It is the process of understanding your whole vision and gathering requirements for your app before heading into app development.
Think of it like hiring a building architect to design a house before you hire the builder.
When the Apple App Store and Android Market (now Google Play Store) were launched way back in 2008, you could have been forgiven for wondering what on earth an app even was. Fast forward over a decade later and it’s fair to say that our lives are now flooded with apps. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t use at least one app every single day. Whether it’s on our phones, our wearables, our TVs, business software platforms or our laptops, we all use apps like TikTok, Uber and Google Maps multiple times a day without even blinking an eye. Even the alarm clock on your phone is an app! However, while the term ‘app’ has now become synonymous with those little coloured squares we see on our device screens, the reality is that most of those squares now represent entire businesses. Whether they’re mobile-based or web-based, these little applications facilitate the business functions of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of organisations around the world.
In a business sense, app development is the building of applications that can be installed and run on digital devices to provide additional functionality or support for the benefit of the business’ customers or internal team.
There are typically two types of business people that look for app development:
The first is the founder.
For them, developing an app is the crux of their entire business model. They need something that’s going to put their whole business offering directly in the hands of their future customers – fast.
At the other end of the scale, we have a Manager of an enterprise organisation.
Their business has been around for a while already, and now they’re looking to develop an app that can act as an augmentation of their business, allowing them to extend their offering to their customers or improve operational efficiencies within their ever-growing internal team.
Yes, you read that right. Mobile users are spending almost 90% of their screen time using apps, rather than browsing the internet.
If you’re looking to give your business an edge, this one statistic alone should already have you seriously considering building an app.
Apps have naturally become the primary channel that consumers are now spending their time on. They have become second nature – heavily integrated into their psyche.
Let’s consider some of the other reasons why your business might look to develop an app in the current technology climate:
The reality is that app development is an extremely diverse discipline and, depending on the type of industry that your business is in, there are several reasons to strongly consider the opportunities and benefits that building an app can create for you.
We’ve already looked at some of the major reasons why businesses might develop an app. Now, let’s consider the ongoing benefits that an app can offer an organisation like yours.
1. Increased visibility and the ability to provide value 24/7
The biggest challenge that many marketing departments face is that the algorithms that drive the social media platforms they use to connect with their customers are constantly changing. This is making it increasingly impossible for your business to reach its entire community and stay visible in the ever-expanding sea of information.
Through developing an app, you could begin to reach your community with ease, allowing you to provide additional value whenever you please. This also ensures that your organisation stays at the front of your customers’ minds for longer and more often.
2. Increased brand recognition
Consider developing an app as an additional tool within your business’ marketing toolkit. The distribution of a new app can help your brand become immediately more recognisable and open your business up to new customers looking for a better experience, as well as existing customers that may have fallen out of touch.
3. Build customer loyalty
Providing something as useful and functional as an app can help improve your customer experience, in turn increasing customer loyalty. Not only that, but a great app also improves the likelihood that your customers will become advocates for your brand as well.
Many industries have already taken the leap and embraced app development to gain full advantage of the benefits that they can offer to both customers and business operations.
Let’s take a look at some of these industries and consider a few examples of each:
1. FinTech & Banking
The financial industry has taken huge advantage of app development. Seemingly every business in the sector is jumping on the bandwagon, especially with the increasing popularity of new players like Cryptocurrencies and Neobanks (digital-only alternatives to brick-and-mortar financial institutions).
Examples include CommBank, CoinSpot, and Up Bank.
2. Food, Restaurants & Meal Delivery
App development has revolutionised the food industry, making it easier than ever for consumers to order a meal directly to their door from whichever restaurant they please – all within a matter of minutes.
Notable apps include Menulog, Uber Eats and MyMacca’s.
The ability to book flights, accommodation, taxis and tourist activities with the click of a button has streamlined the travel experience for millions of customers around the world.
With apps like Skyscanner, TripIt, and Rome2Rio, the opportunities for travelers are just about limitless.
Let’s not forget the impact that rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have had on daily travel as well.
4. Real Estate
Mobile and web-based apps have made buying, selling, renting, and inspecting homes easier than ever for agents, property owners, and tenants alike.
RealEstate.com.au, Flatmates, and Reiwa.com are just some of the options available in this sector.
From booking appointments with a medical professional to collating all required documents for hospital admission in one place, app development has created many efficiencies in the Healthcare sector.
Even simple solutions such as First Aid apps that provide immediate instructions for emergencies would not have been possible without app development.
Examples of Healthcare apps include HotDoc, HealthEngine and Better Medical.
