Mobile apps have become an almost indispensable part in the way customers and businesses interact, and with over 3 million apps in the Android and Apple app stores, the demand for such apps is tremendous. It has also revolutionized the way businesses operate, making it even more important for businesses to jump onto the mobile app bandwagon to remain competitive.
You probably have thought of creating your own mobile app, but are still undecided on whether you should take this leap. Here are some pros and cons:
- Having a more convenient user experience: On the go, smartphone-friendly, fits into consumers’ busy lives
- Generate additional revenue: By charging a fee for users to download the app, or by allowing customers to make transactions through the app, it allows you to generate more sales.
- Branding (easily recognizable): It propels growth, as the fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses are those that continually adopt advanced mobile technologies. SMEs that use mobile services more intensively account for 25 percent of the market, with their revenues growing up to two times faster than their competitors.
It shows consumers that you are keeping up with the trend, and also gives you an advantage by catering to their busy lifestyles and lifestyle habits (heavy smartphone usage)
- High cost: It can be very expensive to design a mobile app, as it requires more time and effort than designing a website. You need to have at least two versions developed—one for iOS and one for Android. The minimum cost across the board to develop a basic app would be around $10,000. For more complex apps with more features, it would cost around $20,000. You would still need to spend on marketing to promote your app. This could add substantially to your overall expenses, as some companies even go as far as to create campaigns surrounding the launch of an app.
- High customer expectations: With the plethora of well-designed, highly comprehensive mobile apps out in the market today, consumers have grown to expect a lot out of every app that they use. This means that you would have to ensure that your app meets, or even surpasses, the high standards set by other companies.
Otherwise, it is very easy for consumers to draw a comparison between your app and theirs, and you may end up losing customers.
Nevertheless, the pros far outweigh the cons. The returns you could potentially get from launching your app could bypass the cost incurred in developing it. In the long run, depending on your business model, the app would serve as another revenue source.
Mobile apps help to boost sales significantly. 35.4 percent of Black Friday retail sales last year were completed on mobile devices, which is a more than two-times increase from the 16 percent just a few years ago, according to the had planned to increase investment in mobile apps in 2016, and if you haven’t started thinking about having your own mobile app, you could fall far behind your competitors.
Here are some tips you should consider when hiring a mobile app developer:
Have a clear plan in mind
Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and start thinking seriously about who exactly your target audience is. You should bear in mind the varying familiarity that these different groups of customers have with technology and with mobile apps. For slightly older customers who may not be as tech-savvy, a simpler, more straightforward app would be a better idea. Including too many functions into the app would only confuse and frustrate them, resulting in unhappy customers instead. But for the younger generation, a more comprehensive app with many different functions would be impressive, especially if it has an aesthetically appealing user interface.
It is also critical to be very clear on your budget. Developing a mobile app can get expensive very quickly, especially if you get too caught up in making your app as complex and impressive as your competitors’. The more features you include, the higher the cost will be. You should consider whether the high cost of developing the app can be justified by the extra revenue that the app can bring you, or whether it would be a better idea to cut down on your app requirements instead.
Focus on user experience
While planning the technical aspects of your mobile app, don’t forget the most important part of the entire process: your customers. The experience that they get through using your app can easily become the single make-or-break factor in determining the success of your mobile app. With so many similar apps in the market, how do users decide which one to install? For apps with comparable features and functions, more often than not the final deciding factor boils down to user experience. The reviews left behind by previous users of the app can have a huge impact on potential customers’ initial impressions of your app. Even if not all customers base their decisions on the reviews of other users, it will still sway their decision to an extent.
Ensuring a smooth and enjoyable user experience includes several aspects:
- The aesthetic side: the layout and design of the app is critical, as it decides users’ first impressions of your app. Make the layout easy to read and use. A good idea would be to use a menu icon which displays a drop-down list of functions, and to neatly compartmentalize different features of the apps in different segments instead of jumbling everything in one main page.
- The ease of usage: avoid multi-level menus as far as possible, as it can be tiresome when users must constantly hover over a menu option just to access the next level of navigation options. Keep it simple, and focus on the main functions that you want users to have access to instead of trying to cram every bit of information onto the mobile screen.
- The specific design aspects: cater your mobile app towards touch, which is the main mode of interaction on touchscreen devices. One challenge with designing mobile apps is for you to account for fingers of all sizes, which apply pressures of different magnitudes. It can get frustrating for users when certain buttons are too small for their fingers to press, and this can be tackled by ensuring that the buttons are of a generous size, and easily clickable.
Don’t take up too much storage.
There can be times when users want to install your app, but have insufficient space on their mobile devices. This can cause you to lose out on users as it is troublesome for them to take the time to clear up storage, and they may opt for a similar app that takes up much less space.
Avoid including too many videos or images in your app, which can help to reduce the space taken up by your app.
Emphasize on description.
Your description of your app in the Google Play Store or on the Apple App Store is the first thing that potential users read when they click on your app. It is easy to neglect this crucial step after going through the long process of designing and completing your app, but it is actually very important in convincing customers to install your app.
Include a detailed description highlighting the attractive features of your app in the first few lines, then go on to emphasize on the benefits your app can bring to customers.
Marketing can be a good way to increase the number of users on your mobile app. Some companies go the extra mile to launch campaigns on the ground to raise awareness of a new app. While this can be very effective in creating a buzz even before the official app launch, it can also be very costly, and is not a feasible idea for everyone. Alternatively, social media campaigns can be as effective, yet cost much less.
Create a buzz through sharing about your app on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and encourage customers to spread awareness through word-of-mouth by offering incentives such as discounts.
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