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.

Frequently asked questions.

How will I know when my customers can use the new Venmo experience?
You will receive an email notification when your integration has been included in the Venmo rollout. 
Do customers need to have both a PayPal and a Venmo account to pay with Venmo on my site? 
No, your customers will only need an active Venmo account and have the Venmo app installed on their mobile device in order to checkout with Venmo through the PayPal integration on your site. Customers do not need a PayPal account. 
What will happen if a customer is declined using Venmo? 
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If my customers have One Touch enabled, will they be able to pay with Venmo?
If your customer has enabled One Touch, they will initially bypass the Venmo option, but will have the opportunity to switch to Venmo during the checkout flow. 
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When you enable 2FA on your Control Panel account, you will be required to enter both your normal password and a different code each time you sign in. You can choose to receive this code via an application on your smartphone or a text message (SMS) to your mobile device.

How to enable 2FA
2FA is not enabled on user accounts by default, and each user must enable it themselves. We encourage merchants to have all of their users enable 2FA for increased security.
  1. Log in to the Control Panel with your existing credentials.
  2. Navigate to Account.
  3. Select My User.
  4. Under Two-Factor Authentication section, click Enable.
  5. Enter your current user password when prompted.
  6. Scan the QR code using one of the supported apps on your mobile device, or click Use SMS as Primary.
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*If you opted to use an app, you will find the initial code there. If you opted for SMS as your preference, this code will be texted to you.

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Once you enable 2FA on your user account, every time you sign into the Control Panel you will be prompted to enter an authentication code after your password. If you opt to use an authentication app, use the code generated by the app. If you set up SMS as your preferred method, use the code that was texted to you after entering your password.

If you opted to use an authentication app when you enabled 2FA but are unable to access the app at the time of login, you can have a code sent to your mobile device via SMS by clicking Text a code instead.

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Supported 2 FA Apps
Braintree’s 2FA is compatible with most Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) applications. TOTP apps automatically generate an authentication code that changes after a certain period of time. Because they do not rely on incoming text messages, they are more reliable than SMS—especially for locations outside the US.

Here are some TOTP apps that we suggest using:
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  • Authy
  • Duo Mobile
  • Authenticator

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