So, you’ve been running a coffee shop for a while now and you’re looking for a creative way of spicing things up and getting yourself a footing in the virtual world. Ever thought of having a dedicated mobile app for your café or your business?
Many seldom do.
At least that’s a belief that the co-founders, Maverick Ling and Eric Goh, of 57square hold when it comes to a small and medium-sized businesses’ (SME) eagerness to journey into the virtual space. They feel that many SMEs under-utilise both the power of the web and mobile — despite seeing their customers walk into their stores with smartphones in their hands.
And to tackle the issue of how SMEs interact with their customers through mobile technology, the co-founders embarked on their own journey of creating 57square.
57square is a simple platform equipped with more than 30 powerful features that helps SMEs to create their own mobile apps within a short period of 10 days — without any coding.
I was initially skeptical of the platform because it sounded too good to be true, among other reasons, so I was keen on meeting both the founders at the Vulcan Post office to discuss about 57square.com at length.
57square.com is entirely a drag-and-drop platform that’s accessible online which you can use to create a simple mobile app. There are a number of features available on the platform, some of them include features that link the app to your Facebook page. The platform has an array of templates that could get you off the ground at great speed and you can mess around with the layout and the appearance of the app according to your liking.
The platform allows you to add locations, video content, check out analytics related to the usage of the app, and even schedule and send push notifications to your customers.
The platform comes with a ‘Preview’ feature as well whereby you can download the app that you’ve made onto your smartphone and any changes that you make on the platform are instantly updated in the preview app through the power of the cloud. You could check out the platform’s features here.
This gives you some level of insight when you’re designing an app for your business.
You can create multiple apps using the platform and the options provided on their platform allow you to create unique identities for each of your apps. Once you’ve create an app using the platform, you don’t have to worry about submitting it to the App Store or the Play Store as all of that will be handled by 57square behind-the-scene. And within a period of 10 days or so, your app will be live. All you need to worry about when using the platform is obviously your subscription and the appearance of the app.
57square.com has been operational since 2014 and most of the apps that have been created by the platform tend to be content-oriented apps. Most of the apps produced on this platform are used by SMEs to display all of their products or their services. Currently 57square.com operates on a subscription model, and users can create an app for as low as RM99 per month. Each subscription package has its own quirks that may prove beneficial to you depending on your requirements.
If you’re a business and you’re interested in using the platform to develop a mobile app but you require one with additional and complex functionalities, you can get in touch with the team at 57square who also develop apps based on specific requirements from firms.
Given that their niche (for now) is SMEs like cafés or boutiques that would like to have a mobile app —although it’s not a necessity— the platform is an ideal way of creating value for your customers. Currently, you’re not given access to the source code of your app when you use the platform, so if you’re interested in hiring programmers at a later stage to improve the app, then this platform is not for you.
If having a mobile app is crucial for your startup or your business operations, you could do one of two things: you could work with team at 57square to develop a custom app that would suit your business needs or you could spend a decent amount of money getting an app or a website that you could develop in-house at a later stage.
Regardless of the avenue you use to get your firm an app or a website, do put a great deal of thought in the way it looks, feels and behaves as that will be the first thing that consumers are going to use in the virtual world to gauge the quality of your business.