There has been an ongoing debate on mobile websites versus mobile applications. The smartphone lovers would vouch for amazing apps where as people on the other side of the fence argue about the advantages of the sites over the apps. Now Internet is flooded with such arguments and counter arguments, but have you ever wondered what would it be replacing the term ‘versus’ with ‘and’. As per our understanding both mobile apps and websites can co-exist in the mobile ecosystem and in fact are a must for a businesses’ growth.
Let us try and analyze a few things which show that both things complement each other.
In a mobile market that is buzz with Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones, it is quite natural for someone to get carried away and feel all mobile users in the world are using smartphones! However this is far away from the truth as smartphones comprise only 50% of the market share and that too in the developed countries while in other places their market share is much lower. Thus, if you develop only apps for the smartphones you are likely to leave out on half of the mobile phone users. Can you afford to do so when it comes to marketing your business? No, and this is why mobile websites continue to be relevant in the smartphone age as they have a much larger reach than the apps.
It is a well-known fact that developing a mobile website costs much lesser than developing mobile applications. Thus in such a scenario developing websites is much more lucrative for the small businesses and startups. In fact, developing a responsive business website does away with the need for developing a dedicated mobile website. A mobile website also gives you the liberty to go slow with your application development process where you can develop apps for a few platforms and judge their performance before plunging into all the popular mobile platforms in the world. Remember, developing apps for multiple platforms is a costly affair.
One of the major advantages that apps have over mobile websites is the user-experience. No matter how good a mobile website is, it can hardly offer the same experience as an app. Applications are graphically rich which makes them highly attractive when compared to the mobile sites. They are also more interactive and responsive to the user’s gestures and actions which makes them stand out in the race. Since the application is downloaded in to the client’s device it consumes very little bandwidth and makes navigation easy.
Apps have a major drawback over mobile websites and that is why they have no scope of catering to the users who may come to website purely by chance. Now how many such users would have the patience of downloading an app and knowing more about the business? If you are an e-commerce site, would you love to miss out on such a customer? Apps are a great way to cater to the needs of the regular users who have considerable interest in your business or organization. Sites are better when it comes to catering first time users.
This is another great advantage with the mobile applications as it allows the business to carry out a 1:1 communication with the users and send them attractive offers customized to their personal tastes and requirements. This helps increase the sales and revenue of a business as the users also develop a feeling of loyalty towards the brand. This isn’t quite possible with the mobile websites as these attract users from different places of the world and unless a user keeps visiting you there are little chances that you can keep track of such users and their personal tastes and preferences.
Hence, you can clearly see that mobile websites and applications have different sets of target audience. In such a scenario choosing one over the other is not the smartest thing to do and it would be wise for any business to target its customers with both apps and site and increase the reach in the market.
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