Many startups in the technology space exist by virtue of their interaction with customers or clients. This is true for businesses offering traditional products or services, software as a service, information or entertainment platforms, virtual environments, etc. As such, building a website or a mobile application (both native or web-based) can be the single most important operational aspect of the business. Effectively launching a website or app requires extensive planning to maximize engagement and to promote positive customer experience. Doing so can require extensive time and resources from the company. As such, for many startups, it may come down to an initial decision as to whether to pursue an application or website first.
In this article, we discuss some of the primary considerations for determining whether to launch first the website or the application. After reviewing these factors, it’s best to consult with an intellectual property attorney to ensure your creative platforms are rightfully protected.
Customer Oriented or Client Based Considerations
The first consideration in prioritizing development or construction of a website or app begins with the customer. It is important to determine what the customer or client prefers. This may not always be obvious, as the client has not yet dealt with your future website or application. In this way, you can do varying forms of direct and indirect research. Direct research consists of research directly targeting the customer or client. This might include potential customer or client questionnaires, or observations. Indirect research, rather than working directly with the proposed customer or client, involves using existing resources to make determinations based upon known information about the customer or client. This might include records of past activity, surveying other companies with similar value propositions, reading behavioral research, etc.
Whatever the results of the direct and indirect research, you should make some determination as to whether the customer or client preference is for one deliver channel or another (i.e., app or website). While this is not the only consideration, it is the primary consideration, as meeting the strongest value proposition for the intended customer or client is the cornerstone of developing a minimum viable product.
Company Operations Based Considerations
Another consideration for whether to prioritize development of a website or application is the operational ability of the company. If the company indeed depends heavily upon the website or application to deliver the value proposition to customers or clients, it needs to be able to effectively operate or work on the value delivery through that medium. Both a website and an application have unique characteristics that may make it harder to work on the platform. For example, a website may be run on a management system (such as WordPress) that is easy to operate. Not every aspect of the website need be coded from scratch. There are many templates and widgets that can make the development process far easier. An application, on the other hand, depending on whether it is web-based or native to the smart device can may far more challenging. There are less developed app-management platforms. Plus, the updates must generally be made through a central distribution service, such as the Apple App Store or Android App store. Updates are not necessarily real-time. They may need to be pushed to individual devices. Further, applications are far more likely to result in bugs that must be worked out through customer service.
In any event, the ability to operate efficiently through the platform will affect the company’s ability to effectively deliver the expected value proposition to the customer or client. As such, if operational demands hurt the delivery process, it could alienate and erode the company’s user base.
Market Based Considerations
The final consideration is based upon the market for the website or application. A crowded or competitive market-space is a common hurdle for many startups to overcome. The company must create brand awareness and develop customer or client loyalty. As such, the business must be able to compete against competitors on both of these fronts. By and large, customers and clients may be more likely to visit multiple websites during a computing session. As such, drawing prospective customers or clients to a website may be easier than creating awareness and convincing prospective customers or clients to download an application. In other words, people may browse upon a website and become aware of it. It is a strong affirmative step to download the application. These are way differing degrees of customer acquisition point. Conversely, it may be the case that a customer or client would never seek the company’s value proposition through a website. They would only do so through an application. If that is the case, then it may be better to focus on creating an application and focusing on app-specific manners of convincing the customer or client to become a user.
As described above, deciding on whether to first build a website or launch an app for your business requires various considerations. Many of those considerations are business and industry specific. As such, it is important to consult an attorney when making the decision. The legal and business attorneys at LawTrades are here to help. They can assist you in evaluating your options and help you arrive at a decision that best meets your interests and protects your business’ intellectual property.