Smartphone technology, largely due to the overwhelming success of Apple’s iPhone has created a remarkable opportunity for business owners and customers to connect to the web and the world in new ways. As you may have noticed by the influx of iPhone commercials, there’s an app for just about everything on the iPhone. With this new technology comes a new opportunity to reach out to your customers and potential customers. Custom Application Development allows you to turn your iPhone app idea into a reality. Let’s take a quick look at how one forward thinking company is doing so profitably.

As an example, let’s take a look at gourmet grocer, Whole Foods, who has a great (and free) iPhone app. Now you may be thinking, “yeah, but if it’s free, and it cost them money to get it developed, how is it profitable?” Good question, let me explain.
What Whole Foods has done is create a robust, user friendly app that give the user a TON of great recipes and cooking ideas based on a bunch of different categories including “Course” (Brunch, Snacks, Beverages, Main Dishes and more), “Category” (Entertaining, Budget, Family Friendly,etc) and Special Diet (High Fiber, Low Fat, Gluten Free, etc). You can target exactly the type of meal you are searching for in seconds. For example my search for “Vegetarian,Entertaining, Appetizers” yielded recipes for Homemade Hummus, Tomato Bruschetta Spread, Roasted Peppers with Marinated Feta and Greek Olives and on and on. I’m getting hungry just looking at some of these pictures.

And that’s exactly what they want. You see, they don’t just offer all these great recipes, they tell you exactly where to find the ingredients in their grocery stores! Now you can see how this could be profitable. People who already shop at Whole Foods will be more likely to buy more items as they experiment with these recipes, and people who have never shopped here will be more likely to come in, knowing that they can easily locate all of the items they need for their new recipe under one roof. Brilliant!
I think you can see the impact a simple app can have on a business. And it doesn’t just apply to iPhone users. Smartphones are everywhere, and with Google’s Droid on Verizon, the competition for better and cheaper smartphones will make it even more important to have visibility in the mobile marketplace. Now take a look at your business. How can you extend your reach through a free or even paid application? How can you harness the power of this evolving marketplace, step in front of your market, and provide a service that your clients/customers may not even be anticipating? This is a provocative question which deserves your attention.

Creating a custom application can extend your reach and influence well beyond your current market, and has the power to grow virally without much promotion. It can become another tool in your ever growing arsenal of marketing and communication firepower.
What are you doing to step up your game?