Web App – The future of Mobile Apps For Small Business
Mobile apps have been around since a couple of years already. Small business realised that having a mobile apps can complement their existing online presence on the web and also social media. The importance of having an app for any small business has already been discussed here. With more and more consumers assessing the information via their mobile devices, having a mobile app for a business is no more a luxury but a must for any business to survive. The reasons why most small business are hesitant or reluctant to invest on a mobile app would be the cost and also the time taken, which can be considerably long, to develop the app. Enter Mobile WebApp , a new creative, cheaper and faster alternative in creating a mobile app.
What is A Mobile Webapp
So what is the main difference between a Mobile WebApp and a Mobile App. The main difference would be the former do not need to be submitted to the various playstore ( Android, IOS, Windows ), whereas the latter must be submitted to the app store for the users to use it . This actually translate to a lot of savings in both time and money in the development of the app.
Another main difference would be Mobile WebApp would need an internet connections to operate whereas Mobile App do not need internet connections to operate. As the data in the Mobile App is stored in the app, it will be downloaded into the users phone and often will occupy space inside the phone’s memory. But nowadays, most of data in Mobile App are stored in a server on the internet. Therefore, Mobile App would also need an internet connection presence for it to be fully functional.
In the following paragraphs, the comparison between a Mobile WebApp and Mobile App will be discussed. The main area of difference would be the knowledge requirement, time, features and cost, of both Mobile WebApp and Mobile App.
The basic requirement to develop a Mobile WebApp would be pHp, Java, CSS and html . Those were the knowledge required for a typical web developer. Those with these knowledge would already be able to create a Mobile WebApp. If the developer is already using WordPress as their main platform, only slight modifications are needed to add the Mobile WebApp features to the normal website.
With a Mobile App, additional knowledge and skill would be required. As the app will be submitted to the 3 main app store, the developer has to have additional knowledge of programming language for Android, IOS and Windows . Android Apps would need the developer to be knowledgeable in using Android Studio and the various requirements spelled out for Google Play Store Submission. Similar for IOS, the developer has to have the knowledge of Swift and Objective C along with various other conditions being spelled out by IOS Apple Store.
So, with regards to knowledge, Mobile WebApp would be a winner.
A typical development cycle in developing a small business website would be between 2 to 4 weeks. As a Mobile WebApp is an extension of the existing website works, typically an additional 1 week or less would be needed to get the MobileWeb App ready for use and distributed to the users.
The development of Mobile App would require a minimum of 4 weeks before the programming of the app can be completed. This does not include the time taken for the various app store for approvals. Apple store require at least a minimum of 2 weeks for approvals, if the programming of the apps meet their terms. Otherwise, it may take longer than 2 weeks, if the app submitted do not meet their requirements.
So, with regards to time, Mobile WebApp is still a winner.
Discussion will be made on features which would be relevant for small business only. No features such as taxi app, game app, gps location will be discussed.
Most small business would need some basic features for their mobile app. Mainly, they would want to have information on the business readily available, ease to call the business, ease to find directions to the business location, social sharing, connections to their various social profile, loyalty and finally push notifications.
Most of the above features can be easily incorporated into the Mobile WebApp. Business info, tap to call, tap to directions, tap to social links can be easily done. With Mobile WebApp, the business icon can easily be made available on the users phone by using the ‘add to home screen’ feature on their respective Android or Apple phones, in order to create loyalty to the business. Push notifications used to be an issue with Mobile WebApp but with recent introduction of applications such as Firebase ( own by Google ) and OneSignal, push notifications can be easily implemented on Mobile WebApp .
One feature which a Mobile App has over a Mobile WebApp is its geo-fencing features. This feature is suitable for business that intends to send out notifications to mobile users within a certain distance from their physical location. This is done by utilising the GPS detectors in the mobile devices. This feature is popular with most restaurants.
What about mobile commerce? This features can be easily made available on both the MobileApp and Mobile WebApp.
So, who is the winner here? If you run a normal small business, a Mobile WebApp would be the winner. If you run a food restaurant, it would be better to have a Mobile App.
So what is the cost involved in developing both the Mobile App and Mobile WebApp?
There is an article written on this subject. The article is ‘ How Much Does an App Cost: A Massive Review of Pricing and other Budget Considerations ‘ . It basically spells out some main factors to be considered which are as follows :
- The costs of apps are largely based on features, complexity, and platform.
- Apps with back-end servers will almost always cost more.
- Simple apps for one platform will start around $25,000.
- More complex apps cost six figures but can push up over $1,000,000.
- Costs will also vary based on who builds it (e.g., offshore versus high-end agency).
- Don’t forget to budget for updates, marketing, your own salary, and other costs.
Source : https://savvyapps.com/blog/how-much-does-app-cost-massive-review-pricing-budget-considerations
What would be cost then to create a Mobile WebApp ? A reasonable cost for a Mobile WebApp would be almost similar to the development of a normal website. A Mobile WebApp can be easily done with a starting budget of $2000 for an info app and a starting budget of $5000 for mobile e commerce app.
Obviously, Mobile WebApp wins over Mobile App in this area.
So if you own a small business and would like to have mobile app similar to those big business app , consider having a Mobile WebApp created, especially if both cost and time are a major factor. With Mobile WebApp, you can use you normal website ( with slight modifications) to behave like a real app. It will have instant loading, fast, secure, add to home screen, push notifications and most importantly you can forget about app market submission.
Talk to us if you want to have a mobile app for your small business.