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How Product Iteration and Innovation Is Key for a Financially Successful App Coca-Cola created its famous beverage recipe in 1886, and it has remained nearly unchanged for over 135 years. This consistency is the antithesis of modern app development. It doesn’t matter...

By Deanna Ritchie

This story originally appeared on Due

Coca-Cola created its famous beverage recipe in 1886, and it has remained nearly unchanged for over 135 years. This consistency is the antithesis of modern app development. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a software application designed to help with business administration, time management, or travel. If you want an app to be financially successful, you have to embrace a continuous cycle of iteration and innovation.

Endless product development and improvement play crucial roles in ensuring that an app remains effective, successful, and profitable. Let’s examine several aspects of the app innovation and iteration process and consider how each one contributes to sustainable app success.

1. Embracing agile development maintains relevance

Agile development refers to software engineering disciplines, such as rapid prototyping and continuous integration, designed to create software quickly. It emphasizes ongoing iterative development cycles and can play a key role in refining the customer experience and keeping an application relevant for end users.

Business coach Robin Waite points out that relevance is a critical aspect of any business success. “If you are not relevant, then it is likely that your customers will shift their attention and loyalty towards other companies,” he says, clarifying, “If this happens, then there’s a good chance they won’t come back to you, which can be detrimental for your company.”

Waite adds that irrelevance goes beyond missed opportunities. It can lead to a negative perception of your brand.

While certain marketing tactics can help maintain business relevance, nothing beats a quality product. A top-shelf product naturally enhances customer experiences and boosts loyalty, leading to better retention.

The challenge is keeping your app high-quality. This requires an investment in keeping up with technological change as software evolves and technology advances (more on the role of artificial intelligence in regard to app viability in a minute). Constant iterations and innovative additions to an app ensure that it remains a top option that can deliver a targeted, impactful customer experience.

If you want your app to remain financially viable, keep it updated and regularly add enhancements that maintain relevance in the eyes of consumers. If your users feel your app is meeting their current needs, it will improve satisfaction and retention—both of which are critical to a financially successful app.

2. Integrating user feedback preserves customer-centricity

Everyone knows the old adage that “the customer is always right.” But implementing this concept in the real world is much easier said than done.

Embracing an interactive and innovative mindset makes it easier for development teams to keep their finger on the pulse of what their customers need. It emphasizes the need to create feedback loops and validates the effort required to properly request, organize, and implement feedback.

In the app world, this need for feedback is particularly important, as many apps serve niche audiences. MacroFactor, for example, is a macro tracking app designed to help users track the foods they eat and reach their body composition goals. If a user enters their daily weight and calorie intake, the app can adapt to the user’s metabolism and personalize their nutrition targets..

In essence, MacroFactor emphasizes the details, zooming in on its users’ unique needs—which makes feedback critical in ensuring that it is meeting those needs. The app’s team collects feedback from active users via Facebook and Reddit communities where tens of thousands of users communicate. As these like-minded online communities discuss their fitness goals and how MacroFactor’s app helps meet them, constructive feedback is collected and vetted in a live roadmap.

This is housed right on the company’s site, where innovative and iterative improvements are organized into “Under Consideration,” “Planned,” “Won’t Do,” and “Released” updates. Each option includes a list of customer feedback messages related to that upgrade. By taking customer feedback seriously, MacroFactor is able to perpetually align its product with customer needs.

Consider your own app. What are the consumer pain points that you’re addressing? Do they still align with your target audience’s needs? Do you need to create environments where you can discover the answers to those questions? Remember to always ask for feedback and then look for ways to act on that information in new ways that benefit your customers.

3. Healthy iteration opens the doors to AI

The modern world is always evolving, and the tech sector is at the heart of that evolution. Every application lives in that rapidly changing world, and it’s important to realize the critical role that iteration and innovation can play in keeping up with that change.

The poster child for this concept is AI. In late 2022, ChatGPT revolutionized artificial intelligence (which has been around for decades). It introduced an accessible form of data-driven machine learning that utilizes natural language processing and neural networks that mimic human activity and interactions.

Since then, companies have sought to find new ways to integrate AI into their existing applications—but the answer isn’t always obvious. Automation software brand Make points out that the number of use cases for AI integrations into existing apps grows every day. AI can help with everything from sales calls to personalized recommendations to customer support, fraud detection, and email responses.

These advancements, when implemented thoughtfully and carefully, can have a major impact on the customer experience. They can also help reduce costs by executing core functions at scale as an app’s user base grows.

However, integrating these enhancements isn’t straightforward. Teams must invest in discovering the best use of AI in their applications. From there, they need to find ways to either work the solutions into their existing code or use third-party platforms to help with the integration.

Apply this thinking to your own app. What activities are sapping your team’s time or resources? Which of these functions can you outsource to AI? By discovering these opportunities, you can streamline your app and ensure that it remains financially successful.

4. Market research sharpens competitive edge

One key way to improve any product is to conduct market research. This is often seen as an initial step—and that’s true. You always want to evaluate both customer needs and competitive products before creating your own. What many business owners and app developers fail to consider is the ongoing need to analyze competition with iteration and innovation in mind for their existing applications.

The entrepreneurial finance brand BDC points out that market research can have a positive impact on your product evolution in multiple ways. Understanding things like key competitor behavior and product features can reveal new opportunities. This can inform your innovative process as you consider what other brands are doing to capture more market share.

You can also use your market research to identify core differences between your app and a competitor’s. You can then use that information to influence each iterative cycle. This ensures that the most important differentiating factors remain in the spotlight.

When was the last time you invested in market research surrounding your app? Do you know what competing software is like and which of their features customers gravitate toward? Informing your iterative and innovative process through market research helps you stand out in a crowded market. It allows you to identify unique features or services that can attract and retain more app users over time.

5. Endless improvement creates better monetization strategies

You can’t capitalize on a money-making app without implementing monetization elements in the first place. This may go without saying, and if you already have a financially successful app, you have some form of monetization in place. However, it’s important to realize that monetization strategy is another critical element that benefits from ongoing app development.

When you develop new features for your app, it can lead to new monetization opportunities. In-app purchases are an obvious example. Gating new app content behind a paywall is a great way to set up new income streams.

You can also set up subscription options. This service-oriented approach allows consumers to download the app. But, it restricts the key benefits until they agree to a recurring fee. Google AdMob also recommends the “free and paid app versions model” of app monetization. Similar to subscriptions, this encourages new users to try the app while limiting key features and upselling to unlock the full (read: more robust, updated, and relevant) version.

If you already have a profitable app, nice job! Don’t rest on your past achievements, though. As you continue to invest in new iterations and innovative additions to your software, consider how you can monetize these elements. How can you position each improvement in a way that encourages users to pay for it as part of the ongoing benefit of using a continuously improved application?

Maintaining a Financially Successful App

Apps are the future. There were nearly 2.5 million apps available in the Google Play store in 2023. And, every year presents a new selection of interesting ways to apply app technology.

It doesn’t matter if your app helps professionals perform or improves individual lifestyles. If you have an app, you need to invest in continually improving the experience it offers. This keeps your app relevant, effective, and, above all, financially successful.

The post How Product Iteration and Innovation Is Key for a Financially Successful App appeared first on Due.

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