Mobile App vs. Mobile Website – Which is Best for Business?

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( — March 14, 2013) Phoenix, AZ — Google’s latest study estimated that 81% of smartphone users access the Internet on their mobile devices, with 77% of those information seekers either visiting, or calling a business as a result of their search. Consumers are using mobile devices to research, locate and shop – both locally and on the Internet, and the numbers are growing. In order to stay competitive, businesses must optimize their information to be easily accessed from mobile devices. 

So, what is the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app?

A mobile website is a version of a regular website, optimized to be easily viewed from a mobile device, such as a feature phone, smartphone, or tablet.

There are several options to go about building a mobile-friendly website, depending on one’s needs and budget. For instance, if a website is fairly old, it may need to be built from scratch, which can be a more expensive route. Alternatively, one could utilize a developer that offers mobile website and mobile app design as a package deal.

A mobile app is downloaded from iTunes (for iPhone users), or Google Play Store (for Android users) and accessed directly from a mobile device.  While a mobile website helps people find a business, an app is used primarily to engage customers and offer incentives to spread the word and keep them coming back.

For example, Uncle Bear’s Grill & Bar gained over 1,000 downloads after the first month of launching their app. Uncle Bear’s marketing director, Jason Derby explained, “We offer an instantly redeemable coupon to guests who download our app. Customers can also utilize a great feature to share the app with friends, which really helped spread the word quickly”.

Businesses of all types can utilize a number of app features, such as online ordering, reservations, social media and video, and instant push-messaging, which enables the business to send instant notifications to customers.

Although custom apps can cost over $10,000 to have developed, there are now alternative solutions available that allow for fast and affordable mobile app design, which is a better option for most small to medium-sized businesses. 

Mobile apps and mobile websites can work in different ways to help a business gain customers, increase repeat business and grow virally. If cost is an issue, it is best to start with a mobile website, then add the mobile app when budget allows. 

As Google’s study revealed, it’s time for businesses to go mobile, because consumers already have.