Don't get me wrong, I love mobile apps! I create them, I work closely with a React Native development team and we develop iOS apps for internal business users. Also, I spend a lot of time on my phone. And I want to share my observations so you don’t spend a lot of time and money building an app that doesn’t advance your business goals (or may even hurt them).
Let’s start with some challenges.
1. A bad app damages your brand
A cheap app performs poorly, feels bulky, and frustrates user every time they use it. If you can’t or won’t spend the money to do it right, don’t build a mobile app.
2. A not so useful app doesn’t grow your brand
Let’s say you create an app, and while it is beautiful and easy to use, it’s also useless. That sounds harsh. What I mean is, the functions it provides are not ones that users need or will want to take on their phone.
If you can’t come up with a compelling use case that screams, “You gotta do this on a phone!”, don’t build a mobile app.
3. The competition is tough
The final question to answer before creating a mobile app is, “Who is my competition?” The answer is not the companies that are in your product market. The answer is every other mobile app. If someone is on another app, they’re not in yours. So your competitors are Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Mail, Text, Maps and even the calendar app.
That’s what you have to fight. If you’re not the reason the user is pulling out their phone, then your app is never going to be opened, and eventually, it will get uninstalled.
If you can’t come with a rock-solid reason why a user would choose to open your app instead of something else, don’t build a mobile app.
4. The Road to Success is dark and full of (t)errors
Users make quick decisions about whether to keep an app on their phone or uninstall it w/o reason. The reasons range from (“I didn’t like the colours”) to (“It crashed when I launched it”) to (“I don’t get what it does” ) and lastly ("There is too many ads").
Once a user has removed your app, that’s the end of the road. No amount of new feature enhancements or fixes will bring them back: they’re GONE.
If your plans don’t include an approach for winning over users quickly, don’t build a mobile app.
In conclusion, Understand the challenges, question your assumptions vigilantly, and only build a mobile app if you can answer why you’re building it, how your customers will use it, and why they’ll want to launch it and love it.