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If you own a business and want to engage a mobile audience, then you may be wondering as to which medium would be the better fit. Two apt solutions that may be recommended are progressive web apps (PWAs) and Native apps.
With more people being engaged with their mobiles, eCommerce businesses are taking mobile apps seriously. This is because online interaction with customers is turning to be easy when using the mobile. For this reason, PWAs and Native apps seem to be the most sought after by businesses for their mobile commerce applications.
For sales conversions to happen for businesses, it is required that they reach the target audience when and where it is convenient for them. For this reason, people’s interest in the mobile phone is something that cannot be ignored.
To reach businesses over to mobile users, therefore, mobile phones need PWAs or Native apps or both, because they are the two most effective platforms. However, to figure out which of these is the better option for your eCommerce business, one has to examine the differences from a business point of view.
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A PWA is nothing but a website that behaves like a Native app. However, there is no need to download a PWA as it executes from the browser. PWAs are designed to save data in the cache of the user’s device. This allows the latest information to be accessed by the user, no matter what the speed of the Internet connection is and even if they are offline. Twitter has a PWA version. They also have Native app versions for iOS and Android.
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The greatest advantage is that they do not need the app stores. Downloading apps and keeping them on the mobile phone means high usage of storage space. Most individuals do not download apps from the app stores because of the lack of storage space on their devices. Moreover, PWAs are light and use up less space. All that is required is a web browser for the customers to shop from their eCommerce store.
PWAs have URLS and, therefore, can be indexed like any other websites. Customers can easily find PWAs via search engines.
Progressive apps also have certain disadvantages when it comes to eCommerce. They are as listed below:
The limited functionality of the PWA restricts the features that they can use. They do not have access to alarms, calendars and bookmarks. They cannot receive SMS or calls, or intercept phone numbers.
PWAs cannot access Bluetooth and this prevents them from being able to handle indoor geolocation.
Not all web browsers support PWAs. They do not operate on the Safari browser. Considering the fact that Safari is a popular browser in the USA, an eCommerce business with a PWA will lose out on mobile app clients.
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PWAs do not have access to contacts and social profiles of consumers like Native apps do.
iOS features for PWAs are limited. As an example, push notifications are not available for iOS devices. They can send them only to Android devices. This may cost an eCommerce business big as iPhone users will choose Native apps over PWAs. Another problem is that when iOS users install PWAs on their home screen, the offline data is available only for a limited period of time of two weeks after which the cache is cleared.
Native apps are built in such a way that they operate optimally both on Android and iOS devices. All the functionalities that a specified device offers can therefore be fully exploited by Native apps. However, Native apps have to be downloaded from the app stores onto the devices in which they are to operate.
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Here are some of the advantages that Native apps offer when used for eCommerce applications.
All Native apps provide an optimized performance because they are developed for a specific platform. When the apps are installed on a smartphone, these apps leverage a device’s capability to the fullest extent including the processing speed of the device. An eCommerce app would also load very fast every single time.
When Native apps are used, it is easy to connect them to third-party services. Whether it is authorizations or shipping or payment gateways, it is easy to integrate with these technologies and external services. This is an advantage for eCommerce apps.
Native eCommerce mobile applications can be customized to a great extent in terms of UI/UX. Therefore store owners can create exclusive storefronts to stand out from the competitors’ stores by adding unique features to them.
Native mobile apps have the capability to use OS features such as geofencing. If this facility is available, the user receives a push notification when approaching a specific location.
Along with the advantages, there are also a few disadvantages as far as using Native apps for eCommerce are concerned.
The development cost of Native apps for eCommerce projects can be high because of their complex nature. Also, they have to be maintained once installed. Moreover, separate eCommerce apps have to be made for different platforms.
Users have to download their eCommerce Native app from the app store to shop using them. Many see it as an extra job while wanting to shop. For many others, the storage space that such apps occupy on the device is a deterrent. In such cases, some prefer PWAs.
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For a startup eCommerce store, it may be easier to get customers without having them to download an app to shop. PWA does not require the customers to download anything.
When you do not have too much money to spend on development costs, PWA is the way to go. They take less time to develop and need much less maintenance.
It is imperative to go online today for businesses that are offline. However, when using PWA for eCommerce stores that help brick-and-mortar stores to go online, the investment required is less for the business owner.
PWAs can operate when connection speeds are low. This is a great advantage if you are looking to have an extensive reach for your app, rural areas and others with poor/slow speed connections.
A presence in the app store gives well-known brands the boost they require in the marketplace. The audience considers this as a measure of the brand’s reliability and a Native app would best satisfy this requirement.
The mobile is a device with many advanced features. If you want an eCommerce store that fully leverages the hardware capabilities of the mobile hardware and use its features to the advantage of the eCommerce business, then it is best to go for a Native app.
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Both Native apps and PWAs are dominant methods in the market that help eCommerce businesses reach their audience. However, it is the job of the business owner to exercise prudence and make the right choice depending on the different conditions under which the store is being launched, the target audience for their product, the budget at hand, the brand value, etc., among other factors.
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