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Sometimes, you just have a technology moment. I was using the Open Table app on my smartphone recently to check wait times at local restaurants when the technology moment struck. This tiny device in my hand fascinated me – it connected me to the entire world with a tap on its touch screen. It provided a remote portal to other digital technologies, things like schedulers, interactive payment kiosks, digital directories, and way-finding resources, right at my fingertips.

Apps as Necessities, Not Luxuries
The reason my technology moment was so powerful is because I usually just take the connection for granted. Following along with the ideas of omni-channel networks, apps build the experience around the user and make things intuitive and effortless. So we’ve gotten spoiled to the unlimited digital world at our fingertips. Unless we’re having a technology moment, we just expect to use our phones in this way. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Mobile Apps for Smart Marketing
Modern marketers are tapping into this mindset and are providing a sense of digital convenience and connection for customers through apps. Here are a few interactive, self-service apps that I think are awesome:

  • Travelocity: search and book hotels and flights, while accessing additional savings and app-only deals
  • My Disney Experience: schedule experiences, save places in line, and make changes on the go (also connects with interactive kiosks in hotels and parks)
  • Evernote: store notes, images, urls, tasks lists on in one place
  • Starbucks: consolidate gift cards and make purchases using the virtual gift card

Beyond the App Store – Apps Within Your Business
Not every awesome app is available for public purchase…in fact, many of the best apps out there never reach the public eye. Forward-thinking professionals in industries like retail and sales will commission custom mobile apps to help their businesses run more smoothly. These apps incorporate intuitive design and location freedom to connect managers and employees, which ultimately makes for a more profitable business experience.

Some uses of inter-business mobile apps include:

  • monitoring staff utilization
  • managing loss prevention
  • monitoring stock
  • assisting in merchandising
  • gathering/organizing customer insight
  • establishing a secure link to senior management
  • providing snap shots of sales and profitability by department, by person, day by day, even hour by hour

What mobile apps do you find most useful? What companies are using apps in creative and effective ways?

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