Baking Dreams and App Nightmares, Perfecting the Mobile Bakery App
Topic: Common Mistakes
July 14, 2023
Alfred Pirelli, the mastermind behind Miami's flourishing Alcadan Mini Bakery chain, exudes the irresistible allure of warm, crusty loaves straight out of the oven. As I sat down with him, the aroma of brewing coffee enveloped us, adding an extra layer of delight to our conversation. In that moment, I could sense the satisfaction and quiet happiness derived from his craft, a fragrance that lingered in the air.
Our discussion delved into the tale of how Alfred conquered the challenges of the past few years, unveiling the pivotal role played by a mobile app in this remarkable journey. What intrigued me, even more, was his astounding ability to recoup all investments in the app within a mere year.
But let's rewind the clock. Were Alcadan bakeries always prosperous? Oh, far from it. In the early years, despite customers loving these delectable treats and willingly parting with their hard-earned cash, revenue growth remained sluggish, casting a shadow over the company's future.
Yet, the demand for Alcadan bread soared, leaving Alfred with a burning desire to revolutionize the service, particularly its efficiency. It was time for a game-changer. And that's when the grand plan took shape - the introduction of a mobile app for preordering, poised to streamline the process and cater to a growing legion of customers.
Vision for Enhanced Customer Service and Business Growth
By 2019, there was a growing awareness that many customer service tasks could be addressed through mobile applications. The initial consultation with a business analyst provided a clear understanding that leveraging IT could significantly enhance the buyer's experience. Moreover, the projected budget seemed reasonable, and the potential benefits appeared highly attractive.
The vision was crystal clear. With the app in hand, patrons could effortlessly place their orders and bid farewell to long waits. Imagine strolling into the bakery café, armed with nothing but a smartphone, and leaving with their order promptly fulfilled, without wasting a precious minute of their time. Even the most conservative estimates promised a remarkable 30% surge in customers, assuring a swift return on the investment in this innovative app.
"Woah, a 30% increase, and that's just being conservative! And what if things exceed our conservative assumptions? The sheer prospect of a radiant future simply blew my mind!" Alfred's excitement was tangible as he recounted those sentiments.
Navigating the Bumpy Road to App Development
However, navigating the treacherous road of app development proved to be a rollercoaster ride. The developers' demand for a detailed app description dealt the first blow to Alfred's dreams, catching him off guard. The list of required data seemed daunting, a time-consuming endeavor that threatened to derail his aspirations. And just when he thought the storm had passed, fate threw another curveball - a long-awaited space for his new bakery in Philadelphia materialized, demanding his attention.
To his astonishment, the developers bombarded him with a barrage of questions, even after he provided the specifications. Overwhelmed, Alfred reluctantly delegated the communication to an employee, hoping for respite. Yet, the inquiries continued to find their way back to him, forcing him to instruct his employee not to disturb him, as he was well-versed in the intricacies of the business.
Eventually, the app was deemed ready, but Alfred's elation swiftly transformed into disappointment. Users found themselves navigating a perplexing maze of confusing jumps, while the payment system proved to be an incomprehensible alternative instead of the trusted Stripe or PayPal. To make matters worse, the entire functionality fell short of expectations.
From App Disaster to Triumph
He realized the app fell short of expectations. Alfred found himself at a crossroads. Should he go back and redo the work or start anew? The cost would be the same, but he needed to determine where the fault lay - with the developer or his assistant. With a smile, Alfred dismissed the third option, placing the entire responsibility squarely on their shoulders.
Doubts and disappointment crept in. "Maybe app capabilities are nothing more than a figment of my imagination, just like my dreams of lightning-fast service," he pondered, consumed by uncertainty.
"After much thought and coffee," Alfred said, "we decided to put the app project on hold. Priority is opening the Philadelphia bakery, the app can wait for a while."
But true determination knows no bounds. A month later, Alfred returned to the project, armed with renewed focus and clarity. Another discussion with the developer and consultant reignited his belief in the app's potential. He understood that achieving a high-quality, well-functioning application required his personal involvement, dedicating approximately 8 hours per week to its realization.
And so Alfred took the plunge once more, investing his time and money into the development of the app. This time, he was resolute about actively participating in every step of the process.
The Power of Collaboration
Friday evenings became sacred, reserved for engaging discussions with the app developers. These sessions fueled their progress, highlighting the advancements made while posing questions that demanded answers by Monday morning. The momentum was steady, and the results began to materialize.
As the deadline approached, the app stood proudly, ready to face the world. Another month of meticulous testing followed, and Alfred finally held in his hands a polished, well-rounded app. It was a triumph, a realization of his vision – buyers could now order food effortlessly through a mobile app, walk into the café, collect their desired treats from a designated shelf, and leave, all without the need to interact with a staff member.
Reflecting on this journey, Alfred shared a valuable lesson. "While the developer serves as the hands, skillfully crafting the app, the mind behind it needs to be your business. The stronger the connection between you and the developer, the more experienced the "hands," the more predictable the results, and the lower the costs."
Lessons from Alfred's App Development Journey
The tale of Alfred's app development journey offers insightful lessons. It demonstrates that, as business owners embark on the path of app development, active participation is vital. The investment extends beyond monetary resources; it demands time, dedication, and effective communication. Could Alfred have avoided misunderstandings with the developer? Perhaps. The experience proved to be a remarkable teacher, enabling him to refine the project specifications and establish a rapport with the developers. As Alfred himself attests, "During the app development process, there was a mutual understanding and confidence that the team was fulfilling my requirements."
Furthermore, Alfred emphasized the importance of feeling at ease with the representative of the development team. "My initial wariness and concerns gradually dissipated with each subsequent interaction," he reflected. He also advised, "If you find yourself unable to establish effective communication with the development company, be prepared to explore other options. Effective communication is an indispensable element of project success."
As a Conclusion
As we conclude this tale, a lingering question remains - Is it possible to create a mobile application without investing time in communicating with a developer? Absolutely, it's possible, as long as the final outcome holds no significance for the customer.