" If I gave you a disc brake from a 97 Toyota Camry and asked you to sell it, what would you do? "
A few options might pop into your mind immediately such as listing it on Ebay or Gumtree.
However you (or potential buyers) might quickly discover that buying or selling a car part on sites such as these can be quite a hassle. Search filter options are limited, listings are littered with ads, often you must login to view seller contact details and higher preference is given to premium ads. Not to mention some sites will take a cut of your sale…
However one of our clients knew there must be a better way.
Introducing Ben Palmer...
"Most of our clients have one thing in common... an entrepreneurial spirit. And Ben was no different!"
When we first started speaking with Ben, he shared with us his desire to build a simple and easy to use platform that would benefit both buyers and sellers of car parts. Tired of resorting to generic and cumbersome platforms, Ben was confident he could solve the problems listed above and provide car enthusiasts with a single dedicated and easy to use platform to trade car parts.
After extensive research on the idea and discussing it with people within the auto parts industry, Ben was ready to take the next step and build out his platform titled, “MyPartz”.
MyPartz allows users to buy and sell car parts from the convenience of their smartphone.
MyPartz is a native Android/iOS app.
" This is a question that every entrepreneuror business faces... Is it worthwhile for me to pursue this idea? "
In Ben’s case, he had seen the existing solutions for what he was looking to build and frankly... was unimpressed!
The existing solutions:
Another crucial factor that played a large role in Ben going ahead with this idea was his network and understanding of the industry. Ben had connections to wreckers, mechanics and auto body shops… all of whom were interested in using a platform like MyPartz to sell their car parts.
" A solid understanding of the industry you are targeting is CRUCIAL! "
This will dictate how best to market your app, the initial feature set you want to build, the flow of the app (how users move between screens), the kind of data you want to gather on users and much more.
Has this been verified by potential users? Having a strong network with whom you can bounce ideas off and get feedback will be useful.
What are the features you want to build? Make sure these features are in alignment with what your customers actually need not what you THINK they need.
This is an important question which reminds me of the following quote.
" Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? "
" That depends a good deal on where you want to get to "
A profound quote, but what does it have to do with app development?
When deciding between building an app or a website, the decision ultimately comes down to what you are looking to achieve.
So why did Ben decide to implement the MyPartz platform via mobile apps instead of a website?
With a solid initial feature set in place, feedback from potential users obtained via Ben’s network and the decision made to build two native apps (iOS and Android), it was now time to discuss the nitty gritty details
Before moving on to designing the app, we closely discussed the app’s feature set with Ben. Many different ideas were discussed such as:
Should only parts listed by sellers be shown or should a wide range of categories be displayed (even if a part from that category had not been listed on the app by any seller yet).
The flow of the app (how users would navigate through the app), button placement, colours and fonts.
The kind of app usage data Ben would like to have in the web based admin panel.
How to make the process of contacting a seller as simple and painless as possible.
" The team should have a strong desire to better understand the users of the app either through you or via their own research. This will give your app the highest chance of resonating well with your users. "
Another big part of the puzzle was generating revenue from the platform. A few potential ways to achieve this would be:
Taking a small commission on every sale
Charging sellers a fee to list an item
Ultimately Ben decided that he would monetise the platform through in-app advertising.
So the next question was... Do we use an ad network OR do we put on our own ads.
In case you’re wondering what an ad network is, here is a quick overview.
An ad network is a company that connects advertisers with people who want to host advertisements. Using an ad network can make your life a lot easier as you will not have to seek out advertisers yourself.
A manual approach meant that Ben had to personally find advertisers and upload their ads into the app. While the manual approach can involve more work (personally finding businesses interested in advertising in your app), the payoff can also be a lot larger. This is because you have complete control on what ads you want to run and how much you would like to charge the advertisers. As you control the pricing mechanism, you don’t need to pay fees to an ad network - (who doesn’t want more money in their own pocket?!).
After weighing up the options Ben decided on taking the manual approach. This decision primarily stemmed from the fact that Ben had contacts in the industry and connections to companies that would more than likely be interested in advertising in the MyPartz app.
As always, there are pros and cons to each approach but this strategy seems to have paid off for Ben as there are already companies advertising on the MyPartz app.
The app also needed to allow users to get in touch with sellers conveniently. We decided to implement an SMS button that upon clicking would auto-fill a message identifying the buyer and the part he was interested in purchasing. This could be fired off to the seller immediately without the need for any editing
We also used Google Analytics to provide Ben with information on how people were using his app i.e the number of users on the app during a particular time period, the amount of time they were spending on particular screens, what they were searching for and much more!
This would give Ben a stronger understanding of how his app was being used. This data would also be helpful in attracting advertisers to the platform.
" This is arguably the toughest part of the whole process... how do you get in front of your target demographic and THEN make them hungry to use your app? "
Let’s see how Ben tackled each of these issues one by one.
Once you’ve identified your target demographic, you then need to figure out how you are going to reach them. In Ben’s case, he happened to be targeting people like mechanics, wreckers and car enthusiasts.
Utilising all your creative power, take a moment and think about if you were given this assignment, how you might go about it?
He placed a billboard ad at a well-known raceway where everything from go-kart races to drifting events are hosted. Brilliant. What better way to showcase “MyPartz” than to place a large billboard in front of a targeted crowd of car enthusiasts!
Next there is the “MyPartz” Facebook page (which has more than 600 likes already). This page is regularly updated with posts showcasing new listings on the platform. It also has links to interesting articles - all car related.
We also helped Ben build a landing page for the app along with an an animated explainer video. Explainer videos are a great way to succinctly convey what problem your app solves. They are generally 30-90 seconds long, introduce the problem that people are facing and how your app solves it. You can check out the “MyPartz” landing page and explainer video we created for Ben here: www.mypartz.com.au
“Social marketing is now a 24/7 job”. These are the wise words of well known marketer Gary Vaynerchuk. And it looks like Ben took this advice to heart when he decided to plaster a large “MyPartz” vinyl decal on his car! It’s another great way to advertise the platform on auto-pilot as Ben goes about his daily business
Finally we recommended a digital marketing firm to Ben who are currently helping him promote the platform. These companies can help devise an ongoing marketing strategy to get your app into the hands of the right people.
MyPartz is currently available on both the Play Store and App Store. If you’re looking to trade car parts, we encourage you to download the app.
We still continue to have discussions with Ben about the future of the app and new potential features. It’s an exciting time filled with plenty of possibilities.
We hope this case study has given you increased insight into the app development process. As you can probably guess, building an app requires a great deal of thought and planning. And once the app is developed, don’t neglect the marketing!
So are you an entrepreneur sitting on an idea that you are eagerly looking to get off the ground? Or are you a business owner or manager dealing with a clunky manual process in your business that you KNOW can be done efficiently with a click of a few buttons?
Give us a call and we’ll guide you through the planning, design and development of your solution. Whether it’s a new business idea or a way to improve your existing business, we will work closely with you to deliver a solution that will delight both you and your users.REGISTER FOR A