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Would having an app help your business survive COVID?

By Naomi Worden 14th September 2020

2020 has been a tough year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, however imagine if this had happened 20 years ago – it would have been a whole lot tougher without the use of today’s technology and specifically apps to help us conduct our lives remotely and allow businesses to operate in a COVID-secure way.

In the past, an app may not have been viewed as an essential business investment, particularly by smaller businesses but whilst we are amidst the pandemic, this investment is becoming more business critical to allow businesses to operate in a COVID-secure way, helping to keep both their staff and customers safe and secure their future survival.

Face-to-face business such as those in the travel and hospitality industries have had to react quickly to new regulations once the lockdown rules were eased to ensure they are able to operate in a way that meets current regulations. The use of apps has helped them achieve this by allowing services such as ordering from your table, pre-ordering food for collection (using location services on your device to find your nearest branch for multi-site establishments) as well as assisting with track and trace.

More businesses are investigating ways they are able to become paperless and contactless, using apps to help with this. Delivery companies who would have collected signatures on a touchpad are now taking photos of the parcel at the delivery address with the person receiving the item and uploading them as proof of delivery. This is functionality SimpleClick have incorporated into an app currently in development for a haulage company.

Supermarket shopping apps have helped those who may be new to online food shopping to complete orders by providing easy-to-use apps, giving users a sense of security in that they always work in the same predictable way. I know my grandparents have used such apps on their tablets out of necessity during lockdown, something they would have been unlikely to do under normal circumstances.

Businesses operating from offices have had to support remote working by staff, assisted by apps such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams allowing colleagues to keep in touch with other and client meetings to continue to go ahead. How many businesses will reduce the number of face-to-face onsite meetings after the pandemic? It would certainly be kinder to the environment if there was less travel.

Mobile app development for Fred Olsen Cruise linesAlthough businesses have been forced to evolve and overcome challenges as a result of the pandemic, prior to this, businesses were already using apps to enhance the customer experience and deliver a more efficient service. And this isn’t just restricted to large national or multi-national companies; even smaller companies have been making use of apps to improve the guest experience. A small resort hotel I stayed in last year pre-pandemic had their own app with access provided to guests currently staying at the hotel. The app allowed us to make reservations for where to eat in the evening, request items for our mini bar and see the daily activities and opening times of the various on-site-services. This also allowed the reception team to make contact with guests as and when needed, or allow guests to report any issues quickly and easily, without the need for repeated calls or visits to the guest services/reception team. It worked really well and meant we could concentrate on relaxing! I imagine even more hotels and resorts will be exploring similar functionality now.

Have you thought about how your business could use an app to your own advantage? If you have an existing app, does it reassure your customers that you are helping to keep them safe when engaging with your business? How does your app help them complete these engagements quickly and easily?

We work with a number of businesses who are currently exploring ways of overcoming the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic so if you would like help and advice with an app project, feel free to contact us - we have an experienced team of project managers and developers who can deliver bespoke apps for businesses, including white-label apps