Every business and every website across all industries needs to establish a mobile presence. This shouldn’t come as shocking news to anybody.
We’re living in a mobile world. There are four billion unique mobile users across the globe.
Every mobile category has been trending upward for years, showing no signs of slowing down in the near future.
Most businesses and websites have identified these trends and adapted by making sure their websites are mobile-friendly. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly basically can’t survive in this day and age. So this is definitely a step in the right direction.
But don’t make the mistake of assuming that a mobile-friendly website is the final solution. You’re just barely scratching the surface here in terms of mobile optimization.
The fact of the matter is this; you need a mobile app to fully optimize your brand, business, and website for mobile users.
It’s no secret that personalization drives conversions. This holds true whether a consumer is shopping in-store, online, or from any device.
The best way to personalize someone’s experience is based on factors like:
You can’t treat all of your customers the same if you want to maximize your conversion rates.
A mobile app makes it easier for you to gather more information about users in real-time. Then you can ultimately use that information to personalize their experience.
With an app, you’ll be able to suggest products or services to users based on their browsing behavior or purchase history.
Mobile apps make it easy for you to facilitate this because every unique user can have a profile with their account preferences. In addition to personalizing their experience based on behavior or actions, you can also use an app to directly ask your customers what they want.
Communication is another key element that drives conversions. There is definitely a wide range of reasons and methods for a brand and customer to communicate, but all of these can be broken down into two main categories:
- Communication initiated by the user.
- Communication initiated by the business.
When you look at things this way. It’s really not that complicated. An email marketing campaign is an example of communication being initiated by the business. A customer form submission with a question or complaint is initiated by the user.
Both of these categories are better from a mobile app compared to the mobile web. Here’s why.
While you do everything in your power to make things as easy as possible for your customers, there will always be those instances where people need that extra level of service.
Some people will have a question or problem-related to a previous purchase or a purchase that they are considering. Others will need some assistance with how to navigate or access content on your platform. Whatever the reason might be, you need to make sure that easy access to customer support is available.
Live chat is the most preferred method of customer communication.
While you can make live chat available on your mobile website, the user experience is much better overall when it’s integrated into a mobile app.
You can set up a specific section of your app dedicated to customer support. Users can communicate with you via live chat, email, ticket support, or phone, simply by selecting one of the options on your menu.
Utilize Mobile Device Features
Since mobile apps are installed directly on a device, it gives you access to certain elements of a user’s smartphone or tablet. I’m referring to features like:
- Contact lists
Not only does this make your app more interactive than a mobile website, but it also makes things easier for the user.
For example, let’s say your app requires users to add a credit card as a payment method. After all, how else are you going to make money?
There are 16 digits in a credit card. When you combine this with the user’s name, card expiration date, and card verification code, it’s quite a bit of information to manually type on a small screen.
If they make a mistake and the card doesn’t process, it can frustrate the user and cause them to abandon the purchase.
But with a mobile app, you can access the device’s camera and let the user take a picture of their card as a faster alternative.
Now a payment method can be added to a user’s account in seconds.
This method eliminates user error and makes it less likely that a customer will abandon the purchase process due to frustration.
This is arguably the biggest difference between mobile apps and mobile websites. Simply put, users must be connected to the Internet to access a mobile site.
If they don’t have a Wifi connection, then they need to use data from their mobile plan. If they are in an area with no data service, or if they don’t have an active data plan, then accessing a mobile site is just not possible.
Lots of mobile apps might need an Internet connection to perform certain tasks. However, apps still deliver plenty of functionality while users are offline.
Users Spend Majority of Mobile Time on Apps
In order to maximize conversions, you need to reach people on the platforms that they are using the most. If you look around, it’s clear that nearly everyone always has their eyes locked to a mobile device. Even when they aren’t on their phones, they always seem to be within an arm’s reach.
But what exactly are people doing on those devices? I’ll give you a hint; they aren’t browsing the web.
