eCommerce going mobile: does your e-business need a mobile site or app?

It’s no surprise that your business needs a mobile presence. But choosing the right presence for your business is not the easiest of decisions. At first glance, a mobile site and mobile app’s similar functions may lead you to believe that they offer the same benefits. However, by outlining your budget, target audience and overall campaign objectives, you’ll be able to better assess your end goals. Outlined below are the benefits of both a mobile site and mobile app to help you understand which platform will be a better means to your desired end.

 

Buyers shifting away from desktop shopping

Mobile commerce is growing 300% faster than traditional e-commerce. As consumers transition to being comfortable using mobile wallets, companies need to adapt to what mobile consumers expect and what they value most in their online experience. Statistically, consumers are more likely to be interacting with your website via their smartphone or tablet. For eSellers, running a successful e-commerce website is no longer separate from creating a mobile responsive website; it’s not simply a great opportunity, but a must. Even holiday shopping is not immune to mobile shoppers: In 2015, one-third of holiday season e-commerce purchases were made on a smartphone. Even more so, according to Google research, 40% of consumers turn to a competitor for better mobile experience.

This means that unless your mobile site suits the consumers’ needs, they are taking their purchasing power elsewhere.

 

Benefits of going mobile

The benefits of a mobile site go beyond its convenience for the user. As an eSeller, maintaining a mobile site is significantly easier as it allows for instant updates. Mobile sites also provide a broader reach as they are accessible across various platforms and their pages are found more easily in searches. Visitors to your regular site can be automatically redirected to your mobile site as well. According to a survey by eMarketer, 35% of users using a mobile site are more likely to click on an ad versus 26% of those using apps. Shareability is also a key factor to consider; with more and more users turning to social media for information and overall customer reviews, a mobile site’s URL can be shared across social media platforms, increasing the potential viewership and overall conversion rates.

But as trends change and markets grow, is providing a holistic mobile experience enough, or has a mobile app become the new necessity?

 

mobile-ecommerce-trends-infographic

 

Benefits of an app

According to eMarketer, in 2015, consumers spent over 3 hours per day using mobile apps. There are advantages for eSellers to create apps. In fact, 89% of executives believe that customer experience will be the primary mode of competition by end of 2016. And apps are definitely the front runner when it comes to customer experience and personalization. Currently, the majority of consumers who download an app are the ones most loyal to the brand. In return though, the app provides the brand with more specialized data on the user, therefore allowing personalized offers and even the opportunity to predict what a consumer likes. Therefore, although an app may not bring in new users, if utilized correctly, it provides current users with incomparable benefits and experiences. Additionally, there is the added benefit of connectivity.  An app can provide offline access to certain functions without a wireless connection. As we continue to exist in an ‘on-the-go’ world, this benefit can be paramount for business. Finally, the native functionality that an app provides is crucial for a seamless retail experience. Though mobile is progressively improving certain functionalities, such as click-to-call, the processing power of an app allows the users to access functions on it’s mobile device more effectively, which in turn may lead to higher purchasing rates.

 

Decision time

As a brand, the ‘app vs. mobile’ decision is a very real consideration, and not an easy one to make. Set clear and definitive goals in order to see which platform aligns more closely with your vision. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, including the ability for users to share information found on your mobile site, then a mobile site is a valid choice. However, if your goal is to engage users through interactive interfaces than an app is a more rationale option.

What’s important to remember here are your end users and what matters to them. Innovative technologies for the ultimate shopping experience is a provision of the present. These innovations though can be implemented through both platforms. If your site intuitively adapts to your consumer needs from the device on which they visit your site, than half your battle is already won.

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