Facebook has a website and an app.

Amazon has a website and an app.

The Home Depot has a website and an app.

Why did these companies spend millions of dollars adding app functionality to their online presence? Why didn’t they just send all their customers to their excellent websites?

They know that the shortest and most direct connection to their customers is via their cell phones, especially during the day. To do that this connection has to be optimized for a positive, simple and easy User Experience (UX).

People may use their computers at home but out and about during the day we all use mobile phones.

Your website is mobile responsive and easily available on your customers’ mobile phones. But that does not mean it’s effective. It’s much easier to navigate your website on a laptop or desktop computer than on a mobile phone. That’s due to the larger screen size.

Websites were built for the larger computer screens of desktop computers. Then came the big change to portable laptops. Screen sizes became smaller but still work well enough. Then came the mobile phone revolution.

Mobile phones started out as phones and that’s still their main purpose. They now have screens and online functionality because that’s what we all want. The problem with mobile phones is that you can’t get a real full-screen experience even with mobile responsive technology. The screen is too small.

Let’s assume you have a mobile responsive website that is the digital home of your company. You keep adding content to make it interesting and informative. It looks great on a computer. But the more content you add to your website the harder it becomes to navigate on the smaller mobile phone.

You can’t just put a big screen website on a small screen mobile phone without sacrificing ease of use and quality of view. Mobile responsive technology helps but does not solve that fundamental problem.

That’s why apps were developed for mobile phones. Apps are to mobile phones as websites are to computers. Apps were designed from the very beginning to add functionality for the smaller sized mobile phones.

When people are out and about they use their mobile phones. It’s difficult to navigate large websites on a mobile phone. That’s why Facebook, Amazon and The Home Depot invested in apps.

The Lumberyard App is a customer-facing app that connects to just those features of your website that are regularly accessed by your customers, such as Account Log-in, Sales, Special Events etc. These are easily organized on the mobile phone home screen for instant access. Your customer can access any other part of your website from them.

The app then provides useful information not found on your website, such as the library of Installation Guides, the regularly updated Construction Digest newsfeed, Local Building Department links and more. The app is designed to be practical, and easy to navigate so that your customers will use it regularly.

Plus, the app provides you with a branded presence on your customers’ phones and allows you to directly communicate with them via push notifications.

Think of your website and your app as a team. Each is great at what it does best. Each is expert at its own specific design functionality. But neither can do everything equally well.

Websites are for computers. Apps are for mobile phones.

To grow your business and connect better with your customers put the two together for the perfect long-term solution.

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