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Mobile apps are becoming a necessity for many small ventures. More and more people are shopping online using smartphones and tablets. While mobile responsive sites can retain these customers, an app can increase sales among returning customers. Developing an app can be a confusing process mostly because the field is still rather new. So, if your company is thinking about developing its first app, here are several useful tips to follow:

Find an Ace App Developer

Most small companies need to outsource app development. It can be expensive to hire employees with the necessary skills in house. Also, a good app developer is experienced. Therefore, the only choice for most small businesses is to hire an app developer from a third-party agency. You should carefully spend time choosing a good developer. Check out the potential hire’s past work, online resume and reputation. You should discuss the project in advance with the developer to make sure both parties can follow the same timetable and stay on the same page. Once you have chosen the right app developer, you can proceed onto actually building the app.

Set a Budget and Discuss Features

You will have to set a budget for what the developer can do to keep costs from escalating. More importantly, you need to discuss purpose, design and interactivity of the app with the developer in detail. How you are planning to use the app should matter in the design. For example, do you hope the app to be an extension of an online store or do you want it as a social platform for customers to engage in? Expectations and goals should be set out before the development stage commences.

Keep in Touch with the Developer

During the development process, always keep in touch with the developer to make sure the project is on the correct course. You can ask the developer to send samples of what’s complete so far. Once a phase is complete, you should request a beta version to test the app and see whether you are getting what you paid for.

Test the App

Once the app is built completely, it’s time to beta test. You can hire beta testers, or better yet, get friends, family or colleagues to test the app. Ideally, you should ask customers to test it. But, you won’t be able to put it up on an Android or Apple store without approval first. So, the initial testing state will have to be conducted by you and the employees.

Get the App Approved

Once the testing is done in a satisfactory manner, you should get the app approved by the Google Play and Apple App stores. Both stores have submission guidelines the app should follow. For example, to sell the app on Apple App Store, your app must meet the Human Interface Guidelines and the App Store Review Guidelines at least. Android has a launch checklist to follow.

Once the app is approved, you can distribute it in the app stores. It’s wise to make the first version a beta version so customers can send in performance reports without giving your company a negative review. There may be many fixes to get done during this stage. As soon as your app completes this consumer beta testing stage, you can start promoting it genuinely and vigorously on your website and app marketplaces.

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