The start of the holiday season has already passed for some of you, and for others it starts on November 1st. There's still time to get a mobile website up and running using any number of desktop-to-mobile conversion websites.
I can't say enough about the importance of a mobile website, but other experts will say that the true mobile wave of the future is actually in the mobile apps. I disagree completely.
For the last few years we've seen an evolution of mobile websites from difficult to program beasts to something much easier to attain. There are more web programmers with mobile programming skills, and there are more automatic themes available for various content management systems.
On the other hand, developing an application for a mobile device is just more and more expensive. First you need to figure out what device to invest your money in, and then you have to hire a programmer to manage the application for each device. Do you want to support the Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, or maybe even the Blackberry? Each one you choose will increase your cost.
On the other hand, a single mobile website will satisfy the users of all those mobile devices. The choice seems pretty clear from the business owner's "bottom line" point of view.
Last year Nielsen studied 5000 smartphone users to see which they would prefer during the holiday season: Mobile Website or Mobile App. I've included the link to the Nielsen study at the bottom of this Nugget if you'd like to review it.
The study showed that 51% of all smartphone users during Holiday 2011 Season performed some type of shopping related activity on a mobile website and only 28% used an application that was downloaded and installed.
This has been the trend for several years, mobile always beating out applications. Early adopters of smartphones were fearful of downloading apps and would simply open a web browser. I see that the now more commonplace smartphone user wants to use their phone quickly when they are shopping instead of needing to install extra apps.
Mobile applications are good ideas when you have a valuable service to provide again and again. When it comes to retail purchases the consumer will hesitate to download an app that they will simply delete tomorrow.
The cost of development is not worth it unless you can find a valuable long term reason for maintaining your own mobile application. Some jewelers are indeed doing this, but the ones I follow rarely update their app and use it for nothing more than a way to syndicate their Twitter, Blog, and Facebook posts.
So don't bother with a mobile app for your retail jewelry store. Instead contact your website programmer to find out the fastest method of jumping into mobile. It might be easy to convert your site using an online service, or you might be able to install an extra theme or plug in to make it work.
Start this today.
Nielsen Study for your own review: http://ow.ly/ekc1N