Fifty-eight percent of website visits came from a mobile device in 2018, surpassing desktop usage for the fourth consecutive year. Mobile devices also accounted for 42 percent of total time spent online. It no longer is a question of whether your company needs a mobile app development strategy – because you undoubtedly do – but whether a mobile app or a responsive mobile website will serve your business better.
At face value, mobile websites and apps can look very similar; however, they are two very different mobile mediums. Deciding which medium serves your needs best depends on several factors, including target audiences, budget, and intent. To make it easier for you to determine where you need to focus your efforts, we’ve broken down how each option impacts the user experience.
Native mobile apps are for specific platforms, like iOS or Android. A user downloads and installs mobile apps on their device, and generally, native apps offer a faster and more responsive experience compared to mobile websites.
Impacts on User Experience
More Interactive Ways for the User to Engage
A mobile app allows you to offer your current clients/users added value through a new channel for engagement. Rather than looking at the same text and images as a website, apps can integrate features which allow users to interact with specific components of the app. For example, Instagram users can view images on the website, but can’t upload them without the app.
Mobile apps allow users to set up their preferences as soon as the app is downloaded, and customize it to suit their needs. Apps can also track user engagement, and use it to offer custom recommendations and updates, making the app more useful to the user. Apps also allow businesses to send tailored communication to users based on their interests, location, usage behavior, and more. According to Localytics sending customized or “dynamic” notifications to users had a positive impact on engagement, open-rate, and conversion rate. Customization allows the user to get the most out of the app
Ability to Work Offline
Mobile apps can run without an internet connection. Although many apps require internet connectivity to perform most of their tasks, they can still offer content and functionality to users while in offline mode. With this advantage, users can access information anytime, anywhere.
Mobile apps generally offer users a more intuitive user interface, making it easy to complete tasks. This unique interface environment enables users to become more immersed in the mobile experience. Users of specific operating systems have also become accustomed to certain functionalities and characteristics, developing an app for particular platforms offers users the functionality they expect. Responsive websites can’t always guarantee a standard of functionality users prefer.
Leverage Device Capabilities
Mobile apps can access and use built-in device features such as the camera, GPS, and location. Leveraging device capabilities leads to an enhanced, more convenient user experience. For example, the ability to use GPS and location data automatically, allows retail apps to send users flyers with specials specific to their area.
Responsive mobile websites are websites that can accommodate different screen sizes. Essentially, a responsive website is a customized version of a regular website that is used specifically for mobile.
Impacts on User Experience
Available for all users
Unlike mobile apps which only function on specific platforms (iOS or Android), a responsive website can be accessed from any mobile device regardless of the operating system, as long as an internet connection is available. However, it is essential to remember that network access, quality, and speed are all factors that will impact the mobile web experience. Responsive websites also don’t need to be downloaded or installed and are entirely free unlike some apps available in app stores.
Users don’t have to update
Again, unlike mobile apps, users won’t have to spend time installing new versions and updates of your product to experience improvements on the website. Because websites are easy to update, fix bugs and support, users most likely won’t even notice the update process and will be able to jump right into enjoying an enhanced experience.
Cost-effectiveness is more of a benefit for business rather than an impact on user experience; however, depending on complexity, a responsive mobile site can be more cost-effective than mobile app development. Cost is an important factor to consider, especially if you want your app to have a presence on more than one platform.
Which Is The Better Option?
Statistically speaking, the numbers do favor mobile apps. A report from Newzoo revealed that in 2018 the mobile app industry generated 92.1 billion in global app revenue. The same report forecasts that by 2021 app revenue will increase by over 50 percent to 139.6 billion.
With time spent on mobile increasing, smartphone users increasing to 3.8 billion globally by 2021, and first-time app downloads reaching over 100 billion in 2018, there is even more incentive for businesses to develop an app service.
However, the right choice depends on your business objectives. If your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to a wide range of people, then a mobile website is probably the way to go. However, if you want to engage better, interact with, and communicate with your customers to drive customer loyalty, a mobile app presents itself as a better option.
In many cases, you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app. If done correctly, both can be a strategic and valuable choice. So when it comes to your brand’s mobile strategy, it’s not a question of a mobile website or an app, but perhaps a two-pronged approach.
6 Reasons Why You Should Sell Online and Open Your eCommerce Store
Here’s why starting an Online Store is important, especially now.
Everywhere you go today you hear about online shopping, eCommerce and even virtual wallets on mobile phones. Despite all the talk, there are too many brands out there who are missing out on the opportunity. You might think to yourself: “well, I love buying online but – how does it apply to my industry?“.
You’d be surprised to find out that eCommerce can be applied to any product/service out there. Even a doctor can use it to offer online pre-paid bookings for consults and procedures. The following insights should help you better understand the benefits of selling online:
1. Your Customers Pay Upfront
In the online world people are accustomed to paying for goods and services upfront. Think of when you are buying a book, a movie, a new pair of headphones or even your TV. How does the process go? First you find what you like, you add it to your cart, enter your shipping and payment details and complete the order. Then you patiently wait for your stuff to arrive.
If it is done for everything else, why shouldn’t it be the same for the products you offer?
2. Your Prices Are Set, Forget Bargaining Customers
There is an interesting shift in paradigm that has occurred with online shopping: We accept the prices for what they are. There is a subconscious process that convinces people that published prices are fixed. Going back to our previous exercise – Do you ever try to negotiate the price on that blender you are buying? No, you don’t. What you will likely do is search for coupons online or wait for the next available sale date.
This is a common practice with all the big retailers and they have been taking advantage of this for years. Why should you be any different?
3. Your Catalog is Always Up to Date
One exciting (and cost reducing) benefit of an online store is the fact that you do not need to print any more catalogs. Printing is costly and is quickly outdated. Think of all the times you had to re-print your catalogs because of an item number change, or lost customers because the wrong prices were printed on the catalog. When you modify pricing, descriptions, availability or any other attributes in your online store, it automatically updates all the pages relating to each product for you.
Why print out heavy outdated books and waste money on postage sending them out to customers? Simply send them your link and they will be able to browse everything from home or even their mobile phones.
4. You Can Reach Customers Around The World
The Internet sees no geographical boundaries. You can have customers from across the country or outside the continent. This exponential rise in potential customers opens your business to a whole new level. You can now decide to market as specifically as you want without limiting yourself to the people in physical proximity to you.
Many people say: “Well the problem with my industry is that there are only a counted number of potential customers because we are very specific”. Forget about those limiting beliefs and accept the fact that the World is larger than you can possibly imagine.
5. You Are Open 24/7, Even While You Sleep
Nine to five, Ten to six, lunch breaks… Your clients have jobs too, right? So when do they find the time to visit your business? An online store removes these time barriers because they can now shop wherever they are at whatever time they please. You can be sound asleep in your bed and still have orders coming in, being processed and will be ready for you to ship out when you wake up.
Sound good? Well it is.
6. Online Marketing Can Convert Customers Directly
The beauty of online marketing vs traditional media is that it can be measured and optimized. When you have an eCommerce website, you can tailor your ads to close a sale. Specifics steps (called a funnel) are setup for customers to follow and you can track their interactions from the moment they clicked on an ad to the second they placed an order. No more guesswork, market by numbers.
Ready to start selling? Talk to Nrama about setting up your eccomerce shop