October 8, 2019

Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites on Shopify: Which Do Shoppers Prefer?

Discover how mobile apps convert and retain higher than mobile websites, and why they are a must-have for Shopify eCommerce brands.

Alex Rosas


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If you plan on running a successful ecommerce website – or any website for that matter – you absolutely must cater to mobile users since 81% of Shopify traffic comes from mobile. Not even Black Friday was immune to the mobile revolution, as nearly 40% of sales on the traditional brick and mortar shopping day came via a mobile device. That’s up almost 10% from the previous year (source).

Statistics show that 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience, yet an alarming 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. That is an extremely high number, and it shows just how great the opportunity is for businesses to capitalize on consumer conversion just by creating mobile responsive and user-friendly websites. A lot of eCommerce businesses rely on having a responsive website as the core of their mobile strategy. After all, as long as mobile users can get to their site, see product details, and check out, that’s all there is, right?

Not exactly. There’s a much better way that is cost and time-effective. For a number of reasons, a mobile app is a far better alternative than only focusing on making your website mobile-responsive (although you should do that, as well).

In this article, we are going to discuss some of the benefits of having a native mobile app for your ecommerce store. Here are the reasons why brands invest in mobile apps based on our experience as an ecommerce mobile app development company.

Mobile Apps Make Payments Easier, Faster and More Secure

When you develop a mobile app, you can include secure payment options and program the app to remember these options for subsequent shopping experiences. This streamlines the buying process for both the consumer and the merchant.

A large factor of Amazon's success has been the ease of their One-Click Checkout for Amazon Prime members. By adding payment options like Apple Pay, you can recreate this seamless checkout experience and have your customers complete the transaction in seconds. Apple Pay loads your Apple account information, including your credit card and shipping/billing addresses, so consumers can purchase with just a fingerprint.

Mobile Apps Allow Push Notifications

Imagine delivering a streamlined, personal experience designed for the mobile device directly to your customer’s hands. Push notifications are the perfect way to engage with your repeat customers who have downloaded your app. Email marketing is cluttered and open rates are far too low. Not only do pushes get 5x open rates, but they are generally opened in real-time.

Additionally, push notifications can be location-based so that you can present customers with special offers when they get near one of your brick and mortar stores. Notifications can also be issued when you need to unload some merchandise and run a special sale or offer a promotion to get the word out about a new item.

You can’t employ push notifications to boost sales if you don’t have an app.

Mobile Apps Encourage Social Sharing

Want customers to do advertising for you by sharing your merchandise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites? Mobile app developers can build social sharing right into the app so that they can alert their friends when you add a cool new product.

Native social sharing has been shown to greatly increase social engagement and sharing.

Apps Give Developers More Control Over the User Experience

Mobile apps allow your developers to design a unique and powerful user experience according to the device the user has. You can control the interface and present a faster service. Apps also allow developers to tailor the experience for the device, which lets you go beyond the limitations of responsive web design and work perfectly with the user’s phone operating system.

Mobile Apps Help Build Brand Loyalty

Nothing puts your brand and products front and center like a mobile app that the customer can easily access anytime they use their phone. Apps become like the virtual eyes, ears, and arms of the shopper — these tools are with them everywhere, always. That makes mobile apps a powerful tool for building and nurturing loyal customers.

Users Prefer Apps to Shopping via Mobile Browsers

When polled, 78% of users said they would rather access their favorite shopping sites via a mobile app than through their mobile browsers. Apps make the shopping experience faster, more secure, and users never have to worry about remembering to log in each time they want to see what’s new or place their usual order.

Still not convinced? Let these statistics do the talking:

  • •Mobile commerce now accounts for over 50% of all eCommerce transactions (source).
  • •57% of mobile customers will abandon a website if they have to wait 3 seconds for a page to load (source).
  • •62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months (source).
  • •Almost 40% of all ecommerce purchases during the 2019 holiday season were made on a smartphone (source).
  • •80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices or find alternative store locations (source).
  • •Apps remain the most efficient channel for retailers, driving a larger percentage of shoppers down the purchase funnel and converting at 3x the rate of mobile web (source).

It goes without saying, the first step in optimizing your sales for customers on mobile is to have a mobile responsive website. This is a necessity considering more web traffic is on mobile than desktop.

However, if you don’t have a native mobile app you’re leaving a lot of money on the table due to increased abandoned checkouts and the inability to drive traffic on demand through push notifications.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to launch an app that syncs in real-time with Shopify, Tapcart is here to help!
To learn more about the benefits of a mobile app and what Tapcart can do for your brand, get in touch with us to speak with a mobile expert.

Your brand’s mobile growth starts today.