With ever-diversifying devices and platforms, how can businesses ensure a consistent app experience for every user? The answer is cross-platform application development. These applications promise uniformity across devices and a myriad of business advantages that span beyond the user interface. Let’s unpack the essence of these apps, their inherent benefits, and how they can stimulate customer base growth.
Table of Contents
What Are Cross-Platform Apps?
Cross-platform apps, as the name implies, are applications developed to function across multiple platforms, be it Android, iOS, Windows, or others. Unlike native apps, which are tailored for a specific platform, cross-platform apps are built using a unified codebase. It means they can be deployed on various operating systems with minimal modifications. Frameworks such as React Native or Flutter often facilitate this development approach.
Benefits of the Cross-Platform Development Approach
● Wider Audience Reach
When it comes to mobile apps, Android holds roughly 69.4% of the global mobile operating system market share, while iOS holds around 29.8%. By targeting only one platform, businesses inherently limit their reach. With cross-platform mobile application development, the equation changes. Operating on devices from iPhones to Samsung and even Google Pixels, these apps cater to a much broader demographic. This universality translates to a more extensive reach, of course.
Developing native apps for both Android and iOS would normally mean hiring two separate teams proficient in Java/Kotlin and Objective-C/Swift, respectively. The costs associated with this, from salaries to tool subscriptions, can quickly accumulate. Instead of pouring finances into these separate development teams, tools, and technologies for different platforms, your business can focus on a single development process.
The cumulative savings over time can be substantial, reaching 50-60% in certain cases. This provides more leeway to allocate resources to other vital areas like marketing or user experience.
Faster Time to Market
In the digital age, first movers often have the advantage. Apps developed with a singular codebase for multiple platforms inherently reduce the development timeline, sometimes by several months. This trims down the waiting period and allows businesses to introduce their product to the market sooner.
Easy to Maintain
One of the challenges businesses encounter is the differential rollout of features or fixes in native apps. Imagine rolling out a critical update: with native apps, you’d have to navigate through the separate updating mechanisms of each platform. This often leads to inconsistencies, where Android users have a feature that iOS users don’t, or vice versa.
And now imagine apps that allow for simultaneous updates across all platforms. This saves considerable time and resources and, most importantly, ensures that all users get a consistent and up-to-date experience. This is crucial given that user experience inconsistencies can lead to a 20% drop in user retention.
5 Ways Cross-Platform Apps Expand the Customer Base
Having unpacked the macro benefits of cross-platform apps, it’s time to zoom in on their real-world implications for customer growth.
#1 Consistent Brand Experience
A brand’s strength lies in its consistency. Cross-platform apps ensure that users experience your brand the same way, whether on an iPad or an Android phone. This consistent brand portrayal cultivates trust and loyalty. This means users are more likely to advocate for your app irrespective of the gadget in their hands.
#2 Wider Accessibility
Missing out on a segment of users because of platform limitations is a lost opportunity. You can eradicate this barrier by marking your presence on every major OS. The result? No potential customer feels alienated.
#3 Leveraging Platform-Specific Features
A common misconception is that cross-platform apps are “one size fits all.” In reality, they’re more like chameleons. They maintain a unified core but can adapt to utilize platform-specific features. This duality ensures that whether an iPhone user enjoys Siri integrations or an Android user relies on Google Assistant, your app caters to both.
#4 Data-Driven User Insights
Being present on varied platforms is, among all else, about understanding your user. With solutions designed for multiple platforms, you’re privy to diverse user behaviors and preferences. This data is a goldmine as it enables your business to finetune its outreach strategies for higher conversion rates.
#5 Enhanced Social Sharing Capabilities
Today’s netizens live half their lives on social media. Cross-platform apps, with their versatile integration capabilities, ensure that sharing on Facebook from an iPhone or retweeting on Twitter from a Samsung device is a breeze. Such a seamless sharing ecosystem amplifies word-of-mouth promotion, driving user engagement and, by extension, acquisition.
Hopefully, these insights will help your business to approach cross-platform app development with a more informed perspective and ensure that the investment yields the desired dividends.