Do you really need an App?

Does your business really need an app? Sure one can expect that a company that develops apps might have a disturbingly biased opinion on this topic. But we have to admit, sometimes apps are created for the wrong reasons.

There's almost half a million apps in the Apple App Store, and almost 50 percent have never seen more than a handful of downloads. So yes sometimes apps are unnecessary. Before you decide if your business needs an app consider the following.

Let's start with what an app is not. An app is not a blow horn. If your aim is exposure consider that an app will limit the audience you will reach. First you'll have to decide what platform your audience prefers more, iOS or Android, and by choosing exclude users of the platform you ignored. Of course you can always develop the app for both platforms, but the exposure will only reach people with smartphones. If the aim is to present your company in a mobile platform consider a mobile friendly website. With this solution you can make your current website easier to access, more presentable and functional if seen through any mobile browser, not just smartphones. There's no need to develop a full fledged app to create a mobile presence.

If you still believe you absolutely need an app, understand that its not just another promotional tool. Yes an app will engage more customers but only if it provides a unique service or purpose . With an app you can provide ways for customers to buy your products, provide promotions, but more importantly create an experience they can't find anywhere else. Take into account Domino's Pizza app. It provides numerous services. You can find the nearest Domino's, find the latest coupons, order in different languages and lastly track in which state of preparation the pizza is at. That is an experience that can't be replicated with a phone call or with a mobile friendly website. However, an app needs constant care because mobile consumption is constant. An app will always need new content to stay relevant and it will need fixes.

Still an app can have an amazing impact internally. Apps are not only useful for customers, they can provide great value for the daily internal operations of large businesses. Take for example Bell Nursery. Bell supplies plants to more than 150 Home Depot's and is responsible for the inventory in each store. The company developed an app that employees use to keep track of the plants without needing to be physically inside the store. The countless hours saved made Bell more efficient. Sometimes apps don't have to create revenue in order to bring in value. It all depends on how you plan on using the app.

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