For the past few years there has been a debate amongst marketers as to whether or not a company needs a mobile app or mobile website. However, in 2014 the tides began to change and mobile apps started to dominate the industry. Today, there is a common misconception amongst small to mid-sized business owners that “a mobile app is only good for large businesses.”
On the contrary, when 52 percent of smartphone owners check their mobile devices on an hourly basis, having a mobile app is a great idea for any business. Even better still, is a mobile app that works harmoniously with a mobile website to provide full coverage of the intended consumer base.
Benefits of a Mobile Website
While having both a well-functioning mobile app and mobile website is a bit of a financial reach for most companies, choosing the right mobile option shouldn’t be a stretch. Mobile websites offer a number of advantages to companies.
- Visibility to customers is gained at all times.
- On-the-go brand recognition and loyalty is maintained.
- Increased connectivity is achieved.
- Improved accessibility to customers, products, and services.
- Connect with customers regardless of the time of day, and on a platform that they rely on.
While the above benefits of a mobile website are nice, the true benefit lies in understanding the needs of your customers, and promptly responding to those needs. For example, maybe you have a rather extensive desktop website that clearly outlines your company’s copious amounts of services. In this instance, a customer who is on-the-go, but has a very important question that requires an immediate answer, does not want to spend the time needed to comb through your service pages. Instead, the mobile website can provide a succinct version of your desktop site, so that the customer can easily find the information that they desire. In short, by knowing your customers and their needs, you can more easily create a mobile website that encourages higher conversion rates by seamlessly filling a need for those on-the-go customers.
Benefits Of A Mobile App:
The advantages of a mobile app are similar to those of a mobile website, with one striking difference: a mobile app caters to an entirely different set of customers whom are on-the-go. Companies that seek higher engagement levels, want to leverage user generated content, and seek to be in connection with their customers at all time should choose to build a mobile app.
To date, mobile apps are most popular amongst companies that provide specific products for sale, or one service (for example online banking or healthcare, which are reported by PEW Research Institute as being information activities that over 50 percent of smartphone owners conduct on a regular basis via mobile devices). In the former instance, a mobile app provides a new avenue for companies to sell their wares, such as a flash sale or an app only sale. These types of direct marketing channels allow apps to convert high numbers of consumers on a daily basis.
How To Determine If A Mobile Website Or Mobile App Is Best For Your Business?
Determining if your business needs a mobile app or mobile website will require you to ask a series of questions. Here are five to help get you started:
- When was the last time a customer a) took a picture of your product and b) posted it on social media?
- Do you want to receive notifications when a potential customer walks by your shop, so that you can send them marketing offers via immediate SMS messages?
- Will you use digital retargeting efforts to track the patterns of your customers or use social media and public forums to best understand the buying habits and preferences of your customers?
- Is a personalized experience one of the most important factors that you consider when marketing to a new or potential customer?
- What is your digital marketing plan? Does it rely on word-of-mouth and sharing, or use more traditional marketing efforts?
As the above list of questions shows, choosing a mobile website or mobile app will depend entirely on the insights that you’ve gathered into your customers’ purchasing preferences, as well as your intended digital marketing plan. Both mobile websites and mobile apps provide insightful data analytics, which can be used to help increase your conversion ratings; however, the manner with which either appeals to an intended customer varies drastically. Choosing to have both a mobile website and a mobile app will put your company in front of the largest available consumer audience; however, if you can only choose one option, make sure that you pick in accordance with your consumers’ preferences. After all, meeting the needs of your consumer should come first no matter the communication method.