Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Apps
As smartphones and other mobile devices become a staple in everyday life, people and businesses are looking for new ways to utilize them. Many businesses nowadays have a mobile app available. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile apps?
The advantages of mobile apps include convenience, easy communication with customers, and online usage. The disadvantages of mobile apps include difficulty to create, the cost to create them, the cost to make them available to people, and the need for updates and support.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to having a mobile app for your business. More information about these advantages and disadvantages is covered in detail below.
Disadvantages: Not Everyone Can Use Them
Not everyone can use a mobile app after it is created because the app may not be on the app store that they use; Apple users use the IOS app store, Android and Google phone users often use Google Play, and other people use the Windows app store. Because of this, you need to make sure your app can be put on all of these platforms. However, each of these platforms is different, and you can’t just put one app onto all of them.
Although you can create an app that works for all mobile device systems, they are hard to create and are often hard to use on certain platforms.
People Don’t Want to Pay for Apps
If the app that you create isn’t free on the app store that customers get it from, they likely won’t download it because they don’t want to pay for something that they may delete later. I myself don’t like downloading apps that cost money—I prefer downloading free apps. If you do charge for the app, people will especially not want to download it if it costs more than 99 cents.
Hard to Create
Mobile apps are hard to design and create. You will likely need to hire someone to create your app, depending on what your expertise is. Many companies choose to create apps that look similar to their website, but that format doesn’t always work. This means that although customers have to recognize your company name and logo when going onto the app, you have to create a new design that will work on small, mobile devices.
Speaking of mobile devices, your app has to work on all devices. People don’t just download apps onto smartphones nowadays—they also download apps onto tablets and tablet computers. If your company has a video streaming service, your app also needs to be able to be added to smart TVs like the Roku and Apple TV.
Have to Pay to Make the App Available
When you put an app on a device platform, such as the IOS App Store, you have to pay the host of the store. Different platforms charge different fees, but the cost is necessary. However, it can get extremely expensive, especially over time.
To make up the cost of the app, especially if the app is on multiple platforms, you will either have to show ads on the app or increase the costs of other products and services. If you don’t make up the cost, you will lose money after you create a mobile app, which defeats one of the purposes of having an app in the first place.
It is hard to successfully secure mobile apps. Even if you think that you have added enough security, you likely haven’t. You will also need to work with the security measures that the app host uses. For example, Apple has the Apple Wallet, which many apps use to allow their users to pay for items and services.
However, the security of your app is extremely important to consumers. They need to know that their information is protected while they use your app, especially their bank and card information that you receive when they pay your company.
Even after you set up the security for your mobile app, you will have to hire someone to maintain it. Hackers and malware that could compromise your app user’s security are always updating and improving their methods and software, so you need to update your software to protect against them. To keep your app secure, you will have to pay quite a bit of money. However, in the end, it will be worth it.
Frequent Updates Are Required
You will need to periodically update your mobile app so it will work well with the users’ phones. While these updates allow you to improve and add features to your app, it is also required so you and your app’s users are assured that your app can be used on phones and devices that have recently had a software update.
iPhones and Android phones seem to go through a software update every few months. As these phones update, older phones sometimes have trouble accessing the new software. Older iPhones are notorious for not functioning with the most recent IOS software updates. This means you have to make sure that your app works with the old as well as the new phone software updates.
When you update the app, you will need to tell users about it, or they will be extremely confused when it doesn’t work as well as it normally does or when new features are announced, but they can’t access them. You can tell users about the update via push notifications or announcements within the app.
After you create a mobile app, you need to create a support system for it. It will malfunction no matter what you do, especially when the app is first launched and you are still working out the kinks. People will want to talk to someone through the app if they are having trouble using it or if it is malfunctioning.
To create a support system for your mobile app, you will need to hire an entire team. People like being able to contact an app’s support team 24/7, so you will have to hire enough people to fill multiple teams. You will also have to hire people to train and supervise them. All of these will cost a lot of money, which will be hard to recoup through the app, even if it costs money to download it and if there are in-app purchases.
Need Both a Website and an App
Unfortunately, you can’t just have an app. You need a website as well, and most website hosts cost money, especially if you use many of their features that make it easier to design, create, and support your website. On your website, you will need to tell users that there is a mobile app on various platforms (if it is on multiple platforms), but it is not guaranteed that people will use both the app and the website.
This means that you have to support, create, and design both a website and an app, which will take quite a bit of work to do. You will also need to hire and train people to support and fix both the website and the app, which means you will spend more money than you expect.
However, some people like using both a website and an app, and your website will give people an idea of what the app’s features are, what they can do on it, what it is for, and more. Some people don’t like using an app and prefer using their computer, especially when shopping online, so they won’t download or use your mobile app. If they can use your app, but you don’t have a website, they won’t use your company’s services.
Advantages: Ease of Communication
When you have an app, it is extremely easy to communicate with your customers and app users, especially if you have an app support team that is designed to be available when customers need to talk to them. Your app can even be designed around communication if your employees often need to communicate with customers or clients.
Exactly how customers will contact your company and your customer service department is up to you, but you will likely want to have buttons or customer service/employee contact information easily accessible. Many businesses have a “chat” option that is at the very bottom of the page.
Others have that information in a tab on the side of the screen. Both are great options, but the most important thing about that information is that you make it easy to find. If people can’t find contact information, they will simply stop using your app and your company’s services, and you will lose money.
Expand Your Audience
Mobile apps help you expand your audience. Some people don’t have a computer, so they can’t access your company’s website, but most people have a smartphone, so they can use your app. Many people find apps easier to use than websites, especially when using a smartphone to access the internet, so they only use mobile apps. After you create an app, you can expand your customer base and make money from those who use your app and not your website.
Oftentimes, websites look bad and are difficult to navigate when they are accessed on a smartphone. That is partially because of the screen size differences between computers and smartphones. However, when websites look weird on a smartphone, people move on to another website that looks better. A mobile app will ensure your company’s information looks great on smartphones.
Apps Are Extremely Convenient
Mobile apps are incredibly convenient to use. People don’t always have their computer or laptop with them, but they always have their phones on hand.
If you have a mobile app, people will be able to use it whenever they think about it, which means they will be more likely to use your company’s services or purchase something from it. This means you will make more money because you have an app, which makes all of the work worth it.
Apps are often easy to use, and people love it when they are. The more convenient it is to use your app, the more people will use it, and the more money you will make.
Can Be Used Offline
Apps can be used offline, even if people need access to the internet to use them. When they don’t have access to the internet, they can use their cellular data. This makes it incredibly convenient to use your company’s services or buy from it, which means you will make more money than you used to.
Websites can’t be used when people are offline. If they are connecting to your website on their computer and don’t have access to WiFi, they have to connect their cell phone data to their computer, which quickly uses up their data. People don’t like to do that often, so they choose to use mobile apps when they don’t have access to WiFi.
Have Helpful Features
Mobile apps have extremely helpful features that are sometimes hard to implement on websites. For example, you can track people’s GPS location, customers can easily call the support team and other employees, they can give you access to their camera within the app, and customers can easily scan important documents and papers so you can help them quickly and easily.
To allow customers to use these features, you will have to ask for permission. This is part of the security measures that many app store hosts implement, but it also protects your company from potentially getting in trouble with their customers if their information is accessed by an employee, even if it is for business purposes.
All of these features are incredibly hard to implement on a website, especially when that website isn’t made to be used on smartphones and other mobile devices.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a mobile app. In the end, it is up to you whether or not you create one, although many people and companies have found the effort required to create an app is worth it.