Mobile apps—all the cool kids use ’em. These four app builders can help you get in the game.
“There’s an app for that,” the snappy slogan that Apple debuted in 2009 iPhone ads, turned out to be eerily prophetic.
Demand for smartphone and tablet-based apps is at an all-time high, spurring developers to build more creative, diversified apps to meet consumer needs and expectations. According to data marketing firm Statista, more than 100 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store as of June 2015, and mobile app revenues worldwide are predicted to surpass $76.5 billion in 2017.
Shopping apps are among the fastest-growing varieties, according to Statista. And if you’ve been considering creating an app for your store, your timing is perfect.
Creating a proprietary app that features and/or sells your products has never been easier, thanks to a bevy of online app builders that have cropped up in recent years. Most take a modicum of tech savvy to master (if you’re at ease working your social media channels, you’re good to go), but require no knowledge of coding—or any other advanced online skills. Here are four app providers worth checking out:
This user-friendly app erector does a lot of the hard work for you by automatically pulling content off your website into your app. Just enter your website’s URL, upload your store’s logo, choose colors from a palette, and you’re basically open for business. Of course, you’ll want to customize certain elements to optimize your app’s mobile functionality. But this is as no-fuss as app building gets. And App Factory builds for all platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry. (Build-and-host packages start at $99 a year at mippin.com)
This slightly more advanced (and very sleek-looking) builder turns out professional, feature-packed apps. It’s also a good one if you’re employing a designer or developer to help with the build; they can make it fancy, but the system is simple enough for you to manipulate after they’re gone. Like App Factory, it can populate an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone app with existing website content. Or start from the ground up, using precoded “building blocks.” Opt for a basic info-only app, or go jazzier by implementing an online store and services that rope in outside data sources. (Prices for building and hosting an app start at $499 a year at appmachine.com)
Created expressly for small businesses, this app builder (for iOS and Android) boasts hundreds of cool design templates along with features that allow you to send push notifications and integrate GPS, social media sharing, and mobile shopping functionalities. It also pairs beautifully with other popular business-minded platforms such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. (Prices start at $49 for the creation and hosting of an app at biznessapps.com)
This basic app maker boasts helpful videos of a host giving specific directions as you add features and functions to your branded app. Available add-ons include the ability to send push notifications, create high-resolution photo galleries, and send live updates. If you’re building an iPhone app, which must be approved by Apple before being sold in its App Store, you can use AppMakr’s App Quality Index, which tells you how well (or poorly) you’re meeting Apple’s app standards—and why. ($9/month to build and host an app at appmakr.com)
(Photo: Marija Savic/Stocksy)