About 48% of small business owners with mobile apps spent less than $25,000 to design, launch, and build them, although the inexpensiveness of apps also means their quality could be found lacking, according to The Manifest's survey of 350 small business owners.
The survey also found that about 47% of businesses with more than 50 employees have had mobile apps prior to 2017. Meanwhile, about 30% of businesses with only one employee say they don't have an app, and may never have one.
Additionally, about 46% of businesses surveyed said they rely on in-house staff for mobile app assistance, while about 41% use an outside freelancer or consultant.
The businesses surveyed were not strictly small retailers, and not every small business has the same goals for its mobile app, but most retailers with apps are likely to have a sales channel through them, or at least some structure to encourage future sales.
That being said, some small retailers may not feel they need a mobile app — and they may be right. The Manifest's findings suggest some small businesses have had them for a while, since before 2017, but just as many or more don't have them at all.
As the study pointed out, there are so many apps out there and retailers can't count on brand new customers suddenly jumping on board. Developing a mobile app should be done with a retailer's existing customer base in mind.
For retailers creating mobile sales apps, the other issue that arises is the cost. While cheap development deals exist — and, according to the study, many small businesses take that route — retailers run the risk of creating apps that are faulty or not easy to use, which creates a host of problems for customers who are already intolerant of basic functionality issues.
Retailers and merchants in particular can be subject to unpredictable traffic spikes, and a relatively inexpensive app could run the risk of collapsing when those spikes occur. Putting more time and money into app development could pay off in better performance and greater utility, but small retailers might not have the cash to invest there. Like almost any other retailers, small retailers need to weigh the wants, needs and costs of developing mobile apps before settling on a decision.