Mobilising Your Business With mCommerce
Mobile is the next wave in business. Just as having the Internet access at home causes a seismic shift in the way people shop and interact with companies, Internet access on mobile devices is causing a change in consumer behaviour as well. More than 20% of web traffic now originates from mobile devices, and that number is only expected to rise throughout the coming years. As a business owner, there are steps you can take to take advantage of this now.
There are two basic ways that you can mobilise your business and expand into mCommerce. The first is to launch a smartphone app. This has become one of the most popular ways for companies to reach their customers over the last few years. On the other hand, mobile optimised websites provide much of the same benefits that apps do. Each solution comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and pursuing either strategy isn't a decision you should take lightly.
Let's take a look at apps. Since 2008 when the iPhone's App Store launched, apps have become trendy. Today, the statistics for apps are staggering. Business at Apple's App Store is still rolling along smoothly; with the company nearing 25 billion app downloads. Meanwhile, app markets from Android and Blackberry have also seen success. The Android Market has more than 500,000 apps. Should you create your own, since it seems that everyone has one? Apps give you a chance to brand your business in a unique way and provide serious value to your customers. They also give you a constant presence on your customers' devices, something that certainly can't hurt.
Apps do have their drawbacks though. Convincing a customer to install and keep your company's app isn't always an easy proposition, so you have to be sure that there will be demand for it. Developing apps can also be costly. The same app can't be used on different platforms. This means you'd be limited to one platform, or would have to build the same app for different phone operating systems.
A mobile optimised website removes the pitfall of apps, as it can be accessed from any mobile browser. It also is a much easier sell to customers, since they don't need to download and install anything. A mobile website also provides many of the same benefits as apps, such as making your company accessible to customers and thus driving your mCommerce revenues. A mobile website can't do as many things as an app, though. It can't access as much information about your customers' devices, making for a less personal experience.
So, the big question is whether to go with an app or a mobile website. The answer is to go with both, if you can afford it. Having a mobile optimised website in addition to an app lets you capture the entire market. If you must choose between one or the other, though, you should weigh your options carefully. Generally, a larger company will see more returns from an app while a smaller company will get more out of a mobile website. The choice is yours, though. Just keep the advantages and disadvantages in mind and choose what will fit your company the best. Good luck, and welcome to the world of mCommerce!
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