mCommerce Confusion –Should I have a mobile website or an application?
A few years ago, nobody could ever imagine the revolution of the latest technologies especially eCommerce. Gone are the days when you had to drive all the way to shopping mall and purchase goods. Today, you do this in just a few clicks from your home. Furthermore, mCommerce makes it even easier for all of us to shop. Here, we talked about the customers, but if you own some business, the question comes –should I have website or application? Which is more rewarding for your business –a full fledge eCommerce mobile website or merely app?
Well, according to Forrester Research, mCommerce sales are expected to grow from $10 billion to $32 billion in 3 years from now. This is almost 7% of total eComm. sales! As smartphones and tablets are getting popular these days, this figure could be even higher.
Mobile optimized eCommerce website Vs. mCommerce apps
It is an ongoing debate! Nevertheless, most of the experts believe that retailers must have a mobile optimized eComm. website. This statement makes it optional whether they should invest in developing mCommerce app. With advancement and betterment in technology, HTML5 and CSS3 are getting popular and adopted worldwide, and as a matter of fact, there is no much need to develop tailored mobile apps for optimum customer experience. Moreover, the apps development environments are getting more robust anyway.
We can give a thought for the tablets because the shopping experience is quite similar to laptops or desktops. This is the truth for almost all the eCommerce stores on the Internet. Also, the stats reveal that the use of tablet PCs is more like leisure activity as the users browse websites with light mood and are more likely to purchase goods. I read the blog on tablets as opportunities for marketers where they reveal that the owners of these smart gadgets are less price sensitive and they browse websites in their leisure time. This gives enormous opportunities to developers to develop mobile apps for eCommerce sites for great return.
Factors to consider while developing eCommerce websites optimized for mobile devices
It makes sense to go for eCommerce mobile websites or apps but then it is largely depended on following factors.
- Whom are you targeting? The target customers
- What products you sell?
- What does market research say? The competition
- What is your budget? The investment planned
- Whether or not SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is required
- What is the ratio for bounce and conversation?
In addition to above-mentioned points, the key factor is which display format, resolution or browser you want. You have to keep in mind that browser compatibility is still a critical issue even for the traditional websites.
The option of mobile eCommerce hosting platform
For many small-scale businesses, this will seem feasible. There are venders that offer mobile eCommerce hosting. While some provide regular solution, others use the latest technology and offer a Saas to host. Such hosting platform has basic order management functionality in mobile store manager. It may also develop a catalog using the product data feed. Using this feature, you may use Google, Amazon or other marketplace feeds.
We are pretty clear about these facts
Apart from the debate whether eCommerce website is preferred over mCommerce apps, we are pretty sure about the facts mentioned below.
- eCommerce website that is not smartphone optimized will go haywire when browsed through small devices. Though the vendors may get a couple of orders, the question is how many orders are lost every day!
- Responsive web design is essential to keep the elements on the webpage intact. Imagine a terrible situation wherein your eCommerce website lost ‘Add to cart’ button after shrinking to fit the screens of smaller devices!
- The mCommerce apps must have basic features enabled for the users. The apps should be free from formatting problems and complexities. You should make them user friendly. Most of the smart mobile device owners browse websites on the go. If you hire professional mobile web apps development company, you don’t need to bother about this.
- No matter what, the product listing on your website or app should be readable and easy to navigate. If you use signs and symbols, they should convey the message clearly.
The final words
Well, it all depends what you want and what you expect. While building apps may cost you a bit more than your budget, traditional eCommerce websites may lose potential customers browsing through smart mobile devices. You may opt for responsive web design or host on the mobile server as an economical option.