To Mobile App or Not To Mobile App? That is the Question.

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To Mobile App or not to Mobile App? That is the question.

Written by: Stephanie Farber

This Shakespearean dilemma adapted for the twenty first century provokes some interesting thoughts about the mobile era. Is the ROI of a mobile app worth fighting for? There are a lot of companies out there, and subsequently a lot of mobile apps, which means your app could easily get lost in a crowd of a million others. If you’re going to go through the trouble of developing a mobile app, it’s important to make sure it will be valuable to the customer.

And more than valuable, it should offer an experience that surpasses the one they can get simply from visiting a mobile version of your website. Are you offering rewards that they can only get by having the app downloaded? Is there a saved cart or favorites section that wouldn’t exist on the website? Can they use fingerprint recognition to log in to the app? Fingerprint recognition brings us to another interesting potential issue: security.



With all the personal data we store in our phones, many people are often worried about security. And when you’re inputting credit card or bank account information, people want to know that the payment will be protected from fraud. That’s why it’s important to have a best-in class payment provider with top of the line fraud solutions, like the options offered by our valued partner, Kount. Security concerns of course are not specific to mobile apps, whether you have an app or not, you’ll want to offer a secure experience.

Some consumers are happy to use a mobile version of a website as long as is displays well and it is easy to use, especially since apps often take up a lot of space. I don’t know about you, but I always seems to be running out of space on my phone, and this limited space forces mobile users to be selective about the apps they download and keep. To app or not to app is a fun question to pose to Hamlet, and it’s easy to play either side of the argument, but let’s take a real look at what the checkout experience looks like on a mobile app vs a mobile web page.

I’m moving into a new apartment next month, and Wayfair’s emails are always pretty enticing, so I’m going to buy a new couch on their site.

Wayfair Mobile App

The loading screen is already getting me excited about purchasing furniture. Next I have the option to sign up for their newsletter, I’m going to skip this for now. The home setting brings me to what’s new, but I know I want a couch, so I’m going to navigate directly to furniture. They have a pretty good search functionality, so I’ll search for sectionals. Choosing the couch I wanted was a breeze, as was adding to the cart. The icons and navigation are really obvious and seamless here. When I visit my cart to checkout, my payment options are PayPal, MasterPass and credit cards.

Well done Wayfair, for hopping on the mobile train! I’m going to use a credit card, which brought me to another cool feature, scanning a picture of your card instead of having to input information. I’m not going to complete my purchase today, but getting through the checkout process was really simple, and an enjoyable experience. What’s really important to note here is that I was able to checkout within the app. Not getting bounced out to an external webpage makes a world of different for the user experience. Work with a payment processor who has the mobile SDKs you need to provide your customers with a seamless in-app experience will lead to higher conversions.

Wayfair Mobile Site

The mobile site loaded quickly, and is fairly well laid out. There is a rotating image with furniture ideas on the home page, and a visible search bar above so I can search for my needs. When I search for sectionals here, a pop up appears on the bottom prompting me to call a personal shopper. A bar also pops up on top to give me the option to download (or in my case open, their mobile app). I added a couch to my cart pretty easily and proceeded to checkout. Here I was met with my first annoyance, I have to sign in to continue. After inputting my email, i was directed to a second screen to put my password in. Strange that this wasn’t all one screen. Mildly annoyed, I’ll carry on.

There is an option here to remember me so I don’t have to go through this again, which is major thumbs up. After selecting my shipping address, a full screen pop up takes over for a Wayfair credit card. I’m not interested, and not super pleased about this prominent display. The checkout auto directs to a credit card payment screen and when I scroll down, I can see PayPal and MasterPass options. All in all, getting to this point was much more frustrating and intrusive than the experience in the app.



The experience was much more enjoyable in the app, it felt a lot less invasive, and navigation settings were much easier. I’m not a huge fan of pop-ups (I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who is) and they felt particularly more obnoxious on a mobile device than they do on a desktop where it is much easier to click out of them. In the case of Wayfair, the answer is clear: app-solutely.


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