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Low Shelf Life Apps – Why It Is The Need Of The Hour?

August 31, 2015

Having a single integrated mobile app is not going to cut it anymore. In an age with an incredibly high adoption rate of new technology, businesses are going full throttle towards development of a range of separate, standalone apps for different prospects, processes and situations. And many of these apps fall out of use once their objective has been accomplished. Such apps are what we like to call ‘low shelf life’ apps.


According to Statista, 26% of apps are used only once. While for some, it is a cause for concern, the more enterprising companies recognize this as an opportunity for targeted marketing. Such companies build and deploy apps, fully aware that some apps come with an expiry date. Take the recent 270toWin app, that lets you track the United State 2016 Presidential Elections. It’s designed to be used exclusively for the elections, after which most users would have either deleted it or forgotten about it completely.

Traditional marketing experts would have you believe that all apps have to be ‘sticky’. Their usage has to be sustained over a long period of time. But not all apps are created equal. Some don’t need to be lifelong commitments, they could be built for instant gratification.


Potential Market for Low Shelf Life Apps? Any Industry that Focuses on Events : Sports, Media, Entertainment, Retail…

With an app being developed every second in every imaginable genre, sometimes it pays to focus on a temporary niche and make the most of a sudden buzz around rare events.

There is surely a market for apps that are temporary. Apple releases a temporary app for it’s December iTunes giveaways. The Oscars usually have an app during the show so that you can follow the event live and there are many specialized apps for the Superbowl every year.  This year’s Super Bowl XLIX saw the NFL come up with an app exclusively for those in the stadiums and a number of third party developers came up with streaming solutions for viewers at home. Then there are apps for movies recently released, voting apps for reality television shows and apps that are exclusive for particular sports seasons. With the impending Presidential elections of 2016, media companies might want apps specifically to cover the story and create a deeper two way dialogue with their audience.

The common thread between these apps is their purpose. They are used to create an event out of an event. Apps such as these are mostly used as part of a marketing strategy. They follow the top-of-mind topics and major events to tap the audience that these events create and then fade away into oblivion once the momentum is lost.

An app that can focus on a particular event can gain the attention of the thousands of people already tuned in and wanting the latest updates on what’s happening. Plus, there’s less competition for short-term and narrowly focused apps like these. Companies can ride the wave of mass attention and market their services or products to a much wider audience.


What is important for Low Shelf Life Apps?  Quick and Easy Development.

The last thing that you will want is to invest 4 months and a fortune to develop an app whose shelf life is 1 day. And yet you cannot compromise on the experience and robustness of the product.

Also reusability is the key to success when developing low shelf life apps. The framework used to create an app for Olympics 2016 in Rio should be reusable when you are trying to build an experience for US Open Tennis, SuperBowl and Boston Marathon. This way, the more apps you build, your ROI continues to go up.


Use a mobile app development platform

Don’t get us wrong. We love design driven custom native apps which is why we offer July Rapid services. But for low shelf life apps, stickiness will happen on its own because of the event and the marketing behind the event. Your focus should be on the speed of development and hence  a mobile app development platform is your best bet.

For starters, Mobile App Development Platform, such as July MX works to reduce the number of hours a developer has to work by automating a lot of the coding that needs to be done, or by taking the code away entirely and offering a platform that can be used by non-experts.

MADPs have helped organizations deliver apps faster and for a fraction of the cost. This makes them ideal for developing apps that are meant to have shorter shelf lives. With pre-defined backend and front-end modules that are reusable within these platforms, getting an app onto mobile screens has been democratized. Also, new updates for apps that have already been released can be delivered faster.

Once you have defined the boundaries or framework (a simple framework could be the features offered across events such as photo gallery, live feed, video streaming etc) within your organization to build low shelf life mobile apps, then all you need is a design or marketing intern to drag, drop and launch apps on the go, lighting quick.


At July Systems, we harness the power of our powerful MX platform to develop a variety of low shelf life apps. If you want to build yours:

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