Nowadays, it’s as if every brand has an app. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big company or a start-up. With technology being more accessible than ever, apps are no longer a novelty or even a status symbol.
Nevertheless, while an app is a great distribution and communications channel, the same can also be said about a website. Moreover, both digital tools can give your brand an enhanced online presence; for e-commerce businesses, both a website and an app can provide a seamless experience.
So if an app and a website can, in general, serve the same purpose, which one is actually the most helpful for your brand? Below are some important questions to ask to help you determine which one suits your brand best.
Do Your Customers Interact with Your Brand Frequently?
If your customers seldom interact with your brand, particularly on your mobile website, then you may want to hold off on developing an app. Instead, focus on creating a great website. Work with a trusted design agency to make sure that guests and repeat visitors have an enjoyable user experience.
On the other hand, if you’re already receiving a lot of traffic on your website and other digital touchpoints, then consider developing an app. This will give them a more personalized experience. An app will also make it easier for them to engage with your brand.
Will an App Improve the Mobile Experience?
More often than not, a mobile-friendly website is already sufficient for most brands. This is particularly true if the website is rich in content and gets constantly updated with blogs, videos, and images.
Just remember that if you don’t improve or add anything to the mobile experience, then an app is useless. For example, an e-commerce app should be more than a shopping platform. It should create something unique for each user, such as individualized promos or recommendations based on shopping habits or location parameters.
In short, if your only reason to create an app is to be able to say that you have an app, don’t. Allocate your resources in other endeavors, such as a better website (see above) or even hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.
Do You Have the Resources to Dedicate to an App?
Speaking of allocating resources, creating an app takes a lot of time and money. At the very least, you’re looking at at least three to nine months of development. Then, you also have to account for a couple of days before your app gets approved by major app distribution platforms.
Aside from the development costs, you also have to account for maintenance. You might be spreading your people too thin if they’re maintaining your website and your app at the same time. Of course, you can hire more people to handle tech support and customer service but this will cost you more money.
Finally, you also need to market your app because if no one downloads and uses it, then you’ve wasted your investment. Word of mouth is definitely helpful, but you can’t solely rely on it. At the very least, you’re going to have to spend some money on social media ads and SEO.
Is Your App Your Product?
There are some businesses or brands that are app-based. For example, e-wallets, mobile games, and ride-sharing services are app-exclusive. You can visit their website for FAQs and some background information but you have to actually have the app to use their services.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur and your business has the same model, then you do need an app. However, if you can establish and cultivate your brand through a website first, then the app can come much later.
Do Your Competitors Have Apps of Their Own?
If your competitors have apps, then it’s good to consider developing your own. Take note that the operative word here is “consider.” Make sure to do your homework about what works and what doesn’t for them. Don’t create an app that’s just a repeat of that of your competitors. Make something better!
This means that you have to take into account the needs and wants of your customers. This way, you can give them something of value that they wouldn’t hesitate to download and take space in their smartphones.
Are You Ready to Comply with Various Rules?
The thing about building your website is that everything belongs to you. From the design and layout to the content you publish, everything is under your control. You also have full access to all your data and you can also update your content at all times.
Meanwhile, app distributors have rules and requirements. If you don’t meet these criteria, you can’t publish your app with them. Changes also take some time to get implemented. Again, they have to make sure that your app is up to snuff before distributing it.
All of these rules and requirements are in place to protect the consumer. Of course, this isn’t to say that websites can’t offer protection. However, since you’re a third-party, app distributors have to be doubly sure that what you offer doesn’t violate any regulations.
As a modern entrepreneur, you have to stay updated with the latest business trends. At the same time, you should also know when it’s wise to jump in on the trend or hold back.
In the case of a website versus an app, we hope that these questions have helped you figure out the best course of action for your brand.
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