How to Choose Between Responsive Website and Mobile App for Your eCommerce Business

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How to Choose Between Responsive Website and Mobile App for Your eCommerce Business

In the era of Mobilegeddon, it is very much understandable that your eCommerce website requires a solid mobile commerce strategy. According to Scott Kilmartin, Director of Strategy at Online Store Guys, “Mobile usage on e-commerce sites has dramatically risen and behavior patterns have significantly changed over the past year. Previously mobile was a predominantly a research device, now it’s become a purchase device.”

Modern day businesses and brands are well aware of the need to adapt to the mobile interfaces. However, despite the awareness, modifying your eCommerce business to mobile is a confusing process in both marketing terms and technical perspective.

Responsive Website vs Mobile App

To keep up to the Google’s new search ranking criteria and effectively cater to the ever growing mobile-commerce, many businessmen and ecommerce website designer struggle with one simple yet difficult question of all times. Should we design a responsive website or focus on building a native mobile application for our eCommerce business?

It is a tough choice to make since both the options come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages which must be considered before finalizing anything. Besides, a lot depends on the business goals, target audience, and long term strategies.

Pros of Responsive Web Design

In easy words, Responsive Web Design is the perfect example of effective designing, better content display on smaller screens, thereby offering an extraordinary shopping experience to the online users. Below listed are some noteworthy advantages of the responsive designs to the e Commerce sites:

1. Low Maintenance

Choosing the responsive web designing can drastically cut down the majority of the maintenance cost. Some online merchants keep the separate mobile versions of their websites that lead to increased maintenance costs of the e-commerce site. Besides, you are required to update the content two different places. Remember. it is easier to maintain one site that a number of sheets for multiple device forms.

2. Google Loves Responsive Design

Google prefers the responsive design over the separate mobile version. Separate HTML and URL of the mobile version of the website makes it tough for the Google to index and rank the e-commerce site in searches. On the other hand, a responsive site share the same HTML and the URL as its parent version, thereby making it a lot easier for the Google to find, index and crawl it on the mobile.

3. Effective Utilization of Content

E commerce companies frequently change the web content. Having separate versions of the same site makes it very difficult to upload the content separately to separate sites. However, with a responsive design, the same content can be utilized for the smartphones, tablets, and desktop as well. Besides sharing the same content under single URL makes it easier for the users to connect and interact with your website, thereby making your online eCommerce business a success.

4. SEO friendly

In most of the cases, two version of the site, both mobile and web impacts the page ranking. On the contrary, a single version improves the page ranking. Besides, a responsive website Design helps In mobile SEO too.

Reasons to choose a mobile app

If the companies are looking for the mobile version of the website, the most common option for a web design company is to offer a mobile site. It is a separate version of your website which users are redirected when they access the website through a mobile device. The key benefit of implementing a separate mobile site is to offer an optimized view for the tablets and other handheld mobile devices.

Then, we have a Mobile App. It integrates the versatility of the web with functions of the handheld touch-enabled devices. Mobile applicationsare built to run from the central server and utilize the technologies like HTML5, jQuery, and others. The underlying tech includes CSS JavaScript and HTML. Mobile apps are compatible with most of the smartphones, thereby making it easier for you to showcase your content to the extensive mobile audience. Below listed are some noteworthy advantages of the Mobile Apps to the e Commerce business owners:

1. Quick and Flexible

Mobile Apps offer a superior buying experience for its speed and flexibility.

2. Product pre-purchase

Mobile Apps offer a great choice when your customers experience or test a product pre-purchase. For example, an eCommerce fashion store app enables you to showcase how a dress looks like similar to an online dressing room experience that can definitely help you convert more mobile sales.

3. Extensive consumer base

If you carry a large consumer base that accesses your website through mobile, then investing in a mobile app would be appreciated.

A superior user experience has always been a key requirement for the customers. Mobile services should be easy to navigate, user-friendly, simple and should be able to provide seamless transaction, especially when it comes to eCommerce and online shopping.

4. Choose what’s right for your business

Choosing what’s right for your business depends on your requirements and business goals. According to Kilmartin “For a small to medium-sized store, a responsive website that adapts itself to tablet and smartphone is the best and most cost-effective option 95 per cent of the time and when you have a large customer base that is buying regularly from you, then a mobile app maybe the right choice.”

Besides, nobody can ignore the usefulness of a mobile app, especially when it comes to the e-commerce business. E-commerce websites experience a heavy influx of customer visits through a mobile app. A 2015 study has revealed that 41% smartphone owners have made at least one purchase from their mobiles and 85% consumers prefer mobile apps over a website.

Well, this doesn’t mean that a web platform or a web application can be entirely neglected. If you have frequent content updates, a responsive website is easier to update and manage. If you plan to reach out to a large number of the consumer while offering sales across multiple device types and your concentration is more on flawless UX and excellent performance, the mobile apps beat the competition hands down.


Though, these solutions can work amazingly well and complement each other, there are many areas to consider while making a decision. While finalizing a responsive website and mobile app for your e-commerce business always keep a few things clear in your mind: Your budget, your business goals, and your target audience.


Bhavin M

Bhavin M, co-founder of Icecube Digital, spends much of his time creating simple but valuable content which helps ecommerce entrepreneurs to grow their online business.

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