In all web projects the client requests that the web page has to be correctly displayed on any device - desktop, tablet or mobile phone -. There are always two options: creating a mobile app or web application or creating a mobile website or use web responsive design.
This decision, however, is not easy because each system has its advantages and disadvantages. In 2013 apps from retail businesses took up to 27 percent of consumer’s time while 67 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website than they are from a website not optimized for mobiles an tablets. Eventually and as usually happens, the best choice is the realization of a mobile website and a mobile application. However, as budgets are tight you should choose one or the other option, depending on the objectives of the company.
The web responsive design option involves the design of a website specially for all devices and is undoubtedly the most economical, quick to develop and, above all, it is accessible from Google taking advantage of SEO or Social Media campaigns.
As regards to mobile applications, or apps, keep in mind that they are not accessible from search engines like Google and we must send users to the app through other ways. In addition, apps should be developed for iOS or Android and Windows Phone, which increases developing costs. However, it is noteworthy that the shopping experience, speed and usability in an App is better than in a mobile website and we can take advantage of mobile’s features such as camera or GPS. Moreover, it is more easy for users to make payments in apps as credit card details are previously stored in the app without having to manually enter it each time you do a purchase as it usually happens on websites.
From our perspective, both developments are complementary and depend on the client's budget. If we had to choose one option, the decision will be based on how important is SEO for the company, if it is critical we should go for the mobile web. If it is a key issue, we can go for the app.