11 Jan
2011

Sylvain Marcotte

By

Business in Vancouver reported how the Best Buy app helped increased their sales during the Christmas season. We always thought that stores like Best Buy were well suited for having their own app. Now as you read this, you may ask yourself why Best Buy didn’t simply create a mobile website of their website instead? Well here is what we think the reasons are:

  1. Best Buy has a loyal fan base with recurring visitors. This year alone, we have spent quite a bit of our IT budget at Best Buy. Having the tasks simplified in an App makes our life easier for ordering. It also cuts off the competition as we may simply forego looking at other stores since buying from Best Buy is so easy. Think the fake Staples button that you saw in those commercials. Best Buy made the button real.
  2. Native apps are perfect for doing repetitive tasks. No need to wait for pages to load specially when internet connectivity is not at its best. Only a little bit of textual data needs to go across the air and no fancy graphics beside maybe a small thumbnail for the product. Also native controls are faster and better suited to handle common tasks making the whole experience easier. Repeated tasks can also be saved in lists/database and reused later much like favorites and you can manage them using standard iOS behaviours like the Edit, Toggle, and Delete or row swipe which is standard in most apps with tables.
  3. Native apps have access to the phone resources such as GPS, Camera, Accelerometer, or Contact list. For example, the Best Buy app can let you know the stores closest to you.
  4. Best Buy wanted to have their brand on the iPhone. Having a mobile web page doesn’t expand your brand like having a Best Buy icon. When users loan their phone to their friends, the Best Buy logo is there.

Now if you have an existing website but your website doesn’t have great numbers for recurring visitors (check the new visits statistics in Google Analytics) and you don’t expect a lot of repetitive tasks, we suggest that a mobile version of your website maybe more cost effective. You can easily turn a website into a mobile version using simple CSS techniques. Alternatively, you can make use of services such as WPTouch Pro (if you use WordPress) or one of the few converter services that exist out there; however, if the four points above speak to you, an App probably makes a lot of sense.