1. How DIY App platforms are empowering small businesses

How DIY App platforms are empowering small businesses

DIY platforms are opening new avenues for budding businesses and professionals as they neither have to worry about technical aspects, nor the initial capital requirement.

Published: May 29, 2017 12:44 PM
The DIY mobile apps can be used for a variety of purposes.

By Ambika Sharma

Rakesh Singhal, a small trader at Tripolia Bazaar in Jaipur, primarily dealt in Bandhani, Karchobi – raised zari metallic thread embroidery – and exotic bangles. Between October and March, the months when the weather in Jaipur is good and tourism is at all all-time high, the footfall in his store increased exponentially making it hard for Rakesh to manage the customers despite having two additional supporting staff. Yet, he barely received any sales during the rest of the year, especially during the months that followed. With his son’s advice and assistance, Rakesh decided to create a mobile-based application for his business. All the junior Singhal did was that he selected a relevant theme, uploaded a couple of photos, customised the app a bit, and the application was up and running at an overall cost of less than Rs 2,000.

Two-and-a-half months later, Rakesh was receiving steady orders from all parts of the country, including Delhi, Mumbai and even Chennai, all throughout the year, adding to his rapidly-booming business. This not merely enabled him to clock in more sales, but also to physically expand his business to Chandpole Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar in Jaipur. The scorching sun that reigns all over the pink city till June was no longer taking a toll on his booming business anymore, thanks to one smartphone app!

The smartphone was once treated as an article of luxury in India. Today, however, it has emerged as a very basic necessity. From app-based banking and shopping from the comfort of home, to calling cabs with a couple of clicks on the touchscreen, the Indian population relies on their digital devices more than ever before. Yet, the truest potential of smartphones, and with them, of digital applications, is yet to be fully realised within the country. Amid increased digitisation, a near billion people await to grab a smartphone, something which is going to expand the digital market enormously.

But the primary problem for any business, especially a small one, is that building an application is quite a technical process that requires significant expertise and expense. Thus, it becomes mandatory to get the process contracted out. This requires substantial initial investment – to the tune of lakhs for a single platform native application – and then additional maintenance charges for web hosting and regularly updating information. Moreover, since app development is a very tedious process, one often has to compromise with the design and styling that the app development company executes.

This is gradually making the DIY (Do It Yourself) app development platforms more alluring to aspiring small and medium businesses across India. Such platforms equip a business with a range of functionalities through which the user can build his/her white label application. The business, irrespective of its size, can design an application at a cost-effective price point along with a user-friendly interface. These solutions feature smooth and adaptive native UI with intuitive design and can be aligned with third-party platforms via APIs, integrated with Google Maps, have customised widgets and can also feature dynamic inventory management – which gives a business higher control and insight into its inventory.

These mobile apps can be used for a variety of purposes. This includes shopping, content-centric applications, as well as for wide-ranging enterprise-based functions. Another critical aspect that such apps feature is that they have low data usage along with the ability to perform offline tasks. This becomes pivotal as multiple users, despite their affinity to a platform, are known to discontinue its services if it consumes substantial data or storage space. Such PaaS-based platforms also lend a helping hand by providing expert assistance for the user while creating the application. It relieves a business professional from needless worries while making the required transformation on to mobile.

Leading app development platforms provide auto-updates for iOS and Android, utilities, marketing tools, social media APIs, secure cloud hosting and backup for the application, and app testing for multiple device formats. Adding to the comfort of the user, they also provide app marketing and ASO consultations absolutely free of charge. In addition, the platforms give tested Google indexed apps for smartphones, phablets, tablets, iPads, and iPad Minis.

Given their immense potential, such applications are not constrained to the business-specific functions. Rather, they are experiencing industry-wide deployment. So has been observed in the case of Dr. H. S. Rawat, who is a celebrated astrologer hailed as the first to teach astrology through television. Dr. Rawat has imparted astrological acumen to more than 10 thousand disciples across the globe and has over 5 million predictions on his name till date – all of them have turned out to be accurate. Being a forward-looking astrologer, he sensed the power of digital devices with regards to effective reach and connectivity that they offer. Despite wanting to make the transition three to four years ago, he could not do so given his tight schedule and the intricacy of the process. It was only when he came to know about a multiple award-winning DIY app development platform based out of India that he finally made the transition.

Through the application, his patrons can book appointments, get vastu suggestions as well as remedies, know about muhurats, latest events and their horoscopes, and even gain insight into the courses offered by his institute. The app has been pivotal for Dr. Rawat in connecting with his followers across the globe. Similar examples are actively coming to the surface. Take, for instance, a fitness centre in Delhi that was able to break through the clutter via a native application for gym enthusiasts. The app enables the local gym to showcase its packages, intensify brand presence, send personalised push notifications to clients, and run a loyalty program.

Such DIY platforms are opening new avenues for budding businesses and professionals as they neither have to worry about technical aspects, nor the initial capital requirement. All they have to do is choose a theme, add relevant content, and customise the app as per their wish through WSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) application editor. Such platforms are facilitating smoother mobile transitions for aspiring businesses – thus, enabling them to give a fillip to their business in unprecedented ways.

(The author is Founder & MD of Instappy, a built for success cloud-based DIY platform)

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