Back to Basics: Are E-commerce Websites a Better Bet Than Apps?

The classic strategy for small businesses

May 9, 2024

By: Maria

Did you know that the number of e-commerce users in the United States is expected to increase by 61.4 million, reaching a peak of 331.46 million by 2029? This continuous rise, marking a 22.73 percent increase over five years, underscores the expanding scope of e-commerce. Such significant growth highlights the importance of mobile-friendly e-commerce websites, especially for small businesses aiming to maximize reach and minimize investment.

While apps can offer streamlined experiences, e-commerce websites remain crucial for their accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and broader reach.

The Advantage of Websites Over Apps

Greater Accessibility for All Customers

Websites are universally accessible. Customers don’t need to download anything; they simply type in a URL or click through from a search engine. For small businesses like Young Blood Boutique, which offers unique art and jewelry, a visually compelling website can attract both local and international art lovers without the barrier of app installation.

Cost-Effective Development and Maintenance

Developing and maintaining an e-commerce website is generally less costly than an app. For startups and small operations like Break Roasters, which offers specialty coffee online, budget constraints make websites a more viable option. Websites can be updated and scaled with fewer resources, allowing businesses to allocate funds to other critical areas like product development and marketing.

A vibrant 3D illustration of a stylized delivery truck in pink and blue, loaded with multiple orange packages, representing the efficiency and scalability of e-commerce websites for small business logistics and delivery services. The cartoonish design emphasizes the playful and accessible nature of online shopping platforms.

SEO and Visibility

Websites have a distinct advantage when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). A well-optimized website can attract new customers through organic search, something that apps cannot do directly. For businesses aiming to establish a strong online presence, like Young Blood Boutique, appearing in search engine results can significantly increase visibility and customer acquisition.

Easier to Update and Scale

Websites can be quickly updated with new content, products, and features without requiring users to download updates. This makes it easier to keep your business’s offerings fresh and engaging. For a business like Break Roasters, regularly updating the site with new coffee blends or brewing tips can keep customers returning without the need for them to update an app.

Broad Device Compatibility

Unlike apps, which may require different versions for iOS and Android, websites are universally compatible across all devices and operating systems. This broad compatibility ensures that small businesses can reach customers regardless of the device or browser they use, removing any technological barriers that might limit customer engagement.

Who Really Benefits From an E-commerce Website?

E-commerce websites are particularly beneficial for businesses that rely heavily on organic search traffic and those with a wide range of products. Art galleries, boutique stores like Young Blood Boutique, specialty food and beverage vendors like Break Roasters, and businesses with limited IT resources find websites to be particularly advantageous.

In conclusion, while apps can provide a tailored shopping experience, the accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and SEO benefits of e-commerce websites make them indispensable for small businesses. They offer a practical, scalable, and efficient way to reach a wide audience without substantial upfront investment. For small businesses pondering their digital strategy, a well-designed e-commerce website could be the most strategic launchpad for online success.