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App Maker Software Buying Guide

Best App Maker Software for Business 2017
By

Editor's Note: Apple's recent iTunes guidelines update is impacting some third-party app makers, which may affect what companies we would recommend. The update has a statement that says "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected." That is causing some apps created using no-code app makers to be rejected or ejected from the App Store. Stay tuned for new reviews, and possibly new picks.

How We Evaluated App Maker Software

Tom's IT Pro is part of a tech publishing group owned by Purch, which includes collaborative partners Business News Daily and Top Ten Reviews. We share data and research on various topics, including the best and most popular app maker software packages.

Our sister pubs evaluated these apps for cost, ease of use, customer support, third-party app integrations, customizability, device preview, push notifications, loyalty programs, location-based and geotargeted services, social media integration, one-click contact, maps integration, app management tools, analytics and reporting, and more. With that research in hand, we also examined each app's capabilities regarding IT-related options like hosting and API opportunities to choose four apps that best serve small companies with between 25 and 300 employees. We selected easy-to-use, do-it-yourself services with cross-platform support for Android and iOS and compared them by creativity, price, level of support and more.

Buying Considerations

App makers save small businesses money by allowing IT personnel who do not have app-building experience or programming language expertise to create attractive and functional apps for a fraction of the cost of hiring a programmer. There's plenty of competition in the market, and different apps appeal to different kinds of businesses and offer a variety of pricing schemes. Creating your own app can be fun and easy and lets you control your app's look and feel — second only to creating and coding it yourself.

As you shop around, consider first whether an app maker offers the features your app needs. While most app makers may have some features in common, not all app makers are alike. Some offer just the basics, while others concentrate on delivering a superior customer experience.

IT Considerations

Our top concern for IT professionals was workload, and what our top picks all share in common are that the apps you make with these are virtually IT-free. Of course, for those in the mobile app development game, these might not be the best solutions. These cloud-based systems require no software to install or maintain, run on any browser, and charge monthly fees. Software upgrades and ongoing support are included in the overall price.

The work involved is in creating and uploading the content. Using RSS, you can automate app updates. When you're done, the vendor will package the app for sale on the various app stores for Apple and Google Play. Be aware that in addition to the subscription fee you pay for the app maker services, you have to pay a developer fee to Apple or Google on a yearly basis for them to host the app, and sometimes, there is an extra fee for submitting the app to the app store.

Value for Customers

Based on your small business type, here are some features to look for.

  • Retailers and online stores: Online storefront, shopping cart and mobile payments that allow customers to make purchases from your app
  • Restaurants and bars: Interactive menus, reservation systems and delivery services; third-party integrations with services like Seamless, GrubHub, Yelp and OpenTable
  • Salons, physicians and service providers: List of services and an appointment system that allows customers to view availabilities and schedule visits

Features

App makers offer a huge assortment of features and vary greatly in appearance and functionality at different price points. Here are some of the features you might want in your app maker.

  • Analytics: Pinpoint your app's strong and weak spots with targeted reports aimed at improvement.
  • Push notifications: Signal customers about sales, discounts and offers.
  • Loyalty programs: Maintain and access loyalty cards for customers via their phones.
  • Location-based/geotargeted services: Use GPS to track customer locations and alert them to special offers.
  • Social media integration: Let customers share your app with friends and followers and integrate your business social media accounts into the app.
  • One-click contact: Customers can call you by tapping on your phone number.
  • Maps integration: Customers can get directions to your location by tapping on your address.
  • Device preview: You can download an app that updates in real time while you design.