11 Must-Have Features on Your App

A mobile app can be a great way to build customer loyalty and increase user engagement significantly. A well-designed app can help you earn your customer’s trust and improve sales numbers at the same time. If a customer has your app on their device, they are more likely to keep buying things from your business over the long term. However, your app should provide the user experience necessary to compel your customers. Here’s a look at some of the must-have features you will need on your platform:

1. Great User Experience

Everyone wants a unique and attractive platform, but there should be a balance between good design and confusing design. If the app looks pretty but the navigation is confusing, the user experience will be bad and customers will uninstall your app.

A good app has predictable navigation that doesn’t need special instructions. Things like a hamburger symbol to open a menu, the gear symbol to access settings, the human symbol to access a user account, etc. are all standard. Make sure the app has a good structure, logical layout, and accessible menus. It is important to keep the size of the mobile screens in mind when the app is created.

2. How-To Guides

Most people are familiar with apps but it is still a good idea to provide some instructions. Not everyone is tech-savvy enough to understand what your app is all about. Providing a how-to guide will improve the customer’s experience considerably and help you attract more customers across different age groups.

These how-to guides will also help you improve the customer experience overall, which will also increase the number of downloads.

3. Search Button

Few people have the time to search the entire app for what they want. If your app has a search bar, they can easily find what they need and continue with their browsing. This improves user experience considerably. A search button will allow people to do what they want quickly and easily, which is very important in their user experience journey.

If customers can’t find things quickly, they will become frustrated and look elsewhere. When it comes to apps, you need to keep long-term usage in mind. A customer may be willing to manually search for a product or service once or twice but they won’t be willing to do that all the time. If you want your app to stay on their device for a long duration, it is important to make things easier for your visitors.

4. Scalable Text and Images

An app should be useful for a wide range of people with different abilities. Many apps don’t have basic features like zoom and scalable text. That can be a hindrance for people with disabilities and eye problems.

Make your app as assessable as possible by enabling scalability, adding a read-aloud option, and providing other such conveniences. That will not only help you reach a group of customers that often face hurdles but also improve the brand image as a whole.

Adding speech recognition and text-to-speech capabilities will also help people who can’t access the device at times. For example, the customer may want to use your app while driving or cooking and text-to-speech can come in handy during these times.

5. Personalized Push Notifications

Push notifications are the bread and butter of apps. They remind customers of the app’s existence while making them aware of the different offers, sales, or events available. While normal push notifications are effective, customized push notifications are even better. They are tailored according to the behavioral insights collected by the app and offer the customers exactly what they need.

Personalized push notifications don’t just improve user engagement and sales, but also strengthen brand presence. The customer subconsciously realizes that everything they need is already available to them. When they want something new, they will check your app first before looking at the competitors.

Personalized push notifications should send out regular alerts but in moderation. If you send too many alerts, the customer may feel annoyed and either mute the notifications or delete the app. It is best to work with your marketing team to ensure your push alerts are useful and not disruptive.

6. Synchronization

Many customers carry out their shopping over multiple devices. They may add a product to their cart on their mobile phone but check out the product on their computer or tablet. It is important for your app to synchronize seamlessly across different platforms. Most customers won’t bother to look for a product again on their laptops and complete the transaction.

Most customers use the cart as a wishlist and add products to it even if they intend to buy them later. If your data is synchronized across different platforms, it will be easier to keep track of customer activities and provide a more convenient experience.

Synchronization also helps improve sales considerably because people can keep track of what they want across multiple devices.

7. CTA Everywhere

Make it easier for people to communicate with your customer service team. Make sure your chatbox is accessible from every page. Add the option to access customer service in the main hamburger menu. If the customer has to search for the contact options, they will quickly become frustrated. That’s especially true when they have a complaint and are angry with the brand.

The key to good customer service is to provide a solution as quickly and smoothly as possible. Make sure your customers can chat, email, or call your customer service team quickly for the best results.

Make sure your cart is also equally accessible so people can check out at any time without delays. Make the cart symbol big and attractive to draw immediate attention from the customers.

