Take your mobile app from a concept to the app store.
Mobile apps just make life easier. Whether they’re for streamlining purchases, tracking orders or transferring files. In the wake of Covid-19, mobile apps have been a critical tool for monitoring the spread of the disease. New technologies such as the IoT and 5G continue to push what is possible for app development. All the while, the worldwide gross revenue for Apple’s AppStore continues to grow dramatically.
Whether you’re a start-up, SME or large business, now is the time to develop that app you’ve been thinking about. Knowing where to start can be difficult. Making the investment can be daunting. That’s why Invatechs is here to help. In this full guide, we’ll cover what you need to know. We’ll go from testing an idea to creating an MVP. Soft launch to the completed product. From market research to risk evaluation. The tools you’ll need and cost analysis. We’ll even introduce you to some of Invatechs’ portfolio of app developments.
CUSTOMER DISCOVERY STAGE
Before you can begin building your app and MVP, there’s foundational work you need to consider. If you’re not familiar, MVP stands for Minimum Variable Product. It’s a simple, stripped-back version of your product you release to the market for testing. You can test how it performs, customer responses and its market demand.
Understanding your clientele is the most essential first step you can take. This is before you even consider prototyping or your tech stack.
Using Persona, Scenarios & Objectives:
Customer personas are fictional characters/users designed from relevant data and information. They’re an effective means of identifying the roster of your clientele and humanising them. In this, you’ll include information such as a persona’s age demographics, location, income, career etc.
Your personas are created with qualitative and/or quantitative data. This means constructing personas from market research: interviews, focus groups, web analytics, surveys. You can’t create personas based on your assumptions. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple tools and communities in your hand.
Clubhouse has become an effective and popular networking tool, like Facebook groups. Competitor analysis will generate invaluable data. You’ll find a goldmine of information on what does and doesn’t work from reviews on the relevant App Store alone!
Once you’ve created these personas, you can start thinking about objectives and scenarios. This is where you can identify the uniqueness of your app. What are your customers' fundamental problems and desires? Their daily tasks and habits? What obstacles do they face in a day? How do they get around these obstacles?
Now you have the scope to identify the value proposition of your app. How and why will it specifically help your personas? What can it offer that isn’t already on your market? Already, you’re in a good starting place. You have data, personas, research and an angle that makes your app unique. Let’s apply this practically to market research.
RUNNING MARKET RESEARCH
Here’s a scenario that happens too often. Let’s create an entrepreneur creating their first cryptocurrency saving app, we’ll call them Alex. You’ll know from our previous blogs, there are enormous demands for cryptocurrency apps and solutions. We even have a whole blog on how to build a crypto saving app.
Despite the popularity of their market, Alex hasn’t run the necessary market research. They’ve skipped creating personas and competitor analysis. With such a broad market, they haven’t identified what makes their app unique. Alex doesn’t understand the legality of cryptocurrency. More than that, Alex hasn’t committed to understanding cryptocurrency trends or the scalability of the app’s technology. Before even creating their MVP, Alex’s start-up has failed. You should never stop your market research, no matter the size of your industry. These are some powerful research tools that’ll put figures into perspective.
TAM, SAM & SOM:
TAM refers to Total Addressable Market. It addresses the market demand and revenue for a service or product. SAM refers to Serviceable Addressable Market. This looks at your product or service within a specific area; like a geographical reach. Finally, SOM refers to Serviceable Obtainable Market. It addresses the portion of the market you can realistically target with your product or service. This is information investors down the line will want to know. They provide a roadmap for your app’s future with metrics and figures. You can find more detail on how to calculate your TAM, SAM & SOM over here.
Understanding Existing Competitors:
You’ll want to know all you can about your market. So Alex, with their cryptocurrency app, will want to know about Coinbase, Bittrex and Kraken. They’ll need to look at their market share, distribution and pricing models.
First, find out what you can get from public information using tools like Sensor Tower, SimilarWeb, Alternativeto and others.
At this point, you’ve got a lot of research under your belt. Now you’re equipped with personas, metrics and competitor analysis. Just one more step before you can start building.
Risk evaluations are an absolute must for any business. Apps are no different. This is your opportunity to understand the risks and potential changes facing your app. This will include the app itself as well as the teams and resources required. Here's what you'll need to include in your risk evaluation:
Potential security threats
Development & resources management
We’d recommend using an EMT method to tie the risk evaluation together. EMT refers to Expected Monetary Value. It evaluates how much money you can expect to make from each decision.
The risk evaluation will help to put the cost and scope of your app into perspective. If you’re confident with financials and the app’s mantle on the market, it’s time to start building your app and MVP.
THE BUILDING PROCESS
We’re going to highlight some tools and steps to get you to the finished product.
Build A Canvas Business Model
How are you going to pull together your research and resources? You need a product vision, and a Canvas business model is your best answer. It’ll help you map, discuss and design your business. Crucial segments such as revenue streams, channels and partnerships are put into one template. This will centralise your team communications into one resource. You can find a range of customisable Canvas templates on Miro.com.
Define Metrics For Your MVP
Your MVP is there to test a hypothesis and idea. It’s a minimum value product, so you want to do this on a sensible, limited budget. Factors like your market, product and goals will affect spending. That's why it's vital to make metrics that matter.
Your MVP is there to test and assess the unique selling points you identified in the personas and market research phases. You can judge this on some simple and more complex metrics. The followers you gain, downloads, time spent on the app etc.
Setting up a mixture of qualitative and quantitative metrics will give you a decent 360 overview of the MVPs performance. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) provide valuable quantitative data and metrics. Customer feedback through surveys and reviews will give you the qualitative information you need.
