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.

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.

Why is iOS the Preferred Platform for App Development for Businesses?

Bangkok, Thailand - Feb 15, 2016 : Iphone 6 And Ios Application

There are over 2 billion unique smartphones in the world at the moment, each running a different OS (operating system). Some of the most popular operating systems in the world include Android, iOS, and Windows. Every operating system has different requirements when it comes to apps. Companies, at the moment, prefer building apps either for Android or the iOS platform.

Android has a market share of 70% at the moment, but it’s still not the most popular app development platform for businesses – iOS is! There are many reasons for that, including the following:

It Lets You Build Superior Quality Apps

Apple provides a developer kit that has guidelines and tools you can follow to create high-quality applications. If you follow their guidelines, you’ll always end up with a high-quality app. With Android, apps tend to be of variable quality.

They are Inherently Secure

On the iOS platform, apps don’t get updated automatically. Also, Apple has strict requirements about what it will allow or not allow on the store, making these apps inherently more secure.

They Make Maximum Use of Hardware Capabilities

There are over 25000 unique Android devices, but only a handful of iOS ones. It is much easier for developers to create an app that can make maximum use of a phone’s hardware capabilities. The hardware and software integration of iOS apps is perfect.

Payments Made Simple

Accepting payments on this platform is very simple. You can use Apple Pay for seamless, one-tap payments. Also, it’s a known fact that it generates the most revenue for developers worldwide.

It Gives Maximum Support

Developers that run into problems while building an application are ably backed by Apple’s system of resource websites and their live chat service.

It is Faster to Build

Development times are much lower than that of Android applications. Apple attempts to make their language (Swift) and guidelines as easy to understand as possible.

You can use DIY app builders and the Xcode idea to begin to develop your iOS app by yourself. Alternatively, if you want a highly sophisticated and smooth app, you can hire an experienced app development team to make you one.

Upcoming Travel App Design Trends That Could Transform the Way We Travel

Travel guide concept. Passport, compass, guide books, mobile pho

Travelers become more responsible as we get ready to move into 2017. The United Nations has stated that 2017 is going to be the year of “Sustainable Tourism.” Technology has a significant role to play when it comes to sustainable tourism – it allows people to leave a smaller carbon footprint, on the whole.

Travel apps have a big part to play in 2017 – they are going to be a game changer for the tourism industry and travelers all over the world. Here are some trends in travel app tech to watch out for:

Real Time Tracking

Public transport globally is using technology these days. Buses, trains, and even cabs are being fitted with GPS devices that tell you in how much time they will arrive – now you won’t have to go to the bus station early so that you won’t miss your bus. You can time your arrival perfectly with an app.

Personalized Recommendations

Apps are now providing personalized recommendations – and even experiences – based on your travel history and preferences. Always prefer to travel on a budget? The application will help you plan it!

Cashless Travel

Many travel services are offering prepaid packages you can book from your phones. You can pay for your trip – including your stay, travel, food, and shopping – digitally, instead of carrying around cash.

Ride Sharing is the New Way to Travel

Ride-sharing has become a popular way for tourists to move about a new country. Not only does it keep costs down, but it also allows them to bond with fellow travelers.

Better Vacation Photos

Smartphone technology has advanced to the point that the camera in your phone is almost as good as any professional camera. Your vacation photos will be as good as stock photos, thanks to the cool camera editing tool in your travel app!

If you’re a travel agency owner, now is the right time to target mobile owners with a well-built travel app, as mobiles are quickly becoming an integral part of the journey. You can use an app building tool to make your app or hire professional app developers if you want to provide a high-grade experience to users.

Mobile Payments Will Break New Ground in 2017

Mobile Payments Concept

Mobile Payments Concept Isolated Over White Background

There will be an estimated 4.7 billion smartphone users in 2017, and the number is slated to go up to 5 billion by 2020. A lot more customers are shopping from their Smartphones these days. In fact, traffic from smartphone devices to eCommerce stores has surpassed traffic from desktops! Businesses worldwide are scrambling to offer their services online and also to accept payments from customers on their sites or through apps.

Relevance of mobile payments

It is estimated that by 2025, over 75% of all transactions will be through a digital medium. Mobile payment technology is relatively new and offers a much safer way for customers to buy online as compared to using credit or debit cards.

Multiple devices in use

Customers tend to use many devices while shopping. For example, they will use their phones to scout a product and pay for it through their desktops. They may also scout products on their desktops and pay for it via a tablet. Mobile payments can simplify the buying process across multiple devices.

Satisfying Customers is essential

Almost 40% of all customers will abandon their shopping carts if stores don’t offer a mobile-optimized experience. Satisfying customers is important if you want to do business, especially when it comes to mobile users. It is hard to type on small screens. Mobile payment solutions have to be custom-designed to offer a simplified payment process.

The checkout process needs an overhaul

Currently, it’s hard to buy via smartphones at most stores. Ideally, checkouts should require a couple of taps. That can be done by overhauling the entire checkout process, by making it user-friendly and small-screen centric.

Security concerns exist

Mobile wallet technology is deemed unsafe by almost half of all users. In reality, though, it is much safer than sharing credit card info directly with a merchant, as it involves a tokenization system that, if hacked, prevents hackers from making sense of transaction info.

Mobile payments are slated to become common in 2017. Businesses that adopt the technology early are likely to reap benefits. You can consult with experienced developers on how best to utilize the technology for your unique business.

 

Six Cutting-Edge Features Your Android App Must Have

Android Logo On Google Nexus 5

It is difficult getting your app noticed in the Google Play Store – there are over 2 million unique apps in there already, covering all sorts of niches. If you’re building a new app or are planning to make one, it must be virtually bug-free, run smoothly, and include advanced features if you want to get users to download it.

Here are some cutting-edge features your Android app should have to boost its chances of being successful:

Localization Option

Android is used in Asia, America, South America, and everywhere else. By making your app localized – or providing content in foreign languages – makes your app more accessible to today’s global user base.

Location-Based Services

Smartphones these days have a built-in GPS. You can use the GPS to add location-based services to your add. For example, if you have a utility app, you can throw up a notification when users are passing by a great restaurant around lunchtime.

Social Media Login

Users are probably not going to be inclined to fill out lengthy registration forms to use your app. By putting a social media login feature in place, you can get their personal information from them much more easily than otherwise.

Augmented Reality

The augmented reality feature is found on apps like Pokémon Go. The feature lets you superimpose useful information over real-world scenes. It can be very useful if you’re building travel or education apps.

User Feedback Support

Users will probably never use your app the way you intended them to. They may also have complaints about your app. With a user feedback support feature, you let them know that you value their opinions and will do something about it.

 Offline support

Access to the internet can be sporadic in some countries. By making your app capable of running offline – without some features running – you can make it very useful to users.

There are some DIY app building tools you can use to build your app or, if you’re new to programming, you can have an experienced development team make your app. If you hire app developers, ensure they are including some of the useful features we’ve mentioned here.