Mobile applications (apps) are created with various goals in mind, depending on the industry, the type of business and its customer base. So, when it comes to providing an app to their customers to better market themselves and increase customer loyalty, a poignant question arises for many businesses: “Do I even need a mobile application if I have a mobile friendly site?” This question cuts to the chase on whether a mobile app adds value.
Value means different things to different people, and this varies between businesses and customers. Perhaps an anecdotal approach will help us better decompose the question. Businesses tend to realize value from an app when adoption occurs, usage is observable, conversions take place, and sales ensue. From the customer’s perspective, value is derived when an app has a combination of the following: good design, functional, high utility, and fulfilling/enriching. The latter may seem unclear to some readers, although for anyone who has downloaded an app, they know when it combines these elements well. The proof of this is that you go back to the app and use it repeatedly.
Gone are the days of creating an app just for the sake of having one. So how does a business go about designing an app that will fulfill the above value criteria for themselves and their customers? To justify the investment outlay and compliment the business model for growth, the business owner must clearly set firm goals, plan, and execute accordingly. According to Forrester, it is advised that businesses design their apps with their best and most loyal or frequent customers in mind – because those are the ones who will download and use the application regularly. So it is clear that if your goals are to be realized, you must foremost provide value to your customers. Only then may an app be a good means to market and increase client loyalty, while also allowing for growth.
Value drivers are a great basis for a mobile app, but from a total investment standpoint technical relevance and differentiation from competitors must also be considered. The digital landscape is undergoing dramatic shifts in trends, in which both the customer and business owner are on (what I like to call) a ‘sleigh ride.’ This is not a passive ride, both are contributing in shaping the course that is taken by shifting their proverbial weight (i.e. behavior, habits, capital and vast sums of time). Where the sleigh ride ends is yet to be determined, however the statistics are compelling (to put it lightly). If we are to make an informed conclusion, the statistics (below) may provide some insight.
- If eCommerce is the future of retail, it looks like it will be driven by mCommerce. According to 2015 holiday season data from Hooklogic, mobile commerce accounted for over 50% of all eCommerce site traffic. February 2016
- eMarketer expects mobile to overtake desktop for US search ad dollars, rising from $8.72 billion to $12.85 billion—just slightly above desktop’s $12.82 billion. At the same time, there will be 156.4 million mobile phone search users in the US, representing 49.0% of the population. June 2015
- Mobile app store revenues worldwide are projected to grow to US $76.5 billion in 2017 according to Statista. February 2015
- 44% of consumers say that they would like brands to deliver deals and coupons to their mobile devices . January 2015
- Mobile commerce will account for 24.4% of overall ecommerce revenues by the end of 2017. January 2015
- By 2017, mobile devices will make up 87 percent of the total sales of Internet-enabled technology. April 2017
- U.S. Small Businesses Maintain Good Web-Presence But Still Lack Mobile Presence: While 60% of small businesses surveyed have a website, only 26% have a mobile-friendly website (same layout/content as standard site adjusted to suit your smartphone screen) while an even smaller percentage (14% of small business owners have a stand-alone mobile website (content/layout designed specifically for mobile purposes). July 2012
- 69% of U.S. Small Businesses Consider Mobile Marketing Key to Growth in Next Five Years: There has been a significant increase over the past year in overall awareness and acceptance that having a mobile presence is critical to small business growth. July 2012
- There is a large gap between the rapidly increasing mobile search volumes and the majority of small businesses lagging behind in mobile search strategy. Over 61% of small businesses currently do not have a mobile search strategy and are missing out on consumers trying to find them via a smartphone device. July 2012
- Biggest Motivation to Embrace Mobile is to Provide Better Service to Existing Customers: When asked to rank their top motivations to invest in mobile marketing, small business owners indicated the following as their top three motivations: (i) Provide better service to existing customers (38%) (ii) Attract more local customers (36%) (iii) Gain competitive advantage (34%) July 2012
- According to a recent Digital Trends article, people in the U.S. spend 4.7 hours of their day on their smartphones
- The majority of consumers are of the opinion that mobile-optimized sites run faster than non-mobile-optimized sites. January 2015
- 78% of smartphone users access a retail site via a mobile app. These people want on-the-go, targeted information with minimal data use that a mobile app provides. 44% of tablet users accessed a retail site via a mobile app. December 2014
- Consumer Services and Financial Industries See Highest Mobile Email Opens Rates: The Consumer Services and Financial industries saw the highest mobile open rates, 42.17 percent and 40.13 percent respectively. September 2012
- As for businesses that still don’t participate in mobile marketing, “lack of strategy” was cited as the top reason companies didn’t launch a mobile program (37 percent), with “lack of resources” close behind (22 percent). August 2012
- Estimated monthly usage of Mobile Apps and Mobile Web:
- Mobile Apps: Men (29Hrs 32Mins) – Women (30Hrs 58Mins)
- Mobile Web: Men (3Hrs 45Mins) - Women (3Hrs 46Mins)
- 85% of people prefer native mobile apps to mobile websites