Deployment and supportability
Native apps can be expensive to develop and maintain. You will need to decide which platforms you will target, then build andmaintain separate apps for each. At the very least, you will probably want your app to be available for both Apple and Android devices. At the same time, you will need to maintain a mobile-optimised website for new customers and those you have not yet persuaded to download your app.
Imagery is important in mobile commerce. Pictures are powerful, especially on the limited real-estate of a smartphone screen, and a dedicated app allows you greater control over how your content is presented; not just images and text, but audio and video too. An app also gives better access to device features – such as camera or GPS – and functionality like tapping, shaking, etc. so that you can build a far richer customer experience than is available on a website.
Bear in mind that it is hard to capture and keep users’ attention. Most people keep less than 10 apps on their smartphones and, according to AppsFlyer, only 25-29% of apps downloaded are retained for even one full day. Only 3% survive for 30 days. If you decide to build an app, first consider what incentive a user might have to download it. Can you offer, for example, 15% off their first app-order or free delivery?
Although customers may search for you within an app store, more people are likely to find you through search engines like Google. Google and other search engines now prioritise websites that are mobile-optimised in their search results so, once again, you may wish to maintain a mobile-friendly site alongside any app that you develop.
Access to customer data
Apps work best when used for building and rewarding customer loyalty, giving you a platform to establish and deepen a connection with the user. An app gives you greater opportunity to personalise the user experience, perhaps based on additional information you have gathered by requesting/allowing users to login using their Facebook account.
How can PayPal can help
Is it better to invest in the rich functionality of a dedicated, native app, or in building a really great, mobile-optimised website?
Do apps and the web serve different audiences? Is it actually an "either or" choice or a question of priority?
Whether you decide to invest in a mobile app or the mobile web, PayPal can help.
Our mobile phone payment apps are designed for making payments on the web or within your app. They simplify the payment process, reduce errors and increase conversion rates
Mini-guide to apps vs web
We've created a guide to help you understand the pros and cons of either an app or a mobile-optimised websiteDownload Guide