People are increasingly living more of their lives through mobile apps. Earlier in 2014, Flurry released results of a survey that found 86% of smartphone users’ time (or 2 hours 19 minutes per day) was spent using apps and only 14% of their time was using mobile web browsers. App usage was up six percentage points from the previous year’s study.
Consequently, businesses need to re-think their mobile strategy. Specifically, they need to stop relying on the mobile web browser if they wish to successfully engage with their customers. Flurry, which once proclaimed apps to be a fad, declares, “The browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps.”
Sure, there are literally a million apps available to consumers, and many never get opened more than once or twice. However, those that help users organize their lives and manage communications more efficiently are on the ascent. Uber, for example, not only has revolutionized local transportation, but it recently started sending notifications for when a car arrives through its app (and stop using the native text function, which, like the web browser, is in decline). In other words, Uber compartmentalizes all communications with its customer in one convenient location thus providing a better experience.
Mobile apps also improve engagement from users compared to that through the web browser. For example, one study looking at mobile retail determined that 37 percent of consumers will shop at another store if the first store’s mobile website does not load in three seconds or fewer. In banking, where engagement and trust are critical, app usage is significantly higher than mobile web, and the experience is better and more secure.
There is one industry that has not yet discovered the benefits of the app. Residential real estate is missing a massive opportunity to engage with its customers. Those rare managers who have embraced technology rely on the web browser (many more still use an unpredictable combination of pen and paper, phone calls, and the odd text.) Their customers are literally spending one third of their time within the four walls of their business and the web browser is the best they can do?
With a branded building app the resident will appreciate the ability to organize her communications and have a consistently good experience with place of living. The building will get the attention and engagement it seeks with its residents, and not get lost in their mobile web browser. An app is a win for both sides, and that’s never a fad.