Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Sneakers Agency (aka Sneakers) is a full-service digital product development agency focused on helping brands launch and grow their businesses. Our core branding, product, and marketing services help brands at every stage of their journey and not just survive, but thrive. Sneakers Agency has been trusted by 50+ brands since 2014 from start-ups, to enterprises, to non-profits, and partner agencies. We are located in Soho, NYC, and Singapore. Our services include Branding, Design, User Interface, Research & Discovery, UX Strategy & Design, Android & iOS Mobile Development, Web & App Development, Marketing, QA & Deployment, DevOps, CRM & Hosting, SEO, and Social Media Marketing.
I’m the Founder/CEO of the firm. I started Sneakers in 2014 in Soho, NYC because of my passion for building mobile apps and my background as a software engineer.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
I started Sneakers because I love creating mobile apps. I was a mobile software engineer for many years before I started the company and I wanted to be able to help clients build mobile apps/solutions and help them achieve their business goals at an affordable price.
What are your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
Our business model combines an in-house team who handles product management/strategy, project management, lead engineering, design, and QA with offshore/nearshore engineering. That said, over time, we are pushing to bring more engineering in-house.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our business model allows us to provide digital solutions to our clients at an affordable price point. It also allows us to provide short lead times for starting new projects and also cover a wide breadth of technological requirements.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We have always remained open to working with a wide array of industries. Our chief aim is to help our clients achieve their business goals. If we feel that we can do that and that we can deliver on their mobile app requirements then we’re always open to having a conversation. To date, we have worked with clients in Real Estate, Fitness, Health Care, Recruiting, and Travel, to name a few. A large majority of our customers are repetitive and work with us every month. Probably about 60-70% of our customers are repetitive.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
Wholistically speaking, we encourage our clients to take a long-term view to develop a mobile app. We focus on four key stages: Discovery, Launch, Grow and Retain. Going through all four stages will take 6-12 months in entirety. The first number of months are focused on Discovery and Launch. Once the app is launched, the focus needs to shift to Growth (aka User Acquisition) and Retention (constantly delivering value to your existing users) and this phase can take 6 months as you figure out how best to market your app and optimize for performance and iterate on new features.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
Depending upon the level of sophistication of requirements for the app, this can take 3-6 months of time. There needs to be time upfront for discovery where you strive to understand the underlying business strategy/model, to determine as to how you could translate that to a mobile experience and ideally do user research to test out different theories. Depending upon your approach, you’re then ready to focus on launching the app by going through the design and development process. Designing a highly polished mobile app can take a number of weeks and then the engineering/development can take at least a couple of months. You also need to account for a time at the end for analytics implementation, fit & finish, and also preparing for the app store submission and launch.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
As technological adoption has become global, I think one of the most important parameters is your customer demographic: How old are your target users? What country do they live in? How wealthy are they? The other most important parameter is technological: While Android and iOS have a lot of parity, there could be technical requirements or hardware requirements for your mobile app that may make it easier to develop your app on one platform versus the other.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
The majority of our clients are US based and so here in the US we still feel that most of the time iOS is a safer platform to begin with because iOS still has high user adoption in large US cities where you find a lot of early adopters of new apps and services.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
This is probably the million dollar question for our industry right now. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of cross-platform app development frameworks and approaches come and go. First and foremost, it’s our opinion that there will always be a place for pure native mobile apps. People have predicted the death of native mobile apps for years and they’ve been wrong because at the end of the day, whether you are building for iOS or Android, it’s the safest, most reliable/maintainable, and a well-known path to building a mobile app. A good amount of our clients still prefer to build native mobile apps. Over the last couple of years though we have started using React Native for some mobile apps where we felt it made sense to do so, or if there was a specific client request. We are starting to look into Flutter as well as an alternative to React Native.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
The key factors that we consider when determining the cost of a mobile app are the specific features of the app and the related complexity and risk associated with each feature. Complexity can arise for instance when we have to integrate with other third-party systems in order to implement a feature or when a feature has a lot of sub-features/requirements. Risk typically arises when there are aspects of a feature’s requirements that are unknown or not fully flushed out yet by the client, which means that we need to be conservative with our estimate for that feature.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We have primarily three payments structures that we use to bill clients: Fixed Cost, Retainer, and Time & Materials.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
Our budget requirement for projects has evolved over time. We currently require about $75-$100K in order to have enough budget to build a basic mobile app, but the majority of our projects go well beyond that range. If a potential client has that budget and has solid branding, we are open to taking on their project. These days we are not taking on many projects under $75K unless it’s a mobile app that someone wants us to help fix or if it’s a mobile app that has a very concise set of features and a small number of screens.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
In 2018, the projects that we catered ranged in the budget from $50K to $500K.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
Where possible, we try to encourage clients to adopt a subscription based business model since it leads to recurring monthly revenue for their business.
Kindly share your feedback on how GoodFirms has been doing so far in increasing your visibility among potential clients.
We’ve definitely seen an increase in traffic to our site and customer inquiries since we listed our agency on GoodFirms. We also feel that GoodFirms helps raise our general level of brand awareness which is key for our long-term marketing goals.