01 Nov What is Ideal for eCommerce Business? An App or Mobile Friendly Website?
An e-commerce business has two options at their disposal namely, a mobile-friendly website and a mobile app for gaining the required traffic. Statistics show that more than half of the web traffic comes from mobile devices. However, both website and app are equally important for an e-commerce business to increase their presence. It helps in meeting the needs of several customers and creates a brand loyalty.
On the contrary, there are times when one does not have the budget to invest in both of them. In such cases, one has to compare the pros and cons of both to lay finger on a particular option that synchronizes well with the requirements.
So, let’s list out the pros and cons of a mobile app and a mobile-friendly website to make a more informed decision.
A Mobile App versus A Mobile-Friendly Website for E-commerce Business:
Before going further to the pros and cons section, let’s first understand the difference between a mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
A mobile friendly website is the one that fits in perfectly into the handheld mobile device. The interface of such a website is made responsive to mobile devices. Thus, users don’t have to open their desktops or laptops to access the e-commerce website and shop online. They can simply open the website from their mobile phones and make a fuss-free purchase.
The mobile apps, on the other hand, require users to download them. Once the app is downloaded, users can interact with it. An app isn’t powered by a browser, unlike websites that require browser support.
According to a mobile web study by Forrester’s 2018 retail best practices, about one-third of the retail sales in the US will come from mobile devices in 2018. This clearly indicates the rise in mobile commerce. Although, users are using a mobile website or mobile app for m-commerce still remains a question.
Pros of Mobile Website:
A mobile website gives a wide exposure to the e-commerce business. It does not require users to download anything; unlike the app that requires installation first. Whenever a user searches the web for a particular product, your e-commerce store is likely to appear in the search results.
One gets an easy access to the website and products by a simple search which means the e-commerce store gets more traffic from a large audience.
2. Immediate Service
The accessibility of the website comes with immediate service. It takes a few moments from the user side to browse through the website and make a purchase. Apart from this, once the potential customers learn about your brand, they are likely to search the web to find your website instead of going to the app store for finding a related app.
A mobile-friendly website is scalable to different device type and size. This means an e-commerce site that is accessible to users on their smartphones will be accessible on the tablets in the same way. The responsive design of a mobile website is made to fit in the device screen of varying sizes.
4. Ease of Upgrading
A mobile website can be upgraded without any store permissions, unlike apps that require permission to make upgrades. You can simply make changes to the website whenever you require and those upgrades are made available to the users. One can edit the published versions instantly without any intermediate permission.
5. Time and Cost
A mobile website can be built in less time as compared to the mobile app provided you are targeting several platforms for the app. Also, it is costly to develop apps across several platforms as compared to developing a mobile-friendly website.
Cons of Mobile Website:
1. Offline Accessibility
A mobile-friendly website does require an internet connection. It is also more or less dependent on internet speed. Once the internet connection is down, the users won’t be able to access your website.
2. Conversion Rate
If the website has a slow loading time or poor user interface, then it will have a negative impact on the conversion rate. Users are less likely to purchase from a site that has slow loading time or provide the poor user experience.
A Google research suggests that 72% of the users are likely to switch the website from a poorly designed website to a better one.
3. High Cart Abandonment
It is observed that mobile websites are much likely to witness abandonment from more users as compared to the apps. A mobile-friendly website has 98% of the cart abandonment rate which is very high as compared to the mobile app that has only 20% abandonment rate.
Pros of A Mobile App:
1. Secure Payment
App offers a reliable and secure payment gateway as it interacts with the device directly unlike website that relies on different browsers. Besides, if your app provides a facility to remember the payment options then it might as well enhance user experience increasing their loyalty towards your brand.
2. Push Notifications
Another great benefit of having an e-commerce mobile app is, push notification functionality. Your app can constantly remind the users about several special benefits like coupons, upcoming sales, discounts, gifts and more. In the case of a website, it is not possible to send a push notification to a user since websites don’t interact with the device directly.
3. Improved User Experience
Apps are built for a particular device platform and so they are much likely to provide better user experience as compared to a site. One can also tailor the apps according to user’s preferences. This might not be possible in case of a mobile responsive website.
4. Offline Use
A mobile website does not work in the offline mode. But, a mobile app does. Users can still browse through the product catalogs in offline mode. A part of app data is stored in the device itself when the user operates it in the online mode. This data is then retrieved for use when the internet goes off.
Cons of A Mobile App:
1. Cost of Development
App development requires a lot of money. If your e-commerce business is already an established one, then you might consider in investing for one. However, for startups, this cost can be heavy.
2. It requires Time
App development is not a one-time process. It requires time to develop one and it requires more time and efforts to maintain it. Some key areas of concern include app bugs, crashes, speed, updates and more.
Over to You:
What is ideal for your e-commerce business, a mobile app or a mobile-friendly website depends on several pointers. One has to consider the budget, target audience, and how much time one can spare.
Although a majority of the audience spend their time while interacting with the apps, their interaction is limited to 4 or 5 favorite ones including games and social media apps. This means, if you are on a tight budget and want a broader pool of audience for your e-commerce store then a mobile website is a preferable option.
On the contrary, if you have a specific audience to target and you are ready to give the time, money and efforts then a mobile app is a good option.