Mobile Optimized Website or Application – Which is Better for M-commerce?
The discussion between fans of mobile optimized websites and enthusiasts of mobile applications is ongoing and we are as far from reaching a conclusion, as we were at the beginning of the process. The fans of mobile applications claim that apps offer functionalities, which are not available for mobile websites. Their opponents respond with an argument that HTML5 and CSS3 provide mobile website developers with everything they need and mobile apps are no longer required. If you want to make your online store available to mobile users, you should rethink your options.
Why online retailers create mobile optimized websites?
Many online retailers do not seem to understand the benefits of having a mobile optimized website. They are satisfied with their page, as long as it can be displayed on a mobile device. But the situation is far from perfect. Many websites, which are not optimized for mobile devices, can be displayed on Smartphone and tablets, but will not be functional: the website will be very difficult to navigate and read; the time required to open the website in the browser window will not be acceptable for many mobile users. In other words: if you do not have a mobile optimized website, you will never grow your m-commerce business beyond the basic level. Nobody wants to buy at an online store, which is difficult to navigate, especially when it is not so difficult to find a mobile optimized store among your competition.
Three types of mobile optimized websites
If you want to find new customers among mobile users, a mobile optimized website is a must. You have a few options to choose from. The first option is to create a separate mobile version of your website. This solution was good a few years ago, but today we see more problems than potential benefits of creating separate websites for every platform. Mobile websites require a lot of optimizing to be fully functional on different types of Smartphones and tablets. Responsive design solves that problem – you are able to create a mobile website, which will look good on all mobile platforms with minimum optimizing. Another advantage: responsive design costs less than mobile websites. A good Magento web development company should be able to help you create and optimize a responsive design website for a highly competitive price. Small retailers with limited catalogs of products can also choose the third option: mobile e-commerce hosting platform. This solution provides online retailers with advanced options, such as adding coupons or searching by detailed features. However, the third option has also major disadvantages, for example your mobile website will not be integrated with your e-commerce website and users of your mobile store will not be able to access their order history.
Who needs apps?
To run a mobile store, you do not need a dedicated mobile application, but having one can give you additional benefits, e.g. better display of products, more options to filter search results and navigate through the catalog. But these personalized applications are never cheap, therefore they are recommended for large online retailers, who need the best mobile solutions. If you have a limited budget and can only afford a generic app, we advise you to invest your money in a m-commerce website, instead of paying for an app.