The answer may seem simple at first sight: all you have to do is have a good idea, have the application developed… and Bingo!
Unfortunately it’s not that simple, it’s very difficult to make a Mobile App a success…
It is already necessary to have a good idea (taking into account a globalized competition, or a local variation of a global idea), that it is monetizable, that you build an application that effectively meets this need, that you are able to promote it…
For example, one of the trainees with whom I worked in one of my previous professional experiences, had developed in the evenings and weekends with his friends (1 year of work) a mobile order taking application for cafés and restaurants.
The app was quite well done (offline mode, command shortcuts, sober but efficient design…), and so success seemed close as the application was being finalized…
EXCEPT that they forgot 2 crucial things:
The business model: they targeted a volume market (quickly obtain hundreds of customers), by having the App financed by the brands (the advertising financed the application). However, to succeed in this business model, it is necessary to be able to have a large base of users quickly and at a low cost… which was not possible without a maximum viral effect (whereas the solution required a minimum of configuration, and then the potential for virality was not simple).
Distribution (access to the market): as much as releasing an application on an App Store is simple, so much so they did not have easy access to bars and restaurants, a population that is also very difficult to convince by email or phone, and generally not very connected to the Internet….
In the end, after 1 year of sacrifices, the 95% operational application was abandoned…
All this to tell you that for an App, as for any product, you need a marketing plan (download this guide to create a marketing plan), a business model (see this series of articles on business models) and check that it corresponds to an urgent and important need (see this article on the 13 methods to test a market).
But why do you still have to develop a mobile application?
Quite simply because the future of the Web is mobility.
Everything that is “fixed” is disappearing
- The fixed PC will disappear in the short term in favour of smartphones, laptops and even “mixed” tools such as Microsoft’s Surface
- The fixed telephone line in the office, which is replaced by the mobile phone and chat & messenging tools
- The fixed office for all, replaced by teleworking, flying offices… as is the case for more and more nomadic or semi-nomadic populations (commercial, pre-sales…).
- The rate of Smartphone and Tablet equipment has already exceeded the number of PC users in the world, there are more people equipped with smartphones than PCs, and the smartphone is becoming the number one terminal for checking emails, exchanging on social media:
The software installed on a PC is becoming “obsolete”, on the one hand replaced by the Cloud solution, and even more so with the emergence of multi-devices (we want to find on smartphones, laptops, and even on our personal PC or home tablet, our professional software).
And this phenomenon will continue to grow in the future with the development of voice-activated personal assistants (the future evolutions of Cortona, Google Now, Siri…), the development of phablets…
If you are not convinced, here is a conference on the need to think Mobile by Benedict Evans.
How to revolutionize current business models with a Mobile App?
The current topic is to use current business models, in particular through mobility.
But what does that mean?
It means using new technologies to bring a new offer of radically different value to the market.
The goal is not just to do “a little better” (simpler, more design…), but to propose a new value offer, via the Blue Ocean or Judo Marketing strategies.
The principle is to take up the customer’s initial need, but to use the new advantages of mobility to create a new and radically different offer:
- Be more responsive and use real time (e.g. Very Last Room with last minute hotel reservations in low cost…)
- Use geolocation to generate more business (e.g. Uber and its demand prediction and yield management algorithm…).
- The democratization of technologies (e.g. Viber &WhatsApp for IP & message exchanges…)
Here is the theory, but as mentioned above, in reality there are many applications that are created every day, but very few applications that really succeed in being used by users.