Why You Should Build an App Clip for Your App

Understated, Yet Useful

First revealed during Apple’s WWDC 2020, App Clips have been an understated and quietly received feature of the iOS 14 update. Over the last year, companies have slowly begun rolling out App Clips to engage new customers while supplementing the full version of their app. As more App Clips continue to hit the market and developers proceed to utilize them in unique ways, users are beginning to understand just how convenient they are and how much value they can provide. Although App Clips are still in their relative infancy, we believe they will play an integral role in the future of apps. That’s why we strongly recommend getting ahead of the curve and building an App Clip for your business today.

What Are App Clips?

App Clips are small, lightweight versions of your full app that allow users to complete simple tasks and transactions on the fly. App Clips are limited to 10MB in size for snappy, instantaneous use and are fully synced with the user’s Apple ID and Apple Pay. They are streamlined for ease of use and convenience, and the tiny file size ensures they load about as fast as a web page. App Clips can be launched via QR codes, NFC tags, App Clip Codes, or directly from the Safari browser when visiting the web page of a company with an associated App Clip. You can even share App Clips with friends and family directly through iMessage.

How Are App Clips Useful in Practice

App Clips are all about convenience. But what does that really mean? And how does that translate to their actual, practical use in everyday situations?

Think about it like this: Instead of brewing a pot of coffee at home, occasionally you like to stop at Starbucks for a cup during your daily commute. However, you don’t do it enough to warrant downloading their app, setting up a Starbucks account, and cluttering your home screen with yet another app you’ll barely use. That’s where App Clips come in. While navigating to work, simply tap on the Starbucks location in Maps and launch the App Clip directly from the place card. Sign in automatically with your Apple ID, build your perfect cup of Joe, and check out instantly via Apple Pay with the tap of a button. All of this can be done in under a minute, requires virtually no download, and doesn’t require a Starbucks account. Your coffee will be waiting for you when you arrive, and you get to skip the line.

This is just barely scratching the surface of what App Clips are capable of. There are App Clips out there that allow you to order take-out or place your group on a restaurant’s waiting list , instantly pay for gas, help you find and pay for available parking, easily rent scooters and bikes, or track shipments in great detail. Some home and kitchen appliances can also connect via App Clips such as Drop Recipes for augmented smart home control. There are even App Clips that function purely as lightweight demos or introductions for the fully-featured standalone app. As developers are still familiarizing themselves with App Clip functionality, we suspect new and innovative features will continue to drive their usage in the months and years to come.

Would My Business Benefit from an App Clip?

App Clips offer businesses a new and powerful avenue for customers to discover and engage with their brand. It’s a sleek feature that helps increase brand awareness, improve traction, bolster conversion rates, and significantly improve customer satisfaction.

By design, App Clips reveal themselves at opportune moments as users go about their daily activities. Your App Clip appears and makes the completion of the user’s task simple and streamlined at the exact time it is needed. Not only are you exposing your brand and app to potential new customers, you are providing value by adding convenience to their day and, by extension, also establishing a relationship while building a positive reputation. It’s a win-win for all parties.

By providing convenience through smooth App Clip interactions, your business can demonstrate its value to customers while simultaneously incentivizing them to download your complete and fully featured app. A great example of this is the App Clip for Flash Note Cards. It allows the user to create a simple note card for daily tasks such as shopping lists, to-do lists, or event details. They can then send the notecard to friends and family through iMessage, who may then edit and update the card freely. They don’t even need the app to view and edit your note, just tap the App Clip in your message for instant access. However, if they choose to install the full app they can create an account, manage, review, and save all of their notes, sync them to their Apple Watch, and add the companion widget to their home screen. The App Clip is convenient and useful, but if you want to enjoy the full set of features Flash Note Cards has to offer, you must download the full version of the app.

If your business already has an established app, or if you are interested in a lightweight app for simple tasks such as providing a restaurant menu, reserving event tickets, or booking appointments, App Clips can be a powerful- yet affordable -weapon in your arsenal for getting your brand and full app in front of more consumers. Keep it simple and lightweight, provide value and convenience to users, and offer your full app for download once their transaction is complete. Follow these basic rules and your business can reap the benefits of including App Clips as part of your user experience.

Jonathan Baker Image

At Lithios we value outside opinions. This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Jonathan Baker, with feedback from the Lithios team.

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