Is a Chamber of Commerce app necessary? If your goal is to gain more members and help community members build awareness for their business then the answer would be yes a Chamber of Commerce app is necessary. Although there are many benefits to an app, keep in mind it does require a decent amount of money to develop and maintain. Local businesses will have a great local platform to advertise and market themselves and the community will find it easy to locate a service or product that they need. It can also provide many other tools for local businesses while they are on-the-go. What features should a Chamber of Commerce app have? The key component of the app must be about helping local businesses. All the functions and features of the app must make it easy for all users to create, manage, promote, and communicate. The user experience and design is very important for every app and must be taken seriously. 1. Business sign up which would include asking for the following information • Name • Phone number • Business Address • Business logo • Business type (plumbing, roofing, salon, etc) • Company description and/or marketing tag line 2. Add, edit, and delete options. The businesses and Chamber of Commerce should have the ability to not only add but change and remove a locally registered business. 3. The dashboard page would have a list of all the businesses in alphabetical order that the user can browse through. It could list everything the company filled out during sign up except for the description. The only additional piece would be a communication icon such as a call button. 4. The full business details page would have a more detailed description of the business. Once a user taps on the business from the list they would come here. They would see everything including a full description like how long they have been in business, more information about the services they offer, and more. There could also be more communication icons if needed. 5. The categories list would allow users to find a business based on a particular category. A business can attach these categories to their business. They can choose multiple if it fits. For example, a paving company may also have a team that does roofing. 6. The events page will show a list of local events which can be listed by date or by location. 7. An advanced search would allow users to not just type in a category that they are looking for but also search based on their location, a phone number, address, and a name. They can even filter by things such as price. 8. A list of favorites provides users the ability to save a business they like and would prefer to use again in the future or just to save for later use. A user simply needs to tap on the favorite icon within the business preview details to save it. 9. A list of local deals for which businesses who have specials, discounts, and/or loyalty programs can be listed here. This is a key feature to help people join and use the app if they are able to get discounts on a particular service. 10. A detailed backend is needed to manage the Chamber of Commerce app. It would include managing all businesses and their details, the ads, and plans. Full analytics are also needed to provide reports of all the users. How can the Chamber of Commerce app be easy to use? Everything should be 1-click options. From the businesses list on the dashboard, each business should have a call button the user can just click and it calls. Directions would also be the same way. Users always want a quick and easy way to get in touch with the business as well as find out how to get there. The user experience is very important to keep users coming back and using the app. The quicker and easier it is, the more they will use it. How will this benefit the Chamber of Commerce? App development costs, as well as, the cost of app maintenance can seem a little scary at first. There are different methods to use when trying to market your app to earn your money back as well as additional revenue. Plus it just means more exposure as well as finding more people to be members. 1. Offer plans Any business who wishes to be listed should be able to for a fee. There can be a basic plan which simply allows them to be listed with the general details mentioned for sign up. This should the most affordable option and could be called the bronze plan. For example, they pay $5 a month just to be listed. The next tier which could be called the gold plan would be more expensive but they could be listed as a featured business at the top of the list ensuring users see that business first. This should be significantly more than the bronze plan. It could be $50 a day to be listed or charge by monthly increments of anywhere between $1,500 to $2,500. The final most expensive tier could be called the platinum plan for which they would not only be featured but also be allowed to add more details such as images and videos. Storing videos and images can be costly so the cost of this should be somewhere around $4,000 a month. These are example amounts but remember you can’t have everyone be a featured business so there has to be a significant price difference. 2. Ad banners You can have an area in your app which shows ad banners which any business can use to advertise throughout the app. This can be done along with the first option or solo allowing for businesses to post completely free in the app, and just pay to have their ad shown as a banner instead of a featured list. 3. Chamber exposure The Chamber of Commerce app is a huge incentive to receive exposure. Potential members can easily find and use the app. This can increase the number of members you have earning you more revenue through the channels mentioned earlier. It doesn’t even have to just be residents but also tourists as well. 4. Get more members Through exposure, you will see more members join the Chamber. They will find you easier on their mobile device and add their business to the listing or find a business that can then turn them into actual Chamber of Commerce members. How does a Chamber of Commerce app help the members? 1. Increased exposure Many searches are now done on a mobile device versus a website on the computer. To make sure you can properly be found, businesses would also receive a great deal of exposure which could increase their customer base. 2. Higher searchability The app provides an easy way for people to find local businesses as well. It’s not just a mobile-friendly version of your website but also an actual listing where more people are likely to search. People won’t be searching for your business name unless they already know you. 3. Stay connected Having an app provides a way for members to feel more connected to their chamber and to always be on top of any information they need to know. Imagine having 1,000,000 chamber members added all because some time and money went into creating a Chamber of Commerce app. Many members have created their own individual apps but this will become a unique concentrated effort to organize together for the benefit of all. If you are ready to get your app in the Android and iOS market then contact SDI at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rob LaPointe at 408.802.2885 for more information about app development.