To remain competitive, businesses need to go where their customers are. And these days, they are usually on their mobile devices. An average user in the U.S. spends roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes on their smartphones, gathering information, shopping around, communicating with their social circles, and having fun.
And while having a website that performs flawlessly on mobile devices is a must for every business that wants to stay ahead of the curve, there is an even better way to give your business a competitive edge – a mobile app.
Non-game app downloads are expected to exceed $182 billion in 2020 alone, accounting for a quarter of all app store downloads.
However, every company that plans to build an app to nurture customer relationships and increase retention will have a tough choice: “Which one is better – a hybrid or a native application?”
Read on to find out about the benefits mobile apps can bring for your business, and how to decide which approach you should invest in.
Why Use Mobile Apps?
There are many reasons why a business chose to develop its app, and among the most important ones are:
- Keeping customers engaged with the brand. Mobile apps can offer customers a more convenient way to browse your offers, purchase them, and interact with your business. And the math is simple – the more often they’re engaged with your brand, the more likely they are to choose your products or services.
- Offering a personalized and direct channel of communication. Customers nowadays expect highly personalized service, and your app can use all data you have available to provide relevant experience, instill trust in users, and form deeper relationships with them. One of the best ways to personalize the interaction between your customers and your business is by integrating conversational AI chatbots into your app, so make sure to explore and find out which chatbots are the right fit for your business.
- Building brand awareness and loyalty. With a convenient mobile app, your customers will be more likely to use it frequently, which means that your brand will be on their radar. As a result, they will be more inclined to do business with it. If the app provides them with great UX and your brand offers them something they can’t get elsewhere, they’ll have no reason to churn.
- Providing exceptional customer support. Mobile apps can be a great way to take your customer support to the next level and boost customer satisfaction with your brand. This will boost their loyalty while reducing your operational costs. Pairing customer service bots with your mobile app can make your support available 24/7 and allow your customers to solve their problems without waiting for your business hours or being put on hold. For example, one case study shows that insurance company AA Ireland was able to increase its customers’ conversions by 11% by implementing a chatbot within their mobile app and on their site while reducing the agent handling time by 40%.
With such multifaceted benefits, including increased revenue, investing in a mobile app is worthwhile.
And now back to the big question – native or hybrid app development?
A native application is the one that is developed for a single platform and specifically coded in languages particular for that platform – Kotlin or Java for Android apps, Objective-C or Swift for iOS apps.
As such, native apps created for Android won’t run on iOS devices, and vice versa. If you want to create a native business app that will run on both platforms, you need to develop a different version for each platform.
The main advantages of native apps are:
- Speed and responsiveness
- Great performance
- Intuitive and smooth user experience
- Some can function offline too.
The main disadvantages of native apps:
- The development time is slow
- Costs of development are high
- They require a coder that is well-versed in the language.
Unlike native, hybrid apps are designed to be cross-platform. Using the same development cycle, you can reach Android, iOS, and web platforms, making this option very cost-effective. In other words, you write the code once and it can easily be adjusted to different platforms.
Some of the main advantages of hybrid apps are:
- Can be used on all platforms
- Less expensive development
- Gives access to the device’s API and can access storage, camera, etc.
The disadvantages of hybrid apps are:
- Slower and less interactive than native apps
- Moderate user experience
- Dependence on third-party wrappers.
How to Choose – Native or Hybrid Apps?
When deciding whether you will opt for a native or hybrid app for your business, you need to consider different factors, such as:
- What are you trying to achieve with your app?
- When do you need it finished?
- What features do you require?
- How much can you spend on app development?
- Which platforms do you want to cover?
- Which development skills do you have in-house?
Although native apps provide excellent user experience, hybrid apps seem to be more popular as they can meet most of the requirements a business might have.
If your website provides all the functionalities your users need, a hybrid app can help you reduce costs, as it will sync with your website easily.
However, if you want a unique experience to wow your customers, a native app is the way to go.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.