eCommerce App vs. Website: Which One Is Better and How to Build Them
The eCommerce stores selling essentials are experiencing a boom following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. An increasing number of retailers are embracing online platforms just to do away with the need for physical visits and ensure flexibility for customers, this was bound to happen. Even before the pandemic, there were many startups that flared up to reach out to the wider web and mobile audience and hired eCommerce development companies india for building their online stores
But as you are jumping on the bandwagon of eCommerce, you have two major choices such as an eCommerce web store and an eCommerce mobile app. While both are pretty much effective in engaging customers and driving consistent business conversion, you need to know about their respective value propositions. Only then, you can make a clear choice to start with.
Let’s Understand The Basics of The eCommerce Web Store and Mobile Application
E-commerce web stores basically come with a domain name that is accessed through an internet browser while e-commerce mobile applications come as native hire mobile app developers india for mobile users of Android or iOS operating systems. For the first, the user just needs to type the domain URL in the browser tab or need to search for the web store through a search engine. For the latter, the mobile user of each platform needs to download the application from the respective app markets such as the Android Play Store or iOS App Store.
Both solutions have their respective pros and cons. For instance, access to a web store through browsers is less enticing than any website that you visit and in contrast, with apps, you have a higher commitment as you decide to download it and accept the notifications sent by the app. On the other hand, native app-based stores are easy to use, allow offline access, and make customers continuously informed while web stores just miss the opportunity to personalize user experience.
While there are pros and cons on both sides, just because smartphone apps are used for pretty much everything in life, online shoppers engage more with e-commerce apps than their website counterparts. As per the latest research, a whopping 70% of customers use smartphones for making online purchases.
Mobile App vs Website: Measuring The Value
When faced with this binary choice, there is actually no short one-liner as an answer to this. The choice depends on a multitude of factors such as the budget, business objectives, target audience, and the niche and nature of the e-commerce store.
As of now, the leading eCommerce stores around the world such as Amazon, eBay, and most others have embraced both the solutions, mobile app, and web stores. Since, building and maintaining both an app-based store and the web store sounds too ambitious and luxuriously impractical for small businesses and startups, making a choice between the two is quite obvious.
Here we explain the key parameters and factors for choosing between the two e-commerce solutions.
Development Cost And Time
In most cases, the development cost and time of eCommerce mobile app projects in both iOS and Android platforms are considerably higher compared to that of eCommerce web stores.
The websites are built faster and at less cost, because we have several great CMS options with an array of ready to use eCommerce specific themes and plugins. The CMS platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce Shopify, and Magento development company india help dedicated developers build a web store within a week apart from maintaining a lower development cost compared to apps.
Shopping Experience Personalization
The shopping experience across e-commerce stores plays a key role in customer engagement, retention, and business conversion. From lack of performance and speed to bugs and errors leading to crashes to unnecessary roundabout and difficulties for simple actions, many things can actually trigger a dropout of visitors and customers.
Most users accessing a very personal device like a smartphone for a multitude of activities have the habit of insisting on their preferences while visiting e-commerce stores. But with web stores, they have far fewer choices of personalized shopping experience compared to the e-commerce mobile apps that allow them to choose notification timing, dark mode for interface, quick access menu buttons, etc.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For any e-commerce store to achieve consistent growth getting a consistent flow of organic traffic is very important. Thanks to the very nature of websites in targeting visitors through search engines, web stores enjoy a better SEO quotient compared to mobile apps.
You can easily optimize the eCommerce website for leading search engines including Google and drive a consistent flow of traffic. To achieve search engine visibility and rank for the contents, the web stores can utilize an array of content marketing strategies helping users to reach a bigger and wider audience all over the globe.
As competition is getting stiffer and the race to outreach customers is making inroads into every space, allowing customers to browse products offline is now a crucial value proposition for e-commerce stores. Helping customers to visit the store and browse products irrespective of the Internet connection can lead to better branding and increasing business conversion.
Unfortunately, websites have little to offer here since they are thoroughly dependent on internet connectivity now. Mobile applications in contrast can allow offline access through local caching of data into mobile devices.
Ads And Marketing
To improve online sales it is incredibly important to publish ads and engage in aggressive online marketing. The e-commerce stores can leverage extensive online marketing of their products and services across third-party websites, apps, and many social media platforms and gain customers redirected from these platforms.
Since most people don’t opt for installing any random mobile app without being thoroughly convinced of the value proposition, for ads and marketing mobile apps are not as good an option as the web stores. By following a website ad a customer can make a purchase with just a few clicks. In contrast, downloading an app takes a lot longer and involves a lot of effort.
When it comes to the maintenance of an e-commerce store, you need to accommodate regular security checks and from time to time allow updates to make a place for the latest tech trends in features and functionalities. Both web stores and mobile apps need maintenance challenges in equal measures.
A number of modern cross-platform frontend technologies such as React Native and Flutter can actually make this need for continuous maintenance easier for both websites and mobile apps and this can help reduce the cost to a great extent.
While eCommerce websites help to shape the online presence of brands, mobile apps deliver a great personalized shopping experience and super easy access. This is why it is advisable to build both solutions for your e-commerce brand.
But in case you gave a small budget to create a great e-commerce store, you can start with the web store and over time extend your presence to the mobile app.