The Google Play Store and the iOS App Store are each home to more than 2 million mobile apps. Global organisations and local businesses are now investing heavily in apps, but is now the right time for your business to get involved? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
The difference between native and web-based applications
There are two main types of mobile application, native, and web. Native applications require installation by the user through one of the major app stores – the code is hosted on the device and has access to native features such as the camera, storage & push notifications.
Native apps generally perform better than web-based apps as they can better utilise the hardware of the device, taking advantage of processes like 3D animation & augmented reality.
Web-based apps don’t require installation and can be accessed through a native web browser (Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS). These applications have only limited access to the capabilities of the device.
Does your business really need an app?
Asking a user to install another application on their device is quite a large ask, so it needs to be worth their time – if your application could be a website, it doesn’t need to be an app.
Simply put, if you don’t require the native capabilities of the device then you really don’t need a native application. This is reflected in Apple’s submission guidelines under section 4.2 – minimum functionality:
“Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website”
However, if you can add value using at least one native capability then it’s worth stepping into the world of native apps to elevate your business. There are countless reasons as to why your business could benefit from a native app, here are a few that we think are important:
Be visible to customers at all times
In 2018 the average amount of time spent on a mobile phone is estimated to be around 3 hours and 25 minutes a day.
During that time the user will often be swiping through their apps – and even if it isn’t your application they’re looking for, you’ll still be a semi-permanent feature on their phone. Which is great for brand awareness.
Create a direct marketing channel
Notifications make it possible to push information about your company directly to a user. Let them know about price changes, current deals, press releases, updates & more, giving users the option to interact with a single tap.
Add to your business offering
This one is important as it comes back to the point of only needing a native app if you’re going to use the capabilities of the device.
This can be anything from showcasing your products using augmented reality, to using fingerprint technology to protect account information. That loyalty program you’ve been using to retain customers, why not make it digital?
Having a native application on leading app stores gives the impression of professionalism & trust. This is especially true for apps on iOS devices.
This is because all apps on Apple’s App Store go through a review process before appearing, ensuring they follow usability & safety guidelines.
Your app will also run smoother than web-based apps as it’s using the device hardware.
Not to mention, web-based apps are burdened with OS-specific address bars & toolbars – something native applications don’t suffer from as they run outside of parent applications such as Safari & Google Chrome.
There are benefits to having a mobile app for businesses of all sizes. To get a better idea for your own business, research your competitors to see if and how they’re using apps to get ahead.
That said, people generally only consider new apps if there’s something in it for them. So mobile apps are only a good investment if the functionality is going to add value to their lives in some way.
To find out how businesses like yours are using native mobile or web applications, get in touch.