There is no denying that mobile applications are a big industry. With the new era of digital technology, everyone in the world is well-aware of what technological apps are. Furthermore, apps have become a fundamental part of experiencing a tablet or smartphones, they are now part of our daily routines at home and even at work. Nowadays, people are so obsessed with apps that they would stick to their smart devices wherever and whenever they are. Because such apps are convenient – they allow us to do tasks and to entertain in a more efficient and engaging way – humans are psyched over them.
However, not all apps are the same. They can be divided into different categories, consumer apps and enterprise apps in particular. These two types of apps can be matched with a certain operating system like iOS or Android, but they play different roles depending on the requirements of clients and purposes. Wanna know what are those differences are? Keep scrolling down!
1. What is Enterprise Apps and Consumer Apps?
As we can infer right from the names, consumer apps are apps designed for customers based on customer distinctive needs and want – in contrary with apps that are born to meet business demands: enterprise apps.
Some popular examples of consumer apps are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp; the seemingly silly (but it turns out it’s not! Ah hah!) games Dumb Way To Die, Candy Crush, etc.; or economy-sharing solutions such as Grab, Uber, Airbnb; or for entertainment purpose including ClickMix, Camera 360, etc. and so on.
Nevertheless, some examples of enterprise apps are Oracle, a customer relationship management app, Hubspot as a Marketing Tool, or Liquid Planner for project planning and managing.
2. The Similarities
First thing first, we can tell that both of them are apps that we use all day everyday. But there are also some worth-mentioning similarities between enterprise and consumer apps, such as:
- Both apps expect how applications should work, look and behave. They all must be simple to use, responsive and must have a convenient and logical interface.
- Both apps seek to accomplish users’ desired purpose.
- Both apps find it important to design and code for positive and engaging user experience. Optimal products are developed when software developers and UI/UX designers take this consideration into account at every step.
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3. The Differences
Without a shadow of a doubt, there are more differences than matches in the love story of consumer and enterprise apps. Curious why they don’t belong to each other? Let’s find out!
3.1. Target audience
As the definitions indicate, consumer apps target at each and every people, without limiting to any individual, group or organisation in specific. Enterprise apps, in contrast, have a clear intention of who are going to be their customers – the businesses.
Although this is a considerably smaller segment compared to that of consumer apps, enterprise apps have their own efficient way of making great money out of their customers. This will be discussed later in the article.
Consumer apps are always available in app stores (App Store, CH Play, Microsoft Store, etc), which is a public place for literally everyone. Moreover, consumer apps aim at proving the ultra-convenience for users throughout the experience pipeline: from pre-download, during download to post-download. No matter who you are, which community you belong to – as long as you have a turmoil needed to be cured, you can always have a friend in consumer apps.
On the other hand, enterprise apps are not something that can easily be seen in a mass market and are not friendly for common day-to-day utility. They are tailored-made for operational activities within businesses, which usually have strict rules over security and confidentiality, so the access to these apps are mostly restricted to employers and employees of the same organisation. That explains the poor popularity of enterprise apps to us in daily contexts.
Consumer apps are born to improve humans’ daily life one way or another. Whether it’s an Internet signal obscurity, a missing of your favourite cat, or insomnia – consumer apps are always there to help you kick it to Mars. All came to sketch out a fast, easy, less-of-a-nuisance life for the consumers.
Meanwhile, enterprise apps are designed to achieve business goals rather than to meet the needs or preferences of individual users. Enterprise apps are mostly custom-made for each organization and help them to achieve their objectives in a more efficient manner. These apps optimise management processes and have a very positive effect on business conduct. Specifically, enterprise apps are developed to increase productivity, streamline processes and create efficiencies. They can give more flexibility and mobility so that an employee need not be confined to a certain space while working.
Although both types of apps are born to bring about the best experiences to their customers, the core idea behind it is radically different
Consumer app developers want positive reviews in the app stores as well as good word of mouth amongst consumers so that they can increase in the number of users and make lots of money out of subscriptions, in-app purchases or ads.
In contrast, the primary goal of enterprise app developers is to improve efficiencies and increased revenue for clients by streamlining processes and creating appealing interfaces which encourage employee efficiency and enjoyment.
Having no particular target basically leaves consumer apps with no particular types. Our preferences and necessities for certain things in life are remarkably diverse, therefore, consumer apps as a servant of humans have to play active and variable roles in every aspect accordingly. That being said, consumer apps cover a wide range of professions, including but not limited to social networks, gaming, music, photography, news under various categories (politics, entertainment, education, health, finance, travel, transportation, etc).
In the upside world, enterprise apps, thanks to its boundary in target audience, are categorised into two major types:
- Open apps
- Closed apps
Technically, open apps are for internal interactions and closed apps are developed for supporting the company’s processes.
Open apps, in one hand, are mostly time reporting, billing, and payment processing applications. These apps have a generic function to be used internally, their sales target multiple individual businesses across many sectors.
On the other hand, closed apps have a much more specific purpose in comparison to open ones. The functionalities of a closed app is not as basic and simple as task tracking, cashflow managing, but reflect a set of unique expectations such as tracking down the inventories and distribution chain by connecting the internal networks among partners and automatically extract, analyse and categorise needed data from those servers for each distinctive application within the company.
