Ecommerce Website vs Mobile App – Which One is Better?

mobile app vs website for ecommerce
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In the recent past, the trend of online shopping has increased manifold. Customers preferred online purchasing because of the worldwide lockdown restrictions imposed by governments because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the Covid era, retailers utilized this option to allow customers to purchase their products without physically going to the store.

Covid-19 is long gone, restrictions have been lifted, and normalcy has been restored. However, the popularity of ecommerce stores has taken the world by storm. Why visit the local store when you can order the same product from the comfort of your home?

If you are an entrepreneur trying your luck in the ecommerce business, there are two optimal options for you: the mobile app or the website. This blog explores both these options, digging into the standalone mobile app vs website for ecommerce debate, underlining their pros and cons.

Mobile app vs website for e-commerce – The ultimate comparison

As mentioned earlier, retailers have two options to reach their customers online: create a custom ecommerce mobile application or develop an interactive ecommerce website. Another option is to consider going for ecommerce website with mobile app but it depends on one’s preference.

Let’s evaluate both these categories in detail and provide a factor-wise comparison to help the readers answer the ecommerce website vs app for mobile question:

Mobile website for ecommerce

Mobile ecommerce websites consist of domain names accessible to any user with a stable internet connection. A solid ecommerce website presents all the key information to the user, streamlining the entire purchasing process. With the rapidly increasing number of internet users, experts have predicted enormous growth for those businesses that make their online presence felt using mobile-optimized websites such as different ecommerce platforms.

Benefits of ecommerce websites

1) Cross-platform compatibility

Ecommerce websites exhibit cross-platform compatibility, eliminating the need for platform-specific development. This versatility allows businesses to maintain a consistent and coherent brand identity across different devices and platforms, creating a seamless user experience irrespective of the device used for browsing.

2) Easy updates

Compared to standalone, native mobile apps, updating a website is significantly easier. This means you can easily add more products to the list and enhance customer experience. New updates mean any persistent issues or bugs are fixed, and the shopping experience for users is streamlined.

3) No installation required

While mobile apps require time and resources to be manually downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store or App Store, no installation is required to access ecommerce websites. All you need is a stable internet connection, and you can experience optimized online shopping. It is one of the reasons why making a website for ecommerce is a better option in comparison to an iOS or Android application.

4) Better analytics

Analytics is the key to understanding the value of your ecommerce store. With analytics, you can find out the impressions, clicks, and many more factors that determine the popularity of your business. With websites, analyzing these analytics and making appropriate changes is much easier.

For example, you can change the design or content of a particular landing page if it’s not getting enough clicks after a certain time period.

5) Faster load time

Mobile apps require some loading time before all the information is displayed to the user. On the other hand, websites are generally optimized and designed to update all the data as quickly as possible. This enhances user experience and improves conversion rate.

6) Lower development cost

Developing responsive ecommerce websites can be more cost-effective than creating separate native apps for multiple platforms. A single website optimized for various devices eliminates the need for separate development efforts, reducing both time and expenses.

This cost-efficient approach allows businesses to allocate resources more strategically, investing in other aspects of the ecommerce ecosystem, such as marketing or customer support.

Disadvantages of ecommerce websites

1) Limited offline access

The biggest drawback of websites is their dependency on an internet connection. In stark contrast to mobile applications, websites always need a connection to the internet to load resources. This means if the user is trying to purchase an item in the offline mode, he cannot access the ecommerce website. This is arguably the defining factor of the mobile website versus app for ecommerce debate.

2) Less convenient for regular customers

Standalone mobile apps for ecommerce have the ability to save user preferences and display customized lists of products according to user preferences. This means that for repeat purchases, you don’t have to search for similar types of items again and again.

On the other hand, websites don’t offer these features, and every time the customer has to place an order, he has to repeat the same procedure again.

3) No push notifications

Push notifications are extremely powerful tools to attract customers, reveal new products, or announce a 30% discount on an item. It’s important to note that websites for ecommerce lack this feature and hence cannot notify the user instantly.

While websites for ecommerce can send notifications in other ways, these notifications don’t even come close to push notifications.

4) Insecure payments

Ensuring that user payments are secure and confidential is one of the fundamentals of any ecommerce store. Payments made via ecommerce mobile apps are much more secure because of the native stripe payment feature.

