Google Play Store has more than 3.5 million apps and Apple has over 2.2 million. In other words, the market for mobile apps is huge, given that a majority of people consume information and buy various products via smartphones.
A mobile application can provide numerous benefits to your existing business such as increased engagement and customer loyalty. Thus, catering to your audience via a mobile app might be a smart move.
Why should you create a mobile app for your internal team or B2B clients?
There can be various reasons to build a mobile app for use within your existing organization. Mobile application helps in brand awareness, online sales, and easy access to services.
What can mobile apps change for you and your business internally, and why might you need a custom software solution?
Some of the reasons could be:
- To improve communication within the organization
- To boost efficiency
- To facilitate better management
- To help you expand your team
These could be key considerations that inform the development of a mobile app for your internal team.
Why should you create a mobile app for your customers?
There are multiple benefits of having a mobile application to promote your business and facilitate customer engagement. The following are some of the key advantages provided by a mobile app:
- Reduced marketing cost
- Enhanced, cross-platform customer experience
- Broader market coverage
- Speedy delivery of content and services
- Collection of valuable feedback
- Differentiating yourself from the competition
Key Questions to Ask Before Building a Mobile App
Now, before you commit to building an app for your business, you should answer some of the following questions to gauge the need for an app.
Do your competitors have apps?
While deciding whether to develop an app for your business, it is wise to examine your competitors. Are they currently offering an app to their customers? If yes, check out the statistics such as downloads and ratings from the relevant app stores. Acquiring this information will give you a clear understanding of the app's popularity within your business sector, and an insight into whether your customers are looking for a mobile app.
What will the mobile app do that a responsive mobile site cannot?
You need to ask yourself, what new functionality will the app bring to your business that the mobile version of your site cannot? Moreover, what ideas do you have to make it a delightful user experience? Does your product or service require features like access to a smartphone GPS system, camera, or touch screen, which a web application cannot support?
How much profit can you make from this app?
An app could be a good idea for your business and might bring new features that even a well-designed responsive mobile site cannot provide. But before you get started, you need to consider the budget that will be invested in building the app and how much return you can expect from it.
Especially if you’re working on a startup budget, ask yourself if an app with a high price tag (and a big drain on your time and energy) will translate into immediate earnings, or whether it's more of a nice-to-have.
Will your app enhance the customer experience?
If you are investing a hefty amount of time, energy, and money in building a mobile application for your business, you need to make sure that it delights your customer in a way that they couldn't otherwise get from using your website or other engagement models.
If the answers to these questions indicate that a mobile app is the right choice for you, then you're ready to think about mobile app development on a more detailed level.
What are the advantages that mobile apps provide over websites or web apps?
There are many advantages of mobile apps over websites, such as:
- Convenience: Mobile apps provide a better user experience, load content faster, and are much easier to use. Sharing updates, reminders, and special features within an app increase retention and customer loyalty.
- Personalization: Mobile apps are a great solution for businesses that require regular use for their customers. An application can help set preferences, create personal accounts, and keep vital information at hand instead of saving it on the website portal.
- Working offline: Another great advantage that mobile apps have over websites and web apps is the opportunity to use them offline. As apps are already installed on our mobile devices, they can access content and features even without an internet connection.
How to decide on critical features for your custom mobile app
The very first step in the mobile app development process is to define your business goals. Next, you need to list down the challenges and the possible business opportunities that your mobile app can provide. Some of the high priorities that you can think of including in your app could be:
- High-Quality Design: Creating a user-friendly app is crucial for widespread adoption. The app should be informative, innovative, and user-friendly. It should focus on interaction and simplicity, and not be too complex.
- Feedback System: Let customers report bugs, complaints, or suggestions. Moreover, you must regularly inform them about further improvements that have been made by using an open forum.
- Social Integrations: It is common to integrate apps with social channels, as it helps make the signup process easy and allows users to share content to keep customers engaged.
- Customization: A good app should be customizable for future updates pertaining to content, layout, system functionality, and more.
- Security: This is the most important feature that needs to be implemented to protect data confidentiality. Security capabilities and improvements should be added to keep data private and abide by regulations like GDPR.
How much does it cost to build a mobile app?
