Generally, websites are informational with minimal interaction between the owner and the user. It mainly conveys information to the public which may or may not require users to take any action. In contrast, web applications collects information from the user and allows certain actions to be taken depending on the details you input.
You have to consider that there are many websites that are actually website/ web applications hybrids.
Some features can be achieved even in a website, and it might cost you lesser to develop it. That of course, will depend on your objective and plan in the long run for the business.
So my advice would be to arrange for a meet up with a consultant to talk these through before proceeding with the better option.
Here’s a few questions to help you understand better:
E.g. Visitors will need to register for an account for future login
E.g. Information that is accessible to public (anyone who visits your site) and restricted content to registered members only.
E.g. Individual purchase history
E.g. Information submitted needs to be reviewed and/or edited by an admin before publishing to the public.
E.g. Are your users allowed to post information on your site?
There is definitely more to differentiating a website and a web application.
However, what’s really important is understanding what you need to achieve and we will help you figure out which is a better option.