Smartphones make the world go round, it’s a simple fact. So when it comes to business actively catering towards this ‘smarter’ audience is important in order to actively improve and reach a bigger demographic. This is why many businesses, small or otherwise, may consider developing an app in order to read a bigger customer base. However, there are many reasons both for and against making such an investment.
For that reason, here are some of the most important pros and cons you need to consider in order to decide whether your business needs an app or not.
1. Wider Audience
Not all of your customers will find your business through the same means. Some will come across your business via Google, via social and even via links on other websites. So, why not give them an added way of finding you by developing your own app? With more and more people owning smartphones, the app stores are awash with different business apps and the like vying for downloads.
By creating an app you open yourself up to a whole new market of people on this app store – whether Android or iOS.
2. High Customer Engagement
If someone has downloaded your app, that’s already a purposeful level of engagement. When someone visits your website, on the other hand, it’s quite a passive level of engagement – they can bounce quite easily. Having downloaded an app, the customer already demonstrates a certain level of high intent and so this can further translate into their engagement for the app as a whole.
3. Push Notifications
The problem with customer engagement in most instances is the fact that you rely on the customer coming to you. Push notification allows you to put your business directly on your audiences homepage. This goes directly to their screen, informing them of your latest news or offers without any need to spam their inbox or something similar. It’s a simple banner which they can swipe away on their homepage easily enough, and they have to opt in to receive it!
So, if you have app users who opt into this type of notification, then you already have a pretty engaged customer – especially in comparison to say an audience member on your website instead.
4. Offline Access
When it comes to marketing in the modern age, the online aspect is the most difficult aspect to navigate. This is where an app comes in handy. An app can be accessed even if your user has no access to either the internet or data, allowing them to see your content on a 24/7 basis. If your customers are able to access your site in the offline world then it’s much more usable as a whole.
1. Expensive to Develop
One of the biggest issues when it comes to app development is the fact that it can be quite expensive; the more you want your app to do, the more expensive it becomes. For a small business, this can be extremely difficult to manage, because the cost alone may never actually see a worthwhile return on investment.
If you’re only a small business, it can be quite difficult to find the appropriate budget to actually create a decent app. A small budget app can perform quite poorly in the long term. In most cases, you would likely find less customer-engagement and a poorer opinion of your business on the whole.
2. Requires Expertise
You can’t just create your own app with the drop of a hat. This is the difference between having an app or a website, as most business owners can actually put together their own website quite easily (especially with the help of various web builders now available across the internet).
So, in almost every instance, you will need to employ an independent app developer in order to actively achieve what you want with your business app development. Otherwise, the product you end up with maybe quite limited on the whole.
3. Changes Are Difficult
The fact is that updating or changing an app is extremely difficult to achieve. Often, even minor changes to your app can be quite hard to implement as they may require the app to be redeveloped entirely in some instances.
If you need to implement larger changes, then often you will need to actually get the whole app created again entirely. Which can add to the expense and make the first development seem pointless? Therefore, it is better to have the budget to create a fully functioning app in the first place – as then changes won’t have to implement at a larger expense later.
4. Bad Customer Support
An app can often lead to complaints of bad customer support. Slow loading, poor performance and data loss are often common complaints when it comes to your app performance. This is often the downfall of a business app; as poor customer support can damage the customer-business relationship exponentially. The fact is that you can often have more issues for your customers via an app rather than a website.
And, ultimately, if your app is bad then you are providing bad customer support to your audience. Regardless of whether or not you have actual good customer support once the person contacts you.
At the end of the day, when it comes to creating a business app the fact is that if you need to consider whether or not the benefit to your business is enough to outweigh the costs, etc. If you’re a truly small business then it may be one step too far. An app needs to actually benefit your business and actively be a good return on investment. The fact is that without a proper plan or structure in place, you may never know how effective it will be in the long-term.
Zack Halliwell is a writer in the marketing niche, giving advice on anything from the perfect branding to the latest app development London news. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.