There is a difference between a mobile app and a mobile website or a responsive website as it is called nowadays.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article I will discuss the advantages of having an app for your business. In particular I will focus on those benefits that an app offers over a responsive website.
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Reach more customers
With an app your business will reach the app store. And many people, especially the younger ones, actively are browsing the app store in search for new apps. If your app works fine and performs well with the audience it will get positive reviews and five star ratings and hence will climb up the ladder of the top apps’ list. This will give you more visibility and more readers for your site.
Take advantage of smartphone functions
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If your website pertains to taking of pictures, say, you can design your app to capture images via the smartphone. Does your website have a lot of maps installed on it? Then you may take advantage of the GPS functionality of a smartphone.
Such things cannot be done with a responsive website.
Create a native app
A native mobile app is always tied to a user’s smartphone. This means that the app will function even when the phone has no Internet connectivity. Of course the app in that case will have limited functionality but still that’s better than nothing.
Such apps are called native apps and you may consider creating one for your business.
An app will work for a complex design
At a certain level of complexity the traditional approach to creating a responsive design, the HTML5 language may not work properly for your goals. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not undermining the importance of HTML5 markup in any way. All I am suggesting is that an app will offer far more flexibility to your design than a mobile website will.
App is ideal if you own an online store
If you own a store online i.e. if you are selling books or clothes on your website then you should consider getting an app. Yes the store will work fine even on the mobile website but an app will provide far more advantages. A properly built app will be much easier to use and navigate than a responsive site and will help your customers buy things easily.
App is useful for heavy information transfers
Generally speaking an app will work better and load faster than a responsive website because it doesn’t rely as much on the Internet as a site does to load and process data. In fact some apps have certain features which will allow you to save parts of the website on your mobile phone for easy viewing later even when you are not connected to the Internet.
In the end I must mention that getting an app designed is costlier than getting a responsive website designed. You may want to read Mashable’s article Is Developing a Mobile App Worth the Cost? For further information.