What are the pros and cons of building an app versus a responsive website as an MVP?

I am building an MVP to prove a new business concept around using technology to help women research beauty products. I am getting conflicting advice around whether the MVP should be built as an App or as a Mobile Responsive website. Longer term, I see the App being the predominant platform for our service and my target market are the millenial segment who are high smart phone users. I would love some advice on pros and cons of the App versus Website route for testing an MVP?


This is a great question and an important one as well. I would start by identifying:

Who is your target market?
How will they use your product? On the go? On their laptop or on their mobile device?
What kind of technology does your product need? Can it be built as a simple website or does in need to be an app (i.e. you need push notifications, integration with other mobile apps, etc).

On the other hand, how much time and budget do you have? Typically a responsive website is faster and cheaper to build than an app and will get you out the door faster.

Answered 8 years ago

I built a social discovery platform to help pregnant and new moms discover, find and buy baby products. Since this is a MVP I suggest the quick and dirty method.

Quick and Dirty:

Buy a Wordpress template (they come responsive), style it to what you are trying to do. Become an Amazon affiliate to pull the products. You or someone else write about the beauty products. That is your MVP.

Long term items to think about:

1. Regardless if you have an App or a responsive website you will need a Content Management System.

2. Depending on the demographics you are targeting it will dictate what to build. More likely build an App for the long haul.

3. How will they accessing the app or site? Will you be sending weekly newsletters? or weekly push notifications?

4. What do you want the women to do on the platform? Discover then buy?

5. Where will you be finding the products from? You could use Amazon API or Viglink API to bring in the products and make commission.

If you want to discuss further shoot me a message.

Answered 8 years ago

I am currently advising a cosmetics and high fashion wear entrepreneur. My understanding of their data and demo shows that the buying decision - which is why you're in this game, right? - depends on two things: explanation and comparison.
In other terms, 'what is this?' and 'is it the best of it's kind?'.

With those being the asks, a responsive website would be best for 'closing sales' till you have a recognized brand.

Let's get on a call to figure out how to divide the utility of site and app to give customers the best overall experience, and for you, the most sales!


Answered 8 years ago

I can provide you with my thoughts, they are a little one sided but I feel, for good reason. While everybody believes they have the next best idea not everything even great ideas take off. Thus the whole concept of the MVP. Get something out there get people using it, start generating revenues and then invest further. It is my opinion that because the responsively designed website can reach a higher audience, ie everyone with the internet, mobile or otherwise this is the best direction for 90% of MVP's.

The thought here for me, is simple. Build it once. With an App, you will have to build for the given platform(s) iOS as well as Android, unless you wanted to test it on a smaller segment then focus on just one, probably iOS. But then don't forget that this will only work on mobile devices, and because it is an app built for a platform that is constantly changing you too will need to upgrade the app, in some cases just to keep it alive, rather than focusing on enhancements that your user/customer is looking for.

Those are just a few of my thoughts, the other is that building an app will need the involvement of a different developer base and to do it correctly will probably increase your overall costs to get your MVP to market.

In the end, I would say build something that is accessible to a wider reach then once its proven its viability start rolling out the iPhone and android apps. (I am pretty sure Clarity itself is a case in point of website before app development).

Hope this helps.

Answered 8 years ago

As a product designer, I get asked this question by clients often. Start by asking: Who is your user? What will this product help them accomplish? What does your brand offer in this space better that no one else can (your gift)? Are there inherent qualities in either platform that you must have in order for this to work? (For example, an accelerometer.)

It's less about pros and cons and more about proving your MVP through a technology that's most useful for your user. You may start focused on one and eventually build out the other, if you can prove the concept. Take the Spring shopping app as a great example.

The awesome team over at Crew built a tool to help. One of the main concerns is budget, but if you have a technical cofounder, you are one step ahead.

Let me know if I can help more over a call and good luck!

Answered 8 years ago

My rule of thumb is this: Unless you must harness specific features available only by building an app, build a mobile site. Mobile sites can get much more traffic and usage because the user does not have to install yet another app that takes time and space on the device.

Answered 8 years ago

As with any other website, a mobile website is a browser-based way of accessing internet content. Unlike regular websites, it's designed specifically for mobile devices, and therefore is not displayed perfectly on desktop. Along with mobile, there's another broader concept of optimizing websites for smaller screens: we're talking about a website with responsive design. A responsive website contains HTML pages linked together, which are viewed in browsers over the internet. Here you won't find anything out of the ordinary. However, unlike regular websites, this particular type is geared to displaying correctly on all sizes of screens. It works well not only with mobile-friendly websites and desktop versions of them, but also properly scales down for smartphones and tablets with touchscreen interfaces. Therefore a responsive web design goes perfectly with the mobile device just as much as a mobile website.
Compatibility. A website enhances the user experience across different types of mobile devices. In contrast, a mobile application requires developing a separate version for each operating system and device type.
Broader Reach. Due to the multi-device support that responsive web design provides across various platforms, it's becoming easy to reach a broader audience than a mobile app can reach. In the "app vs website" debate, the website definitely wins in terms of the potential audience.
Support and Maintenance. Websites also cost less to upgrade. You need to maintain just a single version of them. Compared to mobile apps, which require downloading of every single update, responsive/mobile websites let you change the content or design just by editing them once and allow you to do that efficiently and flexibly.
Convenience. Unlike an application, a responsive/mobile website can't leverage all smartphone features as efficiently. Cameras, GPS, phone dialing, and other features integrated into mobile devices aren't always well developed for responsive/mobile websites. Another limitation to user benefits is a device's screen size. Of course, portability is the key reason why users enjoy having smaller devices on the go. However, mobile devices display a lot less content compared to a computer monitor or laptop screen. Both responsive design and mobile websites don't fully access all the content available on the desktop.
User Experience. Since mobile experiences significantly differ from desktop experiences, implementing the same interface for both platforms may harm your UX strategy.
Offline Access. Even if you design your mobile website in the lightest and most informative way possible, it still may work offline with only limited functionality using cached pages.
There are so many factors that are due to word count I can't list out all. We can schedule a call in more detail
drone marketplace What recommendations do you have to create a marketplace for FAA 107 licensed drone pilots to exchange services with companies?
Your marketplace has so many license limitations including FAA. You have to think about licensing and fees from FAA. The rest process will be very normal like other marketplaces. After developing a marketplace you should think about Digital marketing and how to monetize your market with your local and region related keywords
I need help to build the finance projection on my business to-b
most important you need to understand the basics of your finance. The next important step is understanding Finance tools, automation, and integration tool which can help you and your website. The most important part you required a mentor how to have 16 plus years of experience in an online marketplace. you can always contact me with further questions.

Answered 3 years ago

Unlock Startups Unlimited

Access 20,000+ Startup Experts, 650+ masterclass videos, 1,000+ in-depth guides, and all the software tools you need to launch and grow quickly.

Already a member? Sign in

Copyright © 2024 LLC. All rights reserved.