The growth of mobile around the world is truly astounding. And with it’s unparalleled rise in dominance, it is a rapidly changing paradigm for global brands and retailers to understand how to connect with customers on mobile.
The outdated debate of whether it’s best to build a native mobile app or rely on the mobile web has is eclipsed by mobile’s meteoric ascent in digital commerce. Mobile commerce grew 47% in the second quarter of 2014 alone. And as mobile usage outpaces the desktop, nearly a third of all online retail sales this year will be on a mobile device.
These numbers are staggering.
As such, the question of whether a retailer should invest in a native app or mobile web is an outdated question.
If your job is growing mobile revenue, it’s time to kill the native versus mobile web debate. Mobile commerce is too important to rely solely on a single tactic. Rather, brands need to shift to a holistic mobile strategy that accounts for the entirety of the mobile ecosystem.
However, the mobile commerce opportunity is far outpacing the solutions to meet the opportunity: it’s just 12% of digital commerce, despite the fact that half of all time spent on digital retail properties is on mobile. There is far too much money being left on the table. Despite a tightening economy, mobile commerce offers an unparalleled upside for smart brands.
Both the mobile web and native applications have their strengths and weaknesses - and rightly so. Yet for the retailer committed to creating an amazing experience for their customer, native apps provide the most opportunity with a higher conversion rate, greater average order value and per visit value. Not to mention bridging the gap between physical and digital for creative and meaningful in-store experiences. With nearly 70% of customers using their phones in the store, apps provide immense opportunity for rich personalization that connects with the customer where they are.
Growing mobile revenue is too important to only use one tool in the toolbox. Brands have learned to engage their customers and fans wherever they are on social channels from Twitter to Instagram, and now it’s time to give mobile the importance it’s due and connect with their customers on whichever platform and device they may be.
It’s not about creating a device-specific strategy. In as much as you wouldn’t ask “what’s our laptop strategy?” it’s not about asking about the device itself, but rather how does human behavior change based on their location, setting and device at hand. The college student running errands has different needs and expectations than the woman lounging on the couch at home browsing on her iPad.
Yes, developing for iOS, Android, the web (and sure okay, Windows) is a lot of work. But it’s about delivering what makes life easier for your customer - not you.
So kill the versus and focus on developing a holistic mobile strategy built around serving your customer with incredible, useful experiences that delight them and grow your revenue.