The Appocalypse is Coming, Will Websites Survive?

By Bobbi Leach, CEO

Will websites survive the appocalypse?

Websites are dying and mobile apps are the culprit. Okay, truthfully the web is far from dead. But mobile apps have enough advantages in user experience and other areas that some people believe they will (one day) replace websites all together.

Today, mobile apps dominate digital media consumption and account for 52% of overall digital usage time, and 86% of mobile media usage. Perhaps an app takeover isn’t so far fetched.

Don’t believe it can happen? Well e-commerce megastore, Flipkart, has already announced their plan to shut down their website completely within a year and transition to an app-only model. What’s more interesting is that they have already transitioned their fashion subsidiary, Myntra, to an app-only model.

 

M-Commerce Strategy

 

Let’s be clear, websites aren’t going to disappear overnight. But with 30% of all e-commerce in the US taking place on mobile devices, there is a strong argument for companies to provide a mobile option for their customers. Some companies are even pushing their efforts one step further and creating a native app for mobile devices in an attempt to give their customers a fully responsive and dedicated user experience. The reason they are doing this is because mobile apps have four broad benefits over websites.

 

1. User Experience

 

The difference in usability between mobile apps and websites is noticeable almost instantly. With an app there is no need for users to remember your URL and type it into their browser. The frustrating step of typing (and misspelling) a website’s address is entirely avoided – users simply tap the icon and shop.

 

Mobile apps are also significantly more responsive than the web. Without getting into the specifics of coding and scripts, webpages struggle to match the performance and experience of an app.

 

Native apps are also built for a specific device or platform, such as iOS or Android. Because native apps have been written for a specific device they can take advantage of software in the phone such as GPS, calling, and camera. Retailers can leverage these functions to improve the user experience by using strategies such as offering location-based promotions when a customer is near a store, or making phone numbers click-to-call.

 

If that doesn’t persuade you, then perhaps the research by Compuware will. Their study of 3,500 people found that 85% prefer mobile apps over mobile sites.

 

2. Personalize the shopping experience

 

Mobile apps allow you to gather meaningful data about users, analyze virtually all the various user touch points and interactions, and ultimately help you to provide a more personalized shopping experience.

 

The biggest advantage of apps over webpages is the use of push notifications. Push notifications allow you to send relevant information and personalized promotions directly to a user’s mobile device. A recent report from Localytics found that push notifications significantly increase user engagement. The largest difference was with e-commerce apps, which average 278% more app launches when push notifications are enabled.

 

3. Meet Cross Channel Consumer Demands

 

In a recent post about omnichannel retailing, we highlighted how different shoppers prefer using different channels when engaging with your brand. Well, mobile apps are no different. Research by a mobile marketing network found that 46% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they prefer mobile as their “first screen”. Moreover, Cisco’s 5th Annual Retail Survey found that 55% of shoppers like to use a retailer’s app either to shop, or for research while shopping.

 

So even if you don’t go so far as to abandon your website for an app-only experience like Myntra, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have an app at all.

 

4. Facilitate Payments and Checkout

 

Mobile apps also provide users with a streamlined checkout process. They can do this because apps can store data such as your banking information, credit card information, and login details for mobile payment options. Once this information has been stored, users can effortlessly pay for their online purchases with one-click payments.

 

Starbucks has been experimenting with a mobile app for years now, and mobile payment convenience is an area where they’ve been hugely successful. Customers can choose their coffee before entering the store and then simply scan a QR code on their phone at the register as payment. In 2013, Starbuck announced that 11% of sales came through mobile wallets – which equates to an astounding four million mobile payments per week.

 

Moving Forward

Slowly, but surely, mobile apps are taking over and replacing websites. Don’t expect your favorite sites to disappear anytime soon, but 5 or 10 years down the road webpages may find themselves along side other forgotten technologies like the VHS Player or Sony’s Walkman.

 

What does this all mean for you? Well that depends on you, your business, and your customers. If you create a mobile app with a focus on optimizing user experience, personalization, and payments flows then it can have some serious advantages over a webpage. So even though apps aren’t an absolutely necessity just yet, we encourage you to ask yourself: could my business or customers benefit from having an app?

