Download: Is A Mobile App Right For Your Business?
There is no denying that mobile devices are taking up more of our lives and our time. It is therefore understandable if, business owners feel the pressure to build a mobile app. That being said, is a mobile app right for your business?
The stats for mobile device use are staggering. According to Buildfire, there were over 2.7 billion smartphone users globally, combined with an additional 1.35 billion tablet users as of 2019. Furthermore, 90% of time spent on mobile phones is spent in apps.
It does not take stats to tell how ubiquitous mobile phones and their apps have become. You can see it everywhere you go. Whether you are in the streets or at a restaurant, people cannot be separated from their phones for a long enough periods of time. For the business person, this represents a big opportunity.
However, just because mobile phones are popular and you see others building mobile apps, does not automatically equate to you doing the same for your business. Before embarking on the journey of building a mobile app for your business, you have to seriously think certain things through.
One of the first things to consider before building a mobile app, is whether or not you have a website in place already. It is not strictly necessary to first get a website, before building a mobile app, but it is the ideal approach. The main reason for this is discoverability.
Before you can build a mobile app for your business, you have to have a strategy by which mobile users will discover your app. Websites are highly discoverable with search, and it is easier to build relationships with customers if you have a website.
The app stores have millions of apps, and you often search for apps that you are already aware of, as opposed to discovering them for the first time. Even if your customers are to use the search facility on the app store, it is a tall order that they will find your app if they have never encountered your business online.
Having just any type of website is not sufficient, however. You need to ensure that your website is responsive. Responsive design ensures that your website scales to properly display on any device on which it is viewed. In other words, a responsive website is “mobile friendly”.
If you do have a responsive website, you have to ask yourself if it is not sufficient for your needs, since you can also reach customers on mobile devices through the browser, on their mobile devices. Obviously there can be a significant user experience difference when users use a mobile app, when compared to the responsive website. The bottom line is that a website is a good complement for a mobile app.
Building a mobile app just because everyone is doing it may not be the best use of the significant resources, including significant financial resources, that go into building one. Before you build a mobile app, you have to be sure that you are providing value.
According to Localyst, 21% of users currently abandon an app after one use. This means that 1 in 5 users will never again go into an app after opening it for the first time. This statistic is of concern for anyone trying to interact with customers through a mobile app.
Mobile app abandonment will not occur so much, if you ensure that you are building value into your app. I can give the example of my FNB Banking app. It saves me time, by giving me the opportunity to skip the lines at the bank, and for that reason I have had it on my phone for a long time, and I use it regularly. That is value.
Providing value means building features into the app that customers find useful and also solving a particular problem for your customers, who will in turn keep the app, and use it regularly. If you cannot do this, you should not build an app, because it will result in app abandonment, and loss of your initial investment in building the mobile app.
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