Wix has taken a rather large step in its ongoing evolution as a marketing and digital presence platform: native apps. Erstwhile positioned more as a website builder, Wix now broadens its range to the world of mobile apps. This has adjacency and synergies with its website business, while boosts its addressable market.
Before getting into some of those strategic drivers, what did it launch? Known as Branded App by Wix it lets businesses build mobile apps with all the ease that Wix has become known for in the website world. This includes drag & drop functionality that eschews the coding otherwise required for iOS or Android apps.
As for features, businesses can customize app layouts and content, including page design and functional areas like scheduling/booking/ordering. They can also add communication tools like chat, blogs and push notifications. Wix will automatically update apps for compatibility with the latest versions of iOS and Android.
The new product costs $200 per month plus app store fees ($99 for the App Store and $25 for Google Play). This is a considerable expense — especially compared with website building/hosting — but it could still resonate with a subset of businesses. For those that need an app for operations or sales, this could be worth it.
In fact, it can be more expensive — in money and time — to manage the process of building an app from scratch. That includes internal resources or hiring a developer, which is expensive and uncomfortable territory for some businesses. Wix is rather banking on ease-of-use and one-stop-shop appeal.
In that way, this move makes business sense for Wix in that apps are adjacent to its core product. For businesses that need an app, it’s more appealing to simply expand services with your existing website provider. And from a fulfillment perspective, Wix is positioned to deliver given that same product adjacency.
For example, Wix customers that already have a website can accelerate app creation by importing content (think: restaurant menus). This reduces friction in the otherwise-intimidating app creation process, and should give Wix a competitive edge in selling the new product — especially to existing customers.
“Users came to us with the need to have their own native app that is uniquely branded with their name and logo,” Wix SVP of Mobile, App Market & Strategic Products Ronny Elkayam told Localogy Insider. “We are proud to give them this opportunity to follow big brands with their own native mobile app to engage with their customers. Having a highly customizable, no-code app builder at their fingertips will help them grow their businesses.”
To wrap some numbers around that “existing customer” base, Wix has 200 million users, 5 million of which are paid users. Its most popular plan is $27 per month for a website with basic e-commerce features. The new app builder will be available to all 200 million existing customers, as well as reaching non-Wix users.
In that way, this move has a few strategic drivers for Wix. It could both broaden Wix addressable market with a larger tent, as well as grow margins and revenue-per-user ARPU for existing customers. In both cases, Wix sees enough of an addressable market in companies that need an app in addition to their website.
Moreover, this move aligns with the no-code trend that’s all the rage these days. As we examined when profiling no-code pioneer Airtable, this is all about bringing developer-like capabilities to non-technical folks. Broadly speaking, that’s not a new concept, but the no-code movement applies it to building apps.
Beyond democratizing app creation, the movement’s general philosophy is rooted in reducing friction. This is of course relevant to the SMB SaaS sector as it’s always been built on this principle. But these practices are accelerating recently with the no-code movement. One example is Fisherman’s “no hassle web.”
Speaking of which, both Wix and Fisherman will be speaking at Localogy 2021, coming up in just over a month in L.A.. We’ll be sure to prompt them to dive deeper into all of the above. Hope to see you there.