App stores from Google and Apple offer developers instant, international reach. But a new study from Flurry suggests most American app makers aren't really taking advantage of that, to their peril.
But one startup, Quip, is seizing that opportunity by offering its word-processing app for tablets and smartphones in five new languages—less than a month after it launched.
Few enough English speakers have even heard of Quip, a competitor to Microsoft's Office 365 and Google Apps. Why reach out to German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese speakers?
The payoff Taylor hopes for: a foothold in the office-productivity app market around the world. "So many developers are U.S.-first," says Taylor. "If you go into the productivity category in the App Store in Spain," there's less competition. But as Flurry's analysis shows, that may not remain the case for long.
For Quip's product, targeting markets where users are adopting smartphones and tablets before they ever get to PCs is particularly apt, since it's betting on mobile adoption. At Facebook, he said, many international users only ever experienced Facebook on their mobile phones. Quip, with its mobile-focused approach to document creation, could have an analogous experience, Taylor suggests.
"It's a low-cost thing to do, and it represents who we are as a company," says Taylor. "We can look at usage, one country is using it more than others, we can put more effort there."
Quip is already working on Korean and Japanese next, Taylor said.
Going international isn't a sure thing for Quip, or any other mobile-app developer. But it's clear that not supporting multiple languages will hold your app back in other markets—and it may be too late before too long The lesson from Quip's announcement and Flurry's analysis: Translate early, translate often.