By Bobbi Leach, CEO

Will websites survive the appocalypse?

Websites are dying and mobile apps are the culprit. Okay, truthfully the web is far from dead. But mobile apps have enough advantages in user experience and other areas that some people believe they will (one day) replace websites all together.

Today, mobile apps dominate digital media consumption and account for 52% of overall digital usage time, and 86% of mobile media usage. Perhaps an app takeover isn’t so far fetched.

Don’t believe it can happen? Well e-commerce megastore, Flipkart, has already announced their plan to shut down their website completely within a year and transition to an app-only model. What’s more interesting is that they have already transitioned their fashion subsidiary, Myntra, to an app-only model.

 

M-Commerce Strategy

 

Let’s be clear, websites aren’t going to disappear overnight. But with 30% of all e-commerce in the US taking place on mobile devices, there is a strong argument for companies to provide a mobile option for their customers. Some companies are even pushing their efforts one step further and creating a native app for mobile devices in an attempt to give their customers a fully responsive and dedicated user experience. The reason they are doing this is because mobile apps have four broad benefits over websites.

 

1. User Experience

 

The difference in usability between mobile apps and websites is noticeable almost instantly. With an app there is no need for users to remember your URL and type it into their browser. The frustrating step of typing (and misspelling) a website’s address is entirely avoided – users simply tap the icon and shop.

 

Mobile apps are also significantly more responsive than the web. Without getting into the specifics of coding and scripts, webpages struggle to match the performance and experience of an app.

 

Native apps are also built for a specific device or platform, such as iOS or Android. Because native apps have been written for a specific device they can take advantage of software in the phone such as GPS, calling, and camera. Retailers can leverage these functions to improve the user experience by using strategies such as offering location-based promotions when a customer is near a store, or making phone numbers click-to-call.

 

If that doesn’t persuade you, then perhaps the research by Compuware will. Their study of 3,500 people found that 85% prefer mobile apps over mobile sites.

 

2. Personalize the shopping experience

 

Mobile apps allow you to gather meaningful data about users, analyze virtually all the various user touch points and interactions, and ultimately help you to provide a more personalized shopping experience.

 

The biggest advantage of apps over webpages is the use of push notifications. Push notifications allow you to send relevant information and personalized promotions directly to a user’s mobile device. A recent report from Localytics found that push notifications significantly increase user engagement. The largest difference was with e-commerce apps, which average 278% more app launches when push notifications are enabled.

 

3. Meet Cross Channel Consumer Demands

 

In a recent post about omnichannel retailing, we highlighted how different shoppers prefer using different channels when engaging with your brand. Well, mobile apps are no different. Research by a mobile marketing network found that 46% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they prefer mobile as their “first screen”. Moreover, Cisco’s 5th Annual Retail Survey found that 55% of shoppers like to use a retailer’s app either to shop, or for research while shopping.

 

So even if you don’t go so far as to abandon your website for an app-only experience like Myntra, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have an app at all.

 

4. Facilitate Payments and Checkout

 

Mobile apps also provide users with a streamlined checkout process. They can do this because apps can store data such as your banking information, credit card information, and login details for mobile payment options. Once this information has been stored, users can effortlessly pay for their online purchases with one-click payments.

 

Starbucks has been experimenting with a mobile app for years now, and mobile payment convenience is an area where they’ve been hugely successful. Customers can choose their coffee before entering the store and then simply scan a QR code on their phone at the register as payment. In 2013, Starbuck announced that 11% of sales came through mobile wallets – which equates to an astounding four million mobile payments per week.

 

Moving Forward

Slowly, but surely, mobile apps are taking over and replacing websites. Don’t expect your favorite sites to disappear anytime soon, but 5 or 10 years down the road webpages may find themselves along side other forgotten technologies like the VHS Player or Sony’s Walkman.

 

What does this all mean for you? Well that depends on you, your business, and your customers. If you create a mobile app with a focus on optimizing user experience, personalization, and payments flows then it can have some serious advantages over a webpage. So even though apps aren’t an absolutely necessity just yet, we encourage you to ask yourself: could my business or customers benefit from having an app?