The present day e-commerce has changed exponentially by the advent of touch screen smart devices, easy and affordable availability of mobile internet. The mobile ecosystem has transformed the way people are performing tasks that were usually done though the PC or physically. It could be buying movie tickets, grocery or renting/selling a property there is an app and/or mobile site for everything that was previously done on the PC.
The app world is overflowing with more than 3 million apps for iOS, android and windows. All these apps are putting up a tough fight against each other for screen space. On an average a smart device user has about 15 to 20 apps on the smartphone, with an estimated uninstall rate of about 90% for new apps.
Smart device users in India collectively downloaded a whopping 9 billion apps in the year 2015, which is 5 times than what they downloaded a year ago in 2014.
Businesses are now majorly focusing on taking their goods/services to a larger audience through the internet. Most businesses are now developing mobile websites and apps that can allow users to access at all times through their smart devices.
Apps are more popular amongst users because they are very handy. They provide a clear picture of user habits like shopping preference and location details to lure you with relevant deals and make sales. Formerly browsers did not offer such functionality. Browsers where not equipped to use features like GPS to provide relevant results to users. Developers lacked insight they just made basic changes to desktop sites to make them compatible with the mobile browser compromising UX.
Swift performance, prompt response to touch and easy navigation were a far cry for earlier browsers. Now with the improvised new generation browsers like Safari, Chrome and UC most of these drawbacks have been fixed. Unlike their old counter-parts these browsers are packed with features and offer excellent UX. Pages respond well even with poor connectivity. Browsers allow users to compare different products and their prices among the online retailers without having to download their apps. Users can do multiple thing from a single browser window.
Users get to choose between an app and its mobile site that can be accessed through their smart device. The prime difference between using an app compared to the mobile site is the experience that both the mediums provide the user with. Apps are equipped to enhance user experience by quick and concise options within the app designed specifically for Android, iOS and Windows enabled devices.
Smartphone users prefer retaining apps that they use daily like social media and messenger apps. Useful but less frequently used apps are usually uninstalled. Users prefer using the mobile site as and when needed. Chewing up phone memory, battery draining and slowing down phone performance are few of the principle reasons that lead to app uninstalls. Too many pop-up ads and notifications are another reason why users uninstall apps and use their mobile website whenever needed.
Users find navigating and reading difficult when they load a website on their smart device. When using a mobile website users have to zoom in and out several times to read all options and click on certain buttons. This is when they feel the need to download the app version that combines the resourcefulness of the web along with the functionality of touchscreen phone to provide an optimized view across all smart devices.
Apps are good if you have a large user base and huge usage frequency like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Whatapp. Fashion retailing house Myntra , too the app only approach in May 2015, and later revived its website in December 2015. Now it has an app and a site both. If you offer services or goods than it is equally important to have a good app, website and mobile site. E-commerce businesses must create a balance to ensure that they can efficiently cater to all your audience.