Obviously, the best advice is to have both eventually. Having said that, which one should you start with, and why? In this answer, I’ll go through the benefits of a website and an app. In the end, it will be an easy decision to make.
ECommerce, like any other business form, is not a one-size-fits-all. The rule of thumb is to tweak existing structures to address your unique situation.
To the crux of the matter; what are the advantages of using a website for your eCommerce business?
It enhances your business visibility
Apps are making a lot of progress in terms of search visibility in recent times. However, websites still have a full advantage. The most popular search engine, Google does not yet give apps the kind of visibility it gives to websites.
So, potential clients are more likely to find you if you have a website than if you only have an app. App visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) will surely increase in the coming years.
Since you’re just starting out, you may consider having a website first; it’s easier for people to find you there. Thankfully, there are effective eCommerce website building services that help you to build your site easily. You can also hire a web developer if you don’t have the time.
It gives you a good start in the competition
Unless you’re the only one selling a particular product in the entire world, you need to deal with competition. For other forms of businesses, your competition may be limited to businesses in your locality or country.
In eCommerce, competition can come from any part of the globe. So, how does having a website help you here?
When you advertise your products, either on social media or search engines, you’re basically inviting people from the advertising platform to your eCommerce platform.
Now, which one would you prefer – to click an ad that takes you straight to the product page or one that asks you to download an app? It’s much easier to go straight to the website landing page.
Using apps as your eCommerce platform has its own benefits too. In fact, most people prefer to use mobile apps to access eCommerce stores. According to research, about 3 in 4 people prefer using mobile apps over websites. What distinct benefit does an app offer?
While a website will help you to gain new customers, an app will help you retain them. When a customer downloads your app and makes a purchase, the app remains on their phone menu.
Usually, the app is able to push notifications every now and then. It’s a way of keeping your business in the customer’s consciousness until they need to make another purchase.
The most important thing here is that the customer has a smooth experience from the beginning to the end of their purchase. If they made the purchase through an app, they will surely come back when they need you again.
When you’re just starting out, you need a website. It’s easier to acquire customers through your websites because it’s easier to convert from ads. Apps make it easier to retain your customers.
An easy way to do this is adding a call to action on your website that asks the customer to download your app. Make sure you follow up one that happens. Don’t fumble the bag.