Meanwhile, securing payments made through ecommerce stores is complicated and requires the implementation of SSL encryption, secure payment gateways, and other robust security features.

5) Lower conversion rate

Completing the checkout stage is a lot more complex in websites for ecommerce as compared to ecommerce mobile apps. As a result, many ecommerce website users abandon the process of completing the purchase altogether because of its inherent complexity.

Mobile app for ecommerce

As per a report published by Insider Intelligence, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to reach $534 billion by 2024. In other words, 40.4% of global ecommerce sales will be generated via smartphones. These numbers are staggering, highlighting the significance of mobile apps for ecommerce stores.

Given that 85.95% of the global population is in possession of a smartphone, it makes sense to develop dedicated mobile applications for ecommerce stores. To further explore the mobile application vs. website for ecommerce question, it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of ecommerce mobile apps:

mobile app for ecommerce

Advantages of ecommerce mobile apps

1) Enhanced user experience (UX)

Ecommerce mobile apps provide a significantly enhanced user experience compared to websites. With user interfaces (UI) specifically designed for mobile devices, apps offer intuitive navigation, smoother interactions, and seamless browsing.

The streamlined design ensures that mobile shoppers can easily explore products, make purchases, and access account features with just a few taps, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2) Offline accessibility

One of the biggest advantages of mobile apps for ecommerce is that customers can place their orders without even connecting to the internet. Once the ecommerce app is downloaded, you can access all the features of the ecommerce store without any internet connectivity. This factor is instrumental in the mobile application versus website for ecommerce debate.

3) Faster loading times

Ecommerce mobile apps offer significantly faster loading times compared to websites. By leveraging the device’s processing power and caching data locally, apps reduce loading times and eliminate the delays often associated with websites. The faster response times enhance user satisfaction and prevent potential frustration that could lead to cart abandonment.

4) Push notifications

Mobile apps empower businesses to engage customers more effectively through personalized push notifications. This direct communication channel allows companies to send real-time updates about new product launches, exclusive offers, limited-time discounts, and order status.

Push notifications are extremely advantageous to online businesses, allowing them to stay connected with customers and provide relevant updates, increasing customer engagement and retention.

Disadvantages of ecommerce mobile applications

1) Development costs

Building and maintaining ecommerce mobile apps can be a more expensive endeavor compared to developing websites. The need for specialized app development expertise, as well as separate development for various platforms (iOS and Android), can significantly increase the initial investment.

2) App store approval process

Before being accessible to users, ecommerce apps must go through the app store approval process. The scrutiny and review by app store administrators may lead to delays in app availability, especially if the app requires multiple iterations for compliance.

The approval criteria of the App Store are notoriously stringent, and as a result, many developed applications don’t even reach the target audience.

3) App installation barrier

Unlike websites, which users can access directly through web browsers, ecommerce apps require users to download and install them separately. This additional step might act as a barrier to entry for some potential customers, particularly if they are hesitant about app installations.

4) Storage space

Ecommerce mobile apps consume considerable storage space on users’ devices. In an environment where users prioritize optimizing storage capacity, especially on smartphones with limited memory, the presence of a large app might lead to uninstallations or reduced app usage.

In comparison, ecommerce sites don’t require any storage space since websites can be accessed directly without any installation requirement.

5) App stores competition

Ecommerce mobile apps face intense competition in app stores, where millions of apps are vying for users’ attention. Standing out amidst the vast array of choices and encouraging downloads can be a daunting task, necessitating robust marketing efforts to promote the app effectively.

Factor-wise comparison of mobile-first website vs app for ecommerce

Now that you are aware of the benefits and pitfalls of utilizing mobile apps and mobile-friendly websites for ecommerce stores, it’s time to expand this debate. The following passage presents a comprehensive comparison of ecommerce website and mobile app:

1) User experience

Mobile apps are tailored for smaller screens and touch interactions, providing a smoother and more intuitive experience. Mobile sites, while responsive, may not offer the same level of optimization for mobile devices.

2) Accessibility

Mobile apps allow offline access to certain features, enabling users to browse products and add them to their cart without an internet connection. Websites, on the other hand, typically require an internet connection for all interactions.

