Does My Business Need a Mobile App In 2021?

Quick, before you read any further, look at your mobile device; how many apps do you have installed? Most likely, quite a few. We use apps every day to perform a multitude of different tasks such as banking, shopping and entertainment, all of which are literally in the palm of our hand. Don’t you think your business should be capitalising on the mobile app evolution?

You may be thinking at this point, “well, my business is a start-up, aren’t Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts enough?” While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with leveraging these platforms to spread brand awareness and market your products/service offerings, there are many advantages to having an app for your business.

The socio-economic situation in South Africa

Simply put, mobile phones are more accessible and affordable than computers in developing countries. Due to the country’s significant wealth disparity, a large percentage of the population can’t afford a computer and don’t have access to the internet. However, there are mobile devices available at affordable price points. Most of them have the functionality to run apps that people use daily via data. Furthermore, individuals can buy pre-paid data, allowing them to stick to their budget. So, solely from a socio-economic perspective, having an app for your business makes sense.

Here are two companies (one international and one proudly South African) that have enjoyed immense success in both client acquisition and financially.

Businesses whose USP thrived via a mobile app


Uber needs no official introduction. The international e-hailing app has become a stalwart on mobile devices. According to Statistica, “in the fourth quarter of 2020, 93 million people used the Uber app monthly.” I think one of the ways you know you’ve created a successful business is when its name is used as a verb. “I’d rather uber instead of driving myself.” 15 years ago, this was simply incomprehensible, and due to its success, it has spawned numerous lucrative subsidiaries such as Uber Eats.


In a nutshell, SweepSouth is like the Uber of domestic cleaning. The app allows households to book trusted, reliable home cleaners, gardeners & other specialists. All employees are experienced, trained, background checked and interviewed in-person.

Their mission states, “In founding SweepSouth, our aim was to modernise home services and to be the African pioneers in bringing technology to the industry. With over seven thousand cleaners, and thousands of satisfied customers being served monthly, we’re just getting started. Our mission is to create happy homes by providing dignified, flexible work at decent pay to our SweepStars.”

Why do these businesses perform well? 

  • They present a problem and offer an effective, convenient solution.
  • All employees are vetted.
  • Job creation in what was previously largely informal, unregulated industry.
  • Introducing mobile technology into the sector.

The benefits of having a mobile app

Customers reach their digital destination quickly

Easy, quick access to the information we need seems to be the apex to which businesses strive to achieve, and apps fill that need impeccably. If your mobile app has the correct functionality, customers should complete their user journey with a few finger taps and have achieved the desired result.

An eCommerce app, for example, should provide customers with a fulfilling experience by having all the necessary information for each item available on the selected page which should include:

  1. A selection of high-resolution images of the item.
  2. A complete, detailed description.
  3. Price and Stock availability should be visible.
  4. Calls-to-action (CTAs) need to be clear and concise.
  5. The payment process needs to be easy to perform. 
Remain competitive in the mobile space

With the continued growth of mobile and dynamic consumer behavioural changes, every business’s app is becoming an expectation. It’s a sure-fire way to keep ahead of the competition by offering a visually appealing, interactive environment as well as securing a strong presence in your industry simultaneously.

If they haven’t already, your competitors will most likely implement mobile apps as a part of their business strategy. Consequently, any indecisiveness about mobile app development may prove detrimental to your brand.

Increased Customer Engagement

Apps can prompt both potential and existing customers to engage with your business. A great example of this is push notifications. When your business has a unique mobile app offer that you know many will enjoy, you can schedule a push notification that pings their device to bring it to their attention.

It’s important that you find a push notification balance: too many, and they may uninstall the app, too few, and they may lose interest in your brand.


Value-add handy features available on a single device

As mentioned in the intro, there are many apps that we frequently use, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. Reputable, forward-thinking software developers can add custom, convenient features, for instance, for instant sharing of content via these social media platforms.

So, in conclusion, an app offers prospective and existing customers a much more convenient way to browse, shop and interact with your brand; all information is easily accessible right at their fingertips. The result: customers’ continued engagement and interaction with your brand will make them more inclined to buy your product and/or service.

“Okay, Google. Why must my website be mobile-friendly?”

Seems like a no-brainer, right? While the answer to this statement is evident to those involved in the digital marketing world, not all clients have quite grasped the concept of the necessity for a mobile-friendly (responsive) version of their website. You’ve probably been faced with the classic, “why do I need two websites?” question. Let’s answer this definitively once and for all.