8. Caching

Apps work at their full capacity when they are connected to the internet. However, many customers may require the app when they can’t access the internet. For example, a customer may want to look at something while they’re on a flight or while they are in areas without reliable internet access.

The best way to ensure most of the app is available to the customer while they don’t have internet is data caching. If you keep most of the app data on the customer’s device, they will be able to use many features even when they are not on the internet.

Data caching can vary from one app to another based on the type of services you provide. For example, services like cab booking require an active internet connection but if you are an ebook store, you may want to provide options that allow people to read without an internet connection.

9. Feedback Ease

No app is perfect and customers recognize this. However, if they love an app, they will provide feedback to improve the quality of service. You need to make sure your app makes this effortless. Things like reporting bugs, dead links, errors, blank pages, etc, should be a breeze.

Feedback is very valuable because it can help you spot errors that you may have missed. That makes troubleshooting, app maintenance, and overall app management much easier. It also helps you provide better customer service in the long term.

When customers notice you have accepted their feedback and acted on it, they will have a better view of your brand. They will feel like they have contributed to the app’s success and become personally invested.

This also helps build brand loyalty and trust, which is valuable in the competitive business environment today.

10. Privacy Settings

Modern customers are often concerned about how their private data is handled by the brands they trust. They are also concerned about what apps can access and tamper with when they are on a device. Providing nuanced privacy settings and data opt-out options is a great way to ensure your customers have full control over their privacy.

Allow customers to opt-out of data collection and block all notifications from the app. While this might seem like a big ask, it can help you earn the customer’s trust. You can collect enough information from their transactions to benefit your brand without relying on other sources.

Honest and upfront privacy options improves the brand’s image and help customers trust you. It also makes them more willing to download and keep your app on their device, even after they switch their mobile phones.

11. Authentication

Mobiles are fairly secure but some customers prefer added security for their apps. That’s essential when your app deals with sensitive data like finance, mental health, physical health, etc. Multifactor authentication ensures that only the user can access the app and no one gets in without their permission.

Added security increases trust in the app and will help you reach a wider audience. It is important to incorporate security into the core of your app development. The more secure your app is the better.

If you have these important features on your app, it will be easier to reach a wide audience and retain them over the long term.

What is Better for App Development – Native vs. Hybrid in 2022

Most of the apps available today look somewhat similar. They all seem to have the same layout, UI, and predictable navigation. However, that doesn’t mean they are the same under the hood. Apps can be broadly classified into native, hybrid, and cross-platform. Before you can invest in app development, it is important to understand what these types mean. Once you understand, you can choose what kind of app serves your purpose well and will help you attract more people.

Let’s look at the options available to you to get a good idea:

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are applications designed for a specific platform and operating system. For example, you can have an application designed specifically for the Apple operating system or the Android operating system. Native apps are designed with the operating system’s unique features in mind, which means they are ideal for taking full advantage of the operating system.

Native apps don’t work on other operating systems. An app designed for Apple will not work on Android.

They are developed for a specific platform using dedicated SDK or software development tools for the aforementioned platform. For Apple, the developer must use iOS SDK and Swift. For Apple, the developer must use Java Development Kit.

What are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid apps, as the name implies, are designed to work on different platforms. These apps will work on both iOS and Android seamlessly. The base code is standard and there is very little difference in appearance and performance.

Hybrid app development is faster and more affordable, which is why many people choose it. The hybrid app code is generic and utilizes the features shared by the operating systems it sits on.

In general, most hybrid apps are made using web technologies like CSS and JavaScript. That makes them suitable for virtually any platform they are placed on. The app can also easily run in WebView, which means the app will offer a browser-like experience with web pages.

Benefits of a Native App

If there are hybrid apps available, why would people bother creating a native app designed specifically for a single operating system? This is one of the most common questions people have when they start planning for app development. Let’s explore the benefits of native apps first:

1. Fast and Reliable

When it comes down to core performance, native apps beat hybrid ones. As they are specifically designed for a particular platform, they load faster and experience less lag. They deliver a much more consistent performance and can handle a lot of activity without faltering.

