What we see right now is the need for
3 website-type methods to communicate your information:
A great looking, updated website. This website should be "responsive" in design. That is, it should respond to the size of a browser window and/or screen. It should also be search engine optimized. In fact, did you know that search engines FAVOR certain types of information and website builds?
Your online shopping cart, blog, online database, and website should all be responsive, light in loading, and easily read.
At this point, it is CRITICAL to make certain your site is optimized. Why? There are so many websites now on the web. Think of the last time YOU searched for something on the web. Chances are, you found MULTIPLE pages of results. If your website is not on the first page for your important keywords, you may very well miss out on customer sales. You can still embed videos, Facebook, newsfeeds, etc.
A mobile version of that site that is "leaner" for smart phone viewing. Usually there are less pages - only the important ones. The reason: only a certain number of links or buttons fit easily across the most typical smart phones. Include a map if you want them to come to you. Include a phone, email, and full website link. Include any other information that is handy. The pages are shorter, pictures much smaller, and tables either non-existent or more narrow. The goals of a mobile site is to load quickly, quickly see the company name and contact information, quickly see the navigation, quickly move to the pages the viewer wants to read, and quickly read the content. You DID see all those "quickly" descriptions, right?
If you have an online shopping cart, make absolutely certain that it is MOBILE FRIENDLY. The time is past when you could ignore mobile viewers and shoppers. Over 50% now use mobile devices to shop. AND - the number of those using smart phones is rising quickly. (Again - that word "quickly"!) They will leave your site if it is NOT smart phone friendly.
A mobile app allows viewers to get that information in a quicker way, without going to their phone's browser, typing in all the website name, etc, etc, and trying to connect. The apps often include a quick click button for "call", email, map, link to full website. The viewer downloads your app to their phone, clicks on it, and your information displays immediately. Typical mobile app content includes: facebook info, picture galleries, YouTube videos, a restaurant's current menu and specials, special time sensitive data, and basic company information.
The main point of a mobile app is for the viewer to quickly click on your icon, and have your information immediately displayed. Your company can continually update your information within the app. This new information then displays within the app. If the structure of the app changes, then the viewer is alerted to download the new app.
Basically the app is to help reduce the pain of:
clicking on the browser app, waiting for it to load,
typing in the website, waiting for it to load, and
navigating the site through the browser