Mobile Commerce
Mobile Commerce
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 min read
March 8, 2022

Mobile App Vs. Responsive Website: Which Wins?


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The number of smartphone users is growing with each passing day. And subsequently, business owners have realized the need to attract these new-age customers by embracing mobile channels. But establishing a mobile presence for your business is not as straightforward as it sounds. For starters, you need to identify whether you should opt for a responsive website or a mobile app, or perhaps both.

Mobile apps and websites can look very similar at first glance, and figuring out which is most suited for your business depends on several factors like your budget, target audience, usability, required features, etc. Creating a website is often considered the first step in developing a web presence, while a mobile app further propels it to the next level. So, you must understand that both are vital cogs in your marketing structure.

This blog post will try to help you understand the major differences between an app and a website and explain which is better in this new and fast-paced digital era.

Mobile Website

A mobile website is similar to any other website. It features browser-based pages that are linked together, and you can access them over the internet. Responsive mobile design is no longer the new standard for websites. It is a necessity today. To the uninitiated, a responsive web design means that your site is designed primarily for mobile use. That is, the experience is defined first on mobile and then scaled up to larger displays like tablets, desktops, and more. This type of web design can accommodate different screen sizes as it uses fluid grid systems (flexible grids that use relative sizes), fluid images (contextual images that adapt to the screen), and media queries (to alter site layout when certain conditions are met).

Advantages Of A Mobile Website

If you are about to kickstart your marketing campaign for your business and want to start establishing your online presence, a responsive website is the best tool for you. It has numerous inherent advantages over an app, making it an irreplaceable element in your mobile outreach strategy. Now, let’s look at these advantages in detail.

1) Time & Cost-Effective

Even though creating responsive mobile websites is the older, and perhaps the less fashionable option, the overall cost of production and duration is less when compared to building a mobile app from the ground up. (Note: This is not the case if you’re building an app using a low-code/no-code platform like Vajro, which takes only a few hours to build an app.) Many website development platforms are available in the market that will help you build a responsive website automatically, making it time and cost-effective.

2) Compatibility

A mobile website is compatible across devices as it uses the likes of HTML and CSS to display pages. Therefore, it can reach a wide variety of users across different types of mobile devices, whereas an app, in contrast, requires a separate version for each operating system (Android vs. iOS). Also, mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies like SMS, QR codes, and NFC (Near Field Communication), adding to its overall compatibility.

3) Findability

It is easy to find mobile websites. Their pages are displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories as the website content is already indexed by Google and other search engines. On the other hand, mobiles apps have limited visibility as they are restricted to OS app stores.

4) Upgradability

A responsive mobile website is extremely dynamic than a mobile app when it comes to updating the content. From a marketing perspective, this flexibility provides an added advantage for you. If you want to update the content or design, you can simply update the code, and the changes will become immediately visible to everyone around the globe. Updating an app is a bigger hassle as it is mandatory to get approvals from the respective app stores. Also, the users themselves must update the app for the newly added features to reflect in their device. It will require additional marketing efforts from you to prompt the user, thereby increasing the complexity.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are actual applications downloaded and installed on a user’s mobile device rather than being rendered using a browser. They are developed to run on a specific mobile operating system, and users can visit device-specific stores like the Apple Play Store, Android Market, and more to find them. Similar to a website, mobile apps can pull content from the internet or download the content so that users can access it even in offline mode.

Advantages Of A Mobile App

As we have mentioned in the earlier section of this blog post, a mobile app is a tool that has the potential to take your business to the next level. With the current smartphone boom and changing customer habits, developing a mobile app has become unavoidable for many businesses, especially those that are operating in the eCommerce industry. The competitive advantage it delivers is crucial for the long-term success of your business. Let’s look at some of its advantages -

1) Personalization

Mobile apps are all about offering a personalized user experience. By providing a tailored experience to users based on their preferences, location, and behavior, mobile apps help foster brand loyalty while boosting your success rate. Mobile apps let users set up their preferences from the start, using which you can offer custom recommendations and updates.

2) Notifications

For many years, email has been the most widely-used communication tool for businesses around the world to reach out to their customers and engage with them. However, it has lost its effectiveness, and the conversion rates have significantly dropped. One of the main reasons behind it is the entry of mobile push notifications. They are non-intrusive nature to them, making them the best alternatives to email communication.

3) Leverages Device Capabilities

A mobile app can access the device’s features and hardware such as camera, GPS, microphone, Bluetooth, and much more. It helps mobile apps enhance the user experience, making them more fun, interactive, and hassle-free. Even though mobile sites can also access some of the device features like camera and GPS, there are technological constraints and security concerns associated with them.

4) Branding

Nothing beats a mobile app when it comes to building brand awareness and marketing. With handy desktop shortcuts, mobile apps place your brand on each user’s phone. Also, since the mobile app is an entirely separate entity from the company’s website, it can offer a new branding experience to users. Moreover, it gives you the freedom to experiment with the branding styles and even re-brand your value proposition.

And The Winner Is...

Both! Yes, you heard that right. The app versus web question is not going away any time soon. Ideally, for your business to grow, it is best to have both, but it can prove to be a costly and time-consuming affair. With many small and medium-sized businesses operating at a tight CapEX, it is not practical for them to acquire and maintain these two digital channels. This is where embracing a low-code/no-code platform for developing an app can help.

Due to their easy-to-use interface, these platforms can completely reduce the complexities surrounding a typical mobile app development process. Even someone who doesn’t know to code can build their app on their own now. And the best place to start your app development journey is Vajro. We have helped brands across the globe drastically expand their customer base and skyrocket sales through their own app. Get in touch with us if you’d like to explore building a mobile app for your online store.

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