Where a mobile website beats an app

May 2020

At Rare Earth Digital we’ve built quite a number of apps now – mostly white-label, but we’ve also found a lot of cases where an app isn’t the right way forward and the mobile web is the way to go. But how do you know which?One recent commission we received was to build a mobile web front-end for a system that integrated paid-for ‘tickets’ using QR codes to take the user to a mobile website which then allowed the user to enter a competition. Filling in the form the data was then sent to a server that logged it and, later, decided who had won. The winners collected their winnings by returning the printed card to the cashier.

For these kinds of systems it’s tempting to look to build a shiny new app, but in reality you can quickly see that the web solution is superior.

Linking a QR code or url on a printed card to a personalised screen on the smartphone is a one-step process with the web, but with an app the user would first need to be convinced to go to an AppStore and download the app before they could start.

Then the playing of the game requires the user to be able to connect to the server in order to play. Apps excel where you can still use them with intermittent data connections (e.g. shopping apps where you can fill your cart even offline, then only need to connect at the end).

In this case we can rely on an always-on internet connection, and so the web is a good solution.

Mobile use continues to grow. So the question of what to choose between web or app will remain relevant for those businesses that aim at increasing their mobile presence. Which way to go depends on the goals you establish for your business strategy.

To increase your customer base a responsive mobile website will serve a good deal. If you wish to enhance engagement with the loyal clientele, an application is the best choice.

Moreover, it is a great way to combine both strategies and build both solutions covering new and already existing audience. So choose the right tool to reach your business goals!

If you’re not sure whether you need an app or a mobile website to bring your business fully into the mobile world, drop us a line and we can advise you.