Mobile Ready: is it time to ditch the app?

In Featured on App, Omnichannel by Vaughn Highfield

Mobile Commerce

Making your website mobile friendly might be a better option

When the iPhone launched back in 2007 with it’s glossy curved back and polished glass screen it offered a future that so few had ever thought of. It also brought with it the promise of a life guided by independent apps that provided a perfect stream of information or access to specific features right from your phone.

It was heralded by many as the future of interactivity, showing signs that having an individual app on mobile may well be how mCommerce moves forward. But now, nearly seven years later, the mobile landscape has changed. There’s an abundance of different phone services to cater for (although only two or three real platforms to deal with), and that takes time and money to deal with. So, that 2007 future vision looks to have become far to segregated. So what’s the solution?

Well, taking a leaf from the world of publishing might not be a bad idea.

As pointed out by AdWeek, many magazine and newspaper apps have begun to see traffic drop off, while website traffic from mobile devices grows exponentially. As this happens, the apps are updated less and less, and more people flock to the sites because they make use of mobile-optimised interfaces and reactive website design – meaning a new website doesn’t need to be built depending on the size of screen its being viewed on. It makes for a far more engaging experience compared to a mobile built ‘m.’ site, and is far easier to use than an installed app. In fact, it’s more likely that readers come to the website due to knowing it’s name and being able to Google it, as opposed to having to download and install an app to read the content they want.

This got me thinking, as the same model can be applied to mobile commerce. There’s still a much healthier market for mobile apps, but perhaps a truly mobile-optimised site could help increase non-app mobile sales?

It would mean that anyone who fancies shopping on the go with you won’t need to download your brand’s app just to make a purchase. It also means that they won’t be squinting and tapping on small links and tiny thumbnails on a site designed for a desktop. And,  if done correctly, your reactive mobile site will look gorgeous on any size screen, instead of the typically sterile ‘m.’ sites you find out there – those horrible ones where the larger the screen you have, the worse it looks. Tesco’s mobile site is a prime example of design done wrong.

While publishers are trying to increase revenues and usage of mobile apps through ‘freemium’ models, perhaps all your business needs to do is to improve its browser-based mobile experience.

It’s worth remembering that only dedicated customers will bother to download your mobile app in the first place.


[Image: Mobi-Cart]