Ten years ago there were 3 million websites and 569 million people online; today there are 555 million websites and 2.27 billion people have internet access. Back then some businesses may have considered investing in a website to be a luxury or novelty. Nowadays businesses can barely survive without a web presence and are beginning to adapt to the mobile web.
Mobile internet usage is set to overtake fixed internet access by 2013 according to comScore. With 4G becoming widely available and operators installing Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, consumers are beginning to enjoy truly instant access to the internet wherever they are. Given these changes, it seems we’re finally approaching an answer to the question “mobile sites vs apps: which one do I need for my business?” and Apps World exhibitor Pitney Bowes believe, for most purposes, mobile sites are coming out on top.
Currently, however, mobile apps are still seen as the method of choice for businesses to go mobile. Apple App Store and the Google Play store are seeing around a billion apps downloaded every month. Moreover, users typically spend more time on mobile apps than they do on websites and, since content is pre-downloaded or updated when an internet connection is available, content on apps can be used at any time. Altogether, at first glance it seems apps provide an impenetrable business case. They look great, everyone is talking about them and everyone is downloading them.
But when considering going mobile businesses need to think about their business needs, not current trends. Businesses also have to recognise that if they want to commit to an app based mobile approach they either have to dedicate themselves to one platform or double their investment to cater for both iOS and Android. Apple and Google benefit from each app download so keeping a buzz going around apps is in their interest and businesses often fall for it.
To diffuse this hype we’ve summarised the advantages mobile sites pose. Firstly, they’re viewable on any mobile device and typically cost far less to develop. Unlike apps which may need recertification on their affiliated app store, mobile sites can be easily and freely updated once set up. Additionally, rather than downloading an app, accessing a mobile site is less of a drain on data and doesn’t clutter up your smartphone. Apps essentially create a walled garden; by developing a mobile site instead, businesses can naturally extend their online presence to the 1.08 billion who have a smartphone.
There are 4.5 million SMEs in the UK, accounting for 99% of all enterprise the across the nation. Creating an app of a high enough quality to actually be recognised by consumers in app stores is often going to be far too expensive for most businesses. What most businesses need is to be available online via mobile as they are via desktop. Businesses need to be reachable by consumers, whether for information or to make a purchase, and mobile makes this instant. Pitney Bowes recognise this and have made it easy for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the mobile phenomenon.
Find out more at Apps World, come and meet them in the free-to-attend exhibition.