Apps vs mobile sites, which is best for your retail business?

Posted by Nick Charles

A recent report from Compuware seems to have turned previous data from Nielsen that smartphone users prefer mobile sites to apps on it's head.

Apps vs mobile

As mobile site design has improved and with responsive design becoming the standard rebuild for websites it seems strange that apps are now so well accepted. These reports don’t tell the whole story as there is clearly a place for apps in order to facilitate certain tasks however mobile sites can complete the majority of tasks. The question we want to know is do consumers prefer mobile sites for shopping or apps?

 Another survey run by Siteworx in the US indicates that 65.7% of users prefer the mobile site to an app. The stated reasons for using any mobile related to retail is for more information and price comparison. This is why mobile sites are winning as there are more platforms providing price comparisons and product information within any app is driven by it’s connection to the web so doesn’t provide and advantage.

Where apps are winning is perceived load time with on average smartphone owners expecting apps to load in two seconds, while 28% said that apps should load in one second or less. In comparison smartphone owners expect mobile sites to load in four seconds.  A lot of mobile sites aren’t meeting the 4 sec target where as a native app can always load the splash screen within a second so the experience is better. Apps are also better in general at delivering another consumers favourite, coupons (have you ever tried using Pizza Expresses email coupons via their website, or even their app for that matter!) and holding information like store locations, tel no etc.

For the retail owner a key benefit to an app is push notifications. Without taking any details such as an email address you can directly market to a consumer who has shown a keen interest in your brand by downloading the app to their device.

In conclusion as a retailer it is worth having an app for loyal customers, providing them a quick and convenient place to find information and potentially shop. The mobile site will be seen by many more consumers and they will rely on it in order to compare your offering and prices and if developed well, purchase with you before another site or high street shop gets there first.

About the author

Nick Charles

Nick Charles

Nick is in charge of Business Development and works pro-actively to spread the gospel of Gibe to potential customers, with 15 years of sales and marketing experience.