Should your online business have a mobile app?

Aug 21 2018 | PayPal editorial staff

Before you dedicate the resources to developing an app for your business, there are a few factors to consider. Learn more about the potential benefits and downfalls so you can make an informed decision.
 The increase in mobile commerce has made user experience a make-or-break factor for many businesses. In fact, at least one-third of all retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. last year were made on a mobile device.1
A mobile presence isn’t just a bonus for small businesses anymore; it’s a necessity. But does this mean your business needs a dedicated app, or will a mobile-optimized website do?
It’s true that most people spend the majority of their online mobile time on apps. On average, mobile users in the U.S. are only on a web browser 13% of the time; the rest is on an app.2 That may make having an app seem like a no-brainer, but things aren’t always what they seem.
Does your business need an app?
When deciding whether or not your company needs an app, there are more than statistics to think about. For example, apps don’t show up in search results, so if your customers are finding you by doing a web search, an app may not make much of a difference to your sales. And remember that building and maintaining an app can be expenisve and time consuming. If your business doesn’t have the bandwidth to support an app, you may want to stick with optimizing your website. Consumer research tells us it’s important to have a great user experience, whether it’s on a mobile website or an app.
A survey by Apica Systems, a global application performance company, found that a bad digital experience can affect brand loyalty. Three in five people say they’re less loyal to a brand if they have a hard time using that company’s website or app, and 83% say they might even tell their friends about the bad experience.3 If your business relies on word-of-mouth, that could be a disaster.
When to build an app for your site.
Instead of thinking app vs. web, look at it in terms of priority: Which benefits your business more – an app or an optimized mobile site? Before you make up your mind, here are five things to consider:  
  1. Development and support. Building an app from scratch can be expensive to develop and maintain. At the very least, you’ll want your app to be available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, which requires approvals from Apple and Google. And don’t forget that you’ll still need to manage your website for new customers who haven’t downloaded your app yet.
  2. Customer experience. Would an app contribute to how customers interact with your brand? An app gives you more control over how content is presented—images, text, audio, and video. Plus, an app can let customers tap, shake, and use their camera or GPS which can be a lot more fun than scrolling through a regular website.
  3. Customer engagement. It’s hard to capture and keep peoples’ attention. If you decide to build an app, what would motivate your customers to download it? Be prepared to offer a discount or free delivery on their first in-app order.
  4. Visability. Most people will find you online and then look for you in an app store. Since Google and other search engines rank mobile-optimized websites higher in their search results, you’ll still need to maintain your mobile-friendly site once your app launches.
  5. Access to customer data. Effective apps most often use data to help build and reward customer loyalty, giving businesses great insight into the preferences of their customers. This can be a great opportunity to connect with your customers on a more personal level, but tread carefully. Today’s consumers are wary of anything that seems too personalized, so it’s important to find the right balance.  
One payment solution for both.
Whether you choose to build an app or focus on your mobile site, PayPal can serve as your payment solution. PayPal simplifies the payment process, while helping to increase conversion rates. Businesses that offer PayPal One Touch at checkout see up to 53%4 higher conversion rates on mobile devices.
PayPal is a secure, trusted name in online transactions. According to a recent survey by comScore, 49% of mobile buyers used PayPal to make a mobile purchase in the past six months.5 And 31% of surveyed consumers who used PayPal for their last purchase said they wouldn’t have made the purchase if PayPal wasn’t available as a payment option.5
Learn more about recent developments in mobile commerce and see how PayPal can help your business.
Still have questions or want to learn more? Click on FAQ on the bottom of this page or contact our customer support team.
1 Source: eMarketer, “Worldwide Retail and Ecommerce Sales: eMarketer's Estimates for 2016–2021,” Corey McNair, July 18, 2017
2 Source: comScore Inc., “The Global Mobile Report,” September 12, 2017
3 Source: Apica, Digital Desertion: 60% of consumers less loyal to brands after poor website and app performance, survey reveals, August 24, 2017
4 Source: Checkout Conversion Index™; Utilized standard conversion rates by merchants from industry standard sources to create a statistical relationship between the conversion rates and Index Scores for 853 merchants. September 2017
5 Source: Study commissioned by PayPal and conducted by comScore Research. comScore survey administered in Q1 2018 to 4,252 U.S. adults who own and use a mobile device and who have browsed or researched products or services online on any device in the past six months.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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Frequently asked questions.

