By all indications, the primary gateway to the Internet is now by a mobile device – tablet or smartphone. But what is the best way to manage customer interactions? Browser, app, or both?
Browsers and apps have different benefits
Responsive web design is cost effective, giving you flexibility to launch when you please. If designed smartly, you are producing one site for all devices. However, you must also prepare yourself for issues with glitches, screen re-sizing and response time.
Providing one solution for all device types isn't as easy as it may seem. 60% of online interactions such as: social networking, shopping and browsing starts on a phone. And the reason is: convenience. Consumers need their information on the go. They want it in a format that allows for easy navigation and efficient use. Mobile apps set the bar high in this regard. Responsive design will adjust the size for you but you might need to zoom in and out of your screen in order to complete a basic search or purchase. Messy.
Adopting the native app approach does mean more stringent testing and you lose release control to Apple, Google and Windows who will decide when you can launch a version. Once you overcome that, the native app is far more compatible to the device specific utilities such as the camera, microphone, browser, photos and the increasingly important location services.
Only an app can exploit the full potential of location based services
Mobile is the biggest growing retail sales channel, with growth of 47% recorded in the US for Q2 2014.
Retailers are responding with a noticeable increase in digital directorship positions being filled this year. To reach their customers via their phone in a focussed and convenient way, time and place is everything. Knowing how to master the digital channels is key. There is only one way to do this, and that is via the native app. With the ability to take advantage of the device specific utilities and specifically the location services, it provides the retailer with the opportunity to open another channel of specific and timely communication.
Both the mobile website and the mobile app will allow you to communicate effectively, but what is the motivation behind your choice? Are you choosing the technology to benefit you or your customer?
Your focus of course should be your customer, and the smartphone is the biggest sales channel available to you. The native app is therefore the only way to allow you to meet that full potential.