Products & Mobile Apps

Rajneesh Mittal

12/17/20232 min read

For internet-age companies – the born digital ones – mobile/web apps are the center of their existence. The app replete with all the modern design elements, the swanky dashboards, smooth videos, friction-less this and frictionless-that, seamless journeys and all the razzmatazz takes up a vast majority of bandwidth, resources and mindshare. Some bit of this is obviously understandable given the app is primary conduit to conduct various business activities from acquisition, retention, service delivery and engagement. But given the mindspace tech occupies these days, we sometimes forget that app is “not” the product. Its just a means to envision and execute a broader product vision. That broader product vision takes a backseat as we get lulled into thinking that app is “the product”. It’s not.

Would you choose a bank based on the swanky dashboards on a neo-banking app or because you trust that bank with your money? Would you buy medicines online that get delivered in 24 hours with a seamless UX or from your local chemist who can send those across in 30 minutes? Would you enroll for an online ML course because of a super feature rich learning app or learn it from Andrew Ng? Would you buy your grocery at 25% discount from a so-so app or pay MRP for a slick app experience?

No doubt apps are very critical and they can let you scale business like probably no other vehicle, but these are rather hygiene, aren’t they? Consumers don’t come to you because of these apps, but they can definitely shy away if basic experiences are not in order. That said, apps are part of a bigger ecosystem, a bigger product, a comprehensive proposition that business is driving at.

Young startups have shown a marvellous direction to older businesses in terms of how to do customer experiences, how to do online, how to do apps. It’s pleasing to see that legacy businesses are covering up the lost ground. And boy they are doing it at a pretty fast clip. Look at banks eg - they have spruced up their web and mobile app game in last couple of years. They had the advantage of solid products all along and they peppered it with modern CX just right, not overdoing it. No need. And now they are so much stronger than ever.

Products need more hard work, more time, more attention. In the prevailing tech thaw, the bare apps will melt but products won’t.