I came across this article today and there is a lot of useful facts that i like to summarise here.

1. "We know m-commerce is on the rise and brand websites needs to be mobile optimised. But if you wanted to go one step further, and stay ahead of the pack, you’d need to have a mobile app, Anthony Fung, managing director of Zalora Indonesia, said."

Amen to that! Well, i have plenty of arguments with peers and clients over "mobile optimised sites" vs "mobile apps". Clearly both has their pros and cons, with websites winning on the terms of budget but mobile apps winning on the terms of features. I usually end the argument with these critical functions that will win hands down - "notifications" and "downloaded content to use offline". 

2. "Today, 50% of Zalora’s transactions occur through its mobile app. Much of the marketing department’s time, according to Fung, is spent on brainstorming ways to get consumers on their app. He added that Indonesia today also has a huge underground e-commerce society fuelled by social media. Unfortunately, the trust in banner ads (rightly so), are not high due to fraud cases. Having a brand app, therefore, allows for more secure transaction."

A mobile app being a compiled software is definitely more secured than a website. The hacker would need to hack several layers (phone OS, decrypt app, decompile app, find server then cloud server then payment security etc) in order to even reach your data. But for website, it is more direct and if you are using an open source website or ecommerce platform, the blueprint of the website is open for everyone to see. Other than security, because the phone could cache your data, it is more convenient and quicker to make the purchase. Just search up on Taobao and you would understand the sheer volume of mobile purchase vs web purchases.

3. "Push notifications, according to Fung also work far better than emails. He said "People don’t check emails as often as push notifications on phones. Push notification is the new CRM"."

This further strengthen my first point. In Singapore, PDPA law blocks SMS marketing then for email marketing, SPAM filters redirects it. So what is left to reach customers is Push Notification. Its free, its direct and its instantaneous but with great power comes great responsibility. Do not irritate your users with constant irrelevant notification , lest they uninstall your app. Notifications need to carry value to them, something they should not miss out on. In this way, they will look forward to your messages.

4. "Organisations have two seconds – the elevator ride – to connect with a customer, said Priambodo Kusumajaya, analytics channel manager of IBM Indonesia. Empowered customers demand more from brands today. Customers want brands to anticipate and service their purchasing needs and ease of interaction. They want brands to be present in real time, equipt with a complete idea of who they are."

Your app has to be useful or of value to them. It should try to be a tool that helps the user better connect to your brand. Like a patron of a restaurant is able to place an order with his phone is more useful than reiterating what you already have on your website. Sure, you can complement it but the main focus has to be "to serve the user and improve the interaction to the brand experience". So avoid apps that are simply a template of your website, nobody will download it just because they can "quick call" your hotline.

5. Other than being present and pushing messages on social media, what is also important is listening on the platform, according to Sakshi Prakash, senior analyst of Lenovo. Quite literally, social media listening is a focus group of millions and this can yield insights for any part of the business. “It can help identify the questions brands didn’t know they needed the answers to,” she said.

Imagine this. You need some help (say Harley Davidson or Levi's). A brand and its community could help you when you can snap a picture of your need and within seconds, either the brand or member of the community is there to help you with a follow up photo or video to solve your pain or give you ideas. Keeping the channel open, you could constantly get the help you need until you decided that its enough. This is the real power of social media on a mobile app. 

 

I hope the article from Marketing website and my views shared has helped you somewhat to decide whether to go for a mobile app or a mobile optimised website.