90% of the time on mobile devices is spent using apps. Just 10% of mobile usage is spent on the web.
People can’t convert unless they are accessing your content. There is a much greater chance that they’ll access your content from an app than a web browser.
Why is this?
Mobile apps are just better. Since they are already loaded directly on to a user’s device, all people need to do is click on it to access information. Driving conversions is all about eliminating friction from the process, we’ll talk about this in greater detail shortly when we discuss checkout optimization.
By having an app installed on their device, it already takes two steps out of the process. To access your mobile website, users need to open a browser, search for your site, then click on it to reach the homepage.
To access your site from an app, all they have to do is make one click and it’s open. This literally takes seconds.
We already discussed the benefits of personalization. With an app, the user is logged in to their account. Whereas they would need to do this manually from a mobile website.
So it’s no surprise that mobile app usage significantly outweighs and outperforms mobile web browsing.
Better UX and UI
While a mobile-friendly website is necessary, it’s still limited in terms of its functionality. That’s because a mobile site relies on web browsers to perform even basic functions.
I’m referring to things like the back button or refresh button. You can’t design a mobile site to override the functionality of a web browser.
But with a mobile app, you won’t have any of these types of restrictions.
You can set it up so users can use functions like swiping, tapping, or holding down on the screen to improve their experience. This design freedom can ultimately improve the user experience.
Mobile apps are faster than the mobile web. Why?
It’s simple. Websites rely on web servers for storing information. So it can take a bit longer for content to load on a device since the speed is contingent on factors like the browser performance, the web hosting provider, the hosting plan, and the physical location of the server.
Just a one-second delay in loading time can cost you a huge percentage of conversions.
Slow loading times result in higher bounce rates, higher abandonment rates, and lower conversion rates.
The backend performance of the app ultimately results in faster speed for users on the front end.
Furthermore, the fact that app users can have their preferences stored will speed things up as well, making it easier and more likely that they’ll convert.
Increase Engagement and Retention
Mobile websites don’t have any way to really drive engagement. The capabilities are limited, and you’re restricted in terms of when and how you can connect with the visitors.
We talked about this earlier when we were discussing communication. With an app, you can use a push notification to stimulate engagement. You don’t have this luxury on your mobile site.
Apps make it easier for you to retain your customers as well. With features like a customer loyalty program or referral program, it entices people to stay active on your app.
When a customer sees that they are being rewarded for spending or conversions, it makes it more likely that they’ll continue to convert.
If you also give people an incentive to refer to family and friends, then those same people will continue using the app moving forward. Sharing content, driving engagement, and raising retention rates is much more difficult from a mobile website.
Checkouts are the ultimate form of conversions. Sure, a conversion can also be defined by an action such as a download or opt-in, but checkouts result in dollars.
Mobile apps are designed for checkouts. In many cases, checkouts can happen in a matter of seconds. You won’t get this benefit on the mobile web.
From a mobile site, there aren’t any shortcuts. A website visitor needs to find the product, add it to their cart, enter their payment information, shipping information, and checkout. This process can take minutes, and there is so much room for error.
But a mobile app can already have all of this information saved. The user can simply add the item to their cart, and finalize the checkout with just one additional click.
All of the billing and shipping information will already be saved to their account. By reducing friction in the checkout process, conversions will skyrocket.
Getting users to download your app is a huge win in terms of your branding strategy.
With a mobile website, people are only exposed to your brand when they navigate to your site. How often does that happen? And how long does that last for? If you’re lucky, someone might visit your site once a week, and stay on there for a few minutes per session.
But people use their mobile devices all day, every day. They’ll see your app, brand name, and logo on their screen all of the time. This gives them more of an incentive to open your app and convert.
Even if they aren’t using the app daily, they are still exposed to your name and brand. This makes it more likely that they’ll convert in the future since your company is constantly on their minds and in front of their eyes.