Why doesn’t an online store need a native mobile app?
With the advancement of technology, internet and web applications, the number of smartphone users has increased dramatically. This growing number of smartphone users around the world today represents almost half of the world’s population – 4 billion.
According to the data forecast, it will increase by several hundred millions in the coming years. Smartphone users love to carry technology on the go. Yes, smartphone users work 90% of their time with apps, but most of them are games and utility related. Statistics say that on average, smartphone users have 40 apps on their mobile phones, of which only 18 mobile apps are used daily. It’s a huge waste of app building budget and poor strategic planning.
- More than half of the apps installed by the average person go unused.
Changing habits of online shoppers
Today’s unprecedented global challenges have caused a huge increase in the number of mobile users, shopping from the comfort of their own homes, while respecting social distancing rules. Time spent shopping online tops the charts of all time in mobile use!
Considering the increase in the number of online mobile shoppers and the decrease in the use of mobile applications, the innovative use of online store website applications looks promising!
Online stores or eCommerce stores no longer need native mobile apps which is quite expensive. This idea does not provide a full return on investment, as users are constantly looking for quick and responsive solutions to the needs of their mobile applications and a smooth and smooth browsing experience.
Younger generations of online customers / users are constantly on the lookout for fast, unique and user-friendly apps to meet this goal. They are sidetracked and drawn to shorter, faster online website applications that have transparent interfaces and can easily run on their browsers at their fingertips!
The good news is that their wish can be granted without having native mobile apps on their portable devices. There is now an option for their favorite store’s website apps to be seamlessly integrated with their mobile browsers.
Online store owners or start-ups don’t need to budget extra for mobile app development, but can focus on store website app development to deliver maximum user experience . So it’s a win-win situation for online store owners and speed-savvy customers.
Some statistics highlighted the following information:
50% of smartphone users are more likely to use a corporate or branded mobile site to avoid the hassle of downloading an app. Business 2 Community
70% increase in mobile app uninstall rates in 2020 compared to 2019 Business 2 Community
39% of people uninstall because they no longer use the app. Business 2 Community
28% of people uninstall because there are too many ads and notifications. Business 2 Community
53% of users leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Business 2 Community
- The speed of mobile apps makes them even more advantageous over web apps.
Options for building e-commerce mobile apps
There are different ways to develop an ecommerce mobile app based on the available budget and to serve the buying habits of online shoppers. The creation of prototypes and their performance should be tested before applying a particular option, as the chances of an application failing are equal.
Native apps are created with mobile platforms in mind (iOS and Android). Mobile users receive these apps directly from the mobile app stores. Native apps are platform and technology specific. While they offer brilliant performance and a user-friendly interface, the cost of maintaining a large development team for a longer period of time adds to the cost.
Web applications are developed as websites using HTML5 and JS codes. These websites are encapsulated in an invisible native WebView container and can be viewed as websites turned into mobile apps. These sites have lower development costs, fewer requirements, are easy to develop, and have shorter release cycles. Updates are easily and automatically available to users when they access their applications. However, these apps are less efficient than their native counterparts in terms of comfort, design and efficiency. It works through a browser on your device and you need the internet to access it.
Cross-platform apps are easier to develop than their native counterparts. These are also easy to develop as part of the codes that can be shared between platforms. Unlike web applications, they are in contact with mobile operating systems. Sharable codes across platforms increase speed and reduce the need for large numbers of developers. UI / UX rendered through native controls brings them closer to native mobile apps. Some parts of the unshareable code have yet to be written in the native language. This slows down performance. The design framework and plugins also affect the performance of these cross-platform applications.
Ecommerce website options
Responsive and mobile-optimized websites
The evolution of web design has led to a wonderful form of development called responsive design. Responsive design is a design that works on any platform. This design is flexible regardless of the device. This is a custom CSS stylesheet that will make any website look great on any handheld device. Whether you access it from your PC, iPhone, Android mobile device or tablet, the website will format perfectly. The website will orient itself automatically for a given type of device or browser. The ease with which the website works with a combination of self-formatting and self-optimization makes it smooth and flexible!
The next step involves mobile optimization for improvement after building responsive websites.
A mobile-optimized design is very different from a responsive site when viewed on a mobile device. It is still designed and built with mobile users in mind.
For small to medium sized online stores, responsive websites are the best solution. The website will have easy to use features. While the creation of its native mobile app counterpart is a long and expensive process that requires expert coding skills and effort on the part of the development team.
Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), as the name suggests, are web applications that work as websites. A mobile application in a browser. Progressive means that the user experience of the web application progresses or improves gradually depending on the capabilities of the user’s browser. It is a specific way of building and designing an application. The following 9 features of PWA, summarized by Google Chrome Engineer Alex Russell, make it a promising cutting edge technology for online or e-commerce stores, to build mobile apps without the need for native mobile apps:
- Independent of connectivity: no internet connection required. Users can work offline. An unstable connection and no connection is not a problem.
- Responsive: The page displays well on different devices such as phones, tablets and desktops.
- Interactive: An app-like interaction that provides the look and feel of native apps.
- Freshness: always up to date because it has access to the material of mobile devices,
- Secure: Secure connections to mitigate security threats.
- Detectable: PWAs are automatically detected by browsers. They can work seamlessly in any browser.
- Reengageable: Invite and bring users back to the app using “push notifications”.
- Installed Easily: Easily stored on the home screen like native apps by skipping the use of app stores. It is not necessary to download from the App Store.
- Easily linked and shared: shared as simple URLs.
Web applications are more advantageous than their native application counterparts. We have seen that a switch to PWA technology results in increased customer satisfaction after migration due to increased user satisfaction.
- WebApp installed as a PWA on an Android user device.
Another alternative to building progressive and interactive websites could be using PWAs. Although there are some disadvantages of PWA like any other evolving technology. Poor support for other browsers is one of them. According to Firefox architect Dave Townsend, there are currently no plans for PWA support.
Before migrating to a technology for your online stores, a lot of research is needed in this area. It takes a lot of surveys, research and focus group participation to understand client needs. Thorough business planning and appropriate marketing strategies must be in place, as with any new business idea, to migrate your online store to a website application.
And we must not stop there. Look for ways to create user-friendly interfaces, implement marketing strategies to launch a web app, and religiously seek customer feedback and create a back-end support process.
Keep in mind that even after all the best efforts and planning, sometimes mobile apps fail. Some of them are due to lack of proper app design, mobile app development, testing and marketing, poor user experience, etc.
All of these steps should help you in migrating your online store to mobile or web apps, depending on your business needs.