For those seeking a simple answer to the question, "Why does my business need a mobile app?" that answer is – because people are mobile.
Think of how millions of people access their information, shop for products and services, and communicate with friends and family members. Not too long ago, electronic communication and online shopping were handled through a desktop computer, at home or at work. Today, a desktop computer is not always the most-used method.
While a number of people still use a stationary workstation, you'll find the majority use a laptop/portable computer, a tablet, and/or a mobile phone. According to Catherine Clifford, writing for Entrepreneur online in 2015 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236832 the market for mobile apps was already massive in that year and growing. Surveys in that year indicated mobile-app users devoted about 30 hours a month to online searching, shopping, etc.
Industry statistics show mobile app revenues close to $70 billion dollars in 2015 and closing in on $90 billion in 2016. That number could double when final figures are in for 2017. With this much revenue in the mobile-app industry, it's obvious the end-user has adopted the technology. You can now access about 2 million different apps on both iOS and Android platforms, and users are doing just that.
What you should do, if you haven't started already, is begin to participate in this bustling economic sector, as a way to engage with more customers, in real time. You can do this no matter where you're located or where they are, and access more complete profile data than just a few years ago. There's power in "mobile" and your business should be using some of that power.
Cross Platform? Native?
When you make the wise business decision to start bringing in revenue from mobile customers, you'll need to make a second decision: native app or cross platform app? If these terms are unknown or confusing to you, you should take a few minutes now to learn more about the difference and how each can serve your company best.
A native app is one developed for a single platform. You can develop separate apps for both iOS and Android. Your developer can make the appearance and the function very similar, with details tailored for each platform. A cross-platform app is developed for use on multiple platforms. In the industry, this might be referred to as "write once, run anywhere."
As you consider which path you'll take, don't be misled by information stating that developing two native apps, one for each platform, means twice the effort. After your app expert develops and tests for the first platform, and adjustments are made based on user feedback, development of the app for the second platform moves more quickly. Developers will take into account the "cloud" component, using this as a major portion of the development process.
You should be part of the mobile-app world. Talk with your developer to discuss how hybrid and cross-platform can work for your business. Your bottom line will be glad you did!