Once you’ve got your online business off the ground, and running for a while, you’ll be faced with the task of how to get more customers and keep them coming, over and over again.
At this point, a decision has to be made on behalf of your business:
the best strategy on how to get and retain customers.
While it might seem a bit of an arduous task,
it is surprisingly easy, as your strategy options would most of the time be down to two:
the App Strategy or the Web strategy.
Typically, both of them follow each other simultaneously, or consecutively,
but it is becoming increasingly imperative to have at least one of them
for an online business (both is an added advantage for the business, obviously).
The only major work remaining would then be to figure
which of the two is most suitable for your kind of business at the time.
This piece aims at getting the online business past
that decision phase and highlighting the peculiarities
and advantages of the App strategy and the Web strategy in order for the individual to make that decision.
The Web strategy
This is the more popular strategy of the two, and that’s because
“The internet is everywhere” and the web is the portal to accessing the internet,
most of the time.
The web strategy involves the building up and gathering of a customer base for a business using a website;
for an online business, the logic is more obvious since the website can also be the direct portal to your business site (they can even be one! It’s that flexible).
The website is built and filled with contents pertaining to the business,
and as traffic arrives on that website, it begins to reflect as patronage for the business;
it’s as straightforward as that.
You can decide to make the website the business website or another website that leads to the business website; either way,
the goal is easily achieved:
to attract website traffic which would be turned to patronage.
One of the major edges this strategy has is that it requires a lesser degree of technical know-how
(when compared to the App strategy),
and you can get a good decent website in minimal time.
Other than that, it has more coverage potential if the target audience is folks who aren’t overly “techy”
(since the general belief is that it won’t be hard for the average person to access a website).
One thing to note, though, is that “owning” a website for your online business has some tasking (sort of) responsibilities that comes with it.
For one thing, a website is all about content,
and that means you’ll constantly have to update your website with contents;
since a static website
(where you have just one kind of content all the time)
just won’t do for most kind of online businesses,
it’s necessary to keep bringing in newer contents,
and that might take a considerable amount of effort; for someone who might be busy with something else
(say, the online business itself), the website would demand a considerable amount of time, which he might not be able to give.
He then defers the duty of updating the website to someone else,
and that would mean having to pay to have the site updated.
With time, the website would no longer be an extension of the online business
(if they were originally separate),
it would become an independent entity that brings customers to the online business;
online business owners should note this and take proper care so that things don’t go wrong.
The Web strategy is recommended for online businesses that deal more in goods trade.
It’s perfect for goods businesses,
as the website can be used in several ways to bring in lots of traffic,
especially when the web-business relationship is implemented well enough.
Sometimes website strategy fits service-focused services perfectly,
especially businesses that are finance-oriented,
in that case, users and customer feel it’s safer to deal with a website than an app
(which they believe might be doing some things they’re not sure of in the background)
The App strategy
Obviously the less popular of the two,
the App strategy is beginning to catch up in the online space,
so much so that it is not uncommon to hear things like “it looks good, does it have an app?”;
people are beginning to see the potentials of having an app for their business.
Apps are big on convenience, and you would easily tell the difference
(when compared with the web);
it’s more convenient to just have the app on the phone,
and do everything right from there and not have to pilgrimage to a browser and start typing out URLs.
The User experience is more refined too, for two reasons:
the obvious fact that it is tidier to do all the browsing of the online business (say, an online store) from an app,
and the other fact that developers get more liberty to make more design changes, and add more useful features to the app.
Most people would definitely agree that more than half of the online stores
they’ve visited have a better user experience on the app than on the web
(there’s no official statistics for that, but if you ask around, they’ll tell you)
As you might have guessed, the cost of development of an app is considerably higher; app developers are more technical
(at least that’s what they think),
and would need to factor in a lot of things such as the UI, device compatibility,
bug fixes, and a whole lot more.
Do not be surprised if you’re charged more than what you would have paid for a website. And other than the initial cost you’ll incur,
the cost of maintenance is also there:
you have to update the app and fix bugs as they are found, this takes time and effort that outweighs that of a website.
The app strategy is recommended for most online business.
Since you’re trying to sell your business to more people,
it is better to use design elements,
useful features and the convenience of not having to visit the site on a browser to attract more users.
Users would definitely appreciate the fact that “there’s an app for that”, and by “that”, it means your business.
Conclusion on Online Business
Once your online business is up and running, the next logical step to take is to get the word out there about it using one or both of these strategies;
and it pays to know which is best to start with,
as you save money and time that way.
Websites are more popular with people who have access to the internet but don’t necessarily want to have an app,
and this benefits businesses which offer goods or services that are popular
(an online clothing store, an online book store, etc.)
or finance-oriented businesses,
in which case,
users are more comfortable with websites than apps.
Business owners also have the liberty of making a website the proprietary website for the business or making it a separate structure
that links with the online business
(if the online business is on another online platform).
Apps, on the other hand, gives the users a lot more convenience and is perfect for people who want tidy access to the online business
(“opening several tabs on a browser are always messy”, they’ll say).
What would ultimately keep users coming to the business
through the app is the User Experience and functionality;
nail that, and they’ll keep trooping in. It’s perfect for niche businesses
(like Carpool business, ride-sharing business, freelance aggregation business),
however, pay attention to the fact that it requires a higher cost of maintenance
(there’ll always be bugs in the app, and you’ll need to keep fixing them)