What does a “mobile-friendly website” mean? 

A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to automatically “respond” to display correctly on any mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The primary objective is that it’s optimised for seamless user experience – gives the user the information they want, quickly and effectively; this plays a pivotal role in the success of your business.

The evolution of mobile devices

Cut back to the early 1990s; we marvelled at the magnificence of the wireless phone. It had the capability to make calls and even introduced us to a messaging service called SMS.

Now, some 25 years later, this communication device has become ‘smart’, boasting an artificial intelligence with intuitive learning capabilities. Instead of being an accessory, it’s become an integral part of our lifestyle. It’s said that “the only constant in the world is change.” Adaptation to this ‘change’ is the only way your business is going to survive

Increase in mobile internet usage

One of the golden rules that marketers tell clients is “if you want to reach your audience, you have to be visible wherever they are.” And where are they? On their mobile devices. Studies have shown that we spend approximately eight hours on our devices every day; that’s a third of a day, virtually an eight-hour window to ‘display’ your products and/or services to prospective customers directly, but it doesn’t end there.

Data doesn’t sleep. By using the right marketing channels such as email marketing campaigns, you can schedule content to be distributed to your audience database at any point in the day. 

Okay, let’s get a bit more technical. Your website needs to be mobile friendly because

Google loves mobile pages

In 2015, Google implemented a change in its algorithm that prioritised the ranking of mobile-friendly websites over those that weren’t optimised for mobile. The search engine giant announced, “Starting April 21 [2015], we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimised for their devices.” According to its Webmaster Central Blog.

In a nutshell, from 2015 to present, websites that were (and still are) optimised for mobile, have extensively greater visibility in search engine results pages. All start-ups must consider this when drawing up their financial business plan. Set aside a realistic percentage of your capital for mobile-friendly website development.

A streamlined user experience is non-negotiable

Web developers will tell you that access to so much information can be a double-edged sword because user sentiment and the consequent behaviour has changed dramatically over the last decade. Today, people not only want to be able to access information via mobile devices, but they also want it to load quickly. Neil Patel explains that speed is an integral part of designing web pages. Data from KISSmetrics shows that “about 40% of people will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load.”

Here are some suggestions from Google about other factors that contribute to a beneficial user experience.

  • Readability, relevance and content value
  • Website structure
  • Responsive design
  • Non-intrusive ads
  • Meeting users’ expectations

Content optimised for mobile devices is the new ‘king’ in the digital marketing realm. It needs to be clear and concise while still communicating the message that leads to the intended call-to-action (CTA). When it comes to ranking organically on Google, well-written, appropriate content is critical to your return on investment (ROI).

Its Importance for eCommerce companies

As mentioned earlier, users want relevant information delivered quickly. But this isn’t enough. Once on the website, the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) will largely dictate cart abandonment and conversion rates. eCommerce is the industry in which the importance of mobile-friendliness can be viewed and analysed from a holistic perspective.

The way we shop online has changed. eCommerce platforms are continually battling for market-share supremacy. It’s seen as a cutthroat industry, but when you drill down to the basics, the companies that remain at the top of Google’s SERPs have an attitude that puts every puzzle piece into place: they cater for the customers’ needs as well as understand and anticipate their behavioural trends.

In a previous article, Identifying & Adapting to New Consumer Behaviour Trends, we discuss this fundamental knowledge in-depth. Here’s an excerpt that suggests “a media mix on which businesses should focus their budgets to satisfy present-day user behaviour.”

Increase: Digital, e.g. official media, short video, social media presence, news and info sites.

Maintain: Over-the-top (OTT), e.g. On-demand video streaming services.

Minimise Out-of-home (OOH) media and advertising, e.g. cinema, airport.

As you can see, increasing budget spend for ‘Digital’ marketing, which includes technically sound, up to date mobile-friendly websites, was recommended – and this is going to grow exponentially alongside the inevitable advances in technology.

The salient conclusion to take from this article is, like we said, if you want to reach your audience, you need to be where they are – on mobile devices. Therefore, your website must be mobile-friendly and optimised to ensure it is visible on Google

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s worthwhile consulting a reputable marketing agency whose experts can assist you in creating an all-inclusive, conversion-winning marketing strategy.

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