It’s common nowadays for both B2C and B2B businesses to offer customers access to a mobile app. Throngs of smartphone users download apps from business not directly related to personal use, like the ones that consist of games.
Despite the popularity of these business applications, it’s worthwhile to consider whether your business actually needs to spend money on an app. App development is not cheap. Here are several pros and cons to weigh in before investing in such an endeavour:
Corner the Lucrative Mobile Market
The biggest perk of having a mobile application is, of course, the ability to cater directly to the ever-growing number of mobile shoppers. Data shows that more and more people are relying on their handheld devices to shop online. The market is slowly shifting away from desktops to mobile devices for consumerist habits. Therefore, if you want to become a formidable force in this emerging market, your business needs a mobile application
Engage with Customers Better
Mobile applications allow access to customers unlike any other channel currently available. People have their smartphones on them during almost all hours of the day. Mobile devices go with customers to work, home, stores, and everywhere else. This offers businesses unprecedented access to directly engage with customers and also directly market their business.
Smartphones also enable better communications between customer and business. In-app customer service is a great way to allow customers to get in touch with your business.
Offer Customers More
Unlike mobile responsive websites, the applications offer more functionality to customers. Applications are also easier and speedier to use than a website loading on a smartphone. You can offer things like easy checkout, interactive components, and chart features with an app. These things are difficult to offer with a mobile responsive website without adding bulk.
The biggest downside of having a mobile app can be development expenses. Developing a good mobile application takes time and money. While overall development costs have largely come down, it can still be quite expensive for some businesses to invest in this type of application. However, if returns are great, these costs will be largely cancelled out.
Once a mobile app has been designed, it has to be constantly updated. Updates offer two features: better functionality and security. You might have to spend some money on security updates, especially if the app allows customers to shop online. Some app developers may demand expensive annual contracts to keep your application up to date and running. But if you find a good app developer who is willing to be flexible, update costs may not be a major concern.
Chance of Low Returns for the Investment
Expenses of developing an application only becomes too much if the returns are low. If a significant number of customers don’t download your application, then the investment would see little to no returns. You can tell in advance whether a smartphone application is going to generate returns by researching your target audience. Are there already a significant number of people accessing your website from a handheld device? If not, your business may not need a mobile application. If more people fail to download the application, then the app itself could not be what your target audience needs.
Before investing in an application, carefully consider the above pros and cons. Only invest in a smartphone app if your business really needs one.