To App or Not to App

Charlotte Baker


Published on 14th February 2022


How to tell if your business needs an app.

“There’s an app for that”; the famous slogan, coined by Apple has never been so relevant. Nowadays, there is practically an app for everything. But is that a good thing? Is any idea worth developing an app for?.. with the Google Play Store being home to 3.4 million applications and the App Store having 2.22 million applications, competition is steep.1 Companies have become increasingly aware that they need to embrace a mobile strategy, as now not only have mobile-only users overtaken desktop-only but app usage has surpassed desktop usage.

The temptation to develop a mobile application is high. A general rule of thumb when deciding whether or not to create an app is if you feel that your users will use your app regularly and that your app would add value for them.. If so, creating an app will benefit your business. If not, focus your efforts on creating a good mobile optimised web presence. Moreover, if your app does not provide additional functionality or convenience to your website then it will most likely not gain enough traction with consumers. 

Developing both a website and an application is an investment in itself, so getting it right is key to enhancing your businesses conversion rates. Both have their pros and cons, however, mobile apps are known to increase conversion and retention rates. A recent report from Sensor Tower delineated that customer spending on mobile apps and app installs grew significantly during the first half of 2020, reaching over €42.5 billion worldwide across App Store and Google Play. Although this 23.4% increase was mainly due to the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviours, the figure is set to continue rising.

In order to help you better understand whether a mobile app or website is right for you, we’ve come up with a few questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge.

1. Is there a market for this app?

Before investing time and money into this, one needs to ask ‘Why will people use this app? A: _______’, if that blank space is hard to fill, examine your strategy. There needs to be a market for your application or else it’s conversion rates won’t be worth forking out the investment

2. Does your user visit the app regularly?

As mentioned before, if you think your users will access your application regularly then creating an app is right for you. If the application adds value to a user’s life it is more likely that users will continue to use your app on a regular basis.

3. Do you need access to phone native features?

If the inclusion of native app features such as camera, gyroscope sensors and geolocation API is something that needs to be incorporated, then one definitely should consider creating a mobile application. 

Native apps have better performance rates than web apps, even if your web app contains certain functionalities of a mobile app it will never compare to the  processing efficiency of a mobile app.

4. Is speed important to you?

Mobile applications are faster than web applications, this is just a fact. Therefore, if speed is an issue for you, you’re better off creating a mobile application. 

Users most likely won’t engage with your application frequently if it’s slow, has a complicated onboarding system and on top of all that is hard to navigate. Simplicity is key when building an application so much so is speed.

5. Will you users use your app offline?

Although places with limited access to the internet are few and far between, because they do still exist this creates a window of opportunity for complementary, location-dependent apps. Therefore, in the battle between website or mobile apps, mobile wins hands down in this case. If your product caters more towards those persons who prefer living life offline, it pays you to develop an app where users can access the desired data whenever needed. Some examples of this are; Google maps, TripAdvisor and dictionaries.

6. Do you have a budget of at least 10k?

As mentioned previously, creating an app can be a costly affair, therefore one must budget beforehand in order to see whether it’s feasible or not. One also has to factor in maintenance and debugging fees. It’s not a lump sum and done, kind of thing. It requires a lot of investment in terms of money but also time.

7. Does your product include navigation or location based elements? (GPS)

Again, if a GPS feature is crucial for your business, then mobile apps take the lead here. For example, if you plan on creating a taxi app or delivery services wherein their route needs to be tracked, the best possible user experience you can achieve is with a mobile native app. 

8. Do your competitors have an app?

Going against the grain when it comes to your competitors may result in your unique selling point (USP). If they only have a website or vice versa, creating either of the two channels that your competitors haven’t infiltrated into can give you the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.

9. Do you know how you’re going to monetise your app?

On the same lines as the first question, one needs to know whether there’s (A) a market for your application and (B) how to monetize your application within the market. It’s not worth your time and money to invest in a mobile application that won’t make a return on investment. Do you plan on charging per download, how will it affect the market? Do you plan on making it free to download? If so, how will you get new customers to onboard your app? Be certain that you can afford what you are proposing to develop before taking the plunge. 

Another important point to consider is to stagger your mobile application development process and not to go in guns blazing and create all the features you’ve thought up in your mind. First and foremost it wouldn’t be financially feasible and secondly it might end up flopping, and we don’t want that. The smarter route would be to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and once this is up and running and gaining conversions to then expand upon it and add more features. 

To round off, we don’t want to dishearten you when it comes to developing your mobile application however these initial questions need to be addressed. We will consult with you on what we feel is the best channel to take before we move forward in the development process. It’s hard to pick a clear winner in competition between web and mobile, however it’s imperative to weigh the pros and cons first. If you need further clarification, do not hesitate to contact us.

Interested in learn more about mobile application development? Feel free to browse our service pages.