Traditionally, if you wanted to build a custom mobile app, you needed to hire a developer to write the code, shape it into an app, and then manage the software after launch. The process of developing a native app could take months to years, and cost anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000+. Due to this long runway and the high expense, custom mobile app adoption has historically been restricted to technology companies and major corporations.
These days, low-code and no-code mobile apps offer a more agile, affordable alternative — without sacrificing brand identity or analytic insight. The speed of low-code/no-code app development has led to rapid adoption, especially following the outbreak of COVID-19. In a world suddenly rendered contactless, mobile apps went from luxury to necessity — but thanks to the convenience of low-code/no-code platforms, mobile apps were just as accessible to major healthcare organizations as they were local small businesses. Low-code became so prevalent during the pandemic Software Development Times declared 2021 “The Year of Low Code.” So what’s the catch, right?
The drawback is low-code app development still requires a degree of skill your average business owner doesn’t possess — and likely doesn’t have the time to learn. Even no-code apps require users to have an understanding of how to map workflows to the mobile space. And then, of course, there’s everything that comes after the launch — marketing your app to find users, perfecting ASO, monitoring engagement and retention, and regular updates. Luckily, a “done-for-you” alternative has recently emerged: the turnkey mobile app. Let’s explore each type of app, and learn which one is right for your organization.
Low-code vs. no-code vs. hybrid vs. turnkey mobile apps
Low-code, no-code, hybrid, turnkey — before you can determine the best approach to developing a mobile app, it’s important to understand the differences between them. To frame this comparison, we’ll consider three of the most important criteria to developing an app:
- Developer experience
What’s a low-code app?
As the name implies, low-code development enables tech-literate businesses to design their own apps by editing blocks of pre-fabricated code. As IBM puts it, “Low-code platforms democratize app development, particularly for the ‘citizen’ developers—i.e. business users with little formal coding experience, such as business analysts or project managers.”
Since low-code app development requires some knowledge of coding, it is not a plug-and-play system. However, the ability to alter code allows for the same degree of customization as in a native app. The more you know about coding, the more you can do with a low-code app.
Similarly, the faster you can manipulate the low-code blocks to your liking and test the app, the faster it will be ready to launch. Despite the DIY approach, 29% of respondents in a 2021 Statista survey reported low-code app development is between 40-60% faster than traditional development.
What’s a no-code app?
With no-code apps, you don’t need to be a citizen-developer — or know anything about coding — to create an app. Instead, no-code apps offer a fully automated process; businesses simply drag-and-drop elements to create their preferred app function and design. The ease of no-code apps makes them an accessible option even for those with little tech literacy.
Like low-code apps, no-code apps can also be developed quickly and cost significantly less than fully-custom apps — however, they are often more limited when it comes to customization.
What’s a hybrid app?
A hybrid app is a web-based app that has been housed within a satellite mobile app. By embedding a browser link into a mobile app frame, the web app can control the back-end while remaining invisible to the user.
The major benefit of a hybrid app is scalability. Instead of writing code for both a website and a mobile app, hybrid apps use the same code for both. This multi-functional approach also allows for superior integration between a website and its corresponding app, which has proved especially advantageous for e-commerce enterprises — Forbes reports a staggering 74% of the top 50 retail apps in the App Store are hybrid apps.
What’s a turnkey app?
If custom apps are built from the ground up by developers and low-code/no-code apps are DIY, turnkey apps are the happy middle.
With the speed to market of no-code and the customization of a low-code, turnkey mobile apps have all the features, functions, and integrations your business needs — fully customized and completely done for you. All you have to do is supply the branded assets, provide any necessary feedback, and watch the downloads roll in.
Here are six major benefits to turnkey app development:
- Complete customization. Turnkey mobile apps offer numerous features that can be combined to execute a range of functions — and create a fully branded interface.
- Speed of launch. Unlike low-code platforms, turnkey apps can be developed in a matter of weeks. This accelerated process frees up valuable time for busy business owners.
- Easy website integration. Like hybrid apps, turnkey app development enables seamless integration between an existing website and the new mobile app.
- Update your app in real-time. Since a Content Management System (CMS) is built in to most turnkey apps, they can be updated quickly and effortlessly.
- Powerful analytics. Just because turnkey apps can be developed quickly and easily doesn’t mean they sacrifice analytics. Turnkey apps can deliver powerful customer insights on par with a custom-built or low-code app.
- Done for you. From strategy and set up to launch and ASO, turnkey apps offer complete support from start to finish — and the support of an experienced team to help guide your workflow.
enCappture makes mobile apps easy
Here at enCappture, we are pioneering the development of turnkey apps. The mobile apps we launch are customizable to fit each client’s specific needs, and delivered in just three weeks — a fraction of the time it takes to build a low-code app with equivalent branding. Beyond turnkey app development, enCappture’s Mobile Coaches help with content management services, app-store optimization, and understanding the powerful analytics our platform provides. Combine that with a wide range of special features — like push notifications, reservation tracking, and scheduling tools — and you can have a full-featured app in weeks with expert assistance to help you grow at an affordable price based on your business’ size and specific needs.
To learn more about launching a branded mobile app with enCappture, schedule your free product demo today.