Let’s talk about refrigerator magnets. I’m in the kitchen considering my sad spread of questionable leftovers when I notice the phone number for Thai delivery on the freezer door right before me. Done.
Now let’s talk about bookmarks. Like many, I get my news online, and once I found a couple sites I trusted, I bookmarked them and the pursuit was over. Whenever I’m looking for the latest, I’m there in two clicks.
Convenience may seem like the obvious driver here, but I think it’s much bigger than that. I like to have “my” things. “My” delivery place, “my” news, “my” coffee shop. Apps satisfy that same innate desire for the routine and reliable. People used to fill up their address books with their go-to spots; now they download their apps. It’s the same concept as the good ol’ refrigerator magnet, but with much better real estate. I spend more time than I’m willing to admit hovering in front of the fridge, but not nearly as much as I spend on my phone.
Small businesses have begun to pick up on the trend. The early adopters were restaurants, gyms, and other industries with an obvious reason to buy in: immediate return on investment with minimal effort. Now scores of industries have jumped on board, and the question is no longer, “Can I make money from a mobile app?” but “How do I get mine?”
Recently, we’ve seen a huge spike in apps for golf courses, hotels, politicians, plumbers… you name it, and someone has an app for it. Small businesses that didn’t have an obvious need for an app before certainly have one now: the competition already launched theirs.
As the demand has increased, so have the capabilities. Apps aren’t just the ordering tools they used to be. Now you can promote your favorite charity, post a question about a clogged toilet, watch your candidate’s latest speech, and send an absence note to your kid’s school all while scoring your golf game from your phone. Joking, eyes on the green.
But really, that’s not too far from the truth. We all have our “my” places and the magnets and bookmarks to prove it, but our phone screens have become the main pinboards for these favorites as we mobilize our lives. It’s just about adding your pin.