App vs. Mobile Website — one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients. More than a few have asked us whether or not they should invest in building an app for their business. More often than not a mobile website is sufficient to fulfill a client’s needs, but that doesn’t mean that an app should never be considered, or can’t be useful. It all depends on what your business is about, and what you are trying to achieve.
Mobile apps have the advantage of allowing you to reach your customers at any given time. The best apps provide innovative and added value for users by tapping into their mobile devices’ functionalities. Vivino Wine Scanner, for example, uses the camera on your mobile device to allow the user to take a picture of the label of any given wine bottle and get a review.
The IKEA app is an even better example of this type of functionality. The app allows you to take any piece of furniture in the IKEA catalog and “place it” in your living room. That is the type of added value that an app can bring to a business; it has real practical use and enhances the user’s experience.
But there is a downside to apps. They can be massively expensive to develop and will require ongoing maintenance and updates to keep current with ever-evolving operating systems.
If your business relies on search engine visibility, a better way to market may be to build a dedicated mobile website or use a “responsive” website design. A mobile or responsive site will have a wider audience and a broader reach. Unless the app can provide unique features that enhance the user experience that a website simply can’t, then you’re probably better off with a mobile responsive site.
Go mobile! And remember that there are a number of ways to make your mobile site successful and user friendly.