Does your business really need an app?

So you may have been rethinking your digital marketing strategy, maybe you have noticed the competition have some pretty impressive apps available, maybe you have a mobile friendly website but aren’t sure if you are missing a trick. If you have been considering creating an app for your business but are unsure on the benefits and potential drawbacks, look no further; this blog post will highlight the pros and cons to creating and running an app in 2016.

 

PROS

 

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25% of the global population currently have a smart phone (IBM, 2014), which shows that there is a growing exposure to mobile applications. Additional research highlights that smart phone users are spending around 65% more time within apps that in 2012 (Neilson, 2014).

 

To keep up with competitors:

In order to remain as competitive as possible your business should have a presence on all platforms that the competition does, failing to have this presence could lead to reduced market shares and profits (Johnson et al, 2015)

 

The App Store:

The app store is a homogeneous market with perfect competition (Johnson et al, 2015) meaning all businesses are playing on a level playing ground. If your business does not have a presence you could be missing out on all potential leads Moreover, customers tend to browse the app store when seeking an app to fulfil a need, if your app is not present, the customer will have no loyalty and download a competitors app.

 

CONS

 

The app store takes money:

The app stores can take around 30% of profits made through the app, meaning it may be wiser to redirect traffic back to a mobile friendly website. There could be a potential to invest in additional marketing communications to direct customers to your websites rather than investing in creating an app only to see a chunk of profits being taken by app stores.

 

Metrics can be harder to obtain:

digital-marketing-performance-measurement

Depending on which industry you are competing, your app may need high security, for example the online holiday industry. Due to the highly secure nature of these apps, there may also be higher barriers to gaining data, as analytics are more difficult to get from secure apps. Developers should integrate the Google Analytics SDK for Android and iOS for this platform to be able to fetch data.

 

The time spent to create an app:

app-dev-time

The amount of time spent developing the app will need to be considered before committing to the developmental process. It has been estimated by Boxal (2015) it could take around 36 weeks to develop an app.

 

The cost of developing:

We know that developing an app can have a hefty price tag, but just how much are we talking?

app-costs

As Boxal (2015) suggests each app needs unique features and no two apps are the same. This being said your business must ensure a detailed quote is acquired and additional costs are expected for example the cost to remove gliches. It is important to ensure that when the app is launched it is perfect. 80% of apps created are used just once if the app has bugs, leaving a lasting negative opinion for customers

 

Maintance

Your business will need to consider whether you can keep up with the demands of changing technology. Not only would the app need to be redeveloped whenever there is an update but in the long term, bigger changes could occur as technology shifts.

 

Risk of being rejected from the app store:

And as with any business opportunity, it comes with a risk. After spending all of this time, effort and money on your app, there is a chance the app store will reject to take on your app.

 

So:

So there is definitely a lot to consider. Creating an app is by no means the ‘easy route’ to create sales. A substantial amount of investments are necessary to create a successful app and then of course there are the risks involved. This being said, an app can be a powerful sales tool and can ensure that your business is being as competitive as possible.

 

References

Boxal, A. (2015) Want to build a native app? It may take up to 18 weeks, according to new data. [online] Available at < http://appindex.com/blog/want-to-build-a-native-app-it-may-take-up-to-18-weeks-according-to-new-data/ > [accessed 15 April 2016]

IBM (2015) Good Apps, Bad Apps. The cost of creating exceptional mobile moments through mobile apps. [Online] < http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?subtype=WH&infotype=SA&appname=SWGE_BF_AF_USEN&htmlfid=BFL14008USEN&attachment=BFL14008USEN.PDF > [accessed 10 April 2016]

Johnson, G. Wittington, R. Scholes, K. Angwin, D. Regner, P. (2014) Exploring Strategy: text and cases. 10th Ed. Pearson: Harlow

Neilson. (2014) So many apps, so much time. [Online] <http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphones-so-many-apps–so-much-time.html > [accessed 10 April 2016]

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