Mobile website or Mobile app - What’s best for your business?

Mobile website or Mobile app - What’s best for your business?

Mobile commerce is taking over the industry and, as more and more businesses realize the importance of being present on consumers’ mobile devices, a question that often arises is “What kind of presence should that be?”. Specifically, should you develop a mobile-optimized website or go with a mobile app?

To help you decide on that, here’s a bit about what they entail and the benefits they can potentially bring you.

Mobile website

A mobile website is, in most cases, an optimised-for-smaller-screens version of a company’s regular website. It can be accessed via a mobile browser, by typing in a URL or tapping on a link.

What it can do for you

Well, the first thing it does is allow you to meet expectations. While customers may or may not expect you to have an app, they most certainly expect you to have a mobile-optimized website. Before customers are even going to consider downloading your app, they’re going to check you out and, during that phase, you should be able to deliver a full brand experience on the devices they use the most.

Websites are a great thing to have for acquiring and catering to new customers. They still need to get to know you and it’s highly likely that they’ll make the first few purchases, if not all, on your website.

The primary benefit of a mobile site is that customers can access it anytime, anywhere, through any device and mobile browser, provided they have internet connection. You can reach numerous platforms with one built and any updates you decide to make later on will also be implemented immediately and consistently across various devices.

What you should keep in mind

A lot depends on a customer’s internet connection. For one thing, they can’t access your website in its absence, but most importantly, because your web page should load in 3 seconds at most, you will have to avoid interactivity features and elements that are too complex and take too much time to load.

Mobile app

A mobile app is an application built using the native code for a specific mobile operating system. It needs to be downloaded and installed, after which it will run more like a programme on the device.

What it can do for you

To put it simply, it can significantly boost communication and engagement with your customers. If a customer downloaded your app, that’s a sign of serious interest in what you have to offer. And that’s a relationship you should nurture, especially since selling to existing customers is considered easier.

Notifications, regarding promotions and other relevant information for your customers, can help you with customer engagement and prompting purchases. However, whether you use push notifications, in-app notifications or both, don’t abuse the attention your customer is willing to give you.

As apps can still offer content and basic functionalities even without internet connection, and because they have the ability to seamlessly integrate with features of mobile devices such as GPS, camera or accelerometer, they can offer you more control and more functionality options for creating an engaging omni-channel user experience. Also, because speed is dependent on the mobile device’s processing power and not on internet connection, you can enhance your app with animations, gamification and other complex elements, designed to increase engagement.

What you should keep in mind

Developing a mobile app often implies bigger costs compared to a mobile site and, as you choose to develop it for multiple operating systems, that cost will only increase. Additionally, with multiple apps on different platforms, you will have to create individual updates for each one. Those updates have to be pushed to the user and accepted before they go into effect.

The decision to develop a mobile app or a mobile-optimized website depends on many factors, such as your target audience, your product offer, your competition and your budget, but it’s not really a question of one or the other.

Mobile websites and apps complement each other, operating in different areas of the sales process. Websites help customers find and learn about your products, while apps are great for loyalty campaigns and returning customers.

But consumers will employ the option that seems more familiar and/or convenient for them, so researching your target audience's’ habits and preferences is mandatory before deciding on any kind of investment.

Generally, having a mobile-optimized website is a must in the eCommerce big league (and even in the other leagues). An app, however, should be built only if it offers significantly more value than the website and if that value is easy to observe by its potential users.

If you’re still not sure what the best option for you would be or if you know for a fact that one is better than the other, comment below or contact us in any way and let’s start a conversation.

Until next time!


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