The number of mobile users is growing exponentially. According to figures from the Russian Internet Forum, in 2016 the total number grew by 12.5% of which 12.5% were Runet users. It’s become the norm to search for information on the way to work or while queueing for lunch. People have grown accustomed to being mobile and are more and more are seeking to do things on the go via their phones.
In this respect, the issue of choosing the right mobile solution for business is one facing the heads of many companies today: will a mobile version of the website suffice or is it better to build an app? Research from IAB “App Gap” showed that 64% of users found apps easier to use than their responsively-designed website counterparts, while conversely, 42% preferred the latter. Meanwhile, mobile users spend 88% of their time using apps and just 12% using internet browsers.
A website acts as a vital source of information for a business. A mobile app is a medium through which a relationship of trust can be established with clients through providing them with timely solutions to their problems. Used correctly an app can help to develop a business and be a good investment for the future. A mobile app for business can be a potent brand-building instrument, which enables businesses to keep in touch with their clients 24/7 and engage with them at all times, be it at work, on holiday or even in bed. With the help of an app you can retain and increase the clients actively using your product or service.
Mobile apps are costly
At first glance, it would appear that mobile apps are expensive and time-consuming to build, and that it’s a better idea to develop a mobile version of the website. But let’s look at the stats. Russia ranks 5th in the world when it comes to smartphone use per capita. According to eMarketer forecasts, by 2018, 76.4 million Russians - one in every two - will possess a smartphone.
Within the largest cities, the mobile audience comprised 25 – 30% of residents. One in every four visitors to any establishment – be it a bar, beauty salon or private clinic – uses a mobile iOS or Android app. What’s more, we don’t take into account that the majority of restaurant, fitness club and beauty salon goers etc. are trendy and affluent young people. In this case, the number of mobile users can be between 60 and 70%. It’s relatively straightforward to surmise that a return on investment from just 5% of users will allow for the cost of developing the mobile business app to be recouped within several months.
Why apps are better
We’ve touched on recouping costs, now let’s look at the advantages of mobile apps for business. First and foremost, is user interaction. In contrast to websites, apps allow for push notifications to be sent, informing users of campaigns, special offers, new products and services. Without push notifications, site visitors only learn of new offerings and services upon visiting the company’s website, which could take place on a daily or so little as a monthly basis.
High-quality interface. A website, with a design specially adapted for mobile devices, should be easy to use for those using touchscreen devices. Screens differ widely in terms of size and pixel density. In some cases, the mobile screen resolution is bigger than that of a computer monitor’s but meanwhile the diagonal is a lot smaller. Mobile operating systems eliminate this issue, whereby fingers need be no wider than toothpicks in order to click on tiny links and buttons. However, they do this as per the different device and platform specifications, and thus, you can never be 100% sure how the site will look for one and another user, nor can you be sure whether they’ll find it user-friendly.
Personalization. Mobile apps can remember user data and adapt the interface in accordance with their preferences. Through synchronization via the cloud of preferences for different devices, users can view the app containing their own pre-populated personalized data, such as their delivery address or encrypted payment information.
Offline functionality. A lot of mobile devices have internet, but not all of them do all of the time. If you want users to remain connected to your product in the event the internet connection is interrupted, creating a mobile app is the only solution to the problem.
As you can see, a mobile app is a highly-effective solution for business. Although there is one case in which you might want to think twice about ploughing all your efforts into building one: if your principal client demographic is over the age of sixty and its phone of choice is the Nokia 3310. But surely this doesn’t apply to your business?