The Advantages and Disadvantages of Building a Cross-Platform App for your Business

Set of touchscreen smartphonesAre you committed to building a mobile application this year? Every first-time app maker encounters the same hurdle when it comes to building an app: choosing between creating a native and a cross-platform app. When your targeted user base is found on a single platform – like iOS – the decision is very simple. But, more often than not, a standard user base will have multiple platform preferences – like Android, iOS, and Windows – prompting many companies to build cross-platform apps instead.

If you’re making a cross-platform app this year, here are some advantages and disadvantages you need to be aware of:

Pros

  • The broad availability of talent: Most cross-platform IDEs use HTML5, which is a common language among professional web developers.
  • Code reuse: About 50% to 80% of the code can be reused, which lets you speed up development.
  • Testing and updating made simple: When you test a cross-platform app, you just have to do it once – it will behave the same across all platforms. You just have to update once too.
  • Cloud and enterprise solutions: They offer superb cloud integration and enterprise solutions, making them perfect for businesses.
  • Reduced costs: The biggest advantage is that they are much cheaper to produce compared to building multiple native apps.

Cons

  • Difficult to integrate third party services: Using third party services and code can be costly, time-consuming, and may not work.
  • Hard to optimize: It’s hard to optimize these kinds of applications. They consume a lot of battery and sometimes run sluggishly.
  • Poor graphics and UX: Video rendering is difficult, especially sophisticated graphics or animations. You have to make do with simpler ones, which will reduce the user experience (UX).
  • Platform weaknesses: Every OS has its limitations. When you build for multiple OSs in one app, it will carry all their weaknesses and offer limited functionality.

As you can see, sometimes building native is better. If you don’t know whether a cross-platform app is a right choice for you, you can consult with an experienced app development company who will evaluate your unique business requirements and give you their expert input.

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How Chat Bots will Become Crucial for eCommerce Business in 2017?

Human hand hold a smartphone and sending messages to friends via

Chat bots were first introduced in the eCommerce world a couple of years ago, and the technology has managed to take the industry by storm. Chatbots, embedded in messaging apps, not only help drive up customer engagement but they are also a cost-effective way for businesses to provide services to customers – compared to, say, mobile applications that are expensive to build and maintain.

Messaging Apps Are Very Popular

One reason why chat bots are so crucial to online commerce – in 2017 and beyond – is because of the massive popularity of messaging apps they are embedded inside. Over 3.2 billion people use messaging apps of some kind and over a billion more people will use them by 2018.

What are Chat Bots?

Chat bots are computer programs that mimic human interactions and can be integrated into popular messaging apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype. They let you provide useful services to customers – like helping them search for products, paying bills, and providing them with info – from within the messaging app. They can replicate the core features of native, independent mobile apps – except without customers having to download and install a separate app.

Chatbots in the eCommerce Industry

You probably see why the technology is so useful for eCommerce businesses. With the help of chat bots, companies can attract the users’ attention when they are on their favorite messenger app- which, for most mobile phone users, is at least a dozen times a day. While chat bots have to be customized for every eCommerce business, they allow customers to browse your catalog, find their favorite products, and make payments for them from within the messaging app. They are also a great tool to gain customer feedback and handle complaints.

The Technology won’t be a Replacement for Customer Service

While chat bots cannot replace customer service, they bring down engagement costs substantially, as they can help a business automate most of the process. For example, some eCommerce stores are using bots to ask customers to fill in relevant details and then, when the form has been filled, humans take over.

If you’re interested in the technology, we recommend you to consult with an experienced eCommerce app development team to learn more about how it can be used for your unique business.

Will Mobile Apps Make eCommerce Websites Irrelevant in 2017? Find out

A man hand holding screen Apple app showing on IPad mini and Iph

We saw a significant change in 2016 in how people prefer to do their shopping, especially during the holiday season. 2015 was the year where real-world stores were full of people looking to buy gifts for their loved ones. In 2016, on the other hand, we saw people shopping for deals online instead of going to crowded marketplaces to locate the perfect gift. A leading statistic website informs us that eCommerce sales have risen from $1.5 trillion in 2015 to almost $2 trillion in 2016. Mobile apps have played a significant part in driving customers to shop online

Customers Prefer to Buy on Mobile Apps

Data tells us that customers now prefer to buy on mobile applications as opposed to websites on their mobile browsers. There are many reasons for that, most notably the fact that apps load much more quickly and offer a personalized experience to users compares to websites. Even with responsive design, there are limitations to how much content can be displayed on the small screen on mobile devices.

Applications allow online retailers to offer a much more streamlined experience. The checkout process is also made simpler and safer by integrating payment portals into them.

Top Retailers Are Offering Exclusive App Deals

Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon.com are offering exclusive mobile app-only deals to engage their on-the-go customers. Promotions and discounts are enticing customers to switch to apps. Experts estimate that apps will generate around $190 billion in revenues for owners by 2020.

Will Apps Replace Websites Entirely?

Apps are a much more versatile medium than websites, but we don’t see sites losing relevance anytime soon. What we can expect to see in 2017 is online businesses – even small ones – offer an omnichannel experience to customers by allowing them to seamlessly switch from their tablets to mobiles to desktop PCs while shopping.

As a retail business owner, you can only benefit if you build a shopping app to cater to mobile users. It will have to be well-designed and well-optimized, though, to engage customers. You can hire an experienced mobile app development team to help you make one.