The Perfect Components To Building A Popular App


There are over 500,000 apps for your iPhone or Android! These apps encompass everything, from helping you track your stocks, to tuning your favorite instrument.

But not every app is downloaded. What accounts for the huge void between “must have” apps and apps below 1,000 downloads? … As demonstrated by furniture retail giant IKEA, it’s the ability to utilize the unique features of your smart handheld device. Such features include voice recognition, GPS, camera, and more.

IKEA’s Introduction

When IKEA first unveiled their iPhone app, it was little more than a digital copy of their catalogue. In essence, the app offered no unique services, and offered no real incentives for customers to download it.

IKEA was faced with a challenge that all furniture retailers wishing to make a splash in the app market faced: How to create a relevant app that people would download?

In 2010, mobile marketing agency Mobile Dream Factory answered that question. The app was to use a unique feature of the smartphone (the camera) to offer customers an exclusive service.

“Augmented reality” soon became a huge hit, a service in which customers could use their iPhone cameras to view how IKEA furniture would look in any room of their house before buying it.

In the first week after the app’s release, it sky-rocketed to become the second most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store, and the number-one most downloaded app in many European countries!

Creating Value for the User – How to Spread your Resources

While the app has received great reviews, what it cannot do for IKEA is alter customer perceptions of their flat-pack, economy furniture. While hundreds of thousands of downloads has helped build brand loyalty and, of course, generate sales, many online furniture retailers have chosen to allocate their recourses differently.

While the distinction is clear between “must have” and “don’t care” apps, and companies know what they have to do to successfully enter the app market, apps may still not be for everyone. Online Amish furniture and corner hutch retailer DutchCrafters, for one, has chosen to allocate their recourses towards a telephone service in which customers can call to speak with furniture specialists for design tips and furniture customization.

Like IKEA’s augmented reality app, DutchCrafters unique service has received great reviews, and DutchCrafter’s associates are satisfied with the direction they are moving.

Whichever way your company may choose to go, one thing is for sure: use a unique feature and offer an exclusive service … and your app will be downloaded.

Guest post brought to you by James, who loves talking anything technology and enjoys building amish furniture in his spare time.

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1 Comment

  1. Excellent piece, James.

    While we never could compete with Ikea’s resources, we’ve discovered that — on a much tinier scale — what people like about our iPhone camera app, PhotoVoice, is not that it “augments reality” but that it enables them to “personalize reality” before sharing it with the world.

    Again, nice article.

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