If you need some help and ideas defining your MVP’s metrics, check out this article here.
Wireframes are an essential for your app. They represent the layout of your app’s features. From the landing page to the user’s log-in and beyond. Wireframes connect the dots of your app’s features and every step the user takes.
The Design Sprint method is a quick way to get your wireframes from a concept to a prototype. It’s a five-day process that looks like this:
Consider your team involved in the process. This could be your UX/UI designer, stakeholders, market researchers etc. Everyone involved will know the contents and functions of the app inside and out. Every step of the way, you need to consider your user’s goals and aims when using the app.
In terms of your wireframe software, we’d recommend Figma.
Run Sales And Test Market Confidence With Your MVP
Now that you have the basic components of your app, you can turn this into your MVP. You still need to focus on cost reduction at this stage. The product isn’t ready yet, and investors still might not commit to launching the full app. This is your opportunity to raise funds for your app and avoid misspending on specific features.
It’s also another opportunity to gain more customer feedback. Let’s look at a famous example, Dropbox. For their MVP, they created a short demo video that drew hundreds of thousands of people to their website. It showed exactly how the product works with mock-ups and concept art.
There are lots of different forms your MVP could take: a crowdfunding campaign, sign-up to the BETA model, AD campaigns. Here are some ideas if you're stuck.
Define Tech Stack
You’re on the home stretch of completing your MVP and launching your app. There's one more thing to consider next, your tech stack. It’s the foundation for your app’s functionality.
If your app is complex and platform-specific, Native is your best bet. However, as a start-up, Cross-Platform may be a better choice. This way, your app can reach more people. Also, down the line, you won’t need to redevelop the tech stack for multiple platforms.
If you want to look at more tech stacks in-depth, look at our mobile app page. You can find our projects and the specific tech stacks we used.
Build A Real MVP
All the pieces have come together. You’ve got customers and potential investors on your side. You’ve got research, wireframes and a Canvas model. Your tech stack is defined, and you have a beta MVP. Now is the time to build your real MVP. This will be an MVP version or beta version of your app before it’s the finished product.
The easiest option at this point is hiring a 3rd party developer. It’s a cheap, quick way of getting it done. We wrote a whole article on outsourcing development if you want a deeper understanding. Looking for a 3rd party to develop your app? You're in the right place. At Invatechs, our mobile app development department can create the MVP for your goals and budget. More on that later.
Now you’ve got your MVP and the first version of your app, it’s time for a soft launch. It’s best to launch outside your target country. The UK and US are prime markets, but they’re competitive and pricey. So look at countries with low CPI (Consumer Price Index) and similar customer behaviour to your target countries. Then you can officially launch in countries such as the UK and US, which are prime markets for retention, monetisation and acquisition.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully built your MVP and soft-launched your app. If it’s a success, you can officially launch the full app in your target countries. Before we conclude, we’ll look at some possible issues, cost analysis and FAQ you may face along the way.
POSSIBLE ISSUES & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
Content Management Strategies
Issue: You need to make sure you’re on top of the app’s contents. This will include adding new pictures, videos, features etc. The size of your app’s bandwidth can make the updating process challenging. This is on top of the rest of your time management.
Solution: Regularly launch a new version of your app with updates and patches. If you’re struggling with time or technical know-how, Invatechs can help with the maintenance and development of your app.
Issue: Securing funds can be difficult, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Solution: Why not fundraise with the power of cryptocurrency? This will be particularly useful if you’re making a cryptocurrency app. Check out our blog on how to launch a successful ICO.
Issue: Your app is launched, but isn’t getting much traction on the App Store. This is despite a successful launch and marketing campaign.
Solution: Don’t forget you can optimise your app through App Store Optimisation. Simple things like a stand-out icon and specific keywords. Don’t forget, your screenshots and videos also have to captivate potential clients.
Issue: If you’re developing an app for sectors such as payroll, fintech or the blockchain, you might face a maze of laws and regulations during the app’s development.
Solution: If you’re going into one of these sectors, assemble your legal support and team early on. Don’t leave it until halfway through. Use the market research phase as a chance to brush up on legislation. If you need legal support and advice for your app, Invatechs have a team of experts ready to assist.
The cost of your app will come down to several factors. From its size to its platforms. The complexity of its UI and content. Estimatemyapp is a great place to get a rough guide though! When you contact Invatechs, we can give you a more detailed cost breakdown. Hone in on the features your app needs to succeed!
How long will it take? It will vary depending on the scale of development, but usually between 2 – 4 months.
How often should I update the app? There’s no concrete timetable. You need to keep up with the demands of your industry and the feedback from your customers.
How do I ensure data security? You’ll need the latest data security techniques and encryption. At Invatechs, data security is integral to our development process.
What if I need a web app too? Look no further than Invatechs’ web app services.
We hope this article gave you the steps to start developing your mobile app. Everything has to fit together. The app is nothing without a successful MVP. Or without a scalable tech stack or customer research. You need a 360 approach. So, how will you ensure your app not only survive but thrives post-launch?
You don’t need to take the journey alone. At Invatechs, we’ve developed a range of mobile apps. We’ve created apps that track parcels and vehicle locations. We’ve built e-commerce apps and write extensively about app development on our blog.
Invatechs will take you from start to finish and beyond. Alongside the app development, we’ll assist in designing your MVP. You can be safe in the knowledge your app’s development is incapable and cost-effective hands.
If you’re ready to shake up the market with your new cutting-edge app concept, contact us at Invatechs today.