If you're planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a mobile website, or perhaps both. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.
Even if you can find an app for almost everything, a new research points out that mobile shopping is one area in which consumers prefer mobile websites over dedicated smartphone apps. "A lot of consumers aren't crazy about downloading all these apps," Jeffrey Grau, principal e-commerce analyst at eMarketer, told the E-Commerce Times.
The owners of smartphones increasingly usetheir mobile devices for shopping, researching products and reviews or comparing prices, finding retail locations and redeeming coupons. Mobile websites are more popular in the U.S. for shopping-related activities on the go, according to a new report from Nielsen
Not to mention that approximately 40 percent of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices according to Nielsen 3Q 2011 Social Media Report.
Companies and organizations, nowadays, have to expand their presence in mobile devices such as iPads, smartphones, Android tablets, and advanced e-readers because of the increasing number of people who use these relatively new pieces of tech.
At the moment, the two most popular ways to reach mobile consumers are through an application or a mobile-based website.
So what should a company choseto effectively approach their customers; amobile web sites or dedicated applications? Some may take a random decision or others may say that it is necessary to create both (apps and mobile website) whatever you decide it is good to remember that choosing incorrectly can result a lost revenue.
Keeping that in mind it is good to ask some questions before a company takesthe decision to optimize a site for mobile or build a dedicated app.
- One of the first and most important questions should be what platforms my customers use?
- What is my budget? Developing applications for iOS, Android and so on, may become more expensive than someone have initially planned. What it takes to maintain them?
- What do I want customers to get out of my app or website?
Companies should not devote all of their resources to either apps or their websites. Instead, both avenues of selling should be targeted. Apps are most useful in retaining loyal customers, while it makes sense to also retain your website, Grau said.