For some businesses, offering their users an app adds tremendous value to their users’ lives, while for some others, it only adds to users’ app fatigue.
With observations like this come the burning questions — How can you tell where your business stands in this spectrum? How do you know if an app or website would serve your business better? How do they benefit businesses?
To help clear the mist, here’s a simplified guide to when you need an app, when you need a website, and when you need both.
Apps are specifically designed to run mostly on smartphones and tablets. They require users to install and download updates in order to use a service.
This might be a little work for your users especially if they’re already experiencing app fatigue with their existing apps — handing them another app to install might deter them from using your service at all.
Compared to websites, apps also generally cost more and take longer to build because different versions for native apps need to be considered for different devices.
Despite that, having an app for your business can still be advantageous in many ways.
1. Can be discovered through app stores
2. Can leverage native device functionality
3. Allow for easier user behavior tracking
4. Allow for offline functions
5. Give your users a more customized experience, deepening existing relationships with users
1. Aims to engage with returning users
2. Requires personalization (e.g. push notifications, geolocation, etc.)
3. Needs to access device functionality (e.g. camera, microphone, contacts, etc.)
Just because apps are a “gold rush” for businesses these days doesn’t mean you necessarily need one.
Sure, websites may limit your customers to browsers, web-based notifications, and service that depends on network connection, but sometimes a mobile-friendly website with responsive design is all you need to up user satisfaction.
1. Cost less
2. Take less time to build
3. Can run on both mobile and desktop browsers
4. Are easier to discover through web searches
5. Are easier to share with links
6. Are instantly available and don’t require downloads or updates
1. Aims mainly to provide information
2. Requires minimal personalization
3. Doesn’t need to access device functionality
You really don’t have to only choose one to stick to. It's extremely common for today’s businesses to combine a website with a mobile app. This combo allows them to not only welcome new customers, but also give their loyal returning customers a personalized experience with exclusive content and deals.
When your app and website work together to serve both new customers and existing ones, you get the best of both worlds. Other than giving your customers flexibility and choice, here are some other reasons the app+website combo is valuable to business owners.
Typically, businesses start building awareness with a website before they launch an app. This is because websites are a great way to start new relationships with customers, while apps are great for deepening those existing relationships.
In any business, new customers need to see the value of your service before they decide to become a regular. In this case, your users need to be convinced that the service you offer is important to them, before they hit the download button and give you a place on their phones.
Websites also give business owners way more freedom in the way they want to market their app.
Did you know you’re limited to only 4000 characters to pitch your app to users on app stores? There are also limitations on the size, quality, and number of screenshots and videos you can display on your app’s page.
On your own website, you can give visitors a deeper dive into your app’s features with much more dynamic visuals.
Looking at both objective and subjective clues is the best way to find the perfect solution. Aside from the checklists above, it never hurts to mix in your observations.
If you’re lost on what you should do next, study examples in your industry. Pick some of the businesses closest to what you envision yours to be, and ask these questions:
What are they doing?
How is their app or website helping them?
If you take a different route, how can you make up for what they’ve gained on their route?
It’s also important to know your target market and their needs. Without analyzing data and paying attention to user behavior, you can end up with nothing but negative reception when you throw your users the opposite of what they want.
An alternative to figuring it out on your own is to find a good digital agency to help you out.
Whether it’s in understanding the different technical possibilities for your business or in identifying the most viable routes for your growth, Snappymob is here to give you a boost.
Our team of web and app experts has helped businesses from startups to large corporations approach digitalization with confidence. Feel free to reach out and discuss your vision with us!
Snappymob is a passionate web and mobile app developer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We have designed and developed awesome web and mobile applications for industries and companies around the globe.
We love our craft — the design, development, and the business of apps and this blog is our outlet for discussing what we think and sharing what we know with our community.