Mobile App or Mobile Website: Which Is Best for Ecommerce?

Are you finding it hard to decide whether to use a mobile app or a mobile app for ecommerce? Both are strongly viable options and it is understandable why it can be a difficult decision. while websites have been around for much longer than mobile apps, mobile apps are growing in popularity with each passing year. It is therefore important to understand both very well before you make a decision.

Mobile Website

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The major difference between a mobile website and mobile app is that you do not need to download an app to your phone when using a mobile website. This is a good thing especially for a new person who is not familiar with your company. Asking such a person to download an app to their device just so that they can view your products or check for prices will easily turn them away. It is much easier for them to browse a website. This makes mobile websites the best option when trying to acquire new customers.

Another major difference between the two is that websites have been around for longer than mobile apps. Therefore, people expect businesses to have businesses to have websites but do not expect them to have a mobile app. When a new client first hears about a company, they normally search for their website online. They do not go to app stores in search of mobile apps.

Additionally, mobile websites are more cost effective in providing exposure to a company. Optimizing a website for mobile means that it will work of all types of devices, mobile platforms, and all popular websites. But when it comes to mobile apps each mobile platform needs a separate app. When a website is updated, users are not required to download any software to their devices like is the case with mobile apps. The internet also provides a number of traffic sources that include search engines and social media. Search engines will index your web pages.

You do not need to invest too much when setting up a website for ecommerce. An open source content management system coupled with an ecommerce theme optimized for mobile is enough to start you off. Mobile apps need specialized coding expertise and therefore need a bigger investment.

Related post: How to make your site Mobile-Friendly ?

Mobile App

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A mobile website is designed to interact with the browser of a device. An app on the other hand, interacts directly with the mobile device just like any software would interact with a computer. This means that is has a much wider scope of what it can do, which includes interacting with other software and the hardware too. Some of the hardware a mobile app can interact with includes GPS modules, motion sensors, camera, and microphone. The camera becomes especially useful when bar codes and QR codes need to be scanned while the microphone and motion sensor can be used as additional input methods. When trying to locate a place, GPS becomes very useful. The developer’s creativity is the only thing that limits the functionality of a mobile app.

Most of the time, users of mobile apps have no problem waiting for the app to download because the download is a one-time ordeal, except for updates. A mobile app can therefore provide a user with a very rich and enormously engaging experience which is impossible with a website. Additionally, it is faster to interact with an app installed on a user’s phone than it is with a website.

From the above points, it is easy to see that a mobile app is best suited for adding value to a user’s experience. They are therefore an important part in increasing a user’s loyalty and also retaining customers: research has shown that retaining repeat customers costs a sixth the amount required to acquire a new customer. Mobile apps also increase a business stability. Therefore, supplementing a business mobile website with a mobile app is justifiable.
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In conclusion, the real question is not whether to use a mobile app or a mobile website. The question is whether to use a mobile website alone or use it together with a mobile app. The answer for this question depends on the nature of a business products and target market. A business needs to ascertain whether its customers are one-time buyers or repeat customers, and whether using a mobile app will better its customer’s experience.

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