Closed apps require a high-quality skill set in order to fully understand customer exclusive demands as well as to successfully develop an app that is no where on the market before.
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Generally, enterprise apps, especially closed apps, are more expensive than consumer apps despite the smaller target audience because they are much more complicated to develop. As per above statements, closed apps are developed on a custom basis and their development needs more investment in time and resources than that in consumer apps’s case.
a/ Consumer App
Talking money, the revenue of consumer apps mainly flow-in through 2 streams: the consumer line including in-app purchases and subscriptions, and the business line such as ads. In terms of the consumer line, the fee charged for subscriptions or extra functionalities is quite cheap, usually under $15.
The competition in this niche is fierce, which is easy to understand because the audience set is way too large, meaning there are big threats of new entrances and substitutes. There is always “that guy”, a showy green-horn appearing out of thin air, bringing a shiny new “toy” on the table. Everyone gets psyched, and you lost your point after one night.
A top-downloaded consumer app today could be the last in the chart tomorrow, and an app that’s nowhere in our sight yesterday can be a crazy phenomenon today – who knows. This might be an opportunity for the freshmen, but a big challenge for the senior ones.
Therefore, to fight back “that guy”, one shall try to keep as many users as possible for its own. Cheap pricing seems like a good strategy most of the time. Almost no middle-class men, who account for the majority of the society, is going to pay too much on an app they know will soon be out of trend (except for professional apps like Adobe CC, Final Cut Pro, etc because they are part of some people’s occupation).
Speaking rationally, consumer apps shouldn’t, and can’t go high in price. If your price is too high, consumers would simply leave you and use another app of similar functionalities with a much cheaper subscription or in-app purchase. No candy left for you, you’re doomed. So instead, consumer app manufacturers should go wide in numbers. Try to get many users, and keep many users as fast as possible.
Still, the story doesn’t end there. Growing in size is just the foundation to rocket the profit. The higher the number of users grows to be, the bigger and more diverse the database – or the market. As a result, they become a hot piece of beef in the eyes of other enterprises. A consumer app then is not only a product sold solely for the consumers but also a marketing channel for another company to market its product. The manufacturers become even richer for being an intermediary.
b/ Enterprise App
The story is both similar and different for enterprise apps. Enterprise apps also have 2 revenue streams: direct and indirect. An enterprise app manufacturer can charge businesses for a one-time fee for a lifetime license, which is usually high because of the customisation factor in the development process. The more apps these manufacturers license to other enterprises, the more money runs into their pocket.
Or, such apps could generate revenue in an indirect way. Due to the fact that the efficiencies these applications provide often add up to the substantial savings in time and operating costs over time to the enterprises, enterprise app manufacturers could ask for a percentage share in that company’s profit (which will probably increase thanks to the optimisation effect the app brings about), or provide a subscription-based service as per discussion.
Gamestore App UI / UX
To consumer apps, designs are one of the key players. Let’s go back a little bit to the philosophy of these types of apps. As per the above explanation, the competition in this field is a matter of life and death, and the only way to survive is either going ahead of trends or converting as many users to loyal customers as possible.
The former option sounds really pleasing, but it’s an ultimately challenging one. Even Usain Bolt, the fastest man on this Earth, can’t always win the gold medal. Therefore, building brand identity and loyalty is a better long-term strategy. But how does that strategy work?
Except for countless R&D efforts to improve the product and a lot of marketing campaigns for promotion causes, consumer apps also try to attract and retain users through an emotional attachment element in the design. To be specific, consumer apps may provide the experience of instant gratification from product purchase “buyer’s high” or the satisfaction from achieving a high score on a game.
For instance, a game app might ask the user if they would like to continue playing when they lose a stage or to pay an additional fee to boost their score.
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On the flip side, enterprise apps don’t buy that idea. Of course in some industries, designs are important. However, for the major rest, developing a visually appealing app is not really necessary. Why is that? Because enterprise apps are simply tools to help enterprises optimise their internal operations – they don’t resell it to another party, nor present to any external force for commercial purposes.
Let’s imagine: Do you wear a stunning wine-red backless mermaid tail dress while sitting in front of your TV alone, eating a giant bowl of popcorn and binge-watching Sex and the City for the 100th time? Sounds crazy.
With that in mind, most business customers of enterprise apps see UX as an unnecessary feature, a costly add-on, or even worse – a distraction. An example of it can be an animation. It may improve the design and attract users but slow the users from completing tasks. No efficiency improvement after all, so what’s the point? Another difference between consumer apps and enterprise apps at this point, is the focus on language design.
The main (and perhaps only) “retail” store of consumer apps is smart devices’ app stores. The customer market, as emphasised a lot throughout this article, is insanely huge and diverse. There are people of different occupations, different tastes, different ideologies, different nationalities, et cetera. Hence, the problem for consumer app developers is to design the app for everyone that supports a variable of languages, cultures, and preferences.
Therefore, the concentration on customer variation is highly prioritised in case of consumer apps. Meanwhile, because enterprise apps are specifically designed for one company, there is little spotlight on factors like languages, cultures and preferences. They just need it to be comprehensive, user-friendly, secure and optimal for their business activities.
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