Considerations for Building a Mobile App

Michaela Markley Picture

by Michaela Markley | Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Mobile apps are nothing new to the consumer journey. Consumers are more connected to their phones than ever. eMarketer found that smartphone users in the U.S. are spending three hours and ten minutes per day with their devices and 90 percent of the time is spent in apps. Yoram Wurmser, from eMarketer pointed out the distinction between the web and apps is fading as web experiences emulate apps. (This is good news!.) When thinking about building an app, it is important to know whether putting the resources into a mobile app makes sense for your business. It’s an investment whether you spend $10,000 or millions and we want to make sure you are getting the ROI (Return on Investment) your company wants. The data around consumer mobile behavior speaks for itself and proves that organizations need to seriously consider how they engage with their consumers on mobile. But, how do you know if your organization should invest the time and financial resources into building a mobile app? Let’s review some key questions to ask yourself before making a decision about building a mobile app.
  1. Does Your Website Have a Mobile-First Mindset? There is a difference between a mobile-friendly website and a responsive website. A mobile-friendly website purely means that your website will work on all devices and functions the same way regardless of device. While a responsive website changes based on what device you’re using. A responsive website could have your homepage go three columns on a desktop to a single column on mobile.It’s important to make sure the experience your website offers is meeting your customers’ expectations with a mobile-first mindset. Otherwise, how can you expect them to download your app if their experience on your website isn’t up to par with other website experiences? Earn that trust as a mobile-first consumer experience!
  2. Competitive Analysis is Key Looking to see what others are doing in your industry is important to determine if you’ll be an early adopter or to find out what consumer usage of existing apps in the industry has been in the past. If competitors do have apps  then it’s worth looking at the amount of downloads their app has and what reviews say. The reviews could help you in building your app if there is constructive feedback you could incorporate. It will also help you determine what consumers might consider as table stakes for apps from companies like yours.Even if your competition doesn’t have an app it doesn’t mean you can’t be the early adopter! If building an app makes sense for your business you will be driving what consumer engagement on mobile should look like for your industry.
  3. Providing Value to Your Customer Is your app going to solve problems for your customers? If your app is going to do the same thing as your responsive website then are your customers going to download it? It’s an important question to ask and you need to really think about the problem you will solve with your app.Imagine what it was like for Adobe to push out mobile apps that connected to their computer Adobe Creative Suite applications. It was a game changer for anyone wanting to work on a tablet vs. computer. They allowed their consumers to get away from a mouse as their tool and be able to use a bluetooth pencil on a tablet. Truly a game-changer.
  4. Do You Offer a Loyalty Program? Apps have proven to be a great way to enhance loyalty programs and allow consumers to toss out the old-school punch cards. Now, I’m not condoning building an app JUST to get rid of loyalty cards. But I do think we have seen some pretty exceptional ways companies have incorporated their loyalty programs into their apps.Let’s take a look at Starbucks. Their use of gamification for their loyalty program has been everything and more! You don’t only earn points to reach your next goal of rewards but you also can partake in ‘star-dashes’ to boost your bonus points. Whether it be getting a drink three days in a row or trying a new drink. As a customer using this app - I love that I can pay with it, earn rewards, and partake on extra bonus star options. I’m definitely guilty ordering an extra drink or two during a ‘star-dash’ just to get those bonus stars!
  5. Are You Taking Advantage of the Phone’s Features? The great thing about mobile apps is you can use the features of mobile devices to enhance your consumers’ experiences. Is there a way to use the camera, push notifications, touch gestures, geolocation, etc. on your device? Being able to integrate the use of these functionalities through a mobile app or a Progressive Web App (PWA) is a great way for your consumers to feel the need to access your app!
  6. What’s Your Budget? Lastly, but most importantly is knowing what your budget is and the options that will allow you to build a quality app you will be happy your consumers are using. I think it is important to look at the difference between native mobile apps, web apps, and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and understand the pricing difference.It’s important to know that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a native mobile app that only works on one operating system anymore. There are other options out there to choose from and this infographic can help you better understand which app type makes the most sense for you!
There are a lot of points to consider when deciding whether building an app for your business makes the most sense. When you take the jump into building an app make sure to check out the mobile design trends to make sure you don’t forget some of the most crucial parts of your app design!

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