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Are mobile apps always the best option for your business?

By John Cleary
28/02/2019

Are mobile apps always the best option for your business?

Mobile apps fill Google and Apple’s respective app stores in their millions. It’s no surprise; there are many scenarios where an app can significantly boost business. Right now it almost feels as if every company has their own, each one more successful than their competitors’. But that can’t be the case. The simple truth is, if they don’t serve a purpose, they lose their power with consumers.

When businesses build an app without a genuine use case, they are more like a status symbol. Considering the resources required to create one on both iOS and Android, this may not be a worthwhile investment. So what becomes the solution? What is a suitable and practical alternative? Could web applications fill the void?

Weighing up the costs of a mobile app

Around 80 per cent of consumers launch an app only once after downloading it. If you’re lucky, after three months, retention rate can reach almost 30 per cent. These are significant numbers to reflect on. The number of active users is one of the most critical factors for determining the overall value the app brings to your business.

All things considered, there are usually only a small number of reasons to have a mobile app:

  • Offline experience – this is an app that provides a function without the use of the internet. Spotify offline downloads are a great example of this.
  • Using local storage – sometimes data needs to be stored locally on the mobile device, rather than pushing it to the cloud or other online storage.
  • Using local hardware – any app that requires a specific function from the mobile device fits into this category. Games are a common example along with apps that need to use a phone’s camera, gyroscope, or sensors.
  • Added functionality or convenience – this is arguably the most important reason to have an app. If a mobile app doesn’t add any functionality or convenience to your mobile-optimised website, it’s unlikely to gain any traction or usage.

Enter web applications

Mobile-based customers don’t have to be targeted with mobile apps. You could build a responsive, mobile-optimised website. These can be quick and easy to access but, unfortunately, they are not as smooth as mobile apps in terms of user experience. Right in the middle of these two options lies progressive web apps (PWA).

PWAs are simply a mobile app delivered through a website – no downloads are required. They function and navigate in a similar fashion to their app store counterparts, even accessing the local hardware like an app would, but with several advantages to both consumers and developers:

  • Generally speaking, PWAs are much easier to construct than mobile apps and require fewer resources. They don’t need app store submissions. And, because they run on a browser for all devices, separate builds for Android and iOS are not required.
  • Users consume less data. Twitter PWA requires less data to function that its mobile app.
  • Popularity is shifting towards PWAs thanks to their flexibility of use. They are a powerful option to stay ahead of the curve in the mobile industry.

Run through the problem your app is trying to fix. Before you set out to construct a mobile or PWA, consider your resources and goals before choosing which one will provide the most value to your business.

Createk builds software that unlocks efficiency across your business. We get under the skin of how you operate and create a bespoke solution tailored to your unique challenges. Secure, stable, and supported every step of the way. Get in touch to see how Createk can help you with your application development.

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