July 7, 2021

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile-friendly Websites for eCommerce: What's the difference?

Take a look at why mobile apps should be a no-brainer addition to your omnichannel eCommerce marketing mix and how they significantly outperform mobile-friendly websites.

Gabby Wooden

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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In this article, we unpack exactly why a mobile app should be a no-brainer addition to your omnichannel mix and how they significantly outperform the revenue potential of mobile websites. Regardless of whether a shopper has an ioS or Android mobile device, offering a mobile app is a critical component of your mobile strategy, specifically when it comes to increasing conversion, customer loyalty, and turning your target audience's casual shopping habits into habitual high-spending. The fact is mobile-friendly websites no longer cut it. In today's highly competitive ecommerce world, owning your own marketing channel is crucial when it comes to getting your customer's direct attention in a landscape undetermined by algorithms.

With a mobile app, paying third parties or different platforms for access to your consumers' attention is not a factor you need to consider when budgeting your sales channels to bait customers to your mobile website. Instead, your mobile app is both a marketing and end-to-end sales channel in itself, driving high intent, lucrative traffic, and converting mobile users 2.3x higher than your responsive website. So without further ado, let's look at some key statistics that break down the true difference between mobile apps and mobile websites.

Speed: Which is faster?

Breaking down speed on mobile apps:

The good news? Native mobile apps offer offline functionality and a responsive design, meaning every single page is pre-downloaded and requires zero wait time to navigate. The great news? This is especially important in an increasingly impatient user base, where every second your Shopify web page and website design spends loading on your mobile device results in a 7% loss in your conversions.

Breaking down speed on mobile-friendly websites:

Here's the skinny: loading time is a major player in page abandonment, and just a one-second delay will reduce page views by 11%. Point blank, the faster and more fluid your mobile experience, the longer and higher your customers will shop and convert.

Conversion: Which leads to higher sales?

Breaking down conversion for mobile apps:

Instant page loading, load-free content, app exclusives, push notifications, and streamlined checkout all result in increased conversion opportunities unfound on a mobile site.

Breaking down conversion for mobile websites:

A decrease in conversion rates on website traffic not only has an impact on revenue but also impacts your repeat customer rate. A first-time shopper is 27% more likely to shop a second-time and a second-time shopper is 54% more likely to shop after that. That’s a mighty leap, especially when an average of 41% of eCommerce revenue is driven by repeat customers.


Breaking down retention for mobile apps:

Push notifications are a key player in retaining shoppers and they are a seamless end-to-end sales channel. By keeping your store top of mind, and directing them through a fluid browse-to-checkout experience, repeat visitations on a user's device are markedly increased. Hellooo revenue.

Breaking down retention for mobile websites:

How you build relationships and maximize revenue for each customer is paramount when it comes to creating a scalable business, especially when improving retention by just 1% can lead to a 7% improvement in bottom-line revenue. Mobile apps use streamlined shopping, customized experiences, strategic messaging flows, loyalty programs, app exclusives, and more to improve retention.


Breaking down traffic on mobile apps:

Mobile apps push your top traffic into a sales channel where shoppers are not only more likely to convert but are likely to purchase more, more frequently. Push notifications help organically drive top shoppers into your app on a repeat basis, spiking conversions and traffic, and making a major impact on your revenue.

Breaking down traffic on mobile websites:

Mobile websites are just one of many avenues shoppers can purchase your products, and data shows that brands should have multiple omnichannel sales funnels. Mobile apps are an additional high-performing revenue stream catering specifically to top shoppers that should not be left out of your omnichannel mix. In essence, everyone should be invited to the party.


When it comes to deciding on if you should add a mobile app to your Shopify store, the answer is clear: yes. By adding a mobile app, you are able to give your top shoppers a premium shopping experience which in turn translates into greater brand loyalty and recurring revenue. By remaining top of mind, occupying prime real-estate on your shoppers' phones, and by reaching your audience's directly though push notifications, you are able to drive more traffic and secure higher conversion and retention rates.

Your brand’s mobile growth starts today.