It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the business world that every business is benefiting by making itself accessible to users through mobile devices. A mobile website or mobile app for that matter, allows businesses to retain loyal customers, improve sales, and expand their reach. The question however is, whether you need both or is one enough? Though a mobile app and website enable users to reach you through a device they use the most, both of these mobile-friendly platforms are significantly different from each other.
On the face of it, a mobile app and a mobile website look quite similar; however, the reality is far from what appears to the naked eye. Choosing between them or going for both would depend on certain important factors: including available budget, required features, target audience, and intended purpose amongst others. Let us understand the basic differences between the two before we discuss their benefits.
A mobile website, typically referred to as a responsive website, is designed to be accessed from tablets and smartphones. It is compatible with most web browsers, including Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS. Like on a desktop, you just have to search with a URL or click on the link that directs you to a website – you will be redirected to the mobile version of the website.
A mobile app, on the other hand, is an application that can be accessed through a smartphone or a tablet. However, a mobile app is first required to be downloaded by the user from an app market place like Google Play Store or Apple App Store, which is iTunes.
Now, the biggest benefit of a mobile website is that it makes users access regular websites in a mobile-friendly layout – look & feel, content, and images remain the same – it only becomes more functional and readable when accessed from a tablet or smartphone. A mobile website allows users to access a business website from any corner of the world without compromising on the user experience.
Although a mobile app looks similar to a mobile website, it offers businesses the advantage of owning a small space on a mobile device. Through a mobile app, businesses have more control of their presence on a user’s device. Whether an app is inactive or closed, it will still function in the background, gathering user specific data and sending push notifications. And it’s easier to access an app as opposed to a website.
So, what’s more viable and suitable from a business’s perspective? It depends on what you are looking to achieve. If you want to establish global mobile presence and deliver content that can be accessed via search engines and shared between users, a mobile website is possibly the best option. On the other hand, if you want to interactively engage with your users and provide them an application that functions like a program on your computer, a mobile app is certainly the more logical choice.