Mobile apps vs. mobile websites

If you’re already reaching the mobile audience through a mobile-optimised website, you might be questioning why you would need a mobile app. We agree that a mobile app isn’t necessarily right for every company, but we do believe that there are a lot of retailers who are missing out on this valuable channel.

We explore the benefits of a mobile app from some core perspectives:

The customer’s point of view

  • Speed: Seventy-three per cent of mobile users say they have experienced a website which was slow to load. Apps store data locally meaning load times can be kept short. With today’s consumers expecting pages to load within a few seconds, you risk them abandoning their journey if you can’t keep up the pace.
  • Engagement: Features that are unique to apps can really enhance the shopping experience. For example, Missguided’s ‘swipe-to-hype’ described as the ‘Tinder for fashion’ feature has proven very popular.
  • Keeping up to date: With a direct channel to your customers and high opt-in rates for push notifications, fans of your app want to be kept in the know about the latest products, sales and offers.

The brand’s perspective

  • Push notifications: Not only do push notifications let you have a direct channel of communication with your customers and provide personalised content, but regular push notifications have been shown to improve app retention.
  • Proximity: Once installed on a customer’s phone, your brand will always be a click away. By always being so close at hand, you’ll find customers browsing your app in those idle moments in their daily lives.
  • Presentation: With no real need for browser functionalities, an app is able to fill the entire screen and showcase your products to the best of the phone’s ability with high-resolution photos.
  • Performance: apps have much better access to other capabilities on a customer’s phone, like the camera and location data, which can be utilised to provide a personalised shopping experience.
  • Loyalty: We’ve seen apps experience a higher percentage of returning customers compared to mobile websites. Our findings from Q1 2017 showed app experiencing 2x the percentage of returning users of mobile web.

Advantage of mobile

  • Accessibility: Regardless of what device you’re browsing on, a good mobile-optimised website will be shoppable.
  • SEO friendly: The journey to downloading an app is a little more involved than that of accessing a mobile website. Mobile websites are easily indexed on search engines and easy to find. Although the path to apps is starting to embrace this channel.
  • Casual users: First-time customers or those who don’t shop regularly are able to browse without having to make the commitment of downloading the app.

With the rapid increase in the popularity of smartphones, it’s not surprising that the retail industry is seeing the percentage of sales from mobile increase year on year, 86% of shoppers made a mobile purchase in November & December 2016. At Poq we’ve seen the continued growth and success of retail apps over recent years too.

We asked the experts at Poq for some further insights into the debate which you can read here.

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Reported by Samantha Rigg

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