One of the most common questions I get from inside, and outside, of our business is “Why doesn’t Aussie have an (iPhone) app?”. It seems like most people are carrying around some sort of iPhone, Android or other smartphone device, and people love Apps, so why is this the case?
Mobile smartphones have proliferated across our society, with more than half of all Australians owning a smartphone. Of these smartphone owners, 71% use them to browse the Internet during a typical week and 56% of mobile users are using Apps at least once a week.
There are a number of other statistics that can be used to show that mobiles are less about being a phone and more about data-related applications that a brand could be a part of.
I’m a big advocate for mobile solutions, and there are great opportunities to do some innovative things in the mobile space in Australia. However, despite the hype, you should always have a good reason to do anything especially when spending money in a tight economy.
There are companies who have bucket loads of cash that they can throw at an app without giving it a second thought. But what if you’re not in that privileged group?
The mobile App space might be a fun party, but there is a cover charge. Most small-to-medium app development houses will quote a price starting in the tens of thousands to develop an App, and that’s before you’ve told them what you want your App to do!
If you cannot justify any return on investment when splashing the cash on an app…well… you know what they say about a fool and their money?
But money is far from the only reason to reconsider developing an App-based solution for business.
Another common comment that I hear (usually as a follow up) is, “Why not make a calculator App?”. What, like all of the calculator apps that larger banks and other developers have already made available? It might be a great theory to have an app, but what is going to make your solution stand out from the crowd and actually get used.
Even if you do get an App (or suite of Apps) going, you are going to need to support it. Does it work on a range of devices? What if you need to update details in the App for usability or legal reasons? What if mobile devices change software/hardware specs and you need to retrofit your App to suit? How can you tell who is using your App and how? How are you going to handle user feedback?
Apps are not just a one-time endeavour. An App is a living thing, and needs the necessary support to make it all worthwhile.
This is not to say that we haven’t catered for the mobile audience at Aussie.
Last year we refreshed our mobile website (http://m.aussie.com.au) with additional functionality, a fresh look & feel, and designed the user experience so that the majority of smartphone users could have a meaningful experience on the site.