The cost to develop an app can be anywhere between $5000 to $50,000 (or higher) depending on the functionality required for your business.
Below are some of the most common issues that will impact the cost of your mobile application:
- What features will your app include? Each feature has a cost relative to the labor required to build it.
- Where are you planning to publish your app (Android, iOS, both, or cross-platform)? Each included platform requires either upfront planning for cross-platform compatibility or entirely separate app builds for each type of device.
- Do you want to connect your application to your existing business software? This can be either very simple and cheap or very complex and costly.
- Who will develop your app: “DIY”, freelancer, or agency? DIY builds are cheapest, while freelancers and agencies have different costs, advantages, and use cases.
- Will you rely on your existing servers or make use of cloud services? Cloud hosting typically provides better scalability at a reduced cost.
- Do you have a set date by when you need to launch? Short deadlines usually come with higher costs.
The following table provides average hourly rates for developers:
Here are some sample feature development costs (approximate) for your mobile application.
Developing native apps on two platforms–usually Android and iOS–equates to 2x the cost to develop an app. Making the same app cross-platform from the start costs 1.5x, which leads to a 25% cost reduction. Thus, you must make your decision wisely.
How much time does it take to build an app?
The general process to build a simple app includes the following stages:
Planning Stage (2-3 weeks)
- Scoping and Business Analysis: 1 week
- Prototyping: 1 week
- Estimations: 0.5 weeks
Design and Pre-Development Stage (5-7 weeks)
- UX Design: 2-3 weeks
- UI Design: 2-3 weeks
Development Stage (8-10 weeks)
- Back-end Development: 3-4 weeks
- Front- End Development: 3-4 weeks
- Testing: 1 week
- Finalization and Launch: 1 week
What does your team need to do before building a custom mobile app?
It's recommended to make certain preparations before commencing an app build. Here are a few best practices for planning mobile app development.
Define your goals for the app
Before getting started, you need to define your goals clearly and note them down. You should also identify specifically how this app will help you meet your goals.
You must also conduct intensive research into your business goals to see if they match your customers' expectations. This will help you establish the right market gap fit for your app.
Set a Budget and Timeline
You need to finalize your app development budget carefully. The timeline goes hand-in-hand with the budget. For the best estimate, you need to talk to the app's developer(s) to understand the cost of your app and how long it will take to complete it.
If your budget is limited, stick to the core functionalities for the app and focus on any supplementary features later. If you require a quick turnaround, your developer may need to charge more to make everything happen in a limited amount of time.
Choose Between a Hybrid and Native App
You need to decide whether your business requires an app on iOS, Android, or both. Initially, most businesses make the mistake of developing an app on a single operating system because that sounds more affordable. But if you decide to expand to another operating system, you would need to develop a completely new app that will cost you much more in the long run. Thus, making the decision sooner could be advantageous to you, as you can opt for RAD Stack development to create a hybrid application.
Make Security a Priority
Security should be a consideration from the start due to the fact that cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit app vulnerabilities and steal data. Your users should be able to trust the safety of your app, as a security breach could have a major impact on your business’s reputation and legacy.
How do you know if a mobile app will provide enough value to justify development costs?
We have already discussed the benefits of having a mobile app over a website or web app. Now, let’s review a few benchmarks that you can track to understand whether you're getting enough value out of your app.
1. With social integration, users tend to share more posts and event-related information on social media handles, which provides marketing for the brand itself and helps users interact with your app.
2. Having an app that has visibility on various operating systems such as iOS and Android helps engage more users. You'll want to see downloads on both platforms to justify the expense of development.
3. An app also increases your brand credibility among your customers, as majority of the customers prefer using an app for their work rather than searching on the web. You should see revenues that are directly attributable to user behavior in the app.
Though you might not be able to predict the exact profitability of building an app, the above points can help you gauge whether an app makes sense for your business.
A mobile app isn't necessary for every business, but it can help you improve your internal operations or reach your customers in a new way.
If you're interested in building a mobile app for iOS or Android, Crowdbotics is here to help. Our expert team of developers and product managers can help you plan and build your application on time and within your budget. To discuss how you can get started on your mobile application build, get in touch with us today.