From when mobile apps were exclusively for large multinational corporations to today when aspiring entrepreneurs can get their apps to customers faster and serve them better, the app development market has evolved.
Today, apps are an essential component, an essential element in bringing your business online and opening it up to millions of people around the world. They help build a strong brand image, gain customer trust and loyalty, and increase company sales and profitability by providing value to customers.
The e-commerce industry is highly competitive, given that giants like Amazon and Flipkart are the most popular platforms in the global marketplace. However, as new businesses pop up every day, e-commerce has spread to the sale of everything from textiles, food, books, and gadgets to drugs, counseling, and therapy.
Choosing an e-commerce app for mobile devices to reach target consumers is the best way to grow your business in a highly competitive retail environment, meet customer needs and keep them engaged. While developing an e-commerce app may seem like a simple step in getting your business online, it primarily involves choosing the right approach to app development.
Why is it important to choose an app development approach?
Choosing an app development approach is essential to creating a high-performing, cost-effective, and user-friendly app. Business owners have so many unique and appealing ideas that they would like to pursue but often fail because they ignore the development approach.
There are three main approaches to app development that help business owners and app developers decide on the nature of the app, its capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and user-friendliness. Each approach offers different advantages, disadvantages, potential, and goals for applications.
There are three types of app approaches:
Native app development Hybrid app development
Development of responsive applications.
We’ve put together each approach’s functionality, strengths, and limitations to help you make intelligent choices for your app and the future of your e-commerce business. Read on to see which direction in e-commerce app development is best for you.
Developing native apps
Native apps, depending on the language used for development, are meant to operate on just one operating system at a time. These apps are written in programming languages designed exclusively for that operating system.
Android applications, for example, are written in Java, whereas iOS applications are created in Swift. As a result, developers must have two different codes for the same software in order to install it on both operating systems. Native apps can be installed on mobile devices through the Apple App Store (for iOS users) or the Google PlayStore (for Android users). Whatsapp, Twitter, and Facebook are some well-known examples of native apps.
User experience: Because native apps are built for one operating system and compiled using the platform’s core programming language and API, they are faster and better optimized than hybrid or responsive apps. They have significantly shorter load times.
Security: Native apps offer guaranteed data security because the information stored is encrypted and embedded in the code. They also have relatively fewer bugs because their development does not require the use of cross-platforms such as Xamarin, PhoneGap, or Ionic.
Interactivity: Native apps are more intuitive and interactive for users because their design can be easily integrated with most operating system features, making for a more efficient and seamless user experience.
Access to a variety of features: Native apps have access to the built-in features of smartphones and the operating system for which they were programmed, such as camera, GPS, media player, messaging, microphone, etc. These apps are also highly reliable because the apps can run without an Internet connection.
Expensive: The overall cost of developing a native app and maintaining it is very high for startup companies. This is since the same application must be created anew in different languages for each operating system and maintained on each platform separately.
Time-consuming: Developing and maintaining separate versions of the same application for each operating system is time-consuming and costly.
Hybrid Application Development
Hybrid applications are a mixture of web and native applications, which means that they contain components of both HTML and CSS and native programming languages. Developers write the app’s code in HTML, and then a native device wrapper is created to make it compatible with iOS or Android.
The best thing about hybrid apps is that they can be installed on smartphones through the Google PlayStore or Apple App Store and accessible through Web browsers.
The native elements in the app help users access it on mobile devices, while the HTML core makes the app work in web browsers.
Cost-effective: With hybrid app development, developers don’t need to create three separate codes to run the app on three different platforms (iOS, Android, and web browser). This saves time, resources, and money, making the approach attractive to many.
Cross-platform compatibility: Hybrid apps are compatible with several cross-platforms, such as Xamarin, React Native, Adobe PhoneGap, and others, making it easy to develop apps for different operating systems.
Easy Accessibility: Like native apps, hybrid apps can access various built-in features, such as GPS, camera, etc., of an Android or iOS smartphone. They can also work without an Internet connection.
Poor user experience: Compared to native apps, the user interface and transition between hybrid apps are not as smooth. It takes relatively longer to load an app, and the graphics are not of high quality, even if the phone has excellent display capabilities. Simple applications without complex features are usually recommended for hybrid development.
This is because hybrid apps cannot maximize the functionality of the device without additional plugins, making the code more complex and error-prone.
Developing responsive web apps
While apps are the preferred way for businesses to market and sell their products and services, an interactive and user-friendly web experience is just as necessary. The responsive web application approach is known to provide a high level of customer retention, making it a fairly popular option for app development.
The responsive web app is programmed to adjust screen size, resolution, and image size depending on the device, eliminating the need to develop a separate app version for each screen size.
Cost-Effective: Since responsive web apps can be accessed from any device and operating system, there is only one codebase and version of the app for all platforms, making it very affordable for startups.
User-friendliness: Responsive web apps are created to fulfill the demands of their users and are based on consumer behavior as well as the most prevalent screen sizes and resolutions. The online app is intended to automatically resize to any size and is mobile device friendly.
Low maintenance costs: Because web applications are developed once, they require very little maintenance with a single code base. In addition, the web app uses the same content on all devices because it can automatically adjust.
SEO Friendly: Responsive web apps are popular because they rank first in search engines due to SEO. That’s because responsive websites load faster on mobile and tablets, increasing the positive user experience and thus improving search engine rankings.
Profitability: Because responsive websites are user-friendly and SEO-friendly, they boost company sales because of the large audience that visits the site every day.
As always, there is no definite “right” or “wrong” approach to choosing an app development approach for your e-commerce business.
While native apps provide high performance, quality user experience, and other compelling features, hybrid apps are cost-effective and an excellent option for businesses that want to go online and take advantage of the app. Responsive web apps are just as good an option for companies looking to optimize SEO and provide a user-friendly experience for their customers.
However, your decision should be based on a thorough understanding of the three approaches and an analysis of your e-commerce business model. Knowing your target market, a fixed budget and clarifying your requirements and needs for various functionalities will help you make the final choice.
At Altezza Creative Solutions, we offer extensive experience in all aspects of eCommerce application development. Contact us today to discuss your eCommerce app development plans with our team.