You will quickly realize where the app is heading, if you understand how the web has evolved. The app takes the same route and follows the same patterns, yet many times quicker.
Do you remember when everyone should have a home page but few really knew why? The company’s first home page was at best a digital brochure. Many home pages were just incoherent flashing graphics, scrolling text in bright colors, and the browser often started playing music when the first page was shown…
Many companies’ first apps are in the same way the result of projects driven by the statement: “You must have an app!” even though not everyone really understands. Digital brochures dressed up as apps are pushed out, just as the home pages of the past.
More users discovered the web. The home page became the web site, and the company’s marketing department took over responsibility. The web site became strategic marketing. The company’s customers searched for and found product information, and the web site soon got a central position in marketing campaigns. Apps that communicate brand and product information become increasingly common. Strong brands are early adopters, often with creative and new ideas. Did you see the newspaper ad with a white rectangle in the middle of the ad? Download the app, put your phone on the ad and press “Play”:
Another example is IKEA who has put their entire catalogue into an app and integrated current stock levels in all stores.
The web site became integrated with back office systems for customer and order management. E-commerce was born. Today we see goods being booked, reserved and purchased online, in all business sectors. The development of the web site is coordinated between marketing, sales and business developers in the board of directors.
New apps for e-commerce are launched in an increasing pace. Consumer electronics retailer Dustin just announced that they forecast almost $2 million of sales through their app, in the first year. Pizza Hut recently reported that they’ve sold pizzas worth $7 million through their app. More services and products are marketed with the statement that they can also be used and reached through an app.
The web’s new collaborative features such as blogs, wikis, feeds and communities have integrated the web into processes that now can bridge geographies and department borders. The web and app are holding each other’s’ hands here: the app accelerates and makes the use of these features easier, and enables anywhere access adding its own unique smartness (location awareness and imaging).
In the same way as the web, the app reaches deeper into the company’s business development, and thereby into technical infrastructure. What started as a digital brochure became a sequence of new means of market reach, new sales channels and collaboration opportunities. The app drives both business development and system integration aspects.
So, if you want to know where the app phenomenon is in three years, look around on the web today… and start reap tangible benefits of the insights already today!