Mobile App or Mobile Website: What to Choose?
Why do I need an app if my website is well adapted to mobile devices?
This is a common question for the businesses with limited resources. Native mobile app or mobile website? In fact, they both work alongside to accomplish your marketing and revenue goals.
Both native mobile app and mobile website have pros and cons. Digging deeper there are lots of factors worth taking into account. Still, one thing is clear: the mobile era is far here.
Beyond doubt, the establishment of mobile presence for your business/organization is the first consideration today. The mobile market is booming with over 5.9 billion mobile users worldwide in 2016. 87% of an over-all population has a smartphone and spend 3.3 hours on average per day in them.
With this in mind, let’s have a look at the functionality of both mobile website and mobile app, and their advantages for your business.
1. Development terms and cost
While interacting with the mobile website, a user enters it by means of the web browser. A software engineer doesn’t need to develop and test the website on all possible operating system versions and configurations. Thus, it is comparatively less time- and money-consuming to make a mobile adaptive website.
From a developer standpoint, it is much more costly and timely to develop a mobile application. The reasons that influence the app development cost you can read in our previous article.
2. Communication with customers
Communication with your customers stands for the loyalty and personalization you offer to them. Be mindful of this point. Since it fosters their trust in your brand.
Only 10 years ago, there was a reign of email campaigns, as a channel of contact with the customers. Some time later many companies started to abuse this tool while reaching their users. As a result, open email rates have dropped and spam folders expanded.
Nowadays, the ability to send instant and non-irritating notifications to mobile users often turns out to be the major reason why businesses want to have a mobile app.
Still, do not exaggerate with notifications too. Sometimes either they might become intrusive.
Consider the level of interaction you want to offer to your visitors. In case this feature is not a must-have for you, then a mobile adaptive website would be quite ‘ok’. Still, if you want to increase your customers’ engagement – mobile app is the one you need to go for.
3. User interaction
In order to decide if you need a native app or mobile website, you need to answer the following questions:
Do you want your app to be Internet-enabled?
How important would be the speed and performance to you?
Mobile website needs an Internet connection to work, i.e. your product/brand won’t be available anytime and anywhere. Just as, 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if the webpage doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Lengthy load times and inability to function offline can be a major turn-off while interacting with mobile website.
Mobile apps indeed, especially “business” ones could freely operate offline, and offer more functionality with the Internet connection.
Personalization is achieved not only due to push-notifications, but also thanks to service-oriented tools. Perhaps the biggest benefit to having an app is the complete experience a user has inside your app.
Your business can make use of all the mobile device features – camera, GPS, list of contacts, compass, voice recognition, and so on. Apart from the better experience for the users, these also increase the number of services your business can offer through your app.
Businesses that limit their mobile presence cut the revenue they might have. We’ve already mentioned that mobile website and mobile app go hand in hand to reach their marketing goals. Still, mobile websites are more effective in attracting new visitors, while building engagement and loyalty is far easier and faster to do with mobile app.
Besides, mobile app icon can work like digital ad-banner. Even not entering your app, the user interact with your brand every time they use the smartphone.
What do we mean by loyalty?
With push-messages, you can notify your customers about sales, promos, and other advertising campaigns; offer mobile coupons and bonus cards, i.e. tailor highly personalized interaction.
So, what’s best?..
Actually, there is no one correct answer. You should consider what your main goals are and what your audience needs. Yet, it is not ‘one-or-the-other’ choice. Even if you’re building a native mobile app, you should not ignore the mobile website.
Besides, if you think that mobile apps work solely for big brands, you get it wrong. More and more midsize and small businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that mobile-friendly website has a limited functionality and doesn’t work effectively for loyalty maintenance.
These days, mobile apps are still rare in some industries, and this is where your business can make a great leap ahead of the competitors. Be the first to offer a mobile app to your customers and they would be stunned by your forward-thinking approach!