By now, the majority of businesses have a website or, at the very least, an online presence through a social media profile. Still, most companies earning over a certain amount will have a website that offers a way for potential customers to find out about the business and then purchase goods or services. Websites aren’t the full extent of having a convenient platform these days, though.
Mobile internet browsing is rapidly taking over, with the convenient handheld devices in everyone’s pocket dictating the trends of industries around the world. Having a website isn’t enough anymore: businesses need to explore mobile options. Most modern website builds have been made mobile-compatible or mobile-friendly due to the surge in smartphone visitors. Still, there’s another step to the mobile offering, one that can help modernise your business.
Apps work very differently to mobile sites, even though you could argue that they’re part of the same searching experience – via a smartphone. Both manage to reach mobile users, so why would a business want the additional expense of building and maintaining a mobile app? To get to the answer, we’ll need to look into the differences between mobile apps and mobile sites, as well as how various leading businesses utilise the two mobile formats.
Mobile websites vs mobile applications
Both are forms of convenient access to an online offering, but very different in their accessibility and how they can appeal to customers. Mobile websites are optimised forms of a website, consisting of HTML pages that are accessed by an internet connection. They become optimised by content realignment, stacking text and images to suit the smaller screen, and by utilising responsive web design for touch-screen compatibility. You’ll usually find everything that a website has to offer on its mobile site, but with the options being slightly moved around.
Mobile apps don’t have to adhere to the build of the base website, with many companies choosing to build the apps from scratch for an even more optimised approach. That said, apps that are similar to their business’ websites and mobile sites are easier to adopt for existing customers thanks to the familiarity offered. Apps, however, can’t be found through web browsers and need to be directly downloaded to the device – often via the operating system’s app store of choice. So, users need to be aware of the existence of the app before being able to interact with the business in this way, whereas most assume that a business can be found via a mobile or PC browser.
The most significant issues to address here are those of trust. Some prefer apps with their log-in data because they present themselves as a part of the smartphone, which is presumably safe. Mobile sites, however, may not be as trusted with the storing of log-in details for quick access, primarily due to the countless stories of personal data being pulled online. With this, users are far more willing to stay logged in and personalise their app experience, which feeds the business incredibly detailed and direct data. As an app, the business’ logo is also ever-present on the smartphone, provided that it offers enough value to be kept.
As you can see, while the two are points of contact via the absurdly accessible smartphone, they differ in how they are accessed and what they can offer both the customer and the business. One of the main stumbling blocks for many companies is contemplating how an app could be of use, primarily because of how eCommerce has effectively co-opted the market. Still, there are examples across several industries as to how any business can make the most of building a convenient app for its customers.
How other businesses have worked into the app markets
Regardless of the quality of your mobile site, an app can offer faster, more convenient access while also storing log-in details and all of the user’s preferences, such as favoured content. Few online industries have embraced the potential of an app-based service better than that of betting.
The websites are filled with live and future markets, offers, and even other games, which is why some brands have mobile sites that lack features, are slow to load, and haven’t been fully optimised. In their place, sports betting apps have risen to the fore, offering a smooth, speedy experience that’s perfect for both the convenient access through mobiles and in-play betting that’s become so popular. Furthermore, after logging in upon installation, the apps store everything from preferred markets, personal details, and payment information safely. There are even sites available that rank apps by a range of factors including accessibility and bonuses available, so not only is the experience becoming more enjoyable but also the wealth of information available to the consumer is increasing.
It’s not always about providing a more optimised and user-friendly experience, though, as many other brands have discovered. For many, having an online app that offers a way to purchase goods or services isn’t needed, but apps can still be useful for raising brand awareness and connecting to potential customers. Nivea found this with their app, which built on their tracking bracelet-focussed advertising campaign, ‘The Protection Ad.’ The myStarbucks app offered something different from the usual loyalty app. Along with being able to locate nearby shops, it also had information pages to teach customers about the types, sorts, and brews of coffee.
Apps offer another tier up for customer engagement, bringing customers closer to your business with convenient and enjoyable access. Mobile sites are now a necessity, but offering a classy app can make all of the difference.