As the concept of “mobile first” becomes the retail reality, and brands try to find omnichannel ecommerce solutions, there are still some fundamental facts that all brands, and luxury brands in particular, must understand in order to capitalize on rapidly improving technology that continues to revolutionize shopping (both in-store and online) as we know it.
The question is: What’s more important, native apps or mobile web apps?
Our short answer is: most brands still need both for different reasons. And here’s why:
When they are done right, native apps load fast, facilitate brand loyalty, skillfully push brand content, and most importantly are highly effective in converting “shoppers” into “buyers.” Native apps are really good at:
- Engaging customers with smartphone-specific features like GPS, camera, barcode scanning and motion sensors to inform users of “special offers” and/or new collections
- Offering in-app messaging and helping customers shop in “mobile moments” such as shopping while traveling on a train to work
- Remembering payment methods, and offering fast, one-click payments
- Cultivating brand loyalty by combining brand engagement with security, privacy, and preferences that can be easily controlled by the user
- Unifying online and offline shopping by enabling a customer to buy anywhere from anywhere (any store, any warehouse) at any time.
- Native apps provide brands robust, highly effective analytic data that provides a clear snapshot of consumers’ activities and interests that can be used to deliver drive ongoing engagement
Native apps serve loyal customers that luxury brands work so hard to cultivate because they allow customers to interact with the brand in more ways than just making a purchase. But since all native aps still require customers to go through the initial process of downloading and registering specific information directly on to their phone (that can take several minutes)…native apps won’t appeal to every customer. And that’s why luxury brands need robust mobile web apps too.
Mobile Web Apps
Nevertheless, mobile web apps are still very good at attracting and addressing new customers (because there’s no download or login required). Therefore, mobile web apps (even with their limits) continue to be vital simply because they are a quick and easy way address and attract new customers.
Keep these facts in mind when you are thinking about your brand’s mobile strategy:
Initial customer engagement is easier with a responsive mobile web app since it's quick, consistent, and does not need or require the time a consumer must spend to download and install a native app.
A native app is a much more effective way to build and maintain customer loyalty through its higher ability to personalize content and communication with customers.
Research shows that customers prefer native mobile apps for deeply personal activities like: listening to music, browsing social media, checking bank balances, or looking up new fashion collections from their favorite brand.
Research also shows that customers prefer to use native mobile apps for sites and brands they visit often, simply because a native app can “know” a customer by remembering settings and preferences, and providing a more personalized experience
Data shows higher conversion growth rates in native apps than on desktop or mobile web apps.
Reports also show that users spend more time exploring content on native apps than on mobile websites, while customers use responsive mobile web apps for quick answers like initial research and price checks.
Every brand needs an omnichannel ecommerce solution. And we can help.
Download Native Mobile App vs. Mobile Web App and continue the conversation with your teams as to why it’s not one vs. the other, but rather a need for both with a different strategy for each.