As the app’s code and the operating system’s code fits in well with each other, the interaction between the two entities is seamless. That reflects on the performance, delivering a much better user experience.

2. Better Interaction With the OS Features

A native app is more capable of interacting with dedicated hardware and software features. For example, a native app will be able to take better advantage of an iPhone’s camera and deliver higher-quality images because of it. If you intend to make a social media app like Snapchat or Instagram, this becomes essential.

Every operating system has some unique features that you won’t find in competitors. Some of these features are popular among the phone’s users. If your app can’t utilize those features effectively, its user base will be reluctant to use your app.

3. Better Offline Function

Sometimes, users will need to access the app offline because they have issues with connection or just want to use something without accessing the internet. A native app delivers a much better offline performance in most cases. If the user is on a plane or stuck in an area with little to no reception, they can still use the app to get some service.

This isn’t essential for all apps but you may want to offer support if your app offers functions that may be useful when the user isn’t connected to the internet. For example, if you’re a game app, you may want to allow the users to access most of its features without the internet as well.

4. Graphic-Heavy Applications are More Efficient

If your app requires a lot of graphics support and hardware support, it is best to build it custom for different operating systems. Heavy applications will perform better if they are native to the operating system and designed for the device they are used on. They will be able to utilize the resources more efficiently.

Native apps also easily maintain aspect ratios, which means that your images, videos, and graphics adapt very well to the app.

Native apps are also less dependent on third-party resources and are generally more secure overall. That’s one of the reasons why developers recommend native apps for high-performance applications and platforms that handle more sensitive information.

Disadvantages of a Native App

The biggest disadvantage of a native app is that you need to develop a dedicated platform for a specific operating system. If you want to reach a large audience, this means you will need to develop two apps, one for Android and another for Apple. That can be expensive, cumbersome, and time-consuming.

The long-term costs are also a bit higher as you need to invest in maintaining two different apps and upgrading them periodically. Native apps may not be a good choice if you’re on a limited budget and need to get an app out quickly.

Benefits of Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps have become popular in recent years and some business owners even prefer them to native applications. Here’s a look at some of their biggest benefits:

1. Flexible

Hybrid applications are flexible as they just have a single code that works on virtually all popular platforms. You can place them in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store without worrying about incompatibility.

You will be able to reach a much wider audience with a single app, which is a convenient solution for small businesses with limited resources.

2. More Affordable

As these apps are usable on both Apple and Android, you only need to build and maintain one app. That means you will save a lot of money, effort, and time during the development and maintenance process.

It is also easier and quicker to fix any issues that may pop up. For example, if your app crashes or has a bug, there’s no need to check two different apps for the same issues.

3. Consistency

This is one of the most distinct advantages hybrid apps have over native apps. They deliver more consistent performance across different platforms, which is an important factor to consider. If the user experience isn’t consistent, you may end up alienating a portion of your audience.

There have been cases where Android users have complained that their version of a native app doesn’t perform as well as Apple’s version of the same app. This problem is unlikely to occur with a hybrid application.

Disadvantages of a Hybrid App

Hybrid apps do have some disadvantages. Their performance can vary depending on what version of the app the user is using. Older apps may not perform as well as newer versions. 3D and HD games don’t work as well in hybrid apps. These apps are often unable to access all of the features of the device and operating system because they have a more generic code.

Do You Need an App?

Mobile shopping and commerce have seen an unprecedented surge in recent years. Most shoppers today prefer to shop on their mobile phones instead of their computers. Having a dedicated app on your customer’s mobile phone has several advantages and they include:

  • Customers that download an app are loyal and are likely to make repeated purchases.
  • Mobile apps help boost sales numbers significantly.
  • You can establish a strong brand presence by offering a dedicated app.
  • Apps provide a more comfortable user experience to frequent customer.

Whether you choose a native or a hybrid app will depend on what kind of resources you have and what kind of app you want. Consider the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

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