Digital Face-Off: Apps vs. Mobile Friendly
:: By Diwiyne Johnson, Vanity Point ::
Back when e-commerce was first gaining attention in the late 20th century, people were often tempted to describe it as a passing phase. It turns out, however, they were wrong given the fact that the idea fast spread and has since become a very major part of not only how business is done but how we live our lives.
With mobile developing at even a faster rate, it is not always easy keep tracking of all the progress that it has made, but to wise business people, going mobile is an option that cannot be ignored. If you are interested in your business surviving in this very competitive modern market, mobile is essential, otherwise, you may soon find yourself unable to keep up with your competitors.
For the past few years you probably have seen articles telling you to opt for either a mobile website or mobile applications. The answers aren’t as cut and dry as simply saying one format is better than the other. When making the decision for your business, it is advised that objectivity take center stage.
Differences between a mobile app and mobile-friendly website
Mobile apps are normally added by a user to the memory of their smartphone. A mobile-friendly website is simply a modified website. It has been designed in such a way that it works to fit the limitations of a mobile screen and interface.
It has been estimated that over 50 percent of the consumers will begin their online purchase via a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Additionally, Google says that in the United States, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers” at this point. It therefore makes perfect sense to have a mobile-friendly website. It will certainly give you a much needed boost to your business in terms of widening its market potential if you don’t already have one, as the mobile friendliness of your website will affect its search results.
On the other hand, native mobile apps are preferred when it comes to dealing with those customers who are already loyal to your business. These are for consumers who choose to regularly interact with your business and can help deepen the relationship you have with your loyal customers by enhancing the convenience of interacting with your brand. You will find different types of mobile apps are relevant to different categories of customers and that you will need to adjust your mobile app strategy depending on who your customers are.
Important factors to consider
It is a good idea to understand the kind of business model you are operating with and how it relates to your digital presence. You must also understand how the kind of products you are dealing in is relatable to your consumers via digital or mobile. The answers you will have for these very vital questions will be a huge determinant as regards to the kind of direction you will be taking.
For instance, those businesses that may be into running promotions or are out to give regular discounts, a mobile app would be the best option to explore. This will allow them to directly communicate these promotions to a loyal customer base.
However, for those businesses that are bound to foot traffic and rely on being found by search, then the best option to take would be to start with a mobile optimized website. Consumers are more able to find the business via search if your site is mobile friendly and then shop there.
It also helps to narrow down to the kind of audience you are dealing with. Mobile apps work best with younger people. For the older generation, detailed explanations regarding products may be required hence the need for mobile-optimized website so that they can easily find that material.
Your willingness to invest
If you have the time and the money, then you can certainly go the mobile app direction. However, if your business is just at its budding stages and does not have a very stable source of funding, then the best step you can take is to make your mobile website user friendly. This will save you on the cost but still be able to achieve results. Limited resources can be channeled toward making the website better and easier to use. To achieve this, the website has to be responsive.
Consider the competition
Make sure you take a look at what you competition is doing. Consider the decision from the point of the number of the orders you will be losing if you lack a mobile optimized website. You don’t want to be missing out on sales because you competition is more accessible via search. From there, the next question is whether you also need a mobile app to supplement. This can lead to a loss of sales too if consumers are choosing to shop with your competition because they have a mobile app and you do not. User friendliness is key in the modern marketplace and if your brand is considered less user-friendly because of a lack of an app you will be missing out on valuable sales.
In the end, there isn’t really a debate between a mobile app and a mobile-friendly website. If you do not have a mobile app already, you are missing out on a huge customer potential. Mobile-friendly websites are essential in the modern business world. Businesses today must build their websites to be responsive. Beyond that, the question to whether you need a mobile app or not for your business boils down to the type of business you are in and the competitive landscape your business is in.
You certainly do not want your business to be missing out on sales because you didn’t build a mobile app. Look at your user base and how they interact with your business to determine the best way to approach them via mobile app. By better serving consumers with mobile you can be the brand savvy modern consumers choose to do business with.
Author Bio: Diwiyne Johnson works with Vanity Point, a mobile application development company based in Phoenix. She has a deep rooted obsession for content writing and loves to read technology books. In her free time, she writes articles and shares new updates through various social media channels. You can follow her on Twitter @DiwiyneJohnson.