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Appy Pie Review: Best App Maker for Businesses Overall

Appy Pie Review: Best App Maker for Businesses Overall
Credit: appy pie

We recommend Appy Pie as the best app maker for small business. We chose this service from dozens of app makers. To understand how we chose Appy Pie, you can find our methodology and a list of app makers on our best picks page.

Appy Pie offers free and paid plans starting at $15 per month per app. It lets you build iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Amazon and HTML5 apps for all types of businesses and industries. Appy Pie also comes with personalized phone, live chat and email support and a wide variety of self-help resources.

We like Appy Pie because it offers the best value for small businesses looking to create full-featured, professional-looking apps without the developer price tag. Business owners can choose free apps with ads or a monthly paid subscription without ads.

It's true that Appy Pie isn't the cheapest service available. Some others cost as little as $1 per month — but with DIY app makers, you get what you pay for. Those services on the cheaper end often have severe limitations, such as clunky user interfaces that are difficult to use and generic layouts that don't look as professional and aren't as customizable to fit your brand.

Unlike most DIY app makers that limit your app’s functions based on which package you can afford, Appy Pie offers a full range of features, regardless of your budget. The Appy Pie representative we spoke with confirmed that all of Appy Pie’s plans offer the same capabilities, professional quality and ease of use.

Instead, Appy Pie’s pricing is based on which device(s) you wish to create an app for, and whether you require a white label, or branded, app.

Appy Pie offers three paid plans:

  • Basic — $15 per month per app; Android and HTML5 apps
  • Gold — $30 per month per app; iOS, Android and HTML5 apps
  • Platinum — $50 per month per app; iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Amazon and HTML5 apps; lets you create a white label app

We also like that Appy Pie gives users the option to purchase nonessential features as add-ons, so you’re not paying for things you won’t necessarily need at the start but that may be helpful as your business and app grows. This includes unlimited push notifications, a dedicated account manager and app marketing tools.

As part of our research, we tested dozens of app makers. Appy Pie claims to be the easiest app maker to use, and its super clean interface makes it one of the easiest app builders we’ve tried.

Appy Pie lets you create an app in three steps: choose, design and build. (We’re also a fan of Appy Pie’s preview function — you can quickly preview your app on different devices throughout the entire process just by clicking on its logo at the top of each section.)

Choose 

The first step is to select the type of business for which you need to create an app. Appy Pie offers a wide range of choices, including restaurants and online businesses; service providers, such as contractor, health, veterinary, real estate and law firms; and niche businesses, such as fitness, photography, music, sports and entertainment. 

After you choose the type of business, Appy Pie gives you the option to import information from your website or Facebook account. We like that this makes it easy to quickly and automatically create content for your app, which can save a lot of time and effort from having to do so manually.

Appy Pie then lets you choose a premade, professional-looking theme for your app. More than a dozen themes are available, and each one is customizable to fit your business’s unique needs.

Design

This is where the fun begins. The Design section is where you can let your brand and creativity shine by customizing your theme and editing pages for your app. Appy Pie lets you easily change your app’s look and feel to fit your brand identity in just a few clicks. 

For instance, to customize your app’s icon, background and splash page, you simply select any of the available images or upload your own. To change fonts or colors, you choose from a dropdown menu of available fonts and color schemes. Each section is also clearly labeled, so you can easily see which part of your app is being changed.

Appy Pie also lets you customize your app’s navigation style and colors to truly make your app your own. Whereas many app makers have preset navigation based on your chosen theme, Appy Pie lets you choose from bottom navigation, lists, image-based menus and more, regardless of your theme. Just choose from one of the given samples and you’re good to go.

Another feature that makes Appy Pie super easy to use is that you can edit different pages of your app in one place. You simply click on an icon — such as About Us, Contact, Photos or your own custom pages — to add and edit content. We particularly like that text fields feature a formatting toolbar, which makes it easy to bold, italicize, underline and strike text, as well as add links without having to code them manually.

Appy Pie also lets you customize each page’s look and feel. This includes the following: 

  • Background images and colors
  • Layout
  • Text fonts and colors
  • Button colors
  • Heading formats
  • Text indentations
  • Border colors
  • Icon colors
  • Element-based customizations

Build 

This is where Appy Pie works its magic. Once you are done designing your app, Appy Pie will automatically build the app and make it available for download and submission to app stores. There’s no legwork or coding on your part, and the app will automatically appear on your dashboard.

Appy Pie stands out for offering a plethora of features, regardless of which subscription plan you choose. These are some of the core features:

  • Unlimited push notifications
  • Geolocation, geotargeting and iBeacon for location-based marketing
  • Credit card processing
  • E-commerce and shopping carts
  • Instagram, Flickr and Picasa photo galleries
  • Facebook, Twitter and other social media integration
  • Email marketing
  • One-touch calling
  • QR codes
  • iOS Passbook support
  • Loyalty programs
  • Event invites
  • Custom forms
  • Chat and instant messaging
  • Blog builder
  • Google Analytics to measure app installations and engagement 
  • Monetization via relevant ads

We also like that Appy Pie offers industry-specific features at no extra cost, including these:

  • OpenTable reservations, GrubHub food delivery integration and menu builders for restaurants
  • Appointment schedulers for spas, salons, clinics, pet groomers and other service providers
  • Mortgage calculators for real estate 
  • E-book reader for authors and content creators
  • SoundCloud, SHOUTcast and Beatport integration for musicians

Appy Pie shines in customer support. Unlike most DIY app makers, which only offer email or ticket-based support if any at all, Appy Pie comes with 24/7 phone, live chat and email support. This means there will always be a live person to answer any questions and provide help whenever you need it. A live chat window automatically opens when you visit the Appy Pie website, which we found to be a very convenient feature that many services lack.

Those who prefer to troubleshoot on their own can also find answers in Appy Pie’s library of self-help resources. Just visit the Support section of the Appy Pie website, where you’ll find a searchable database of video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, FAQs and more.

Although Appy Pie is our top pick for the best app maker for small businesses, the service does have some drawbacks worth considering.

For one, we’d like to see a live preview feature that shows you the changes you’re making to your app as you make them. Currently, you need to launch the preview function each time you make a change to see how it looks on different devices. Appy Pie’s other limitations basically boil down to cost, which may or may not be deal breakers for small business owners on limited budgets. 

As outlined above, the service’s cheapest paid plan only includes Android and HTML5 apps. To create an iOS app, you’ll need to purchase the pricier plan that costs $30 per month per app. To also create apps for BlackBerry and Windows Phone, you’ll need to purchase the most expensive plan at $50 per month per app. 

Also Note that the free plan has limited editing capabilities, such that you only have 24 hours from creating the app to make any changes. However, all paid plans have unlimited editing.

In addition, publishing costs are not included in Appy Pie’s monthly subscription plans. This means that you’ll need to pay extra to have your app available for download at the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and other app marketplaces. Whereas this cost is included in some app makers’ monthly charges, the Appy Pie customer service representative we spoke with said it will cost an extra $149 to publish an app at the app stores. 

As a workaround, it is free to publish apps at the Appy Pie Marketplace, where customers can also go to download your app.

Ready to choose an app maker? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

 

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.