As of 2014, there are over 2 billion smartphones deployed across the globe. That is a remarkable level of penetration. Companies that are not thinking about the mobile customer are not going to be able to connect with their target at what Forrester Research calls the “Mobile Moment”.
At the Mobile Moment, your target is looking for the right services, information or content that they need to make an informed decision. Think of it this way, a customer walks into a big box home improvement retailer, looking to buy a lawn mower. But which lawn mower? Leery of a sales person, the consumer will likely access information about the lawnmowers in stock with their smartphone. They will look at customer feedback, reviews by lawn professionals and ask questions via social media.
While they could go home with a list of model numbers and do that research with a traditional desktop or laptop, the mobile consumer expects and demands that information at the moment of truth – when the item in question is right in front of them. Companies that ignore this buying behavior risk losing that consumer to a competitor that offers that information in a manner that the consumer can control – scanning a QR tag, or accessing peer and professional reviews via the retailer’s mobile app.
Do You Really Need an App?
Some companies might feel that all they really need is a mobile optimized website, and in some cases, this could work. But with a mobile app, your company can have total control off how the app looks and responds to the customer. A mobile app makes it relatively easy to leverage a device’s camera to read a QR code and deliver relevant content. With a responsive website, that is not really feasible.
Mobile Apps can also allow your organization to collect additional data that can’t be gathered via a mobile website. For example, when the QR code is scanned, it is possible to collect the date, time and location of the scan. That data can then be added to similar scans, allowing your marketing teams to compare and contrast data to measure the effectiveness of the messaging around the QR code, as well as to compare one or more location to others.
With push and location options enabled in the App, highly targeted offers can be delivered directly to the device – so the next time the target visits that location, they might receive a time-limited discount on the item they expressed interest in, or perhaps a competing product.
Even better, with marketing solutions like ExactTarget, all of this data can be shared with other marketing tools like targeted email messaging.
Beyond retail, a customized mobile app can offer additional layers of security as the captured data can be encrypted. That’s important when dealing with sensitive data. Adding in features like iOS’s iBeacon and other unique technologies that are only available via APIs, offers more compelling reasons to look at an app vs a mobile website.
Check the Numbers
There are a host of compelling reasons to develop a mobile app vs relying on a mobile responsive website. Look at how people use their mobile devices. With some exception, the vast majority of smartphone users are using apps vs the mobile web. Nielsen Research has crunched the numbers and they report that smartphone owners spend a whopping 86% of their time using mobile apps.
So, if you only want to reach 14% of your target, by all means, stick with a mobile website. But if you want to engage with an overwhelming majority, then you should contact the Mobile Apps Company, and connect with 86% of smartphone users.