Being mobile is not just another optional business strategy but rather the one that e-retailers cannot do without anymore. Smartphone users have increased and their online behavior pattern has changed a lot from before. Businesses are reported to receive 50% of their revenue from mobile devices itself, when just a year back, the world wide web was filled with much hue and cry since everyone was anxious to highlight the need of having flexible user friendly designs for their websites.
Quite naturally, responsive web design topped the criteria list. Retailers researched thoroughly on how to avoid common e-commerce design mistakes and came up with outstanding responsive e-commerce websites.
Since then, mobile marketing has transcended a lot and today it means more than just responsive web designs or mobile device flexible frameworks.
So, is mobile marketing all about focusing more on apps now? Well, not exactly. Whether your e-commerce store needs a web app depends on a number of factors such as target customers, product offerings, competition and investment. Well choosing between responsive website and mobile app is a major dilemma right now. It is true that many brands are following this trend and more are keen about jumping into the bandwagon soon. However, this had also resulted in waste of time and effort, since most of the apps do not return any revenue and at the most, only 55% of them are said to return less than $500 per month.
In that case, how does one figure out which method is more beneficial to a business for driving customer loyalty and drawing revenue?
Understanding the Functionality of Both Responsive Websites and Mobile Apps
Responsive web design is an approach, crafted to give websites optimal viewing and user experience irrespective of the screen size. It provides websites a single design framework, making them easily accessible from any device with the help of a single URL. A website design would otherwise look clunky and misplaced without a responsive design, specially on mobile devices.
A mobile app on the other hand, is a native program that is designed specially for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A user would have to download and then install an app first, before they can use it.
Responsive websites offer users the ability to enjoy a smooth user experience that is constant across every mobile device and which according to retailers, is important for engaging customers. However, it is a mobile app that helps to retain customer loyalty by providing retailers the ability to communicate personally with their customers. Technological evolution has led to increased use of e-commerce apps and integration of primary tactics that make a customer’s in app experience all the more effective.
Today users can connect to the internet everywhere and anywhere. Whether a responsive website or a mobile app is helpful for your business depends a lot on what kind of functionality your customers prefer using the most. Mobile apps are undoubtedly expected to grow since they provide retailers with multiple features that can boost a brand’s in-store experience.
How a mobile app can enhance your mobile marketing strategy?
A mobile app comes integrated with the following features that make it stand apart from a responsive web design
#1. Push Notifications
A mobile app comes integrated with push notification features that can directly send alert messages or new updates to a customer’s device. Retailers can use the push notification to drive online conversion, by sending pop ups about any upcoming events, discount offers, new product arrival, etc.
These are cutting edge technology that can send out alert notifications when a user passes through a specific location. A retailer can use this to inform customers about special seasonal or other kind of offers when a customer visits his shop to purchase a product.
#3. Wide App Store Audience
More than a billion apps are downloaded from the App store every year. This can open up the access to the market place where brands can meet thousands of potential clients and get increased revenue returns.
#4. Offline Usage
Unlike an online store, apps can be accessible even when you are working offline. Mobile apps come with the capability to store local data in the phone that a user can utilize later on, even without an internet connection. This is because apps are capable of storing synchronized data like contact menu, download history, shopping cart and others.
#5. UX and UI
Mobile apps include features that can generate impressive UX and UI. Among the features that a retailer can put to use, thumb focused integration, slide in/slide off page transition, swipe feature integration are some of the best features available.
#6. In Device Features
Another advantage that a mobile app can offer to retailers is enabling them to take the best advantage of their customers’ device functionality. For example, an app can make use of a phone’s scanner so that customers can utilize it as a barcode scanner and find out more about a particular product when out visiting a store.
#7. Accessing Meaningful Data
Retailers can integrate user behavior analytical tools that can enable an app to gather valuable data related to their customer behavior. This can help a brand to build better customer engagement.
You Cannot Choose Between The Both
Both are necessary to give customers an optimum user experience. When most customers look for a product, it is typical for them to search it online. Mobile friendly websites are easily accessible since they are rewarded with better ranking by the search engine bots. Hence, customers can find your website quickly and easily. Customers might visit your website after finding the information they are looking for and it is a responsive web design that makes your customers to stick around by providing them a better user experience. You might manage to turn them into conversions but how do you turn them into loyal customers who would continue visiting your site?
A responsive website cannot do that always, which is why, a mobile app makes its entry here. The function of a mobile app is to give your customers a good reason why they should continue sticking around even when they are not visiting your e-commerce website.
Thus, both responsive web design and mobile app can make a good teamwork and hence is necessary for a business to build better brand engagement.
Images: “Online Shopping – Finger Pushing Add To Basket Button On Touchscreen / Shutterstock.com“
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