There are 2.8 million apps on Google Play store. Millennials check an app more than 50 times in a day, while many others check more than 10 times. 90% of mobile time is spent on apps.
· Apps need to be downloaded
· Apps need to be used
· Apps need to be updated
· Apps need to stand out from others in the way it interacts with the users
· The cost of app development is considerably higher than that of a website
Have you been thinking of offering a mobile application for your business?
Stop and think!
What kind of business are you in?
It may not help your business if
1. You work in the B2B segment
Your customers are a company, with several layers in the decision-making process. A mobile or web-based app can facilitate execution or final placement of an order, but the same can also be done through a website. Do they really place orders on the go? How many approvals does that one fingertip need before hitting the Send button? Can the app read from uploaded documents, or do the data points need to be entered separately, increasing the time, effort and probability of errors?
Does your app really facilitate faster decision making and visibility for your prospects ?
2. Your brand is not well-established
Remember that your app is competing against 2.8 million apps. How does a potential user know about it and the benefits?
This implies that your brand/business needs to do thorough competitive research on already available free & paid mobile applications in your segment to find out real unique features being offered by your business. It is not necessary that your USP is a deal-maker or show-stopper for the client. One can consider customising the app for different customer segments and geographies.
Is it the right time for you to launch an app?
If your brand attracts good traffic on the web platform and large number of users log in from mobiles, you may consider investing in an app.
3. Your sole aim is to attract new customers
Apps work better for existing customers who have used the product/service and wish to engage further in a quick and convenient manner.
Attracting new customers will take high promotion costs and/or a referral program. Uber has been using the referral strategy without print ads. It helps that Uber is in an oligopolistic business. But Grofers needs to combine expensive ads in print media with a referral model and holding frequent cash-back sales. They are competing against several online and offline models of catering to household needs.
You need to have the whole marketing plan laid out before an app is launched.
4. You do not have a customer retention strategy while building the app
One doesn’t need an app to buy a car or a piece of premium art. A customer prefers test-driving a car or going through trusted sources for art investments, as amounts at stake are high.
But the P2P lease rental business (No Broker) or reselling goods business (OLX) works well through apps.
This implies a clear requirement of the need to plan a customer retention strategy while building the app. If you have hired a mobile development agency to do the job, please discuss and finalise on ways by which the customer would keep coming back to the app for their needs. In short, include something that becomes an addiction – like stock prices or a daily horoscope.
This depends 50% on your choice of a business model. The other half completely depends on the kind of mobile development agency you have hired or the competence of your in-house development team.
5. Your app lacks originality, you do not plan on regular evolution of the product
Are you building another dating app because Tinder succeeded? Do you know that Tinder had to change its design and strategy more than once? Does your app possess features to keep a user hooked for further engagement, or does it just give contact details?
Products are ever evolving in nature, Tinder was not able to hit the right features and design mark in the first version of the application that went LIVE. Mobile applications demand regular effort in terms of updating, optimising & improving the user experience to reach the best mix of design, code & value offering to the audience. This is where you as a business, include the apt features and design to become the next Tinder.
6. Your app has not been properly tested before a commercial launch
Testing is not just about bugs and software glitches. The entire range of user experience matters. Apps are given out free to target customers only with this objective.
Is your customer comfortable going to several screens in an app, or prefers the seamless experience of a website? Maybe you discover that a mobile-optimised website works as well.
The cost of testing needs to be provided for in the planning phase. There are several kind of user testing methods being used by experienced mobile app development agencies across the globe. Some of them involve a focus group to experience at first hand and post a review internally to the tech team, while others involve software-based load testing mechanisms where the mobile application is exposed to a scalable traffic to identify glitches.
A stable app is a myth, Even Google products and Facebook mobile app are correcting technical bugs and glitches reported by customers till date i.e. almost even a decade after the launch.
7. Your app is not well-connected with the ecosystem
What other apps does it link with for mobile payments? How many of your customers use those payment apps?
Integration with the right set of partners to facilitate your mobile app success is very important. One needs to determine the right set of integrations at the planning phase.
Does a reading or video app facilitate social media sharing?
The minimum you need are two platforms – one for IOS and one for Android.
But many versions of Android are out in the market, and is your app compatible with all?
You may need to do a survey on the devices being used before launching the app. If your users need and demand a light weight application (less than 20-35 MB ) and are happy with basic features activated, you may opt to go with a hybrid ionic application. If your users are comfortable with high weight ( more than 20-35 MB ) but demand high-end features all at one place, then you may need to build a native android and iOS application.
For example : Facebook mobile application offers two variants of the same platform :
Facebook Lite (Light weight version hybrid app )
Android (1.6 MB): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facebook.lite&hl=en
iOS(20.9MB) : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/facebook-lite/id1393838612
Facebook (High weight version native application)
Android (51.69 MB): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facebook.katana&hl=en
iOS (433.6MB) : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/facebook/id284882215
Critical updates such as repair of security vulnerabilities or ensuring compliance with new iOS or Android releases may be non-negotiable.
The business partners (like Google Pay) need to have regulatory sanction, so that services are not disturbed.
8. Your app is not app-store optimised
The standard SEO used for websites does not work for apps. A whole new set of tools is needed for app store optimization. This service is called as App store optimisation aka ASO. This involves very different aspect but the same objective as for SEO in terms of website.
You may even need to do offline events to promote the use of an app.
9. Your mobile app development agency lacks the business accumen
If you are a business owner who has already tried to finalise a mobile application development agency earlier, it is highly likely that you have already experienced what I am about to share in this point. Mobile Application Development agencies are mushrooming from every part of world on a daily basis who are in all means lead by technology teams that are smart and have great coding skills. But one thing that all of them are struggling with is the delivery timelines, ambiguity in the work scope leading to demand of extra commercials from client during the development journey.
Why is this so?
It is so because most of them lack an industry experienced business team who can confer to business requirements in depth and help the business owner discover the right product on the right technology stack with the apt amount of features suiting his/her pocket.
10. You have not explored alternatives and third-party platforms which serve the purpose
Do you really need a separate ordering app like Domino’s or can you just link to a Zomato or Swiggy? A Zomato might help with table booking. A Magicspree can help you get customers for unoccupied hotel rooms at a pared down cost. These aggregator apps help you save tons of capital in promoting your own application, they pool in marketing funds for all the industry and centrally manage the technology costs which seems to be a pretty sensible option for all. On the other side, demands of ever-increasing commission by these aggregators drive business owners to plan their own technology platforms, website and applications. There are success stories in this strategy as well. I will definitely write about the other side of this application-building process very soon where we would talk about business owners who started with the listing option on these aggregators platforms but later made a fortune using their own mobile application and website.
In the digitised world, we feel planning and partnering with the right set of minds is the key to success. So if you are a business owner planning to build your mobile application or happen to be a part of this ecosystem in any manner, please share this article with your business network and let us know your views. We at Valuescale, would love to hear the feedback and continue this journey of generating value for your business.