and businesses can offer exclusive in app discounts and promotions. Meaning your advertising is going directly to the customers you know will both want it and engage with it.
Mr Nisar also believes that online marketplace apps - like Uber Eats and Amazon - will continue to grow their market share. However, he thinks there is still plenty of room for new players.
That's why FAZ Australia is currently looking to partner with other organisations, business investors and creative individuals to help bring some of these "great ideas" to market.
The company recently launched the highly popular Backup & Restore App - a cloud storage app for Android - which has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and climbing. They have also delivered many other successful projects, all under the FazCon banner.
Mr Nisar said developing an app for a business is not as difficult as it may seem. If you work with the right team, it is as easy as any other transaction.
"Our delivery process is surprisingly simple, with a four step process designed to make the development of your app simple," Mr Nisar said.
"We use the discovery and research, alpha, beta and live steps to delivery, which ensures a smooth process. Communication is paramount."
FAZ Australia has locations in both Canberra and Melbourne and a highly qualified team who specialise in building apps and games.
For more information, contact FAZ Australia by visiting: https://www.fazaustralia.com/360-digital-services/web-apps