Mobile App vs Mobile Website

Small businesses are often being encourage to keep up to date with the latest digital trends and processes to have a competitive edge in their field. But is it always worth it?

A few different articles have suggested that it is imperative that each small business spends time and money developing an app for user’s phones, otherwise they will fall behind in the competition. But really, why is this so crucial?

They say it’s to be visible to customers at all times, but I can’t help but to wonder if that is actually effective. With Sensis identifying that 76% of people own a smartphone, I can understand the need for a small business to be present for a potential consumer on their mobile device.

Personally, unless the app has constant value to me I will delete it after a short period of time. If the business has a great use of an app like a food company that allows you to order through it, then I totally think apps are worth it. They provide some great features and allow a more comprehensive user experience.

Mobile App vs Mobile Website

But if you are a small business whose primary use would be advertisement of your services or products, then an app that needs constant updating is not a good idea. If you are looking to invest your money into this, maybe the greater focus should be on creating a wonderful mobile optimised website. Something that is easy to navigate, quick to load and has all the basic information the customers would need to get in contact with you. You will save a lot of time and money than trying to build an app, and the website is accessible through all devices rather than having to create an android or IOS separate experiences.

Do you disagree with me and think that small businesses really need to focus on having an app? Or are you, as a consumer, happy to have a fully functioning mobile website?

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6 comments

  1. Great post, Mary! I totally agree with you on this. I too, will delete an app that doesn’t offer much very shortly after downloading. Especially with small businesses, consumers probably won’t find it worthwhile to go through all the hassle to download something not very useful, not to mention, apps take up memory space. So to save costs and bring convenience to all parties, developing a mobile-optimised website may be solution! It really is the best of both worlds 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks! If you’re using a mobile optimised website, and it says something along the lines of “to get this feature you must download the app”, are you likely to do so? Or do you just go to a different website instead?

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  3. Great observation and thoughts! I definitely always encounter the problem when I’m surfing a website on safari that has an app, then they suggest that I download the app. To be honest, sometimes I much rather just using the browser and get annoyed when certain features are restricted, to the extent where I won’t bother downloading their app out of frustration. My data space is a precious commodity!

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    • What a great opinion! I hadn’t thought about the impact it would have on the data space on your phone, definitely a turn off for quite a few people I think. I guess there is a fine line between taking one element away to convince people to download an app, and taking too many away and just resulting in a frustrated consumer.

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  4. A small business that isn’t technologically focused in its products and offering could probably get away with just a mobile website. I think that businesses that are selling products would likely be fine relying on a mobile optimized site unless they feel that an app would assist with user retention and result in an increase in sales.

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