It seems like there’s an app for just about anything nowadays, and if you’re shopping for a new website, most agencies will include mobile app developement in their proposals or quotes. A mobile app may seem like a logical investment to make for a business, but it’s completely unnecessary and a waste of money for most small businesses. Allow me to explain why…
Mobile Site vs App
The main difference between the two is that sites are rendered within web browsers, but apps are compiled to run natively on smart devices. That means, when granted permissions, apps have direct access to sensors, information and computing power on the smart devices they run on. It may seem like mobile sites are less capable, but functionaloties are continously being added to mobile web browsers so that sites can take advantage of them. For the most part, a properly designed mobile site is just as capable as a mobile app, as long as Internet is available.
Supporting Business Case
I’m not saying that mobile apps are comeplelely useless, a mobile app is a great investment as long as there is a business case or need for having one. I use the app my bank offers to deposit cheques, make mobile payments, manage my accounts and investments all the time. A banking app makes sense because people use it all the time, and it provies more security than a mobile site. A cellphone carrier’s app makes sense because it allows users to login with the information on their devices without having to enter their credentials. For a franchised business, an app can quickly show the nearest location without needing access to Internet. If your business can benefit from having a mobile app, definitely go for it, but for most small businesses, there just isn’t a point of having one.
It’s a Scam
Well, not always, but for the most part. First, I think it is a scam when an agency tries to sell something that a client does not need and cannot benefit from. Second, most agencies don’t actually develop mobile apps themselves. What they do is that they pay a 3rd party company to wrap a native app around their client’s mobile site, which means user experience are the same between the two platforms. So what’s the point of having an app at all?
Cons of Apps
While apps can have access to information when Internet is not available, that information may be outdated. Furthermore, apps need to be marketed and maintained just like a website. So ask yourself, do you have the budget to market and maintain a separate platform, or would you rather focus your resources on your site instead? Another thing to consider is that shopping decisions are often spontaneous, meaning that consumers search for businesses or products when they suddenly need something or when they are out and about. In those situations, they are much more likely to look for information on mobile sites without having to download any apps. Especailly with voice assistants such as Siri, Google Home and Amazon Echo becoming more popular, your website has a better chance of gaining exposure from potential clients.
Mobile apps have its place for sure, but for most small businesses without a supporting business case, having a properly designed mobile site would suffice. For businesses that don’t need a mobile app, they would be better off spending their money on making their sites mobile-friendly and marketing them. We wrote this article because we care, and we don’t want you spending money on something that your business can’t profit from. We are a web design & digital marketing agency in Regina and Kelowna. If you need a properly designed mobile site that doesn’t suck, contact us today for a free assessment.