Many businesses are either torn between building an app or a mobile website, or they may not even fully grasp the difference between the two, if you are unclear, we have outlined the difference between the two below, and also highlighted the advantages and disadvantages:
The term ‘app’ is an abbreviated term for software application, and one of the defining features of an app is that it must be downloaded on a device for the user to access it. So, if you create an app for your business, you will have to submit it for approval to an app store, and then your customers or user base will have to look for it in that app store and download it.
There are several advantages to developing an app for your business. First, apps allow businesses (assuming the app user agrees) to send out push and/or in-app notifications. The ability to reach a customer base that is already aware of your brand and interested in it (otherwise they wouldn’t have downloaded the app in the first place) is tremendously valuable, but it’s important to note that many users opt out of notifications.
Another benefit of apps is the ability to use them offline. While most app functions, like accessing maps and making in-app purchases or calls, only work online, the basic information in the app (such as store location, hours, menus and products) can be accessible even without service.
Creating, publishing, publicizing and maintaining apps can be more time-consuming than managing a mobile website. First, if you want to reach people who use Apple and Android products, you’ll have to submit your app for approval in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The guidelines for acceptance into app stores are not written in stone, and as they change, you will have to make sure your app stays in compliance with the rules. Additionally, most businesses require a website as well as an app, so understand that if you go the app route (unless you’re planning on forgoing websites all together, which is inadvisable), you’ll probably also need to create a website.
Another obstacle you may face after creating a business app is getting users to find and use it. If you own a well-established business and have a marketing plan in place to tell customers about your app, or your app offers some valuable functionality to users, this may not be an issue.
Before smartphones and tablets were a thing, websites were created to display on laptop and desktop computers. The designs of such websites were unresponsive, which means they did not naturally scale to different screen sizes and were difficult to view and use on smaller screens. At first, this was not problematic because no one was trying to view websites on smartphones or tablets, but once mobile devices became popular, the disadvantages of website designs became clear. Then, mobile websites emerged, and many SMEs with existing websites created mobile versions of their sites so users could easily view them on the go and use them with touchscreen devices, sans mouse. For some time, apps, websites and mobile websites all existed in separate buckets, but now, responsive websites are becoming the norm and the lines are blurring.