You heard me. Your business does not need a phone app in the apple or android app stores. More than likely.
Last week, a client of ours was super excited to tell me all about this new web app they are “creating”. By creating I mean they paid some phone app company a set up fee (usually $250 – 500) and $50 a month for. When I asked what the app would do, they rattled off all the amazing features. Features like a home page, news, about us, contact, directions, and product info. So I asked to clarify, that this is indeed an “app”, Yes, they proclaimed! It will be free in the apple and android app stores.
Here is my giant issue. Please hear me very clearly here.
If your app is no more than basic content found on your site, its a waste of time, money and your efforts.
Yes apps are all the rage. All the cool kids are talking about apps. Trust me, no one is going to be browsing the app store, and think to themselves, “sweet! a company I have never heard of has an app about their company / service / product, and its free!”. No, no one will think that.
Save your money, time and app lust. I have a fix for you. Build a site that is mobile friendly. We have a few ways of doing this. One is responsive. Take our site for example. Resize your browser window smaller. Bam! It re-organizes itself to fit the screen size. Navigations get touch friendly, fonts remain clear and readable. Another alternative is a seperate mobile site with the core info, that we have an auto detect script set up on. Basically if the visitor screen size is less than 640px wide, send them to the mobile site. Give them an option back to the main full site. Yes, you can still use a QR barcode to direct people to your mobile site. They can call you, map your location, and learn more all from the mobile web, with no need for an app.
You may have a need for an app. If your idea is functional, helps a user, provides them a beneficial resource for planning, searching, researching, or tracking something. Great, go for it! Verizon has a great app to track my minutes used on my iPhone. Starbucks has a store locator, with info on menus, amenities, and wifi. E-trade has an app to search, research and watch over your trades. Catch my drift here?
Make it useful, keep it relevant, and make it a benefit to your users (not just you). Or dont do it at all.
So this week I have read about wireless data restrictions from both T-mobile and AT&T.
If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less.
So the 2 carriers that offer awesome phones (AT&T with the iphone, and T-mobile with the new HTC google andriod phone) want to restrict their best internet using customers.
Here is the issue. Owning an iphone, or the new HTC google android phone makes you an automatic advocate & ambassador for the carrier. Any phone / gadget geek will always want to talk to these people. How sad will it be when these users continue to express their frustration with their carriers along with bragging about awesome hardware.
This has already been my experience. In talking with iphone owners (I am not one yet, and at this rate, likely wont be anytime soon), I always hear the same things. Awesome phone; horrible service, speed, call quality & customer service. Now the iphone user can add “restrictive internet use” to the list.
T-mobile and AT&T claim this restriction wont hurt most customers, only the heavy users. DUHHH The heavy users will be the best advocates. They also claim it’s to prevent abuse and burden on their networks. I say fix the networks.
So I ask: Why punish your best customers?
So maybe I am an apple geek, or their marketing department knows how to get in my head, but I still find myself wanting (not by any means needing) an iphone. What is it about apple that does it? Its not that the phone is that much better than my Moto q, Maybe its faster, syncs better, and has some cooler toys. But in the end its still a phone.
Once my contract with verizon (which i really like their service) I may toy with the idea of switching more. So I guess right now I am glad I am stuck in a contract and cant be in line for the iphone. Otherwise Apple’s grip on me may have put me in line.
So who is going for the new iphone?
On another note. We all should look at what apple has done here. They made a PDA / music player / phone. Big deal right. Motorola, Samsung, & Blackberry have been doing this for years. Here is the business strategy take away homework: Its HOW apple does it. They set the bar high. They do it better than anyone else.
So sure there are other churches, web designers, widget makers, plumbers in your direct competition. But If you can do the same task as the other guy, but sexier, smoother, faster, more powerful, and your customers will flock to you.