For a certain size of company, when the penny finally has dropped that you’re losing sales by not having a mobile-optimised method of engaging or transacting with your customers, the question: “should we build a mobile website or a mobile app?” often follows.
Every company is different. You’ll all have different priorities, budgets, resources of the human kind and customer profile will be unique to you. However, there are some common aspects that should be discussed initially:
Pro Mobile Web:
- Mobile websites, if created properly, are open to the search engines and can be ranked.
There are certain best practices when it comes to mobile SEO, but at the very least your website should be able to found within Google’s (and other search engines’) mobile search results pages.
- Cross browser compatibility
When mobile apps are created they’ll only be able to run on the specific make of mobile phone. Mobile websites will work on all smartphones. As a result you wouldn’t have to build one for iPhones, one for iPads and another for Android devices.
- Mobile websites can be very quick to create and get live
Even if you don’t use a template driven solution such as MyMCart, the time it takes to create a mobile site based on existing product data can still take a very short amount of time when compared to the lengthy time it takes to build a mobile app and get it approved by the various app stores.
- They’re flexible
If you need to make a structural or security change you won’t have to get your app approved before you can release it to your customers. Also if you have a mobile site hooked into our product database, any change of price, texture or features can be changed on the fly.
- You reap the SEO benefit
With a mobile website your customers can share specific content which will then reap the SEO benefit of social shares and links – this isn’t possible via mobile apps, although you could encourage shares to any directory listing of your app. With social sharing being a major part of e-commerce customer acquisition strategies, being able to have your products shared into the social web could be key.
Mobile Apps can cost many thousands to tens of thousands of pounds to set up. A mobile website can cost from just £100 to set up and £90 per month to run.
Pro Mobile Apps:
- You can play music
You can’t do that with mobile websites.
- Nor can you do push notifications.
This is one strong advantage of mobile web apps as you can alert users with price drops and new product launches.
- They run offline
Mobile web apps typically can run offline accessing data stored locally from the last time the device was connected to the internet.