Websites Vs. Mobile Apps: What’s more important?
Understanding what software assets your company should be focusing on is a key step to digital success.
As businesses around the world continue to pivot towards e-commerce and digital offerings in order to take advantage of the increasingly internet-based nature of our lives and broader economy, many will come to a point where they ask questions like:
- Do we need a mobile app, or is a website enough to carry out our business?
- Should mobile apps and websites be launched together, or can the app wait for later?
- Can we achieve what an app could do for us by adding functionalities to our website?
For some start-ups with limited budgets, making the right decision can mean the difference between having exponentially larger sales, or being left with a costly, under-used piece of software that brings little benefit to their bottom line.
While some companies can afford having both, others need to make a choice: either exclusively focus on a website, or wait until business expands and it’s possible to invest in a mobile app.
In this article, we’ll be explaining the benefits that each of these different software assets can bring to a company.
Once you’ve finished reading through, you should be better informed when choosing what the best approach and solution for your unique business and its needs.
So, let’s get to it:
In order to get a clearer picture of what will be the best digital solution for you, we suggest taking the following steps:
Understanding the digital potential and needs of your product/service
The Digital Age has given rise to incredible opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the potential of technology in order to offer customers new products, services and experiences.
The evolution of mobile apps and the services they provide is one large dimension of this process.
Prior to the launching of the iPhone and other smartphones over a decade ago, the idea that we could use apps like Google Maps to navigate around the world – or Uber to automatically order and pay for a ride – was simply inconceivable.
One area where mobile apps really excel – and are necessary over simple websites – is where complex processes are required to provide services to your customers. That is, when your technology is your product/service (or at least part of it).
In the examples of Google Maps or Uber, that is a combination of GPS and a wide, complex array of algorithms that are processing large amounts of information in order to give you a personalized, dynamic service.
Therefore, the question you need to be asking when deciding whether you should be prioritizing a mobile app (or not) is: what kind of service will we be providing?
In general terms, we can understand a website as being a platform for engaging your customers, introducing them to your services, and potentially selling them products through e-commerce channels.
A mobile app will need to offer something extra to a website, if it is to make sense and be of use to both users and your own business.
People won’t want to download your app unless it offers something more than what your website does – or what a website could do.
We’ve already written about the example of Myntra, the Indian e-commerce company that tried to go app-only.
The company eventually had to backtrack because it realized it was losing sales by barring entry to its platform for users who did not want to download its app in order to perform actions that they knew could be possible on a website.
Determining what kind of interactions you will have with your customers will also give you a better understanding of whether an app is essential, or could simply be a bonus that you can add later.
If providing services to your customers involves them spending a significant amount of continuous time on your platform – such as in the case of a fitness tracker, map or other data-heavy process – then having an app that can be quickly accessed and host significant amounts of native data may be very important.
Conversely, if you need to constantly update information on your platform, doing so on a website will be easier than on an app.
So, if you’re a company that simply wants to present and sell your products and services in an attractive and accessible way, then you may very well be fine with just using a website.
This brings us to the next step:
Ask: How important is web traffic for sales?
One of the main reasons that websites are now considered a benchmark for any company, no matter their line of business, is that it provides a window that can – in theory – be viewed by anyone on the internet: that is, billions of people around the world.
With the right content marketing strategy, companies can position themselves high on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) through intelligent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Experience Optimization (SXO).
This allows businesses to generate organic traffic of people who are generally interested in the services or products they offer.
For companies that rely on this type of organic or ad-based traffic for conversions, giving users the shortest route possible to their products is usually the best option – it minimizes the chances of losing a potential customer along the way.
For example, a shoe company that manages to get someone to click on a Facebook ad of one of their shoes, or to click on a link that comes up in a SERP, will not want to redirect those users to an app download page.
They want to show them the shoes, get them to place them in their shopping basket, maybe browse around and find something else they like, and then complete the check out!
On the other hand, a company that specializes in providing a proprietary digital service – such as a personal finance management tool or a dietary planner – will need to have an app.
The app will essentially be the product, and not simply a medium for accessing it.
Check out the competition – and your target market
Many different industries have different standards for what is expected and what is needed when it comes to digital assets.
For many companies, having a mobile app is just something that needs to be done as it conveys a more professional brand identity.
Even if it essentially performs the same functions as a website, a well-designed and smooth mobile app can demonstrate to customers that the company is serious about trying to provide them with the best experience possible.
However, for others, having an innovative and exciting website that is dynamic and seamlessly showcases their products and services may just be enough.
Because of the nuances of different industries, it’s important to understand your target market, but also to understand what the competition is doing, and how you can do it better.
So, in this respect, researching the competition and how your target customers like to navigate similar services to yours is very important.
Are you thinking about building a website, mobile app, or maybe both? For your IT need, we can build a tech team in Vietnam, Maurice or Madagascar. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss how Bocasay can make any of them happen for you.