Reports frequently indicate that we are using mobile phones more and more when conducting general web searches. As a result, many companies that we would be spending time with online – Netflix to Amazon, eBay to our bank – have developed apps. They are to be downloaded onto our phones and then used as a shortcut whenever we need to check on our basket, order something, or monitor our finances. However, not all businesses have an app, which begs the question: are they always necessary?
Benefits of an App
Many suggest that mobile apps can be faster – some around 1.5 times as fast as websites – due to the data being stored on your smartphone, so the retrieval for this data happens faster. However, while apps may send push notifications for social media such as Twitter or Facebook, the relentless push notifications for other apps could put users off. Indeed, 52% of users suggest push notifications are annoying.
For tried and tested brands, such as clothing brands or banks, apps are a sensible way forward to build on a relationship. But for brands and companies that you’re not as familiar with, there is no incentive to download the app. Many people would prefer to browse on the mobile site until they are definitely sure they will be needing to use the app – which can take up valuable storage space on your phone.
Typically, apps can cost around $200,000 to make, with cheaper apps costing $50,000 and more expensive ones soaring up to $500,000. Apps do give an air of legitimacy in that as they cost so much, customers are convinced that the business must be good enough to be able to spend that amount of money on an app.
Benefits of a Mobile Site
Mobile sites boast a better user experience than many apps. This is due to the cost of producing apps and the freedom that simply coding a site for mobile provides. The mobile site can also be a streamlined version of the desktop site, while apps may alter the branding and be harder to navigate. Using the expense for an app towards developing other aspects of the business is better for customers, especially if the mobile site might be their preferred way of engaging with the company.
Sometimes well-optimized mobile sites are enough. For example, ComeOn casino makes it clear to its users that the mobile version of the site is optimized for smaller devices and the navigation is cleaned up, which is especially important to ensure customers don’t immediately bounce off. Yet, the site also provides an app for those who want to download it. The former can be good for potential customers, while the app would suit those who want to use the site regularly.
Meanwhile, the Lyft app, which can be used for those wanting to become drivers, is extremely streamlined and features an easy to navigate menu that signposts you where you need to go. Unsurprisingly, Apple ensure their website showcases the best of their products and is perfectly designed for surfing on Safari on the iOS.
Apps can be useful and certainly add an air of legitimacy to a business. However, apps are prohibitively expensive for businesses who could spend the money on other features. Apps can be handy to be used as shortcuts to certain sites we use a lot, but they can also be a drain on our storage, and many don’t want to bother downloading them. Ultimately, an app can be useful for a business, but it isn’t an imperative.