Your business must be mobile-friendly – this is a fact and no one can say otherwise. But does mobile-friendly means that every business needs a mobile app?

According to the latest statistics, people spend most of their online time on mobile devices (51% of mobile digital media time in the US alone). So yes, if you’re not mobile, you will lose customers. But being mobile doesn’t necessarily imply investing in mobile app development.

A mobile-friendly business can follow two main paths: custom mobile app (native software) or the mobile web. A native application comes with lots of advantages such as easy push notifications, access to the hardware, and better performance. However, many businesses choose the mobile web and here’s why.

Adding Value to the Customer Experience

Before you start making calls to find a professional graphic designer that can build an awesome template for your app, stop and think. Will the app bring value to your customers’ experience? Are they going to use it to improve their day-to-day activities?

If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, then you probably don’t need an app. No one is going to download and install it if all it does is promote your products. You can still do this by using the mobile web and you have a better chance of getting new clients this way.

What will it do?

The main aspect you need to figure out in mobile app development is the purpose of the app. So what do you plan on doing with your app? Will you help users find your locations all over the country? Or maybe you’ll help them find products and compare prices.

Regardless of purpose, make sure you understand it clearly before you hire web development services. If you can’t clearly define a role for your app, then you should reconsider creating one.

How is it different from your site?

The site is a must-have these days, and it must be responsive. This means your user-interface will adapt to any screen type and resolution. So why do you need an app then?

If the custom mobile app you plan on developing doesn’t bring anything new compared to the site, then the app will be redundant.

How will an App benefit your Business?

As a Milwaukee-based web design company we’ve also seen many businesses benefit from their apps so let’s take a look at their real potential:

  • Camera usage – an app allows the user to take pictures of your products and share them on social media channels
  • Push notifications – you have direct access to your client’s phone and you can notify them of sales as they walk by your shop
  • You can implement a system where the app communicates with your store’s system to let you know the name and preferences of the client who just walked in
  • An app can offer discounts according to a customer’s social influence in regards to your products
  • Apps can offer customers the possibility to virtually try a product and test its features.

So yes, apps can be mind-blowing, but only if you design them that way. Consider all your options and see if your business can offer more via an app than what it’s already offering via a mobile-friendly site. For more on this topic, in in a future post, we will share examples on how various small businesses are using mobile apps innovatively to improve sales and reduce costs.