6. Games & Entertainment
Of course, one of the biggest categories within app development is Games & Entertainment.
Typically, these apps are simply on our devices to help keep boredom at bay, ranging from simple mobile puzzle games like Tetris, to streaming platforms like Netflix, to huge open-world role-playing games like Grand Theft Auto.
The Legal profession is another industry taking full advantage of app technology to streamline business functions.
Notable examples include AUSTLII and Hein Online as legal resource databases, and Clio, a cloud-based legal practice management solution.
Before we move on, take a moment to consider the impact that app development is having on your industry.
As with anything that’s not completely understood, there are many myths around app development that seem to circulate regularly throughout business circles.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to break down these myths and help you to separate the facts from fiction.
MYTH 1: The app development process is long and tedious
From the outside looking in, app development can seem like a very complex process – and like any complex process, this can mean that it takes a long time to complete.
Certainly, in the case of some development houses, this is true. However, with the right team working on your app, it doesn’t have to be.
With the right agency in your corner, they will work with you to gain a deep understanding of your goals and requirements for your app. From there, they’ll take the most efficient path to deliver a solution that best meets your needs in as little time as possible.
The key here is finding the right developer for your app idea.
MYTH 2: App development is just an additional cost to my business
Without already having an app, it can be difficult to see the benefits that it can bring to your organisation. Of course, having an app developed with no set goal in mind is likely to do nothing more than cost your business money. However, when you set tangible business goals that an app can help you to achieve, the benefits soon begin to outweigh the costs once you have the app developed.
Make sure that you know exactly why you are developing an app and determine the metrics that you are going to use to measure the app’s success.
MYTH 3: Apps are no different from websites
There is an element of truth to this.
An app can essentially become a mirror of your website unless you invest appropriately in providing additional functionality that your website does not offer.
Failure to do this will render an app overkill, and you’re better off focusing on ensuring your website provides your customers with what they need. This is because a website is stupidly easy to access – one click and you’re in.
With an app, however, your customers need to search for it in the app store, download it, and then register an account just to get the same information that they can on your website – something they’re not going to take the time to do.
Bottom line: your business app has the potential to be quite different to your website. You just need to provide that point of difference to draw your customers in.
While we are on this subject, please note that you should never use an app as part of an acquisition strategy. Keep your website for acquisition and develop an app with additional functionality to promote retention instead.
MYTH 4: My app needs to have everything from the get-go
The brutal truth is this: your app does not need to be perfect from day one. You do not want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on your first iteration in a bid to achieve app perfection – because the reality is, you won’t.
Instead, spend a fraction of that amount and aim for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with only the functionality that you truly need upfront. That way, you can begin the testing and validation stage much earlier and slowly build new iterations of your app using valuable customer feedback to get it to where it needs to be.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of the benefits that an app can bring to your organisation, based on your unique requirements.
To help you even further, we’ve put together 3 key tips that will better enable you to achieve success when you start your app development journey:
1. Know your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Understanding the core functionality that you need to be able to launch your app will help you to get your solution out to your customers sooner.
2. Know your goals and intentions for your app
Make sure you know exactly why you’re building an app and what you intend to do with it. Far too many businesses build an app simply because it’s what everyone else is doing, however, they have absolutely no idea what to do with it once it’s finished.
3. Don’t start marketing too late
Validate your idea via marketing while you are still in the development process to ensure that the demand is there. Contrary to popular belief, you should be investing more money in the marketing of your app than in the development of it.
4. BONUS TIP: Find the right developer
The right developer can ensure that you get the best, most cost-effective app solution for your business needs to get the results that you’re after.
That’s where our team of app development experts and digital business specialists at App Boxer can help you.
AppBoxer s a Sydney-based app development agency with a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail every step of the way.
We take a holistic approach to app development, providing support for your entire journey. From idea generation and MVP development through to testing and marketing, you’ll get everything you need and more with App Boxer.
What makes us different is that we’re not just going to develop an app for you for the sake of it. We’re going to challenge you. We’re going to get to the crux of why you want an app in the first place. We’re going to take a deep dive into your business to understand your unique goals and challenges so that we can determine exactly what your app needs and the best way to make that happen.
But we don’t stop there.
What truly sets App Boxer apart is the marketing strategies and techniques that we build alongside your app to ensure that your launch is a raving success.
Consider us an intrapreneur within your organisation. We’re the team you need to collaborate with and develop ideas together, ensuring you get all the benefits of developing an app while avoiding the common pitfalls along the way.
Don’t believe us. Find out for yourself.
to discover how we can help you to build the best app solution for your business.