When planning your business strategy, sooner or later you will get to the point of developing your own mobile app. It’s a great way to promote your business products or services as well as gain new and retain old customers.
Being in high demand, customized mobile app development isn’t cheap. However, there are several ways to reduce the cost of app development. In this article, we’ll explain why you need a custom mobile application and provide a step by step guidance on how to reduce your app development costs.
Why Do You Need a Custom App?
Why develop an app from scratch when there are lots of ready-made solutions? Here are just a few main reasons why build a custom mobile app:
- Helps to build your brand identity.
A custom mobile app is a great opportunity to tell your customers about your company’s values, ideas, and objectives. It allows you to boost your brand awareness.
- Precisely meets your business requirements.
When you develop an app, you know well what functions you want to add, how your app will perform, and how it should interact with your customers. While a ready-made app can be hard to customize or lack the required functionality.
- Enhances positive user experience.
When building a customized app, you need to implement a customer-centric approach to make your clients’ experience unique. They realize that you offer a special product made especially for them, which is impossible to do with a ready-made solution.
A Step by Step Guide on Cutting Down App Development Expenses
# 1 Analyze your target audience and competitors
Before creating your app you need to do in-depth marketing research of your target audience and collect as much data as possible. It will help you define how your app should look like, what features will help you stand out of the competitors.
When exploring the issue, try to find the answers to the following questions:
- What is your target audience? Think of professional and cultural background, lifestyle, gender, age, and location of your end-users.
- Why do your customers need your app and what are they going to use it for? This will help you discover the most important features that you need to include in your app.
- What mobile platforms are more popular among your audience? It can be either iOS or Android, or maybe you’ll need a cross-platform solution.
- Who are your competitors that have similar apps? This will help make your app different.
- What challenges do your competitors face? It’ll help avoid the issues most apps in your niche have.
- What features do your competitors include in their apps and how you could improve it? It can help you make your future app robust and effective.
# 2 Create your product requirements
Once you’ve collected the data on your target audience, start defining product requirements. It will help you to focus on the features that you really need, calculate the development costs, hire a mobile development team with the appropriate skill-set, choose proper development tools, and eliminate possible misunderstandings between company departments.
Your product requirements document should include:
- brief company overview;
- project goals and product purpose;
- main app functionality and features list;
- mobile app platforms you want to build it for;
- requirements for UX/UI design;
- approximate budget and time expectations;
- limitations if there are any.
You can make your requirements in the form of a draft and discuss all the points with project managers and business analysts or consultants. After having your product requirements prepared, it’s time to find the needed resources and hire a development team.
# 3 How to get your development dream-team
A software development team is one of the aspects that greatly influences your project expenditures. It’s no doubt that your team should be highly-qualified and strongly motivated. Besides that, you need to decide whether it will be in-house or outsourced.
In-house teams are great for businesses that need narrowly-focused specialists to maximize the customization of the in-house engineering process for every minor tech need.
However, if you have a non-tech small or medium-sized business and you want to concentrate on your core business tasks, then outsourcing is the right choice. Outsourcing companies have more development experience in different fields. By engaging with an outsourcing company you avoid all major hiring and staffing issues that usually occur when you practice in-house development.
If you decide to opt for an outsourcing company, it’s important to make sure it can deliver a high-quality product:
- Learn more about the company’s experience and find out if they have developed similar solutions before.
- Ask about their team’s experience and expertise, for example, about their tech stack and their previous project challenges and achievements.
- Discuss payment rates, services included, and timelines. An experienced company tends to develop apps more rapidly and can even suggest how to cut costs.
# 4 Release your MVP
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an effective method to launch a product without spending too much on development and analyze if the app will be popular among end-users. MVP is a version of a product that has only basic functions to satisfy early customers and collect feedback for full-version development.
Another thing that you can cut down on is the User Interface (UI) design. Although you want your app to look good, what really makes it special is its utility. Don’t overwhelm it with all the possible UI trendy features; instead, focus on its useful properties. UI design can be expensive and there are many examples of apps that have a minimalistic layout and great functionality. For instance, have a look at Uber or Tinder apps.
After launching an MVP, a project team collects customer feedback and decides on further investment in the development.
MVP allows you to:
- Study your customers’ demands and behavior.
- Collect and examine your competitors’ strategies.
- Invest only in the really necessary features.
- Change further app development direction according to your customers’ needs.
- Create a more successful app with a faster time-to-market strategy.
# 5 Participate in the iterative development process
After the MVP release, your team will start adding new features to the app, based on the collected user feedback. Then they will add an upgraded app to the app store and analyze the feedback once again. It is called iterative development.
It’s essential that you as a product owner participate in those iterations and discuss with your team the new features to include in your app. It will help you align your business requirements with your customers’ demand, making your app interesting to the users and effective for your business.
A custom mobile app release is an essential part of any business development strategy. If you want your business to expand, you’ll definitely need your own app. Unfortunately, it is a costly service but there are some effective strategies that help minimize your expenses.
To cut costs on development, you need to conduct detailed research, accurately define your app requirements, wisely choose your team, and keep track of the progress. Focusing on your main app features and participation in the app creation process will help you build a truly great product that provides unique user experience.