16 Business Types And Functions That Need A Mobile App To Be Competitive

“Click here to download our mobile app”—or similar phrasing—is a suggestion consumers see more and more often these days on company websites and in marketing emails. With more and more of us opting to conduct our online business on mobile devices, it’s not surprising that so many companies are developing dedicated mobile apps and are eager to promote them.

In fact, tech experts say that there are many industries and business functions that absolutely should have a mobile app not only to be competitive but also (and more importantly) to provide better, faster and more accessible service. Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council share the industries and business functions that definitely need a mobile app, and why.


1. Event Venues

Large public venues such as convention centers, stadiums, arenas, and concert and festival locations need an app that supports vehicles, vendors, visitors, freight and resources as they navigate in and out of these facilities. The complexity of constant movement requires a single integrated software that serves a variety of departments (such as security, operations, logistics and human resources). - Bill Edwards, Building Intelligence


2. E-Commerce

With a significant percentage of e-commerce sales made through mobile devices, e-commerce sites should have an app that facilitates this or at least a mobile-friendly website layout. This strategy builds customer loyalty and stickiness as it optimizes the convenience of the shopping experience. SMS also keeps communication simple, in one place and measurable for merchants. - Zohar GiladFast Simon Inc.


3. Financial Services

Financial services—specifically, consumer-facing services such as banking—need mobile apps to meet people where they are in their daily lives, and that starts with accessibility. As the financial services industry works toward democratization and meeting the needs of the underserved, having a mobile app is critical to place inclusive services in the hands of everyday people. - Linda Brooks, Atlanticus


4. Field Service Management

In the field service management industry, employees are on the move every single day, and many solutions are still primarily paper-based, often making real-time reporting impossible. Mobile apps enable employees to connect to teams and access information that is vital for jobs to be completed efficiently, not only providing a better customer experience but also helping to manage the rising cost of services. - Jim Darragh, Totalmobile


5. State And Local Government Agencies

State and local agencies could create a more convenient and efficient user experience by adding more mobile apps to their offerings. Imagine completing your school forms, driver’s license renewal form or passport application to be an effortless process that’s accessible right at your fingertips. It would save the public time and frustration and provide a friendlier work environment for the oft-maligned workers in public offices. - Victor Shilo, EastBanc Technologies


6. Customer Service

Customer service agents must not only have a mobile app but must also be mobile-first. The future of work is increasingly deskless. Agents, entrepreneurs and others need to be able to help customers quickly, away from their desk, using tech with a low barrier to entry. Millennials and Gen-Zers, especially, expect to work on the go and will feel frustrated about their work if they can’t serve customers from anywhere. - Adrian McDermott, Zendesk


7. Real Estate

In real estate, mobile apps can push the industry forward. Apps already help consumers find houses nearby, but they could also provide immersive house shopping experiences, letting users virtually walk through a house and even see how their furniture could look. Real estate companies that invest in innovative mobile apps can set themselves apart and redefine the home-buying experience. - Edwin Huertas, Shockoe | Mobile by Design


8. Staffing And Recruiting

Staffing and recruiting agencies need mobile applications because the smartphone is increasingly becoming people’s primary communication tool. Companies lose significant applicant interest when people can’t apply using their mobile device or if the job application process seems like it dates back to 1993. - Michael Beygelman, Claro Analytics


9. Scientific Research

One of the coolest applications of mobile apps I have experienced has been crowdsourcing scientific data, also known as “citizen science.” Science is based on deciphering the workings of systems from large numbers of well-calibrated observations. The rich sensor suites present in a modern mobile device provide an easy method for collecting data. One example is NASA’s Globe Observer app, which invites users to share their photos and observations about the environment, including clouds and land cover. - Tishampati Dhar, Aerometrex LTD.


10. Engineering And Construction

An augmented reality mobile app for engineering and construction would be of great benefit to this sector. The use of lidar and its visual representation on a mobile app would enable engineers and construction workers to visualize a space and develop their work plan. Additional benefits are the observation of real-time occupational and safety risks, the reduction of material waste and improved resource utilization. - Spiros Liolis, Micro Focus


11. Healthcare

Traditionally an in-person business, healthcare is becoming digital. As a physician, your monetary goal is to maximize efficiency and deliver quality health outcomes to as many patients as possible. Telehealth services and automated workflows enable increased patient flow and more informed care. An app to interface between patients and providers is the first step to embracing digitization. - Nicholas Domnisch, EES Health


12. Education

Today, access to nearly everything is one click away. For daily tasks and updates, apps are practical and convenient. Education is one sector that can benefit from this. Apps with simple user interfaces that focus on decreasing redundancy will position educators and students for success as they engage regularly throughout the day. - Madhavi Shankar, SpaceBasic


13. Travel

The travel industry is one that definitely needs a mobile app to be competitive. In an age where people are constantly on the go, it is important for companies in the travel industry to have a mobile app that allows customers to book travel arrangements quickly and easily. - Fabio Moioli, Microsoft


14. Digital Marketing

The influencer marketing and digital marketing industries require a mobile app to let marketers manipulate advertising campaigns on the go. In the modern digital ecosystem, there are billions of transactions happening on an hourly basis. If marketers can only access their campaigns from a computer, it is likely they will miss out on such time-sensitive things as quickly responding to a comment or changing a bid in campaigns they manage. - Aleks Farseev,


15. Farmers Markets

Heading to a local farmers market only to find out that a vendor didn’t show or has run out of an item I’d expected to pick up is a bummer, and that problem is something that technology (and process) could very likely improve. If there is a mobile app for the local farmers market industry, I’ve certainly never heard of it! - Sean Steele, Infolock


16. Every Customer-Facing Business

Every customer-facing business—especially retailers—needs a mobile app. Personal connection and interaction is more important than ever, so being in a customer’s pocket, rather than just on their computer or in their neighborhood, is critical to building experiences that feel individualized and personal. These apps should also include AI-powered product recommendations to up the ante. - Alexandre Robicquet, Crossing Minds