Unless you're living under a pop culture rock, you've probably heard the phrase "there's an app for that."
Statements like this can often be hyperbolic. But in this case, it's on the money: according to BuildFire, there are 1.96 million apps available in the Apple App Store – and 2.87 million in the Google Play store. That's a whole lotta apps.
The app revolution makes sense when you consider that most great ideas are born out of necessity. What's amazing is how the marketplace has enabled ordinary people with no tech or development background to access apps as a solution to their problems – like knowing which wine to pair with your salmon. Ask Vivino: they now have over 50 million users worldwide.
OK, so maybe wine isn't your thing. But let's say you're at your favorite craft beer pub and inspiration strikes. You grab a cocktail napkin and start mapping out a new app and how it will change your business. But now what? If you don't have the technical skills, outsourcing an app can be an expensive and risky endeavor. According to Utility, more advanced, multi-function and gaming apps can cost between $150,000 - $250,000 or more based on quality and detail.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by these numbers. And if you're going big, it's always best to think about how an app can be sustained or even monetized. It's for this reason that many people believe that 99% of apps fail - but that doesn't reflect branded apps that reinforce your core business.
So what if you just need a branded app? Not necessarily a suped-up AR-powered megalith, but a customized experience that allows you to enrich your users through a mobile channel with hundreds of different business solutions?
Well, it looks like Wix might have cracked that code – with no code at all. The popular website building platform recently announced a new product for business owners called Branded App by Wix, which allows users to create native apps for the iOS and Android stores without any complex development.
Wix – which is best known for its slick drag-and-drop website builder and CMS – has become a go-to platform for artists, freelancers, and small business owners looking to establish brands online without the hassle of coding and complexity. Now, the platform is expanding its user-friendly approach by making it possible for anyone to get into the app game without learning any code or relying on expensive, third-party development sources.
Branded App by Wix will offer users a simple experience for customizing their apps, starting with their logo – which will appear in the major app stores alongside other leading apps. This alone can provide a significant branding boost to any business.
The app builder also allows what Wix describes as "total creative freedom" to design an app icon and customize the layout and general look and feel of the app UI, and enhance it with access to hundreds of features including eCommerce storefronts and forums.
One of the most challenging (and overlooked) costs of an app is management and maintenance, particularly when dealing with the native app stores themselves. Wix alleviates this by enabling automatic updates, ensuring that your app is constantly working with the latest versions of the iOS and Android stores – and that your data is always being synced.
"Building my own app with Branded App by Wix has been a total gamechanger for my business," said Wix user Benji Beasts, Founder and Fitness Trainer at Core Attack Fitness Club. "I had to have an app that I could customize to achieve the exact look, feel and service my members experience when they walk through my doors. Members use the app every day—whether it's to book sessions, buy merchandise or even stream sessions on demand. The most amazing thing about this app, especially for the time we are living in, is the place it provides for customers to connect with me and other members, creating a community experience that keeps them motivated and coming back for more. No need for a background in coding, just my passion and my brand."
While it's a far cry from a complex app like Vivino, don't cry over any spilled wine: Branded App by Wix is another signal that the app marketplace is becoming more accessible and cost-effective to a wider range of businesses – particularly in the do-it-yourself range. Right out of the gate, the experience is offering some fairly decent design capabilities, and Wix plans to push new features that offer extended customization and navigation in the coming months.
"This release is another step in our native mobile app strategy making sure users can create custom iOS and Android apps as easily as they create custom websites," said Ronny Elkayam, SVP of Mobile, App Market & Strategic Products at Wix. "The Branded App is a major addition to the Wix offering, enabling business owners to have another medium to activate their brand. We are happy to equip any type of business owner or service provider with the native mobile experience they need to enhance their customers' experience, grow their businesses, and ultimately compete with today's biggest brands."
The Branded App unlimited is currently being offered at 50% off its original price – making it just $100 a month (paid annually). Note that the current plan doesn't include the registration fee for Apple's App Store (from $99 a year) and Google Play ($25 one-time fee), or any additional fees that Google or Apple may apply.
Even so, at this price point, you might want to pop a cork and start toasting to your new branded app.
Wix is leading the way with a cloud-based website development platform for over 200 million registered users worldwide today. The Wix website builder was founded on the belief that the Internet should be accessible to everyone to develop, create and contribute. Through free and premium subscriptions, Wix empowers millions of businesses, organizations, artists, and individuals to take their businesses, brands and workflow online. The Wix Editor, Wix ADI, Editor X, a curated App Market, Ascend by Wix and Velo by Wix enable users to build and manage a fully integrated and dynamic digital presence. Wix's headquarters are in Tel Aviv with offices in Austin, Be'er Sheva, Berlin, Cedar Rapids, Denver, Dnipro, Dublin, Kyiv, Kraków, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, São Paulo, Tokyo and Vilnius.