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Mobile Apps Vs Mobile Websites: Which is More Important for A Business?
Smartphones are becoming an increasingly common way for people to search and view business websites, so it’s important that your website works and looks good on mobile devices. If customers have an awful experience viewing your website on their phone, they’re more likely to turn to a competitor, which means you could be losing customers. Apps are now seen as a key marketing tool and we as consumers are using apps for everything. We use them to buy things, to keep track of our diet and exercise, for banking and for social media, we use them to make our lives that little bit easier - but which is better for business?
Mobile apps can provide a great competitive advantage as many businesses aren’t using mobile apps because they simply haven’t made one yet. Your app can be configured so your customers can manage their accounts and track any orders much easier, which makes for a more personalized user experience. You can send push notifications on apps to alert your customers of sales or new products, which makes it a great way to communicate with your customers, as email notifications can easily be ignored. However, there should always be an option to turn these notifications off as not everyone will appreciate them. Apps can also be used without an internet connection with most of the content being stored on the device.
The cons of mobile apps are they quite often lack the functionality of a website. They also take a lot of time and effort to develop and require specialist knowledge to create. Mobile apps need to be planned, developed, tested and then released, which will usually take several months. Most businesses will need to use a specialist app developer to make the app, which can be very expensive for small businesses who don’t have huge marketing budgets.
Mobile websites are websites that are optimized and responsive to mobile devices. These sites will be easy to navigate and will look good on phones, tablets and other devices. Responsive websites are much easier to build and customize, with web-design platforms such as WordPress having loads of responsive templates available for free or for a low-cost, making them cheaper to produce than apps. Users can often find mobile websites more easily than mobile apps, as you must search on the app store for apps whereas you can easily find websites on search engines.
The cons of mobile websites are that they lack innovative features. Apps can make use of mobile device features such as a camera to scan bar codes and QR codes. These features can make the user experience interactive and fun.
The simple answer is that in an ideal world you would have both an app and a mobile website. However, having a mobile website is a key way of attracting new customers and keeping existing ones. A good responsive website can be just as good as an app and have the same features of an app, but is accessible on any device. Building an app is a huge investment and if you don’t really need an app in the first place it can be wasted money that could be better spent elsewhere.