Mobile has emerged as the most significant e-commerce marketing channels to today and a business without mobile presence cannot think of survival, let alone growth. Hence, it makes sense for them to establish and strengthen the same to capitalize on the m-commerce trend. The first step would obviously to make your online store visible to the mobile shoppers. You have two options here- a mobile app and a mobile-friendly website. While having both can give you an added advantage, it may not be possible if you are just bootstrapping your business or are experiencing a financial crunch. In such a case, you would want to choose one of these options and the best way to decide between the two is to make a comprehensive comparison in terms of feasibility and cost. Let us give you an overview of investing in mobile app development vis-a-vis responsive website development to enable an informed decision.
From A Mobile App’s Perspective
Let’s start with the mobile app’s perspective and try to understand the exceptional features they can offer in comparison to the responsive websites.
- Enhanced user experience is perhaps the biggest reason that apps score over mobile websites. Going just beyond the responsive design, apps are capable of tailoring experiences to match the preferences and expectations of specific customers.
- Another commendable feature of mobile apps is push notifications which can be used to send across targeted messages and alerts to the app users.
- Apps provide secure payment options that simplify payments as well as generate user trust in your e-commerce store and business.
- Unlike the e-commerce websites, apps offer offline access to your product catalog which enables them to browse the store even in the offline mode. Thus, the chances of conversions go higher.
- Apps give you the branding advantage as well as it makes your brand icon visible on the App Store as well as user devices.
On the other hand, you may need to make a hefty investment if you want a mobile app for your business. Furthermore, the investment requirement increases if you choose to opt for iOS and Android app development to gain leverage across both the major platforms. Besides the costing aspect, opting for apps means that you need to invest a great deal of time as well.
From A Mobile Website’s Perspective
A mobile website is the other part of the picture; typically, your website must be responsive so that it delivers consistent user experiences across the mobile devices. The benefits of mobile websites are variant.
- A responsive website definitely has an edge over a mobile app in terms of accessibility because a user need not go through the hassles of downloading and installing the app to access the e-commerce store through its website.
- Instant browsing is another benefit that you can give to the user through a responsive website.
- Responsive design not only makes your e-commerce website compatible with mobile phones of varying screen sizes but tablets and other devices as well.
- Another exceptional feature of these websites is that upgrading them is fast and easy and changes in design and content can be done by simply editing the published versions.
- By opting for responsive website development, you can avail the benefit of cost reduction and a faster-to-market solution as compared to a mobile app.
On the downside, the potential shoppers will not be able to access the website in the offline mode. Slow loading speed and performance glitches are common issues with these sites and these may eventually impact your conversions. Cart abandonment rates are also higher with them in comparison to mobile apps.
App or website: How to decide?
Now that you understand the pros and cons of each of these options, it is time to decide which one works for you. It all boils down to the user base that you plan to target. Primarily, if a majority of your potential buyers are tech-savvy, they will be comfortable searching, downloading, and installing the app. Moreover, they will be happy to retain the app and reuse it at a later stage. On the other hand, the ones who are of a conventional mindset will prefer mobile websites because these involve lesser effort. Even if they do download and install the app, there are good chances that they may eventually uninstall it. All in all, the best approach would be to do some research and build a user persona to decide the best strategy for targeting them for maximizing mobile sales.
Another aspect that affects this choice would be your budget. If you are planning to build your mobile presence on a minimal budget, opt for a responsive website. On the other hand, a mobile app will make a smart investment for those looking for long-term benefits of a strong presence on this channel. For better advice, you can connect with experts at Mobibiz, a leading mobile app development company. We understand your requirements, assess them, and suggest the best option for you. Additionally, we are capable of developing both mobile apps and responsive websites for e-commerce businesses of all sizes. Get in touch with us to boost the mobile strategy for your e-commerce business.