It’s a question that most online businesses will have asked themselves already: should I be developing for mobile internet or native app? The short answer is ‘both’. The longer answer follows.
There’s no doubt that the mobile internet offers a certain number of advantages to business. If you’re already selling (or doing whatever it is you do) online, then a mobile internet solution enables you to simply bring that experience to the phone screen. You have the benefits of only updating a single product, and as you’re working with traditional web technologies it’s easier to build dynamic environments that respond in real-time to changing user behaviors - and even anticipate behaviors to come.
And let’s not forget that many users do browse the internet on their phone and will expect to see something when they punch in your web address. You can’t get away from the fact that unless you are one of the new breed of ‘app only’ businesses, some mobile internet solution will be required.
The Limitations Of Mobile Internet But that in itself isn’t enough. The truth is that consumers increasingly expect to access services - and retailers - via mobile apps. And the workarounds currently employed by mobile internet developers don’t work: primarily for two reasons:
- Apple no longer allows the practice of simply creating apps that ‘wrap’ websites: “Apps that are not very useful, unique, are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected”
- The recommendation that users bookmark a site to their home screen (creating an app icon in the process) remains valid - but unfortunately is a user behavior that has simply not become widespread and cannot be relied upon
That leaves an inescapable conclusion: the huge loyalty benefits that derive from having the icon on the homescreen are not available to mobile internet developers.
The Technical Challenge
Perhaps even more importantly, the user experience in mobile internet solutions is never going to match that within native apps. The latter are faster and make use of the native UI (that users already understand and are familiar with). The experience is typically slicker, smoother and infinitely more rewarding.
In addition, native apps give app developers greater scope for engaging with users or displaying information in more interesting ways. The scope is in fact almost infinite - as anyone taking a moment to consider the vast range of apps that are out there can testify.
Of course, the native app presents challenges. Without cookies and the ability to serve personalized experiences in real-time something can be lost in first generation native apps. But then, that’s where Swrve comes in!