The past 6 months I was working 14,323 km from where I’m today (based in Dubai). My daily commute consisted of me taking Uber to and from work.

One day, Uber decided to implement a price surge. Everyone in the office were trying to convince me to try the Uber’s local competitor (a $1.4B valuation company). Apparently, their cars were cleaner, drivers politer and the rides cheaper.

So, I downloaded the app to give the local competitor a try. Part of the initiation is to add the credit card details. I tried to do that and it failed, then I tried again, it failed again, and again, until the app crashed. So, Uber it was for me.

Despite the poor set-up process, I was bombarded with offers – Free rides, Free Rides, FREE RIDES, FrEe RiDeS! Where I went I was being served ads offering me free rides. But due to my initial experience, I didn’t take it. I will not attempt the sign-up hassle again. Why? Because $5 is not enough of an incentive to rid me of the horrors of bad user experience.

It happens, it’s not just me. There is a science for this stuff. There’s a vast body of research proving the point above. Ericson Consumer Lab, for example, compares the stress levels of bad mobile experiences to watching a horror movie.

So, you want to know how to make it on mobile? Let’s talk!

The world has gone mobile. People spend more and more time on their mobile phones. In emerging markets, people even skipped the desktop era and move straight to mobile.  According to, over 75% of users worldwide spend 3 or more hours on their mobile device, with 26% spending over 7 hours.

According to App Annie 2017 Retrospective Report, worldwide app engagement is well above mobile web. In 2017, consumers spent nearly three hours on average, daily, using apps. Some successful businesses are now seeing more than half of their sales come through mobile channels, and app users specifically convert at 3x the rate of mobile web users.

I’ve noticed a very consistent trend with my clients as well– once an app is launched the growth magic seems to happen. Moreover, I’ve observed extreme cases in places like Saudi Arabia where up to 95% of an online food delivery company revenue comes from mobile apps alone. In addition, around 80% of transactions for online fashion business were app orders, with iOS being a dominating platform.

Now, if you are an ecommerce business, do you go all in building an app or not?

One of the main reasons why apps deliver that level of growth is that they are fasterRemember that Ericson research in the beginning – the consumer’s goal is to shop, and not to experience a horror movie.

As a fix though, you may also want to invest in making the consumer’s browser experience faster. Mobile pages that load 1 second faster see up to 27% increase in conversions.

Another reason apps are more popular, is that they allow for a wide-range of advertising opportunities. If you have already tried advertising options with Google and Facebook, and are looking for something new, exciting and different – then mobile ad networks, Apple search, store marketing and an abundance of options are available for you on mobile. Having said that, you have to consider your budget allocations as mobile advertising is not cheap.

Something of vital importance to consider, is an app retention strategy. According to Localitics you will lose over half of your users during the 1st month and the average mobile app retention rate is 20% after 90 days. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have a feasible user retention strategy ready before opening your wallet.

Lastly, mobile push notifications offer a great way to engage with customers. Therefore, as a business, you will benefit from having a strategy in place. It is important to consider various factors when planning your push notifications – for example, ensure relevance. You don’t want to be sending a customer “renew your insurance policy” notification when they already have. Be exciting, don’t be predictable. Content is king and timing is important. Pay attention to details such as relevance and personalization. If you do not have these elements in place, then don’t bother wasting your money.

But what about – Mobile users spend 86% of their time on mobile apps and just 14% of the time on mobile website – you ask. Sure, but consider the big boys. App adoption and monetization are heavily skewed towards the top few apps. They call it App Store 99/0.01 rule. Do you have what it takes to dominate the store charts? Are you a business with a 1 billion valuation before you even launch?

So what’s the verdict? Do you need an app or can your business survive without it?

Ask yourself a few questions, what industry are you in? How often do you expect your customers to repurchase? If you are one-off, rent an apartment type, then you can do well with an “optimized” website. If you are a daily commute – then you have to have an app.

Consider your infrastructure. Do you have the necessary resources to provide an optimal user experience on every platform? If no, think twice – don’t compete and end up offering a mediocre service that spreads more horror stories.

Think of your CRM messaging. Does your industry (and creativity) allow you to maintain push notifications beyond a “Book your cleaning services now & get 30% off”. If yes, definitely consider a mobile app-push indeed gives you far better engagement rates.

Do you have what you need to make it on mobile?

As Google’s Luke Wroblevski put it – the Web is for audience reach and native apps are for rich experiences. Both are strategic. Both are valuable. So, when it comes to mobile, it’s not Web vs. Native. It’s both.


Thanks for reading The Low Down by Momentum Works. This article is contributed by our partner, Unmarketd, an analytics and technology driven online marketing consultancy. It is built and run by geeks and experienced venture builders, based primarily out of Dubai, UAE.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].



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