Mobile App, Website, or Both: What Does Your Startup Really Need?
By Saurabh Wadhwani
Startups – they are rising and have made an impact in various industries. If you think about it, working in a startup seems interesting with all the challenges, the ambitions, and the zeal to make it big by competing with the major players. The moment someone gets a brilliant business idea, the first thing they think about is establishing a startup. Creating a startup these days requires careful selection of technology solutions in order to enable the business to meet the competition in the market and also meet the expectations of its customers.
When it comes to technology, startups are posed with one common dilemma – to create a website, a mobile app, or both. This is a crucial decision that will play a major role in the way the startup starts its journey and also grows its base. Most software development companies will suggest going with all the options to create a greater presence on different platforms. But is it really what the startup needs?
One of the reasons for considering website development and mobile app development is to have a strong digital presence and reach the target segment from a cumulative group of 4.5 billion internet users in the world today. Going digital will enable the business to track details on a granular level to understand the way users interact with their digital properties. This is absolutely crucial for making informed decisions and reaching the target users effectively for enhanced user experience.
With almost 80% of internet users being available on mobile platforms, having an app can definitely be an advantage but users can uninstall it as per their wish and might never install it again if their experience was bad. A website, on the other hand, will always be available as long as it is hosted online and it will have a larger user base. With the current developments in technology and advancements in mobile responsiveness, it is possible to achieve similar experience as an app while viewing on a mobile device. However, it will still be second to the actual mobile app experience.
What Platform Should Your Startup Invest In?
Every business has its own specific requirements and given the direction that most new startups are taking these days, these requirements can be quite unique and complex. The platform for the business should be selected after carefully evaluating the business’s goals, long term vision, target audience, services provided, and the go-to-market strategy. After all, the solution should make a positive impact by being completely aligned with the business’s objectives and plan.
Being a startup, some of the things that you need to do include:
Evaluate The Business Goals
Aligning the technology solutions or platforms with your business’s goals will help to ensure sustained growth. For example, an ecommerce startup will need both mobile apps and a website to truly reach all of their target audience effectively. While all the features can be made available in the website, apps provide a whole different experience, especially when it comes to making payments or signing in.
If the business is a FinTech startup, then a mobile app would be preferred over a web app due to the nature of the services provided and the integration of location based features which would be better suited to a mobile platform. Understanding and evaluating your business’s goals will help you to determine the best platforms to provide your digital presence.
Understand The Products & Services
The selection of the technology platform also depends on the type of products or services that your business offers. If the services make use of features like Augmented Reality, location services, map integration, voice search, and / or payment integrations, then the mobile platform is most suited. If it involves subscription management and allows users to get their own dashboard, then a website would be better and cost effective. In the end, everything depends on the type of products and services being provided to the end user.
Understand Your Target Demographics
Analyzing the target demographics is a crucial part of any business strategy. However, when it comes to selecting the right technology platform, it becomes even more important to understand the behavior and interests of the target audience. Moreover, it is quintessential to know the way the target users interact with the products or services being offered. Age, gender, physical characteristics and perception play a key role in influencing consumer behavior.
Analyze The Digital Presence Of Your Customers
Do not go with general user statistics when it comes to understanding the digital presence of your target customers. It may seem that a particular segment of users may be more inclined towards using mobile devices as their preferred communication and internet surfing platform, but it could be possible that they have limited access to their phones and end up spending more time on their laptops or desktops. In such cases, mobile apps will not be a good option. A good way to determine the digital presence of your target customers is to conduct an online survey and get reports on user engagement from accredited market research organizations. This will help you to make informed decisions.
Keep a Check On Your Competition
Sometimes, you can learn more from your competition than you can find out on your own. How does this help? It gives you an idea of the platforms that work in a real world scenario. It also gives you a much needed reality check on the pros and cons of going ahead with a platform (in keeping with the industry that your business operates in). The best part about this approach is that it will help you to avoid mistakes that others have made. Considerable investment (in terms of time and money) is saved simply by observing the competition.
Take a Look At Your Budget
Budget is single handedly the biggest influencer of the selection of the technology platform. Being a startup, funding can be a precious asset and it is not advisable to invest the entire or a major chunk of the capital in technology platforms. There are other expenses such as marketing, operations, production, etc. However, getting the best pricing for your app development requirement doesn’t have to be a hassle. With some preparation, you can get custom software development at the best costs.
When To Proceed With Website Development
Having considered all important factors, you should proceed with website development for your startup if you need:
● Instant Deployment and Real Time Updates
When it comes to updating the features for the application, websites provide real time update and deployment wherein the user only needs to refresh the browser tab to access the changes. In the case of a mobile app, the update would have to be downloaded and installed before it can be used. If quick and real time deployment are your key requirements, then you should definitely go ahead with website or web app development.
● Increasing Target User Base
One of the key areas where websites have a significant advantage over mobile apps is the ease of exploration. It is easy for users to simply click a URL and open the site rather than installing an app and then waiting to see if you like the experience. With increasing advancements in responsive designs, the viewing experience of websites on mobile devices can come almost at par with native apps. The feasibility of sharing links to the website and viewing it instantly make websites a good way to reach a larger user base in relatively less time.
Websites can be accessed using a browser which works perfectly on both mobile as well as PC platforms. This helps to save cost and time when targeting multiple platforms. Although a native app will provide better experience, an omnipresent web application will definitely help to avoid the hassles of developing the solution on multiple platforms.
● Getting Better Margins on Payments
Payment integrations can be done on the mobile as well as the PC platforms and there is no difference in the cost of implementation as the mechanism is managed by third party payment gateways. However, the only area where websites actually help to get better margin on payments is in the case of in-app purchases where almost 30% of the revenue goes to the respective store (Android / Apple).
When To Proceed With Mobile App Development
You should consider proceeding with mobile app development for your startup if you find the following factors to be crucial for success.
● Location Based Services
Mobile devices are highly portable, convenient, and easy to manage. They have in-built GPS which allows location based services to be delivered effectively. If location is a crucial and mandatory factor for your product or services, then going ahead with mobile app development is the best option for you.
● Integration With External Devices
External devices such as sensors, wearables and others can easily be paired with mobile devices and the compatible apps. Startups involved in the HealthTech segment can relate the most to this facility where their app can track the steps or calories of the user with the use of a paired wearable device. If such integrations are critical for your service delivery, then just go ahead with mobile apps.
● Frequent Transactions With Verification
Mobile apps have allowed us to enjoy the convenience of quick sign-in and easy OTP verifications. The same transaction on the web platform would require the user to get the details on their mobile device and then enter the details on the website, making it an avoidable step in the process. Mobile apps interact with each other and certain sign-in and native components can easily work in tandem on the mobile platform, thereby providing greater ease of use for the user.