Mobile application or Mobile Website ?
There are two alternatives to having a mobile presence. The first is designing a mobile Website and the second is designing a mobile app.
Having a purpose and creating a unique mobile experience for the user are two of the top priorities you should keep in mind when developing mobile apps and mobile websites. But, what is the path to reach mobile users — mobile application or mobile Website?
There are both benefits and drawbacks of each of these options as you can see below:
Advantages of Mobile websites:
• Mobile website, means your customers can access you from anywhere in the world. The mobile web has increased the reach of customers and is also providing an additional channel to increase sales.
• Nowadays, a lot of Mobile phones come with some sort of Internet connection.
• Businesses can optimize a site for mobile usage by taking pieces of your current Web site and building a new mobile-friendly site.
• The main benefit of having a mobile site over an app, is that it is not ‘mobile device’ specific. An app restricts your base to users of compatible handsets. However, a mobile website can appeal to a greater audience without having to design multiple apps.
• An app requires users to actively search for it and download it to their phones, but users can come across your mobile optimised site through mobile search.
• Having a mobile site allows you to benefit from links, and makes it easier for mobile users to share URLs of product pages.
• If you opt for the app route, you will need to wait for approval from the Apps store before release. However, once your team has agreed on a final design, mobile sites can be launched quickly.
Advantages of Mobile apps:
• Mobile sites are designed for Web-capable mobile phones, and can only be accessed when there is a connection to the internet. An application, on the other hand, does not require so.
• Apps tend to provide a richer experience, compared with mobile sites. Another argument for apps over the mobile web has been the extra functionality that apps can provide, like barcode scanning, detecting users’ locations for store locators, and augmented reality.
• Mobile apps retain an advantage for real-time, 3D games and cutting-edge user interface.
• Apps can be created to solve day to day problems in life. Apps can help with cooking, fitness, shopping, entertainment, gaming, business, music, navigation, etc.,
• A drawback of having a mobile site is that users have to remember the name of your organisation or have it saved in their favourites, as opposed to a Mobile app.
• Mobile apps are small applications that are downloaded onto your smart phone. Once they have been downloaded, it can be accessed without an internet connection.
• The main benefit of having an app over a mobile site is that iOS based devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod account for the bulk of the use of Mobile phones.
• One could also argue that if a customer has gone to the effort of downloading your app, they are more likely to be loyal and use it.
• If your app reaches the top 25 in the Apps store, more number of customers will know about your app and will boost the number of downloads. This in turn will increase sales.
• Finally, if your business has a strong brand identity and users are likely to be brand loyal, then an app may be the way to go.
As long as there is a clear mobile strategy and you have defined your target audience, providing both a mobile site and app will reach out to a larger audience. So, why not have both Mobile apps & Mobile website like Amazon, Facebook, eBay and YouTube ?