Apps, Websites, or Chatbots: Where Should a Business Focus?

For the last several years standard tech advice has been consistent.  Creating mobile apps will help business.

Download applications have changed how people interact with their phones, but apps may have turned the corner on efficiency.

If you do not have an app yet, should you focus resources on development?

Mobile Apps development

So the main question to ask is does an app solve a business problem? For some verticals, such as transportation, a download may provide a specific resolution for consumers. Customers can gain peace of mind seeing where there shipment is. Likewise, retail can benefit from the ease and quick click shopping offered by apps.

People assume apps are easily developed and can quickly go viral, creating revenue in the millions for the lucky developers. The truth is applications are in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Marketing alone is not a reason for app creation, as apps rarely bring new customers to the table.

Apple and Google organize apps with keywords, with each store highlighting apps for users. Apple’s new operating system has changed the app store so only two apps are  highlighted at any time.

It is costly to market an app to have presence in a flooded marketplace.

Rather, businesses benefit by developing apps with ease, efficiency, and ultimate customer experience in mind. Apps are quickly loaded and reside on a user’s phone, allowing for an ever-present reminder of your business. Customers who benefit with your app, such as one-click purchasing, can be rewarded for use.

In general, apps can look good for a business when their existing customers need to interact.

Just as it can be a strength, a weakness to apps are they are static and exist on the mobile device. This requires an update any time iOS or Android updates their systems. While the ROI may work to your favor, apps do require on-going development costs as well as multiple versions for the different devices.

Mobile websites

While a benefit to apps is they exist on the phone and load quickly, they are not searchable by Google. Websites allow for an individual to type in “buy hats” and come up with all the various options for hat purchases.

Websites contain information about your business and why individuals should purchase from you, and most websites already contain purchasing abilities.

A mobile optimized website is easier to build, easier to maintain, and will work on all social media platforms.

Customers having to remember browser information is a downside.  Also, they take a bit longer to load than a static app.

However, if your business has not created a mobile website, this should take priority over app creation. Websites can drive new business unlike download applications.

Chatbots and messengers

The largest advice against developing an app is the mobile device download may be a thing of the past. App development has reached critical mass.

If your business has a mobile optimized website and is looking to be tech forward, skipping app development and going directly to chatbot services will get you ahead of the curve.

Messaging services have increased significantly, becoming one of the primary ways individuals communicate. Language is the natural way to interface. Putting your business in front of the consumer with language increases user experience.

Also, chatbots have the benefit of being learning machines. Namely, a chatbot will increase efficiency every time the consumer interacts.  Your business becomes the go-to, can’t live without tool for a customer.

While most businesses outside Silicon Valley are not early adapters of tech, playing catch up rarely gives noticeable returns in revenue. Utilizing your CIO and focusing on where tech is heading may give your business an edge over your competitors rather than being stuck in the middle of the pack.

Say goodbye to downtime and hello to new opportunities.