With a majority of online shoppers turning to their mobile phones for browsing, researching, and purchasing of any product, the e-commerce marketplace is certainly transforming more into mobile commerce. And in this mobile-obsessed world, where more than 42% of e-commerce sessions are taking place on the mobile, having a mobile website or mobile application has become indispensable for the online merchants. However, the one question that is now stuck on the minds of the e-commerce merchants is, Mobile app or responsive site, what is the best option for e-commerce? But don't be confused, this write-up throws light on the pros and cons of both mobile apps and responsive websites for your online store. If advancement is on your mind, this write-up will help you strengthen your mobile commerce game.
Pros of Mobile Application
- User-Friendly With there being an app for everything, online shoppers have become used to browsing through products on mobile applications. Speed is one of the main reasons that pull the customers towards mobile applications instead of loading the large product range on a mobile website. With tons of functionalities and easy-to-access buttons for the cart, wish list, buy now, search, etc., mobile apps are considered more user-friendly as compared to the mobile website of the same merchant.
- Enhances Loyalty By constantly showing your brand through app icon, mobile apps enhance the loyalty of customers towards your e-commerce store. Apps collect the data of customers like their location, interest, shopping time, etc., and offer more personalized shopping experience. A more rewarding and convenient experience can be offered to a customer to make them continue using your mobile app. They can also integrate loyalty programs to boost loyalty and increase repeat purchases by online shoppers.
- Increased Conversions Another reason why mobile apps are better than mobile websites is that they collect the customers data and allows push notifications. As per a research, push notifications can help in recovering as many as 70% of the abandoned carts. Merchants can send push notifications about new offers, discount on the items in the cart, or notify about the last few pieces left in stock to grab their attention and convert them.
- Non-Internet Accessibility Once installed, mobile apps make it easier for a customer to browse through the products even when offline. As mobile apps are installed on the device, they allow the customer view products and their details even when they are not having internet access.
Cons of Mobile Application
- App Development Cost One of the biggest disadvantages of using mobile apps is the cost of mobile e-commerce app development. The merchants need to bring together a team of mobile app developers together to build apps for different operating platforms like Android, iOS, etc. This might not just consume a lot of time and energy on research but the e-commerce merchants might also have to invest a lot of money.
- Attracting Downloads Apart from the cost, a merchant needs to advertise a lot and build trust among its customers to get them to download and install their e-commerce mobile app. Just getting a functional mobile app developed for your store wouldn't suffice, merchants also need to make their audience aware of the app and convince them to download it for a seamless experience. The merchants can follow various marketing tips to promote mobile app but this might add to the efforts invested.
Pros of Mobile Website
- Cost Effective One of the disadvantages of e-commerce mobile app is that they require money in creating a native or hybrid app for different platforms. Responsive or mobile websites offer a solution to these problems by offering cost-effective website development. One can get in touch with a reputed e-commerce website design company to get their mobile e-commerce site created with all functionalities at a cost-effective price.
- All-Device Accessibility While one needs to get individual mobile apps for different platforms, mobile websites offer all-device accessibility. They do not need to be downloaded or installed on the mobile phone and utilize the phone space but can be loaded anytime in the browser. The customers can browse the e-commerce site anywhere, be it on their Android phone, iPhone, or even on their laptop or tablet, the website would be easily accessible anywhere, anytime without any prior installation required.
- Search Engine Optimized Another advantage of an e-commerce mobile website is that they can be optimized by adding tags, keywords, images, etc., for higher ranking on search engines. This attracts more traffic from the search engines. This means that customers looking for a certain product on Google would reach your site in case it is optimized for that particular keyword; thus, attracting more leads. Responsive e-commerce websites rank higher on mobile search result pages and can be instrumental in driving more sales.
Cons of Mobile Website
- Slower Loading As compared to mobile apps, responsive websites can be slower to load. E-commerce websites are loaded with high-quality images and large descriptions which might make it slower for the pages to load. With nearly 70% consumers stating that slower loading pages make then negative about an online retailer, slower loading website might be a reason behind the drop in sales.
- No Offline Accessibility E-commerce websites need to be loaded each time the user wants to browse new products on the page. They do not have any functionality of offline access without the internet, which might be a turn-off for your customers. Websites do not even offer the ease of accessing the cart or wishlisted items without internet.
- Extra Maintenance E-commerce websites have a lot on the stake and need a skilled professional for constant maintenance. The images and videos of the products need to be optimized, the site needs to be constantly monitored, and SEO needs to be done as well for promotion. Different teams need to be employed for the maintenance, which might cost a lot for the e-commerce merchants.
When studied closely, both mobile apps and responsive sites have their own set of pros and cons which lead us into believing that they are complimentary. Online merchants cannot substitute one for the other. For a more successful business, enhanced conversions, increased sales, and repeat purchases, having both, a mobile app and a responsive site, is a must. While mobile e-commerce site would get you more customers, the app would help them turn into loyal and fetch more sales.