A new generation of niche applications is boosting efficiency and productivity for companies, large and small. The effort to find an app that meets the specific needs of your business could be a significant shot in the arm as we head into economic uncertainty.
According to a recent Business of Apps report, users completed over 100 billion app downloads in 2021, mainly from the Apple App Store and Google Play. To help keep that number in perspective, the entire world population recently crossed the 8 billion mark. And, of course, not everyone in the world carries a smartphone. It just feels that way at times.
That sounds like a lot, and it is. However, Business of Apps expects total download volumes to double by 2025 to more than 200 billion. Not all these downloads are attributable to popular apps you’ve probably heard of already. Instead, an increasing number of app downloads are answering business needs many of us didn’t know existed.
An app to meet every conceivable need?
With more than 3 million apps in the Google Play marketplace and approximately 1.5 million in the App store as of Q2 2022, this activity covers every conceivable type of app for just about every possible use case. The emergence of narrow niche apps that serve particular customers and use cases is driving much of this.
Niche applications aren’t aiming for millions of downloads and don’t need widespread exposure. Developers design them to solve problems for loyal users. They’re unlikely to appear in popular publications. This effort’s upside is potentially huge.
Despite low uptake on an individual level, niche applications collectively transform how work gets done. As a result, companies looking to sustain or boost profitability in the face of economic uncertainty are fueling development.
New and emerging niche applications are boosting efficiency and productivity.
Each niche app solves a specific problem or set of issues for business users in particular industries. They’re less expensive than organization-wide tech initiatives (though companies often use them in concert with those) and more user-friendly than clunky legacy business software.
The need to sustain profitability has become an issue of global concern. War, worldwide civil unrest, and rising interest rates threaten narrow margins and thin payrolls. Meanwhile, businesses are increasingly working on getting as much accomplished with as little waste as possible. Maximizing resources and efficiency is where niche apps can help fill the gap and keep various industries humming. Let’s look at how six, in particular, are changing the game.
1. Zelus WBGT
The Zelus WBGT app is a niche application that provides hyperlocal, real-time wet-bulb globe temperature information for virtually anywhere in the world. Using weather data points, including air temperature, humidity, solar irradiance, wind, and several others, Zelus can resolve outdoor WBGT to a less-than-2.5-kilometer radius.
Knowing WBGT is helpful in various situations, including for individuals who simply want to know how uncomfortable it’ll be when they step outside.
However, Zelus’s core use case is in the sporting world. Its developers designed it to help coaches, managers, and players find the line between “uncomfortable” and “dangerous” and adjust practice and match activity accordingly. The need for this niche app is immediately apparent, given recent headlines about player exhaustion and even death. It represents a significant advancement for player safety and risk management on and off the pitch.
2. My bpost
The My bpost app is a must-have for any business that packs, ships or delivers parcels in the European Union.
It is designed for Belgium-based shippers and offers real-time tracking and package management for other primary European parcel services, including PostNL and DHL. Additionally, it includes vital value-added capabilities for shipping businesses, including shipping label creation and printing, import/export duty payments, and remote Parcel Locker opening.
While My bpost doesn’t feel revolutionary, its comprehensiveness, flexibility, and user-friendliness mark a significant improvement over older-generation logistics apps. For European Union business owners desiring to keep customers happy, My bpost fulfills a need to provide accurate and updated information in a timely fashion.
3. Amazon Seller
If you sell goods online, you’ve undoubtedly wondered whether it’s worth the effort to sell on Amazon. You know it’s possible to boost your Amazon sales, but you’re worried about spending too much on sponsored listings and margin-destroying discounts. Given the online retailer’s clout, managing the effects of its requirements can seem daunting to many.
Although it offers no guarantees, the Amazon Seller app puts you in the best possible position to succeed as a new (or established) seller on the Western Hemisphere’s most popular online marketplace. Simplifying the creation and management of Amazon listings reduces the cost per sale and can help streamline multichannel digital retail operations.
Use it effectively, and your Amazon revenue could scale to the point that those other channels are no longer necessary. Your effort to customize your online sales to Amazon’s specifications could open up previously-untapped potential.
Joist is an all-in-one app for building contractors and trade services providers. Its key innovation combines features customarily spread across several apps, such as invoicing, bookkeeping, scheduling, asset management, workforce management, and more.
In short, it frees up time for contractors and service providers to spend zeroed in on their area of expertise. Many of these users did not specialize in their niche, so they could return to their office and process reams of paperwork. Fulfilling necessary business functions is often getting in the way of the core mission.
Used effectively, Joist dramatically reduces the labor and resources needed to manage small contracting businesses. As the industry enters a prolonged downturn following artificially inflated demand during the pandemic’s low-interest rate regime, Joist may help its users trim support staff and streamline operations without impacting service quality. Alternatively, it might enable support staff to move more deeply into their desired place in that trade.
Farmable is a farm management app for orchard and vineyard operators. It’s among the most promising examples of emerging mobile “agtech” apps that collectively drag the tradition-bound farming industry into the 21st century.
Farmable digitizes field and crop planning. This allows farmers to monitor crop moisture and other field conditions remotely and enables real-time yield reporting. Relevant data is quickly conveyed to all connected employees, allowing them to make informed decisions. And there’s no limit on the number of collaborators on a particular farm. This represents a boon for more extensive operations vulnerable to duplication of effort and internal miscommunication.
Living in a post-pandemic era when food supply chains are an increasing item of attention and concern, Farmable serves a fundamental niche dedicated to maintaining or boosting crop yields and cutting down on waste.
Blinq is a digital business card that users can share inside and outside the app. Two users with Blinq installed can quickly and easily exchange relevant contact info with lightning speed. For recipients without Blinq on their phones, a simple QR code houses the cardholder’s information. Accessing the QR code provides a mobile contact they can collect, edit, and store on their terms.
Blinq is great for rapid-fire networking at conventions, trade shows, mixers, and other in-person events. For businesses considering trimming their attendance at important events, it offers the potential to make the most of every business expo dollar spent.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the value of providing potential clients with a bit of high-tech style along the way. Beyond its efficiency in high-volume, hurried situations, Blinq is novel enough to leave an impression on recipients, at least for now.
Final thought? There’s (almost certainly) an app for that.
Only a select few helpful apps will ever make a big splash on the Apple or Google platforms. These niche applications have particular use cases, often for enterprises in specific industries. They will never be among the most widely downloaded apps in the App Store or Google Play marketplace.
However, their lack of widespread popularity does not mean that business owners should judge their impact merely by the number of downloads. We all aim to maximize the use of our working hours. Just keep in mind that scanning quickly past an app based merely on an unimpressive number of downloads might be a logistical mistake.
These niche apps don’t need those numbers to accomplish their intended purpose. Many of them are already changing the game for their engaged users. Additionally, as they gain traction in an increasingly fragmented mobile software marketplace, they’re assured of gaining converts seeking an edge over their competitors.
Maybe one of the apps on this list is perfect for your business or organization. Or maybe there’s nothing for you here. Even so, niche apps can solve the productivity and profitability problems that keep you up at night. Learning from other use cases in your industry will require some research, no doubt about it. However, the apps your company needs to meet deadlines, boost margins, and open new markets are (more than likely) already out there. You just have to know where to find them.
Featured Image: CottonBro Studio; Pexels.com. Thank you!