The last few weeks have been some of the most volatile since the 2008 crash known as The Great Recession. Stocks have been up, they were down, and they’ve definitely been all around. Largely, this has been precipitated by some fluctuations in China’s market. Clearly, the stock market is no longer a localized affair, if it ever was. In the modern era of instantaneous and continual communication, the stock market can turn on a dime – and that dime can be thousands of miles away. One of the best ways to utilize all of the technological tools at hand is a mobile app. Fortunately for the stock junkie, this connectivity goes both ways. Yes, stocks in New York City can crash due to changes in China’s economy. But the keen investor is able to leverage the same technologies and communication paths to make a huge amount of cash. Apps can be found throughout modern life for a reason: they’re effectively a universal tool. Apps can do anything from finding you the lowest price near you to saving lives. Why shouldn’t they help you make it big? Let’s talk about how to make a stock market app. 1. Going Big…. Many Android and iOS developers prefer to make apps that are complex, detailed and with a ton of cool features. This is a great option, but it’s important to make an informed decision. PROs: • They’re extremely useful. Take an app like Uber. Uber is pretty complex – it determines traffic to give you an ETA, it finds drivers near you, it creates routes, determines and accepts pricing, provides reviews, and so on. As Uber grows, they’re adding even more options. • The complex algorithm’s required by this type of app are an excellent way to prevent competing business from cloning your app. • People tend to really like apps with tons of features. Take Cortana and Siri; one of the biggest selling points of both is that they are capable of integrating with native apps. Consumers love efficiency and convenience. • These types of apps can be easier to monetize. The more your app does, the more likely people will be willing to either pay for a download or a subscription. However, it is important to note that the biggest money making apps out there have found other ways. CONs • Time and money are the biggest detractors of this method. It costs a lot of money (though making it back is simpler) and can take years. • Upkeep is also pretty intensive for this option. Maintenance is more intensive and there are more likely to be bugs • Many app developers make the mistake of creating hugely complex apps with tons of features – but they’re buggy and poorly designed. Example: • Stock Guru for iPad is an extremely complex, but highly useful app for the serious trader. While it costs $20, it is totally worth it. It allows you to analyze multiple factors that can affect stocks – or you can have the Guru sum up all the important information for you. 2. …Or Keeping it Simple? Sometimes, the best way to go is to pick one thing and do that one thing so well customers will never leave. In contrast to services like Uber, the save-it-for-later app and web company Pocket focuses on a single core model – making it easier for people to save links to articles, videos, blogs, and so on. And they do it so well that they have over 20 million users. PROs • It’s much easier to do one thing really, really well than it is to do many things really well. • User retention • Barrier to competition – why leave when you’re completely happy? • Decreased costs for user acquisition – not only do you not need to spend as much money hunting down new users, but you also spend less on marketing – happy users recommend! CONs • It’s harder to monetize. No one wants to pay for an app that does only one thing. Even Pocket ran into some issues when they tried to offer a subscription-based premium service. • While higher user retention is a roadblock in and of itself, simple apps can be easier to clone. • You have to be really really good. There’s going to be some stiff competition out there and you don’t have much room for mistakes. Example: • Futures live is a stock market app specifically designed to meet the needs of Commodity Traders. It lets you view hundreds of different commodities in real time, and even provides anticipated quotes. While this seems like a “big” app, we categorize this as relatively simple because it targets a very narrow niche – Commodity Traders. This app is for both iOS and Android. • For the amateur (or professional – it’s free, so why not?) trader, StockTwits is a very useful app. It’s similar to Twitter in its UX, it lets the user determine how other traders are responding to the market. It additionally provides free technical analysis and advice from top traders. Stocktwits is also for both iOS and Android. 3. Investment A Stock Market Analysis app practically sells itself to investors. Obviously, most investors have more than dabbled their toes in the stock market. Imagine how much they would love the idea of an app that can help them pick the right stocks for the right price. The fact that they own the app is just cherry on the icing. 4. Plan to Scale The best market strategy is to start small and build big. A stock market app can have huge appeal, but you don’t want to start with a national or global release. Go for a limited release, targeting high-value areas such as Wall Street in NYC or the FiDi in SF. Not only will you be able to launch quicker and for less, but a limited release will help catch bugs before it’s too late. You will also be able to incorporate feedback from industry insiders, get key access to gatekeepers in Finance and save on marketing by leveraging word of mouth. 5. Android or iOS Picking an app development platform on which you’d like to launch is essential. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the right choice depends on the app. It’s easier to charge for an iOS app, so if you have a for-pay app Apple is your best choice. However, if your app is free, Android has more market potential. There’s a lot more to it – take your time and research your options. 6. Resources There are plenty of resources out there to help with app development. Some of them are great options, some of them are terrible. In general, the ability of programming tools to provide aid depend entirely upon the situation. PhoneGap and similar tools are excellent for building apps quickly (sometimes in only a few days) and cheaply. They also require little to no knowledge of code. But, you get what you pay for – the apps created using only development platforms are cooking cutter apps. They’re all the same, with no variety and nothing to make them stand out. With the right developer, PhoneGap can be used to augment the design process. Variety would be built in by chunks of customized and unique code to make an app stand out. 7. Prototypes Prototyping is a necessary step in the development process. UX/UI is extraordinarily important. The only way to develop a beautiful app is iterative testing cycles. Wireframes and storyboards & other MVPs will help determine what the end product will be – it will also help you get funding from VCs! 8. Features Obviously, this is an important step in developing an app. Ask some critical questions: Do you want an app that simply lists stocks and their prices? Will you attempt to analyze the stocks and, if so, what will be your variables. Data-driven apps are very useful (some of the best are for Fantasy Football!) and can be a huge help. This is especially true in a volatile situation like stocks that require constant, up-to-date information. Decide what you want your app to do and build in features that will get you there. 9. Marketing Marketing is an integral part of any business, as you no doubt are aware. Modern marketing is not Mad Men (much to the disappointment of many); the tech industry has disrupted many of the traditional practices of Madison Avenue. Determine what is your best strategy (we recommend a combination of SEO, SMM, and ASO) before you get started – you want people to know about your app before it hits stores. 10. The Right Team No one expects you to do all of this yourself. The best entrepreneurs surround themselves with equally awesome partners. SDI is a global app design company, specializing in SMB and entrepreneurial ventures. Give us a call today at +1.408.802.2885 or simply contact us for a free consultation and app quote.