If you’re building a game, a photo-editing app, or a calendar app, you’re likely developing it for consumers, end users who will find it through the iOS app store or the Google Play store. Previously, we’ve talked about at how to get noticed in this saturated market. But another option you may want to consider is creating apps for the B2B space.
What Is B2B?
B2B just means business to business — when one business sells or provides a service to another business. As an app developer, this means that instead of targeting end consumers, you target businesses. The app might be for internal use, something that the sales force or field managers use to manage their workload, or it might be something that the business offers to their own customers as part of the product or service they’re providing. B2B apps are tools that allow businesses to work faster and more efficiently.
Why Do Businesses Need B2B Apps?
Every industry is unique, with its own pain points and specific needs, but no matter what service or product a company is providing, nearly all businesses have a need to run their operations more effectively. This is especially true today, where people often work remotely, and need to carry tools with them into the field. Whether they're used internally or distributed to another end user, mobile apps enable businesses, and their customers, to do business from anywhere, at any time, with less paperwork and less room for error.
More and more businesses are discovering that with apps, they can:
- Offer extra convenience or functionality to customers. Some of the most familiar business apps supplement or support the business’s product or service. Think of a bank offering an app to manage deposits, or a dog-walker providing an app to schedule walks with their clients.
- Give customers an enhanced shopping experience. Electronic catalogs and buying guides can streamline sales by giving customers key product details and comparisons and an easy way to buy from wherever they are.
- Increase efficiency and responsiveness in the field. Sales teams can easily pull up the latest information on each customer, maximizing their chance to close sales, provide support, and build strong relationships.
- Provide customers with the latest information—and deals. App updates allow businesses to push timely content and offers to already-interested customers.
- Learn about customers’ needs. Analytics within the app can give businesses useful information about how it’s being used, and what their customers need.
- Reduce paperwork. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, there’s much less chance of losing or misplacing important documents.
What’s the Benefit for Developers?
We’ve outlined some of the reasons that a business might want an app, but why should you be interested in this market as a developer?
- Less competition.
- Higher price point.
Lucrative Areas for B2B Apps
If the B2B angle sounds interesting to you, here’s a brief overview of some of the main areas you may want to start thinking about:
- Ordering – Replace paper-based catalogs and enable on-the-spot ordering.
- Inventory – Manage complicated inventory in order to showcase products with confidence
- Quote generation – Consider all relevant details about a project, and generate an accurate quote in the field.
- Geolocation – Connect sales or support staff in the field with customers who need service. Efficiently deploying these resources saves time and money, and increases customer satisfaction.
- CRM – Access customer data from anywhere, enabling reps to provide accurate service and build long-term relationships.
- Electronic signature – Close deals on the spot by enabling and managing electronic signatures.
B2B App Business Models
There are two main business models most frequently used by B2B developers, depending on your idea, and the market you’re targeting.
- App store. If your app is something that many different business customers might be able to use, you can create the app and then put it up for sale in the Microsoft Store or in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store under business.
- Custom. For more specialized apps, you can work directly with a business to create a custom app for them to use with their employees or customers.
Apps Are Not a One-Time Sale!
Apps need to be maintained and updated in order to continue functioning. This is even more important to businesses than to consumers. To be successful in this area, it’s important to in the long-term relationship and build trust that you will be there to keep everything running smoothly. Even if you don’t make very many functional updates, you’ll still need to stay on top of platform changes, updating for the latest versions of iOS and Android.
Got a great idea for a B2B app? Check back for future articles to help you market and sell your app to B2B customers.