How a Mobile App Transformed the Fortunes of These Businesses

As retail competition increases at a staggering pace, more and more Businesses are choosing to migrate to the palms of their customers’ hands – via Apps on their Smartphones. And it’s not just larger organisations taking advantage of this new-found playing field, with Small Business Owners joining in on the action.

And it’s no wonder why, with Mobile Apps now proving to be such an important part of many Businesses’ Digital Marketing Strategy. Numbers suggest that by the year 2020, more than 70% of the world’s population will own a Smartphone, and that 80% of their on-phone time will be spent using task-specific Apps.

If you’re still not convinced of the power that is brought by Mobile App technology, we’ve pulled together some of the most impressive App success stories from around the world to change your mind.

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks Coffee

We’ve all heard of Starbucks; it’s the world’s largest coffee chain, with around 27,339 Stores churning out lattes worldwide. It all started in 1971 when the first Starbucks coffee shop was built in Seattle, Washington – which still exists today.

Since then, the company has grown into an international corporation that has managed to keep on top of technological trends to continuously grow its customer base.

In 2009, Starbucks launched its first mobile App called myStarbucks, which allowed people to locate nearby Starbucks shops, learn about their coffee, and even customise and suggest their own drinks. As the popularity of Online shopping grew, Starbucks grabbed the opportunity to take its App to the next level, seeing it launch the Starbucks Card Mobile payment system in 2011.

Using the App, customers can now load money into their mobile cards, making purchasing their coffee a simpler, faster experience. Whenever a customer buys their drink, the barista simply scans the barcode on the mobile screen and the transaction is done.

Ever since this feature was introduced, Starbucks has increased its profits by millions of dollars from its Mobile App alone, seeing it receive over a million downloads from the Apple and Google App stores. Aside from this, the Mobile App has created greater loyalty amongst customers, with more coming back for that second cappuccino without even the need for cash in their pockets. Now that’s convenience!



Originally founded in Sweden, this world-famous Assemble-It-Yourself (AIY) furniture manufacturer has been a much-loved household name for almost 74 years. It has more than 380 mega-stores in 47 countries around the world, stocks more than 9,500 products, and receives 915 million customers annually. But this begs the question: with so much success with its brick-and-mortar stores, would IKEA really benefit all that much from a Mobile App?

Well, in 2013, IKEA decided to test it out. And thank goodness it did, because its high-technology Mobile App quickly became the number one download in the App Store.

What makes IKEA’s App unique is that it enables customers to virtually place an item of furniture from the IKEA catalog into an image of their desired room at home. This capability completely transformed the realms of Online furniture shopping, essentially allowing customers access to their own personal home stylist right in the palm of their hand.

With one simple Mobile App, IKEA revolutionised, not only the way that people shopped, but also the way that consumers viewed the brand: as unique, innovative and years ahead of its time.



Initially called Airbed and Breakfast, the creation of this game-changing accommodation service occurred almost by chance. When founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, moved to San Francisco in 2007, they soon discovered they needed help paying their rent. Since they had some extra space in their apartment, they decided to invite someone to pay board to stay in the room while on holiday.

Little did they know that this simple solution would completely transform the face of tourism forever. In the end, their cheeky get richer quick scheme didn’t just save them money, but saw them earn millions of dollars.

From, this home-sharing, property rental, and referral service, optimised the use of Smartphone technology for easier navigation, booking and contacting of hosts. With its sleek design and simple functionality, such as filters, searches, and in-App messaging capabilities, the AirBnB Mobile App offers a convenience to customers that has never been achieved by any other booking service.

AirBnB made traveling much easier and cheaper, making it particularly appealing for those who want to see the world on a tight budget. Instead of staying in expensive hotels and luxury resorts, why not share a property with someone? Hats off to you, AirBnB!


4. Uber

Who would have thought that hailing a cab could even be possible with the use of technology? Uber, which was founded in San Francisco California, completely changed the transportation industry in a way that no one saw coming. Launched in 2010, Uber’s Mobile App created a storm of controversy, with cab drivers around the world complaining due to the threat of the low fixed-rates that Uber was offering users. But all publicity seems to be good publicity in this case, with Uber now fulfilling 40 million rides per month and possessing over 77% of the US ride-hailing market.

One thing that makes Uber so popular amongst Smartphone users is its undeniable convenience. Using just your Smartphone, you’re able to book a ride anytime, anywhere. Once you open Uber App, you can see the nearest cars that are available, the driver’s arrival time and the estimated fair, which can be adjusted depending on factors like heavy traffic and weather.


Looking at the enormous success these Businesses have had with Mobile Apps should at the very least considering venturing into the world of Mobile Applications for your Small Business. While these are all large international companies, there’s a growing body of Small Businesses that are taking the plunge into this Smartphone technology and reaping the rewards.

One thing to note about each of the above Mobile Apps is that they each make people’s lives easier. By utilising relatively simple concepts, they’ve transformed our culture, changing the way we shop, travel, create and (perhaps most importantly!) drink coffee. So, before you set off on your own App journey, study the above cases, because your Small Business may just come up with the next big idea.