Almost all E-Commerce stores today offer a browsing experience that is compatible with your mobile phone. But more and more stores are beginning to offer native iPhone and Android applications to compliment their online stores. Why?
Before we get into that, let’s first discuss the difference between a native app and a web app.
A web application is software accessible through the internet via a web browser. Web apps do not need to be downloaded to the user’s device in order to be accessed.
Unlike web apps, native apps need to be downloaded to the user’s device via an app store such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Native apps are built for the respective devices that install them.
There’s a long standing debate on whether or not a company should choose to develop a web application, or a native application. Smaller companies tend to develop web applications, because it only needs to be developed once.
Native app development can be very costly, and has to be developed for each platform because the code for each device is different. This means more internal costs. For example, iPhone now has two native languages, Objective-C and Swift, which are able to produce a native iPhone app, while Android uses Java.
If a company wanted to build their app on both platforms, they’d have to hire a very expensive senior developer who either knows both programming languages, or at least two developers (one who knows iPhone and one who knows Android programming languages).
If companies were to be honest with themselves, most would agree that having a native application offers a superior experience than that of a web application. The simple reason is that a native application accesses the resources of the user’s device natively vs. the limited resources in a mobile browser.
Have you ever run a virtual machine on your computer? Think of a web app in a similar fashion (not technically, of course, but principally). A virtual machine is run on a native machine. For example, you can run windows on a mac. But the performance of windows just won’t measure up to how it would perform as if it were natively installed.
A web app is similar, metaphorically speaking, in that the browser is the native machine, and the web app is the virtual machine. You are using a native app to run the web app.
Why Native Takes the Lead
Web apps are getting better as technology advances, but there are still many features of a native application that offer a greater advantage, especially to those in the E-commerce business.
Push notifications can be sent to a customer’s phone. Having direct access to get your customer’s attention via rich push notifications is an invaluable marketing tool.
Customers are more likely to trust a native application than a web application because it gets thoroughly reviewed by the app stores that host them. You can visit a web app from your phone and never know who made the website, where they are from or what their reputation is. In fact, if you try to find out through a simple whois search on the domain you are visiting, the owner of the website can easily hide their information. With a native application, customers are more at ease because they know exactly who they’re buying from. There is no hiding who owns the native application.
A native application offers a faster experience with better performance.
Just by having an app on someone’s phone will allow them to think of your company — even if only every now and then. If a customer hasn’t visited your website in awhile, they probably already forgot about you. With an icon directly on their phone, your company will come to mind, and they just might browse your app again to see what’s new on your store, resulting in more sales.
Native apps have the ability to work offline. Web apps have very limited capabilities for offline functionality.
If you don’t have a mobile app on iTunes or Google Play, you are missing out on millions of users who could potentially stumble upon your native application.
Native apps offer a greater browsing experience, a higher conversion rate, more ways to interact with customers and enhance the overall user experience.
It is our mission at Drobile to get an app into the hands of E-commerce store owners for penny’s on the dollar compared to the cost of traditional app development.
If you are considering joining other’s in having your own native mobile app, visit the link below and preview what your store can look like natively. Don’t let this article speak for itself, try it out.