In the past two decades, we have seen an unprecedented explosion of technological advancement. In the time since the early 90s, the Internet turned from a basement project curiosity to the primary way to consume everything from TV to music, virtual reality went from being a thrilling impossibility to a reality so conventional as to be almost dull, and – perhaps most importantly – phones went from being giant bricks you used to talk to people to being sleek rectangles that are used for everything but talking to people. Oh, and we’ll almost certainly have self-driving cars in our lifetimes.

But although new and better technology comes with many obvious advantages, these massive leaps in advancement have left many business owners in the dust. Less than a quarter of small businesses currently have a mobile app, even though 70 percent of small business traffic comes from mobile customers. Though a mobile application may not be the solution for every small business, here are a few reasons your business should build a mobile app:

Become A Part Of Your Customers’ Lives

Businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year trying to get their brand in front of potential customers. But what if you could get people looking at that brand for hours a day, and without paying a cent extra? Americans spend more than two hours a day on mobile devices, and our brains remember every image we see even if we’re not consciously thinking about it. Even if your customers never actually use your application, just installing the program and seeing the icon on their home screen will reinforce the importance of your brand in their mind and help promote long-term customer loyalty.

Better yet, having your application installed on their phone gives you a direct marketing line to your customers. Anything you want your customers to be aware of – from special offers to new product lines and everything in between – will be information that’s right at their fingertips. And with push notifications, you can make sure you’re always on your customers’ minds (so long as you don’t spam those notifications constantly.)

With these facts in mind, it’s easy to see why companies like Target, Twitter, and others offer mobile apps even when those apps feature the exact same functionality and content as their regular website – they want to be a daily part of their customers’ lives. But if you take functionality seriously…

Provide More Value

In the modern hyper-competitive market, the name of the game is convenience. Look at some of the most disruptive technologies of the last ten years. Amazon made it possible to shop without ever leaving your house, and now they’ve become big enough to stand a chance of killing Wal-Mart. Spotify let us listen to (almost) every song ever written with a free click of a button, and music piracy dropped dramatically. Why are these products so successful? Because they offer convenience. And with a custom mobile application of your own, you can offer that same promise of convenience to your customers.

Loyalty programs are a great way to get customers to come back to your business, but letting customers collect rewards via mobile app works even better. Mobile apps load faster than web pages, which translates directly to better click rates and more purchases. And there’s plenty of ways custom web apps can make your business, specifically, more convenient – take the case of OpenTable, which replaced the lengthy and awkward process of calling a restaurant to make a reservation with five clicks.

In 2017, your business needs to stand out from the crowd and find innovative ways to build customer loyalty. You need to look like a company that’s on the cutting edge of technology. In short: you need a mobile app, and you need it today.