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.

Was this content helpful?

Frequently asked questions.

Cash a Check service in the PayPal app allows you to cash checks and have them credited to your PayPal Cash Plus account, using the PayPal app on your mobile device. You simply take a picture of the check you want to cash, and send it to us for review. If your check is approved, you have the option to pay a fee and get your money credited to your PayPal Cash Plus account in minutes, or if you don’t need the money immediately, you can get your money in 10 days with no fee, if the check is not returned unpaid.

Here’s how to cash a check from your PayPal app: 
1. Tap More at the bottom of the home screen.
2. Tap Cash a check (we'll ask to for permission to access your location and camera).
3. You'll be asked to set up a PayPal Cash Plus account (if you don't have a PayPal Cash Plus account already). 

4. Enter the check amount, take a picture of the front and back of your endorsed check with your mobile device and tap Next.
5. Select how quickly you want to have access to your money and click Confirm.
6. It usually takes a few seconds to review a check for approval, although it can take 3-5 minutes and in rare circumstances, up to an hour to verify enough check information to approve your check.
7. If your check is approved, you’ll be prompted to write “VOID” across the front of your check and submit another photo showing it has been voided. Do not write “VOID” on your check until you are prompted to do so, after you receive confirmation that your check was approved.
8. Once finalized, you’ll see a confirmation page verifying the amount of the credit and when the money will be available in your PayPal Cash Plus account.

Need more information?

How do I use the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Who provides the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
What kinds of checks can I cash with the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Is there a check limit when using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
When will my money be available if I used the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Why do I need to turn on location services when using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Why should I turn on push notifications in the PayPal Mobile app when using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Is my data secure when using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
What are the fees to use the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
How do I take a picture of a check using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
Why is the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app saying my check isn't filled out?
Why am I being asked to ‘VOID’ my check while the using Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?
I’m using the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app and my check wasn’t approved. Why?

Here is how:

The PayPal App:

  1. Go to
  2. Click Get the PayPal App.
  3. Select the phone you have and click Download.

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

The PayPal Mobile Web:

  1. Go to
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Click Send or request money.
  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.

You can select a preferred payment method for payments made through the regular checkout process, as well as Goods and Services via Send Money. You also have the option to select a different preferred method for online purchases vs. in-store purchases. You can set your preferred payment method on our website or in the PayPal app. Once you send money, you are not able to cancel or reverse the transaction. Please check the details of this transaction carefully.

We’ll use cookies to improve and customize your experience if you continue to browse. Is it OK if we also use cookies to show you personalized ads? Learn more and manage your cookies