Businesses across the world are gearing up their mobile strategy. Whether its mobile commerce, mobile marketing or simply improving business efficiency, smart-phones and mobile technologies really can revolutionize the way we do business. Often the most prominent dilemma for those going mobile is whether to invest in a native mobile app or a mobile optimised website. The decision is not always as easy as choosing one or the other, with each presenting different benefits and trade-offs. So how do you make the right decision? The answer is that this is highly dependant on what you aim to achieve and your organisational objectives.
If as a company you have a clear vision of the segment you are selling to and the best channel to market, the mobile application is often the best solution and enables the organisation to connect with its target audience more effectively by providing a richer more immersive experience, graphic intensive functionality and the ability to utilise the phones inbuilt hardware. These factors all contribute to apps enhancing levels of consumer interaction with products and services, the generation of greater brand loyalty and finally a boost to bottom line profits. An example of a Niche app is the IKEA interior planner, this app enables customers to view IKEA furniture in their own home with the use of augmented reality technology, helping to overcome a key consumer issue.
If as a company you are looking for mobile presence that can emphasise brand values, often a mobile website will do the trick. Companies that have a broad audience may also opt for a mobile website in order to provide something more general to suit all consumer groups. For instance Marks and Spencer recently decided to opt for a mobile website over a mobile app, why? To drive sales to local stores, to give customers access to opening hours, to allow users to browse facilities and finally to provide options for m-commerce. The argument for creating a mobile website is that it does not alienate any of Marks and Spencer’s consumer groups by being too taylored and it is easily accessible and doesn’t require a download, which makes it easier and quicker to use. It doesn’t require any thing additional or different to the website, so it can be argued that there is no need for an app.
21st century businesses who use innovative business models often have greater success in today’s fast changing technical landscape. By using a mobile app, companies are able to create something unique that can drive growth and generate public recognition, which in turn can enhance the brands profile. An interesting example of how app technology can be used to encourage sales is Cadbury, who recently launched a Blipper image recognition app, which requires a chocolate wrapper to be scanned in order to activate a game.
For companies that have tight budget constraints or are in their early stages the optimised website approach can often provide the best mobile opportunity, with cross platform capabilities, the ability to transfer coding from the web and with a cost that is considerably lower than that of a mobile application.
Users are no longer content with just consuming they want to play a more active role and interact with brands - wherever they feel the need. Mobile applications are ideal for this. These applications can include interactive forums, blogs, social media and can receive real time customer information. The Alton Towers application provides a number of tools to improve a visitors day out such as live queue times, car finders, games and an interactive park map, but also provides useful information to the park itself such as ride ratings and ride check ins. This type of application can be a great asset in improving the customer experience.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a mobile strategy. But what is often overlooked is that consumers are not necessarily using apps or mobile websites on a mutually exclusive basis. In fact there is a strong case for investing in both an application and a mobile website to maximise the impact of a mobile strategy.
Author: Hannah Ackford, Marketing Assistant. Copyright: Rokk Media Ltd.