PayPal invoices are easy to create. Just enter your customer’s email address. Then add an item with its quantity and amount. Add as many items as you like. You can include personalized notes, terms and conditions, discounts, or any attachments your customer might need.
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You can also share links to invoices directly with your customers. On the desktop experience, click Share link to invoice under the Send action. You’ll get a link that lets your customer view and pay the invoice. You can copy the link and your invoice becomes payable. Then share it by email, text, or messaging app. Because invoices contain your customers’ personal information, don’t share the invoice link on a public site.
To share the link again, copy it from your list of invoices by clicking the three-dot icon for the invoice. Or get the link by opening up the invoice details.

How do I send invoices to multiple customers?

Send the same invoice to up to 100 customers by clicking Multiple customers and entering each email address in the Bill to field. We’ll send a separate, payable invoice to each customer.

How do I import a batch of invoices?

Create and send a batch of multiple invoices by importing a CSV file if the feature is available in your country. Use our spreadsheet template to fill out the invoice details for each customer. For each invoice, include a customer email address, item name, and item amount. After you import the spreadsheet file, you can view a summary of the imported invoices before sending them. Once you send the file, we’ll email each customer a secure link to pay their invoice. For customer security, PayPal limits the number of invoices you can send in a single day.
Learn more about batch invoices.

Can I manage PayPal Invoicing from my mobile?

You can create, send, and manage invoices on both desktop computers and mobile phones. You can also send and manage invoices on the go with the PayPal Business mobile app. Get the mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Learn more.

What are quick invoices?

Quick invoices let you send easy, professional payment requests on your mobile phone. They streamline invoice creation so you can quickly share a link to an invoice with your customer. Your customer will still get a professional invoice including your default business information.

On a mobile phone web browser:

1. Log into PayPal and go to your invoices.
2. Tap on the button icon in the lower right.
3. Choose Send a quick invoice, enter an amount, and payment description.
4. Tap Create and Share Link.
5. When your invoice link is ready, tap Share Link, and then share it by email, text, or messaging app.
On the PayPal Business mobile app:

1. Tap on the lightning bolt-shaped Quick Actions icon in the lower right.
2. Choose Send a Quick Invoice and follow prompts.
3. Tap Create and Share Link, then share it by email, text, or messaging app.
4. Tap Done.

How do invoices for shippable items work?

If you’re shipping an item or need your customer to give a shipping address, check the Items will be shipped box when you’re creating your invoice. You can then add any shipping costs. When your customer pays, you’ll be able to add tracking information when you ship their order.

How do I schedule recurring invoices?

You can set invoices to repeat weekly, monthly, yearly, or at a custom interval. When you start a recurring series of invoices, the customer will immediately receive the first invoice. (You also can schedule the recurring series to start at a future date.) The following invoices in the series will issue around 7:00 AM in your time zone according to frequency that you set.

Can I cancel a recurring invoice series?

 You can cancel a single invoice within a recurring series or the entire series of invoices. To cancel an invoice, tap the three-dot icon for the invoice within your list of invoices. You can also cancel the invoice from its details page. When you cancel an invoice within a recurring series, we’ll ask if you want to cancel the single invoice or the entire series.

How do I send invoices across national borders?

There’s no extra step to send invoices across national borders. You can send PayPal invoices to any email address in the world.
If your customer has a PayPal account, we’ll display the invoice and email notification in their preferred language. If your customer doesn’t have a PayPal account, we’ll send the invoice and notification email in the language of your account. You can also specify a different language by editing your customer’s contact info when you create the invoice.
Fees vary by country or region. See seller fees.

Here is how:

The PayPal App:

  1. Go to
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After you complete the download, you can send money via the PayPal App.

The PayPal Mobile Web:

  1. Go to
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  4. Click Send money.
  5. Enter the recipient’s name, email address or number in the box.
  6. Type in the amount you're sending, add a note if needed, and click Continue.
  7. Click Send Now.
  8. To complete the payment, click Send Now.

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They don’t have to know your email address or mobile phone number, or even have the PayPal app. They can just tap on your link, go to your PayPal.Me, type in the amount, and send the money.

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You can also grab your link from the PayPal.Me Profile section in your account settings.

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