Website vs Application vs Virtual Assistant

Website vs Application vs Virtual Assistant

Peiru Teo
June 3, 2019
Website vs Application vs Virtual Assistant

Table of contents

Where are the consumers? Where should you invest your next marketing dollar? This article explores some dilemma in digital marketing for marketers from the past, present and future. Is it more effective to build a website, a web-app, a native app or add virtual assistants to platforms of every kind?

Omnichannel Strategies

As marketers, we are often encouraged to develop omnichannel strategies, aimed at capturing the consumer’s attention wherever possible. Theoretically, an omnichannel strategy is the way to go as constant exposure leads to familiarity with the brand, which will result in processing fluency for the consumers. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the Mere Exposure Effect. This effect is found to work even below the threshold of recognition (i.e. when people develop ad blindness, the simple exposure to the ad will still affect their perception of the brand unconsciously). 

Companies’ effort to always be one step ahead of the game led to a high level of saturation in the current market. The challenge is finding out how marketers continue to engage and sustain attention from the consumer when the average consumer is reportedly exposed to 4,000 advertisements each day. 


While it is safe to say that every business has its own website, the expectations for the functionality of the website differs for a B2B and a B2C retailer. A B2C retailer’s website is usually populated with all the products possible and the shopping experience is more personalized. However, on a B2B retailer’s website, few products are featured. The website is angled to move interested business clients along the purchase funnel. Clean design and blog posts are also maintained to boost their credibility and professionalism.  

This could have been where the marketers stopped in the past. However, since most users have adopted mobile, user’s consumption behavior with the Internet has changed and it is insufficient to remain solely on the web. In fact, Statista suggested that the number of mobile phone user will reach 4.78 billion worldwide in 2020. Time spent on mobile applications is significantly higher than on mobile browser. This led to the explosion of mobile application adoption. 

Mobile Application

Back in 2013, businesses started to recognize the trend and started creating their own native applications to interact with consumers. There was a lot of buzz around having dedicated mobile applications. Many businesses rushed into creating their native and web applications, and the mobile app ecosystem became saturated quickly. It wasn’t long before “App Fatigue” became a thing too. People got tired of installing too many applications, many of which they do not use often enough. Interestingly, it was the chat applications which prevailed over time. Chat applications created high traction and stickiness which kept consumers’ in the platform possibly more so than social media does today. 



How often do you use your mobile devices? Which applications do you use more? 

Virtual Assistants

Chat applications are a new channel for marketers to push its products and services to their consumers. Coupled with the advancement in Natural Language Programming, conversational interfaces are increasingly developed.  

Virtual Assistants are virtual assistants that can be deployed on various platforms, both web and mobile. These virtual assistants can fulfill a variety of tasks such as handling general queries, form filling, etc. By automating the routine tasks, Virtual Assistants allow higher efficiency in businesses. Making it the sensible next step for businesses that have already established a presence on different platforms to penetrate deeper into the market and elevate user experiences.  

Virtual Assistants on company website and applications

On its own, websites and applications serve as a one-way communication channel where businesses disseminate the information it wishes for users to see. Virtual Assistants can be implemented to make this conversation go both ways. The virtual assistant can make itself helpful on websites and applications by providing quick response 24/7. It is about to manage general queries, profiling customers, and making suggestions with the brand’s voice.

Virtual Assistant in chat applications

(think: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, …) 

More chat applications have created APIs to allow other businesses to include virtual assistant to automate responses. Implementing virtual assistants in chat applications allow businesses to leverage on its existing traction.  

Read more Virtual Assistant use cases on

In Summary



  • Improves business Credibility
  • Reach broader audience
  • Displays equally well on different devices

Native Applications 

  • Fast performance 
  • Work offline 
  • Integration with mobile device 
  • Wide opportunity for personalisation 

Virtual Assistants

  • Two-way conversation 
  • Improved 24/7 engagement 
  • Availability of integrated virtual assistants across platforms 



  • Difficult to reach the right people 
  • Limited offline functionality 

Native Application

  • Requires installation 
  • Requires different versions for different device 

Virtual Assistants

  • Lack of labelled chat data for virtual assistants training  
  • Initial learning curve if implementing AI-driven solution 

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