When it comes to best positioning your company in the marketplace, you may feel bombarded with “shoulds” and, more specifically, “should haves”. The current hot topic is whether you should have a custom app in addition to, or in place of, your responsive website.
But is it true that more and more consumers are using apps on their phones and abandoning websites—or is that just more hype? Perhaps you believe that since your website is already mobile-friendly, spending money on custom app development is an expense you can forego right now.
Sometimes, however, you have to look into the past to understand that what you choose today will pay off in the future. Every technological advancement brings its naysayers with it. After all, those with Yellow Page listings didn’t believe they needed a website, those with websites didn’t believe they needed social media, and so on.
Determining whether your company should invest in custom app development involves weighing the benefits of a number of factors. Before you can do that, you must understand the difference between an app and a responsive website, as at first glance they can appear quite similar. Both are accessed on handhelds and tablets, but websites are rendered within a browser while apps are downloaded and installed on a device. Custom apps may pull information from the Internet just as websites do, but they can also download content onto a user’s device, which can then be viewed offline.
A custom app can benefit many businesses regardless of their size. Coffee shops, boutiques, and business service providers can all profit from a custom app right alongside the big box retailers and media giants.
So, when does a custom app make sense for you? Start with evaluating your needs:
- Will people be using your app on a regular basis and in a personalized manner (think Instagram)?
- Would you like to be able to target customers in an immediate way—that is, know their name as they walk through the door, send them a notification as they stroll past your business, or allow them to virtually experience your product or service?
- Are you looking to build your brand awareness through effective frequency?
Even if you don’t foresee the benefits of using these features today, can you imagine a day you’d want them? If the answer is yes, then building your presence on the right platform will save you time and money in the long run.
Your decision should be made based on your unique needs. It helps, therefore, not to spend much time debating whether you need one or the other, but whether an app can build on what your responsive site already offers. A custom app has the ability to keep your customers coming back, as it allows them to customize their experience with you, not the other way around.
The beauty of a custom app is that you can start small, testing its effectiveness before making a major investment. If it comes to pass that your prototype performs well and delivers a tangible ROI, you can build on the pilot version by adding needed features.
The bottom line: A custom mobile app for your business—or at least a prototype of one—is probably worth giving a try. You’re likely to find that it helps you build a larger customer base and drive up sales.
Finally, don’t underestimate a custom app’s ability to help you secure customer loyalty. Consumers today face an overwhelming amount of information and advertising from a plethora of sources, both traditional and modern. If you want to ensure your customers feel valued, connecting with them in a meaningful way through a custom app may just be solution you’re looking for.