Mobile apps are quickly gaining on mobile websites in the area of e-commerce sales. Today, 40% of all e-commerce sales are performed through a mobile app rather than through a website. And it isn’t just e-commerce that is experiencing this transition. Mobile apps are set to outpace mobile websites in every area, and consumers are increasingly seeking easier ways to complete transactions online. The newer generation tends to utilize their phones and other mobile devices as their first point of contact regarding the web.
The Advantages of Mobile Apps for the Consumer
For consumers, mobile apps are generally easier to use. They are designed to take advantage of the native capabilities of a smartphone or other mobile devices. The device itself can cache or preload data so that the e-commerce store is faster and more responsive, and the transactions themselves can be linked to a smartphone-based mobile wallet for easier payments.
Many modern devices even allow for security features such as fingerprint scanning, which can then be integrated into an e-commerce app; this allows the consumer to feel more secure in their transactions. As cyber security increasingly becomes a household concern, app-based security becomes more appealing than traditional websites.
The Advantages of Mobile Apps for the Company
A mobile app is highly accessible to the consumer, making it easier for them to make purchases with the company. Business owners can send alerts and other information to their app users, promoting sales and discounts and ultimately encouraging sales. Mobile apps are able to take advantage of a young demographic which naturally prefers apps.
Mobile apps have a lower resource overhead than websites because a significant portion of the data is local on the device. New developments in smartphone platforms will make it easier to integrate apps into the smart device experience, providing easily searchable and accessible information. Mobile apps also provide better market penetration, as apps are readily available to the device’s consumer base.
The Potential Roadblocks of Mobile Apps
Mobile apps do require that the consumer first be inclined to download and install it. This can be a conversion challenge: customers may need to be convinced that the app has enough value to them to permanently live on their device. Ultimately, many consumers may shy away from keeping a large inventory of applications on their device; if the application doesn’t continue to be useful, they may simply remove it.
Mobile apps require maintenance just as websites do, which can be challenging for small businesses to afford. However, even with the potential challenged in place, there are few disadvantages to having a mobile app in addition to a mobile website. In the worst case scenario, the mobile app is still available to the customers who seek it.
Mobile apps will ultimately supplant mobile websites for many e-commerce applications, in addition to select informational and entertainment sites. However, smaller businesses and mid-sized businesses may have some logistical hurdles to jump when procuring an application-only audience. Through customer outreach and website integration, businesses can promote their native mobile apps and acquire the benefits of an app-based audience.