Are Direct To Consumer Apps On Their Way Out?

Are Direct-To-Consumer Apps On Their Way Out?

While we don’t wish failure on any technology or technologist, we have definitely spotted some trends that make it seem like certain apps are on the way out and direct-to-consumer sales apps (that only have a website in place as a way to push you to their app) are on the decline.

Technology and the trends that drive them will always wax and wane. When Apple and Android were in the throes of their original smartphone battle, it was all about the widget, which is now irrelevant. Around the same time, there was also an “app boom” of sorts and everyone had to have an app for everything. Having a mobile site was important, but having an app was even more important.

These trends are changing yet again, and we’ll explore what’s happening in this blog.

The Future of Online Sales

Now, websites are built responsively and with a mobile-first mindset. Apps are certainly still relevant and some are still thriving. However, statistics are starting to show that website visitors want to stay on the website rather than being diverted to an app.

It’s also been shown that most folks prefer a well-functioning website over being forced to download and exclusively use an app. Whether it’s an eCommerce or Recommerce website doesn’t seem to matter: online shopping the user trends are showing that a responsive website is the way to go. Apps can make an excessive amount of push notifications and eat up precious storage space on a user’s device. It seems we’ll continue seeing users opt for using a website over an app.

Marketing Trends for App vs Website Commerce

How To Decide Between an App or a Website

Recently, we wanted to help one of our clients decide if they’d be adding an app to their commerce site, so we did some market research. What we learned was interesting and pointed in the direction of more mobile sites, and fewer apps.

The top online marketplaces (by monthly visitors) were, unsurprisingly: Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, and Walmart – and the tenth marketplace (by total monthly views) was Etsy. Poshmark, an app-based commerce site, comes in at around 37 on this list, with five times less traffic. What we found most interesting about this was that Poshmark was set up as an app first experience. This means there was a browser-based website serving almost solely as a funnel to their app. Conversely, Etsy was set up as a website-based marketplace and then successfully made the transition to mobile.

To us, the message is clear. When you’re looking at your marketing budget, having a solid responsive website should be prioritized over building an app. If you can do more with your website’s budget by not developing an app – that seems like the wisest choice.

Does Your Website Really Need an App?

The decision to build an app for your commerce site will always be based on what your intended clients really want and need. This is true no matter how many different opinions you read on the subject. When it comes time to decide whether you should build an app for your commerce site, how do you decide?

Research, research, research. Put your Product Owner pants on and dive deep into your intended users by digging into demographic details. Find out what devices they’re using, how they find your app, what marketing they respond to, etc. Explore age ranges, where they live (geographically), et al. Your audience will tell you what they want, and we’ll figure out how to deliver the technology to support it.

Build A Successful eCommerce Website

Daggerhart Lab has built out many successful eCommerce websites through Drupal and Shopify. We’d be happy to help you figure out which platform is best for your company’s needs. There are solid reasons to choose either of these platforms! We’ve got the experience and expertise to assist in this process while honoring your goals and intentions. Reach out to us if you’re ready to start that conversation!

If you’re thinking ahead about which platform you’d like to use, check out our blog called “Choosing An eCommerce Platform” to learn more about what they can do.

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