3) Push notifications

Apps excel in engaging users through personalized push notifications, informing them about new products, discounts, and order status updates. Websites lack this direct communication channel.

3) Loading speed

As mentioned earlier, mobile apps load faster due to optimized designs and cached data, reducing waiting times and potential customer frustration compared to websites. The slow loading time of websites might drive potential customers away.

4) Device integration

Apps can leverage device-specific features, such as camera and GPS, to offer unique functionalities like image scanning or location-based services. On the contrary, websites have limited access to such features because they are not platform-specific.

5) Mobile payments

Mobile apps can seamlessly integrate mobile payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay, streamlining the checkout process. While websites can offer payment gateways, they may not match the convenience of apps.

6) Customer loyalty

Apps foster customer loyalty with personalized experiences, loyalty programs, and rewards. Websites may struggle to match the same level of engagement and personalization.

7) Offline shopping carts

With apps, users can add items to their carts offline, ensuring a continuous shopping experience even without an internet connection, while websites generally require online connectivity.

8) Development costs

Building and maintaining mobile apps can be costlier than websites, considering the need for platform-specific development and continuous updates.

9) SEO and discoverability

Websites benefit from better SEO visibility, attracting organic traffic through search engines. Ecommerce apps, on the other hand, face intense competition in app stores, requiring dedicated marketing efforts to gain visibility. App Store Optimization (ASO) plays its role in ranking applications higher on the stores, but it’s much more difficult to rank apps because of fierce competition.

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When should you create a mobile app for your ecommerce store?

Using a standalone mobile app for an ecommerce store makes sense when businesses seek to enhance user experiences, engagement, and customer loyalty. Mobile apps are ideal for providing a seamless and intuitive shopping journey tailored specifically to mobile devices.

They offer offline accessibility, allowing customers to browse products and add items to their carts even without an internet connection. Additionally, mobile apps can leverage device-specific features like camera and GPS to provide unique functionalities, such as image scanning or location-based services.

Push notifications – one of the most important features of mobile apps – enable direct communication with users, informing them about new products, discounts, and order updates, fostering greater engagement.

Furthermore, apps can implement personalized experiences, loyalty programs, and rewards, effectively nurturing customer loyalty. In summary, when businesses aim to deliver a personalized, convenient, and interactive shopping experience to mobile users, investing in a mobile app for ecommerce becomes a strategic choice.

When does using a website for e-commerce make sense?

Businesses should opt for an interactive and responsive website when they seek broad online visibility, cost-effectiveness, and SEO benefits. Websites offer a platform to showcase products and services to a global audience, maximizing reach and potential customer base.

They also provide a cost-effective solution for startups and small businesses, as website development and maintenance are generally more affordable compared to mobile app development. Moreover, websites benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for potential customers to discover the business through organic search results.

With responsive design, websites can adapt to various devices, ensuring accessibility for both desktop and mobile users. Overall, using a website for ecommerce is a practical choice for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence, attract a wider audience, and manage costs efficiently.

Ecommerce application vs website – The verdict

The mobile app versus website for ecommerce question is tough to answer as there is no silver bullet that can solve all problems. There is no straightforward, one-word answer to this question that a lot of established businesses and startups face. The decision to develop a mobile app or website for an ecommerce store should revolve around the target audience, and their preference should be prioritized.

Get Ecommerce Website Development Services from Ropstam Solutions

If you want to make a website for your ecommerce store or develop an app for your business, reach out to Ropstam Solutions. Ropstam solutions has a dedicated team for mobile application and ecommerce development. Contact us today to discuss the details of your project and get going with your app or website right away. You can also call us at +1 (866) 631-8767 or email us at info@ropstam.com.

FAQ’s

What is the difference between an ecommerce website and a mobile app?

An ecommerce website is a digital platform accessible through web browsers on desktop computers, laptops, etc. Ecommerce mobile app is an application developed specifically to target smartphone users.

Do you need a mobile app for ecommerce?

Yes, a mobile app is essential for ecommerce success today, enabling convenient shopping, personalized engagement, and enhanced user experience.

is it better to use an app or the website for an ecommerce store?

In general, developing a mobile app is a much better option for ecommerce because it attracts more audiences and is much faster than a website.

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