According to the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), industry experts are assuming faster sales growth in mobile commerce than in e-commerce as a whole. The reason for this is the rapid spread of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The question that arises for everyone is how best to prepare their website or shop for access via mobile devices.
In principle, there are three different starting points for “mobilization” today: the native app (“app” stands for “application”), the web-based app and the so-called responsive design. All three are quite different and have different advantages and disadvantages. So that you know what exactly it is, what the differences are and what might be most likely for you, you will find a list of all the relevant information below.
The native app
The native app is characterized by the fact that it is designed for the corresponding device hardware (Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows Phone) and tailored to this. The advantage of native apps lies primarily in the stronger integration into the respective operating system, for example to access the map material or to send push notifications to the end customer. In addition, the native app impresses with its user-friendliness and high performance. This means that native apps can also be used offline, without a data connection, and their performance is significantly faster, since most of the data is already stored on the end device and no longer needs to be downloaded. In addition, the native app can be easily marketed via the provider’s central sales platform.
On the minus side, there are the costs of development. Since the native app is specially tailored to the device hardware, the development is not only more complex but also more expensive. In order to fully serve the market, a separate app is required for each operating system and in addition to each device class (smartphone and tablet). Another negative factor is the findability of native apps. Since these can only be found with a direct search query in the App Store, one should weigh up how likely it is that the end customer will search for them directly in the App Store.
In order for the customer to take advantage of the offer, the native apps in e-commerce should generally be offered free of charge. Nevertheless, the development effort for native apps, which should be available for different operating systems and device hardware, is high. The native app only develops into a lucrative source of income if the customer goes through a special shopping experience. This can be done by accessing hardware functions such as the Passbook, which is currently offered by Apple and which sends the end customer targeted vouchers and other virtual objects. Thus, the native app can offer the customer a special added value. Native apps are preferably used by brands that are already well known.
The web-based app
The web-based app is a specially programmed website app that is optimally displayed on the end device. Access is via the Internet browser and ideally offers a user interface that is optically and ergonomically integrated into the mobile device. Probably the biggest advantage of web-based apps is that they are independent of the operating system and therefore do not have to be checked by the app store providers before they are published. As a result, the app can be published more quickly. In addition, the development of web-based apps is usually much cheaper than the native apps.
The biggest disadvantage of web-based apps is the completely different user interface, which sometimes leads to the desktop user ending up on the mobile page. In addition, the web-based apps in the field of technology are not yet fully developed. This means that there is only a limited possibility of accessing hardware functions. In addition, web-based apps only imitate the behavior of native apps and are significantly slower in terms of performance.
A web-based app is cheaper and can be quickly published online without much effort, even if not everything is optimal from a technical point of view.
The responsive design
Responsive web design enables the uniform display of content on a website. The website is designed in such a way that it can be flexibly transferred to any mobile device – laptop, tablet and smartphone. This ensures consistent user-friendliness. The advantages of responsive web design predominate, despite the high initial investment costs. The maintenance effort is significantly lower than with web-based or native apps, since the content only needs to be adjusted once. In addition, responsive design offers the end customer a very high recognition value, which can have a positive effect on usability.
Recognition value is a very decisive factor in online business. Responsive design comes into play where native and web-based apps often differ. The web has long since ceased to take place only on the PC, but on all kinds of end devices in a wide variety of sizes. Responsive design enables the user to offer the perfect shopping experience while underlining their own identity. One site fits all – is the leading sentence here.