The popularity of Apps and the development of apps by businesses continues to rise year on year, with Google Play housing 3.5 million and Apple with 2.2 million. The temptation for companies to make such a large investment is understandable but, in some cases, also unnecessary. Below we explore the reasons why you might decide to develop an app and the reasons why you might not.
Reasons you might NEED an app
You offer a service like Uber or Deliveroo
If you’re up there with the likes of Uber or Deliveroo and are offering a service that is almost entirely driven by an app, then you’ll most likely need to invest in an app. In these instances, the app enhances customer experience through push notifications, location services, retaining data preferences, and more.
Your competitors have experienced success with an app
Does your competitor have an app? If the answer is yes, that doesn’t automatically mean that you need one too, but it might be worth considering. For example, how does their app perform? Do users like it? Is there a clear benefit? And, most importantly, could you do it better? In the same breath, if your competitors don’t have an app, it might be worth considering if creating one will add value and give you a competitive edge (at least until they copy you).
It will simplify the checkout process
If you’re an eCommerce business, then an app may simplify the checkout process by retaining information about the user, such as account info, payment details and delivery preferences, improving the user experience. You might also use your app to send push alerts instead of email alerts which can also help to enhance loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.
You offer a loyalty programme
A great example of this is the Boots loyalty programme. The Boots app allows users to access their ‘loyalty card’ without the need for having an actual card in their hand. It also allows customers to check their status, how many points they have, what offers are pending, and any FAQs.
You want to build or nurture a community
Apps are also great ways to nurture a community of users. Although this can be achieved via other means, an app is also a very inclusive and controlled way to manage this, especially for bigger brands. Often this is just one part of an app as opposed to the whole thing. For example, a fitness app that allows users to interact with one another and provide feedback.
Reasons you might NOT NEED an app
You don’t have a big budget
Typically, apps cost anywhere from tens of thousands to sometimes hundreds of thousands, so if you’re only looking to get an app because of FOMO (fear of missing out), then you might want to think again. Also, if your requirements don’t fit into any of the above criteria, remember to really think about what value an app will deliver.
Your website is mobile inclusive
If your website is mobile inclusive, it might be worth considering what value an app could offer your business? You also need to weigh up the SEO side effects. When users share content from one place, it helps boost rankings; if you have your content in more than one place, it reduces the SEO value from users accessing and sharing it. And if your content is locked away within an app that search engines can’t access, it will add no SEO value whatsoever.
An app isn’t going to solve a problem or ignite conversions
Apps aren’t cheap. They require lots of functionality which can also mean bigger storage requirements. 71% of app users churn after three months, so if your app takes up lots of storage space and isn’t generating any real value, then you might not have an engaged user base.
You don’t have the resource for updates
Apps require updates, but, unlike a website, these updates don’t go live when you want them to. You have to rely on users to keep their apps up to date to see the latest version of the content you’re putting out.
Apps often ask for lots of user permissions. Therefore, users must trust your app, so you’ll need Google and Apple on board for credibility purposes which can be a lengthy process.
Apps are costly, time-intensive and require regular maintenance, but they can also be hugely beneficial for those organisations that can deliver an interactive, valuable experience to their customer base. So, it’s important for businesses to really consider what value they can provide with an app or if they want one for the sake of it.
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