As geopolitical tensions between the East and West rise, sanctions and souring relations could have lasting impacts on business globally.
This shift towards mobile browsing has contributed to the meteoric rise of the app, with millions of apps being downloaded around the world every day.
An app can be a great way to increase your engagement with your customers, and (if utilised effectively) it can be a major financial boon for your business.
But with nearly 4 million apps on Google play and over 2 million on Apple’s app store it’s also increasingly difficult to make one app stand out.
Anyone remember Twitter’s #Music app? No, neither do we, but its failure to get off the ground is a stark reminder that even apps from some of the biggest firms in the world can prove to be a misstep if not properly thought through.
If you’re seriously considering investing in an app for your own business, here are a few things you should consider before you take the plunge.
Before you make any steps towards the development of an app for your business you need to consider how your consumer base may react to an app.
Do your customers need an app?
In-depth analysis of your customer data will help you build a profile of your average user and whether they’re likely to adopt your app in any significant numbers.
For instance while the millennial generation (and younger) may embrace your app, it might not be so popular with older customers - so if you have a predominately older user base an app may be counterproductive.
You may also want to consider how the majority of customers interact with your business. If you derive a lot of business through online searches, you may find that customer acquisition may not be supported well with an app which must be found and downloaded beforehand.
Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the value of their privacy and you may find that they are reluctant to provide yet another app with access to their personal details.
It’s also important to consider what functionality an app may bring to your business that a mobile responsive website cannot.
How will the app compliment your business?
One of the key differentiators between an app and a mobile site is than an app can be granted permissions to use some of the various features of your phone, such as the use of your camera or access to your contact list.
You may find an app also allows you to offer a more personalised experience for your users and streamline your customer journey.
A successful app is therefore one which makes clear and sensible use of these permissions to offer a better customer experience.
A great example would be the Uber app, which through its access to the GPS on your phone helps to match you with a nearby Uber driver, making it more convenient for the user.
Conversely if your app is unlikely to need access to these additional features, you may be better off focusing on optimising a mobile-responsive website.
Another essential consideration when deciding whether to build an app is what kind of return on investment (ROI) you can expect.
Will you see a ROI on an app?
The development of an app can be a long and expensive process and it’s imperative to budget this cost against what reasonable profits you can expect to see.
Maintaining an app will also require further funds in order to ensure its long term success, whether that means providing additional content to keep users engaged, or conducting essential updates when something goes askew.
If your business is relatively small you may also want to forgo an app and stick with a mobile responsive site until you can increase your user base to a level which would warrant the additional expense.
The final factor in deciding whether to go forward with your app is to look at what your competition is doing and whether your business will suffer by not keeping pace.
What’s your competition up to?
If you find there’s a gap in the market, this may be a golden opportunity to get ahead of the competition by developing your own app, as with the tech world it’s often the case of the early bird gets the worm.
If your competitors already have an app, take the opportunity to research their product and read reviews on the App Store or Google Play to find out what consumers think of it and how they use it.
This will help you cater your app to your audience and to consider what your app can offer its users which your competitors can not.
There is certainly no black and white answer to whether you should invest in developing an app or stick with a mobile-responsive site for your business.
But by fully considering the needs of your customers and the needs of your own business, you’ll be in a position to make a more informed decision on whether an app would help or undermine your future growth.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.