Apps can be both an extension to an existing service, or in some cases, such as with Uber, are the service themselves. But for products and services that exist without the need for an app, creating this extension can be either beneficial or detrimental. Below we examine whether it is worth having an app for your service.

How having an app will add value to your service

With over two billion people using smartphones worldwide, the app market is huge. It can be worth capitalising on, and having an app can allow you to reach out to a new audience that you may not have been able to target otherwise.

It is necessary to have a mobile-friendly website nowadays, but a dedicated app can offer a lot more to customers than a browser version, and no matter how mobile-friendly a website is, it still isn’t as easy to navigate as the app equivalent.

Your app will allow you to create a direct marketing channel to your customers, provide value and can increase your brand image, connectivity and customer engagement. You can create more features for your users to get involved with, and can even generate revenue through the app to cover the cost of the development of it.

Apps like OpenTable allow you to book a restaurant with a few clicks of a button, rather than having to call the restaurant yourself. Other apps, like HelloFresh, are useful for helping the accessibility and delivery of products and services.

Having a mobile app can help you to stand out from the competition, especially if your competitors do not have one. It can be a forward thinking approach, and almost any product or service can be turned into an app in some way.

How apps could be detrimental to your service

However, despite the amount of people that use apps, it does not mean that you should automatically have one created for your service. The first thing to consider is whether you truly need an app.

If not, then the high cost of development for the app is most probably not worth it. They can take a long time and a lot of money to develop, and you’ll need one version for iOS and one for Android. Some place the cost of developing an app at around $10,000, while others put it more at around $20,000 depending on the number of features that are going to be used. Can your service really suffer these costly setbacks?

It can also be costly and timely to continue to maintain your app, and according to some articles, places like the Apple Store take around 30% of your revenue for each app purchased; another setback if you’re relying on paid downloads as part of your profits.

Further costs will need to be considered when marketing your app, as you’ll need to show your customers that you have a presence on the app stores. Once you have tallied up all of these additional costs, will you still be able to make a profit from the app?

For some businesses and services, an app quite simply is not needed. An example is the PlayStation App, which numerous people complain about. The features you can actually use are extremely limited, and the service that is being offered on the PlayStation cannot really be extended in any useful way through an app, except for the messaging service.

What’s the solution?

Carefully consider your business aims and objectives. Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do? Is an app totally necessary, or just an after-thought (and a costly one at that!).


  • Will having an app solve an existing problem of yours?
  • Will it enhance a customer’s user experience to a good degree?
  • Can you both afford and justify the costs of developing the app?
  • Will the return on investment for the app be worth it?
  • Are there already apps on the market doing what you want to do, and if so, can you offer a better alternative?

Consider the above steps carefully with proper market research, and once you have done this you should be in a much better position to decide whether or not it is worth having an app for your service.

Written by Anna Lemos