Now more than ever, businesses need to have a multitude of communication channels to reach their customers or clients. The pandemic has streamlined digital touch pints for consumers to interact with sellers. It is no secret websites are essential for business success, and apps are prominently emerging to be a key contributing factor in business models. How do you build an app?

Value of an App

Offering a new touchpoint to your product or service creates another level of engagement with clients. Large companies like Starbucks, use their app to collect ‘stars’ or ‘points’ with every purchase as part of a loyalty program. This contributes to brand awareness and building a stronger image. An app also allows you to send notifications to users; alter them of new products, sales, news, or any other updates. This regular and constant communication with clients can help build trust between buyer and seller.

Not to mention, the potential boost of profits and increased revenue. Using an app can also help reach younger demographics and ultimately grow your market. An app is more than another communication platform, it is an opportunity for your business to transform itself to be agile and relevant.  

Before you start: know what you want

To build an app, start by using a flow chart to map out the processes and purpose of the application
Flowchart example

It is important to have a good understanding of what you want the app’s functionality to be. What features do you want it to include? What do you want it to look like? Making a flowchart can help better understand the functionalities and limitations of the app.

Once you have confirmed what you want and what you want it to look like, you can hand off the responsibilities to a thor-party developer who will code exactly what you want. You also have the option to find an off-the-shelf solution that best resembles the flowchart you created.

Build or Buy?

Once you figure out what you want your app to look like, you have two options; use an off-the-shelf solution (buy) or get a custom solution (build).  

When do you know which one to choose? Off-the-shelf solutions are typically cheaper and less work than having to collaborate with an expert to design, create, and implement a custom app. An off-the-shelf solution can be advantageous with financial constraints or when you want an extremely basic app functionality. Many pre-established companies on the marketplace can help you build an app. For example, applepie appmakr is a no code app maker that allows nearly anyone to build an app in a short process.

However, oftentimes off-the-shelf solutions won’t match your internal processes or complete all the functionalities you want. Pre-established apps can constraint not only the functionality but also its agility. If you wanted to make future alterations to your app, that would require hiring a third party to make those changes, at an extremely high price.

If you work with a developer from the start, they can change the code much more easily. Not only will it be everything you want and need, but a custom app will also give you a competitive advantage. Investing in a custom-built app is a long-term investment that has the potential to increase your ROI (return on investment).  Should you build an app? Or buy an app?


A mobile presence is inevitable for modern businesses to survive. Ultimately, the decision on how to build an app is based on what works best for your company and its workflow. If you want to consult with an expert, someone at Sangwa can work with you to either build or buy. 

Explore influences technology and apps have had on the retail industry here.

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