Sponsored by the Asper Foundation and Reichman University
Wix, the Israeli-founded SaaS platform for web development services, is launching a no-code native mobile app builder that will allow users to create and customize their own tailor-made apps.
The additional service, called Branded App by Wix and priced at $200 per month (with a presale of $100/month for a short period), will help business owners create a more holistic brand experience for their clients with a customized website, a domain name, and the advantages of a native app, Wix said this month. Users also have to pay a $99 annual fee to be listed in the App Store and a one-time $25 fee to be on Google Play.
The new app-building tool appears to be a natural move for Wix, best known for its easy, drag-and-drop website builder, which also does not require coding skills and which has disrupted web development services since the now-publicly-traded company was founded in Tel Aviv in 2006. It offers a number of “freemium” and paid plans for website building and web services as well as e-commerce and business plans (where merchants can accept online payments.)
SEE ALSO: Wix Acquires Israelis Startup Rise.ai To Extend eCommerce Platform
Wix cited internal data pointing to increased sales for store or business owners who have their own native mobile apps — an average of a 162 percent increase in transactions per site, and a 510 percent increase in services booked per site on mobile for fitness businesses. Customers also expect more engagement and interaction on mobile, Wix said, citing separate internal data in April showing that approximately 70 percent of business owners’ customers interact through mobile.
The company said that the data “demonstrates that native mobile apps are increasingly a key business driver for brands to acquire and connect with customers, build brand loyalty, and ultimately serve as an additional revenue stream.”
The release of the Branded App “is another step in our native mobile app strategy making sure users can create custom iOS and Android apps as easily as they create custom websites,” said Ronny Elkayam, SVP of Mobile, App Market and Strategic Products at Wix, in a press statement.
The tool is a “major addition to the Wix offering, enabling business owners to have another medium to activate their brand. We are happy to equip any type of business owner or service provider with the native mobile experience they need to enhance their customers’ experience, grow their businesses and ultimately compete with today’s biggest brands,” he added.
The company “saw huge demand from our users’ customers for a native app experience to communicate with businesses built on Wix,” Elkayam said in April when Wix announced Spaces by Wix, a native mobile app for customers to engage and transact with businesses built on Wix, and which appears to be a precursor to the Branded App.
“Businesses that offer a native application capability for their customers are gaining more engagement and activity, which is proven to lead to higher customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately increased sales and revenue,” he offered.
Wix said at the time that over five million customers had downloaded the Spaces by Wix app. With the Branded App, members or users of a business will not need to be migrated from Spaces; they will simply get a notification telling them to download the business’ app
With the new app builder, business owners can harness advanced design capabilities and customize the icon, the layout and the content — including product pages, booking services, forums and groups, chat functions, blogs, and push notifications. The tool integrates with users’ existing websites and activity from both the app and the site are synced. 
The app builder is suitable for a range of businesses including fitness organizations, restaurants, stores, blogs and forums, and event companies. The company said it will continue to release new features to offer extended customization and navigation in the coming months. 
Wix is one of Israel’s leading software companies with over 200 million registered users worldwide. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the company has offices in San Francisco, Berlin, Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Tokyo and São Paulo, among others.
The company reported a “phenomenal year” in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced more businesses and organizations online, with annual revenue at $989 million, up 30 percent from the previous year. However, the firm did record a net loss of $216.5 million as research and development costs and other expenses rose.
Wix said in February that it had registered 31 million new users in 2020 and had 5.5 million premium subscribers at the end of the year
Earlier this week, Wix posted its second-quarter results for 2021, with total revenue at $316.4 million for the quarter ending June 2021. Its first-quarter revenue for 2021 stood at $304 million, according to the company’s announcements.
In May, Wix announced the acquisition of Israeli startup Rise.ai, a developer of AI-powered re-engagement solutions for customers, like gift cards, loyalty cards, rewards, and refunds, for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition extends the Wix eCommerce platform to provide merchants with more ways to manage customer re-engagement activities aimed at increasing spending and repurchases, the company indicated. In 2020, Wix users processed over $5.4 billion in online transactions on the Wix platform, an increase of 126 percent over 2019. In addition, Wix eCommerce merchants saw an increase of 140 percent year over year growth in sales transactions in 2020 compared to 2019, the company said.
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