The Fad & Rosy picture
For a few years now, the shiniest new toy in the digital marketplace has been the mobile app.
Reports from various studies shows the surpassing searches and conversions happening via smart phones. Today, more than billion consumers across the world are glued to those devices and their applications. There are applications for almost every aspect of human lives. Growth has been such that there are apps for finding apps.
Some feel good figures:
4 out of 5 consumers use smart-phones to shop – source
27% of companies worldwide planned to implement location-based marketing in 2013 – source
Customers spent six times as much time in retailers’ apps compared to a year earlier – source
The Fact & Real picture
With the ubiquity of smart-phones, it's easy to get caught up in the app hype and to make a presence via Mobile app. Everyone wants to get a piece of this pie. And why not?
A Deloitte study found that 80 percent of them are downloaded fewer than 1,000 times. For all the growth, it seems that too many fall short when it comes to engaging users, a huge chunk of them register very few downloads at all. They'll often get buried under the other million-plus apps in every app store. It must also be noted that there is a sizeable amount spent for the app to develop apart from maintenance and rolling out consecutive versions.
(it takes $1000 ~ $4000 to roll out an app with basic features)
Know your customers
Not every one is a smart phone owner – 44 % of American adults do not own a smart-phone Source and not everyone with a smart-phone downloads and uses apps. If you are one of the service relying greatly on this segment, mobile app is not the space to invest.
Evaluate your customer and understand what information they will be looking for in your business.
If it is not obvious a survey would be a great start prior to following the flock and creating a mobile app.
Understand what information to serve your customers
If you believe your customers would be interested to have information on the go than at the comfort of home, remember not everyone has dumped PC and Laptops.
Perhaps no matter how often your customers use mobile, that’s not what they’re using to find you. In this case, the time and money spent on a mobile app may not be necessary, but you should still have a functional mobile website. Once you figure out the needs of your customer, even a mobile website would suffice to make a presence, another advantage of this approach is that it works across all smart phone platforms.
Do you have the bandwidth to maintain the APP
A mobile app isn't something you can just set and forget. Not only do platform updates demand frequent upgrades to your app, but if you want your app to be a success, it needs to be refreshed and updated on a regular basis. Developing new content and functionality takes time and money, so be sure you know what you're getting into.
Ask yourself why you want to develop an app. Are you getting caught up in the fury of activity in this space and afraid you're missing out? Or do you have a genuine need to develop a mobile app for your business? If you find that an app would benefit your company, engage your clientele and be cost-effective, go for it.