Remember when businesses thought they needed an app? Your favorite clothing brand, that big retail chain, your neighborhood grocery store, and even your babysitter started to jump on the bandwagon and build their own app. It probably made you think “Hmmm, do we need to build an app for our business?” If you’re still considering this question, you may want to consider another option before you invest the time and money into an app.
It can be tempting to join the many businesses that have built apps so you can add your own logo to the sea of colorful icons available in the app marketplace. Proceed with caution. The last thing you want to do is create an app that adds to your expenses, drains your time, and becomes a strain on your customer’s experience. This article will take you through some of the lessons learned from working with brands who deliver world-class experiences within and outside of apps.
Why do Companies Build Apps?
There are some great reasons to build an app. An app can help keep your business top of mind if customers engage with your app frequently. Apps can build loyalty towards your business by offering users exclusive content and may also help boost revenue as a direct marketing channel by providing users with special promotions and offers.
According to Gartner, as many as 75% of the worlds global enterprise businesses had built, customized, or virtualized mobile apps as of 2017. But apps aren’t just for large companies anymore. Building and launching apps has become more affordable for small to medium businesses and an estimated 50% of small businesses have adopted mobile apps to increase sales or improve customer service.
Richer Customer Experiences Without an App?
With all of the upside possibilities of an app, you may wonder what the downside is. Well, first let’s talk about cost.
- Cash: While building an app has become more affordable, the complexity, platform availability, and talent used to create the app will all play a huge part in the upfront costs.
- Resources: In addition, there is maintenance to consider. Apple is continuously upgrading their OS and unless you stay up to date with your app, it will quit working and/or be seen as a black eye on your company. Unfortunately, you don’t just build an app and move on. It is a cost-forward forever.
After all the planning and expense involved in building an app, there is, of course, the big wildcard: user adoption. Most U.S. consumers just don’t download new apps. In fact, they download about none a month. Zero. It’s a hard sell to get consumers to try new apps and according to mobile data and intelligence provider Localytics, 65% of users abandon an app a month after downloading it. Ouch. That’s a lot of trees falling in the woods with no one around to hear them.
While that figure is disturbing, it isn’t intended to make this article anti-app. In fact, a lot of our clients create great apps that are sticky because they provide ongoing value to their customers. These clients are able to reach a whole set of people at their moment of need and build trust as they continue to look to the app for help.
These same clients have also found that there is an alternative way to engage with customers outside of their app. Most of the features that motivated the creation of an app in the past can now be accomplished through business messaging. Tasks such as providing a personalized experience, making payments, and getting pre-sales support, or post-sales service can now be handled through business messaging.
Rich business messaging, for example, is the next generation of mobile business messaging, which allows companies to provide a consistently rich experience to iOS and Android users. Companies can share interactive media like images, interactive cards, emojis, and video that enhance every business messaging conversation with compelling content.
Both Apple and Google are making rich business messaging accessible for consumers and companies because of the ease and convenience rich business messaging provides.
While rich business messaging is growing in availability and adoption, it’s not the only way that customers can get a rich experience outside of a custom app. Clients using Quiq are uniquely equipped with a conversational engagement platform that provides rich experiences to users across chat and business messaging channels. This means that companies can provide content-rich, personalized experiences across SMS/text business messaging, web chat, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, and even within their own app.
If Apple and Google can agree on this, can you afford to ignore it?
Business Messaging Instead of an App? Yes.
If you’re on the fence about building an app, consider using business messaging first. Business messaging is the perfect proxy for an app for many companies. There are some very compelling reasons why companies and customers prefer business messaging over apps:
- Companies don’t have to build it. The work is already done.
- Customers don’t have to search for it, download it, and learn how to use it. Everyone is already using business messaging every day.
- Customers don’t have to be in the app in order to get messages and notifications. In fact, since most people read text messages within 3 minutes of receiving them, there’s far less of the chance that you’re message will get ignored.
Business Messaging for a Better In-App Experience
If you’ve decided an app is still the way to go, then you may want to consider business messaging to improve your in-app experience. There are plenty of examples where an app has clear value for the customer and an obvious takeaway for the audience, like an enhanced experience. Think of how much easier it is to search for homes for sale in your area, find vacation rentals, and book travel through the popular apps out there. Many of these companies will find business messaging as the perfect complement to their app.
Take an airline, for example, if a customer has a question about what seats are available on their flight, you can give them the specific place in your app to view seat selection. Instead of just directing them to the app, to navigate their way through solo, you can send a business message with a deep link to a specific section of your app.
“What if they don’t have my app?” you say. Great question and we’re glad you asked.
Business messaging gives you the ability to promote your app. Send customers a response that has a link to download your app. Follow up with the message to help direct them to the exact information they need.
Around here, we like to use this analogy, pushing your customers to your app may feel like giving them a whole book of information. With business messaging you’re able to give them the book, but have it open to the exact page they care about at their moment of need.
Engage Customers With or Without An App
The main goal of most apps is to help build long-term relationships with customers. Whether you choose to build an app or not, business messaging supports this goal by providing the information, support, and help at the customer’s moment of need, regardless if they have your app open or downloaded at all.
Quiq powers conversations between customers and companies across the most convenient and preferred engagement channels. In the absence of an app, Quiq enables companies to have meaningful, timely, and personalized conversations with their customers that can be easily managed in a simplified UI. If you do have an app, Quiq can be used In conjunction with it by keeping app users active and engaged with business messaging built seamlessly into your company’s mobile app.
Ready to see how business messaging can help you engage your customers with or without an app? Request a demo or try it for yourself today.