Consumers nowadays are on the move and they are armed with smartphones and tablets. Businesses are now finding ways to reach these consumers and introduce their products and services, or just interact with them.
Mobile apps for business
Mobile apps come to the rescue of businesses willing to go out of their way to reach their target markets and tap into new ones. Mobile apps are part and parcel of the whole mobile experience. When you browse through the app store, you see a lot of businesses putting out their own apps. Smartphone and tablet users use apps all the time. And with businesses integrating their presence through apps, it changed the way businesses and consumers interact.
Mobile apps definitely provide a new avenue for businesses, whether they are small or big, whatever their products or services may be. But do all businesses need one?
Here are aspects to consider while mulling over whether or not you should join the bandwagon and develop a mobile app especially for your business.
Evaluate your target market
Depending on what business you run, you might have a different target market than the next business. It doesn't mean that when one business needs a mobile app, you do too. An important and vital consideration is your target market.
With a mobile app, can you reach the most number of consumers? More essentially, are you reaching your target market? Know that with a mobile app, you are only reaching consumers who own smartphones or tablets. According to Pew Research, smartphone owners only comprise some 35% of the American population. Most consumers still don't use mobile apps, so evaluate if the kind of market you have uses smartphones or tablets.
If consumers have a smartphone, it is not a guarantee that they will use the mobile app, so it is also important to think of ways to encourage them to download the app in the first place. It is also as important to know what devices most of them use to help you decide where to launch your business mobile app first – Apple, Android, Blackberry, or another mobile operating system.
Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites
Some believe that when you have a mobile website, it is redundant to have a mobile app to introduce your presence to the mobile market. But if you don't have both mobile website and app, which should be your priority for development?
First, the similarities and differences between the two should be clear. A mobile website makes the standard, full-blown website available for smartphones and touch-screen devices. It is a mobile-friendly version of a website and contains the same information and images plus some mobile specific features. A mobile website is universally accessible by just entering the web address in any Internet browser.
A mobile app is an application that needs to be downloaded from an app store and installed for smartphones and tablets. It may contain the same information as the website, but may also make some of these information available even without an Internet connection.
Whether you should have a mobile app or not depends on your business purpose. Are you offering something new with an app that you can't offer through a mobile website? It can also be that you just want to provide all your consumers different options on how to reach you and have different options to interact with them. Whatever you decide to do, choose the option that can give you the most value.
Create a valuable application
Before developing a mobile app, make sure that it will be indispensable. It should be able to fill a demand or create a demand. It should be useful for consumers and not become something they can live without. The kind of apps that perform best, those that consumers are willing to pay for, provide information about entertainment or increase productivity. These apps usually involve games, news, sports, or productivity tools that make tasks easier to accomplish.
Consider if your application will make life easier for consumers. People are getting busier, but more connected to the Internet. These consumers will want apps that help them with regular tasks quickly and easily. Everyone wants to be entertained in the midst of a busy life. Will your app be a good stress-buster? Most of the successful gaming apps are simple, fun games that connect people with other players.
Everyone also wants to save and get a good deal. So, this is another mobile app category that is popular and provides the most benefits. Make it easier for consumers to get discounts and know about the latest deals with an app that constantly pushes this kind of information. This is also a good app idea to tap new markets and encourage purchases.
The cost of development
Ultimately, the decision whether or not a mobile app is necessary for your business comes down to the cost. An important fact that one should know before pursuing this venture is that it will be costly. The cost of developing a basic app ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. This is only for a basic app; a more complicated and well-designed app ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. This amount will rise, especially with the need for app maintenance, app updates, and app marketing.
The initial cost can be recovered, and you can even earn some more profit, if the app will be able to generate some income. It is another important consideration when building an app. Will the projected profit be able to exceed the app's development cost? This will require careful research, especially when the end goal of the app is to gain more income.
It can be easy to jump into the bandwagon of app development and be excited about it. But in the end, ask yourself if it is an important need, how it will benefit your business, and if the cost can be covered or recovered in the future.