Does My Business Really Need a Mobile App?

With thousands of apps being launched every day, is a mobile app a necessity or a luxury for my business? Is a mobile friendly website enough for my business? Do I lose some opportunities without a mobile app? Why should I spend my money on developing a business application when it is practically the same thing as the website? Or is it not?

A History of Business Apps

First of all, let me remind you that the aim of any business is to get profit from selling goods or services. For this, it’s required to reach people that will buy them - no matter if they are B2B businesses or end consumers. So, billions of services and goods are advertised - via newspapers, radio, TV, billboards, Internet, or augmented reality - the main idea is to reach as many potential customers as possible. And these days the Internet holds the most potential when it comes to reaching people or, in marketing terms, building your brand.

So we came to the conclusion that it’s the right time to ask, if a mobile friendly website (that is a must-have by today practically for any business and niche) is enough? Why should I spend extra money on developing a business application when there’s a website?

Let’s come into more details. Let's proceed from the fact that your company has a nice mobile friendly website. When it was the last time your website was able to instantly notify your customers about an offer, navigate them to your location, or interact with them in real time? It’s more than probable that you use additional sources to perform these tasks - email campaigns, in-build chats, messenger groups and channels, social networks - and a lot more. Compare these efforts with the newest business apps that use the latest technologies such as biometrics, geo-location, cameras, and sensors. That’s something a traditional HTML-based site cannot implement and probably never will.

First websites were primitive and unattractive if you compare them to the latest sleek designs. In the past, websites allowed you to communicate your product to the market, ensured better brand recognition, but that was mostly it. But things change quickly. Modern technologies are rapidly developing and if you look at what mobile apps can do today, who knows what they will be able to do next year! Excited? I bet you do!

The major enterprises, as well as many midsize businesses, already have their own apps. For small businesses, mobile apps are still unusual. But simply because you are reading this, you may already be considering whether it's worth having an app or not. This puts you one step ahead of your competitors.

The Power of Apps

Let’s list how exactly mobile apps give a boost to your business:

  • First of all, you get practically unlimited instant access to your customers. We are so attached to our mobile phones, we hardly ever switch them off. Leaving a device at home puts us at stress and FOMO (fear of missing out). Numerous mobile apps for Android instantly attract our attention by push notifications and banners informing us about special sales and promotions. That’s not what websites are capable of.

  • The app is a great way to engage with customers who are so busy, they do not have any time at all to even THINK about buying something. Mobile apps have a much better chance of getting their attention during a lunch break or during commute when they are not normally browsing the web.

  • With mobile apps, you can provide customers extra services at hand - delivery, payments, quality control, feedback, discounts, loyalty programs.

  • You can automate processes or significantly save time on rutinees - self-storage management, QR-scanner app for retail or warehouses, smart house systems, and thousands of other tasks limited only by your imagination. What’s important, the potential of apps is still unfolding.

  • So, among the obvious reasons why your business needs a mobile app is that they ensure an effective mobile marketing strategy, raise brand awareness, allow you to better interact with your customers, and of course position you ahead of competition.

Android, IoS, or Both

Here we gathered some quick facts to provide you with information that may be useful if you hesitate about the operational system. In a nutshell, you should preliminarily get to know this info and decide what you need based on your markets and future business plans.

  • Google Android and Apple iOS have 98% of the global market share for operating systems.
  • Android’s market share will reach 87% in 2022, by forecasts.
  • iOS has already captured 50% of the UK market share.
  • In the US Google IoS remains the market leader, with a 58% market share in July 2020.
  • Indian iPhone owners are making up only 3 percent of smartphone users – fewer than in most African, Latin American or Southeast Asian nations.

To see different slices by year, country, area, etc. you can also use this source.

Ready to Get Started?

If you decide to create an app for your business, you face a range of questions. What’s your first step? Is there a place where you can quickly buy the most successful app and be over with it? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here, but you have a few options:

  • Use a mobile application builder. You do not have to know anything about coding or technical stuff at all but you will have to pay a monthly fee for it.
  • Outsource custom mobile app development.
  • Assign this task to your own in-house team of engineers.

The difference between hiring an agency or relying on your own people can result in the quality of the expected result, so don't rush into decisions. Your team can cost you less but will probably lack mobile development expertise. A mobile app development agency will be more pricey but there are benefits as well. As experts in their field, engineers in the agency are more likely to know exactly how to create a mobile app for your business that will precisely meet your requirements. What’s more, you will probably need their constant support after launching the application. Among the things the agency can help you with is upgrading your app, introducing new features, ensuring customer and technical support. So make sure to choose wisely.

Undoubtedly, no matter what you decide, each of these options requires resources, time and energy. The bright side of things is that a well-designed professional mobile app for business will pay for itself quicker than you think.

Some Food for Thought

If you are determined to have your own mobile app here's tips for what I believe a successful application should look like:

  • When designing it, focus on the user experience and not only on how YOU think it should work.
  • Make it simple but pleasant to the eye, unless you want people to delete it after trying it for the first time.
  • Create excellent customer support to promote customer loyalty and trust. Test the app before launching and after each upgrade.

Of course, not having a mobile app will not be a disaster for your business. But in all, only a strategic thinker can win in the world of commerce. Everything points to the fact that mobile activity is poised to overtake desktop activity in the near future.