Online stores have not been very eager in building mobile apps, yet many big online stores have apps (e.g. H&M, Zalando). The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is now the latest big online store to shut down its iPhone app. I found out about this through this blog post that discusses the possibilities of progressive web apps. The main reasoning for the move is that they don’t need it anymore now that they have a responsive and advanced website.
Take aways / comments:
- Native apps are certainly not dead, but especially for e-commerce they haven’t really been a success story. The future doesn’t look very good either.
- Perhaps H&M and Zalando have such strong customer relationships that playing the “Starbucks strategy” makes sense, but probably 99% of online stores should not be building apps especially if we believe that progressive web apps are going to catch on big time.
- Progressive web apps are still at a very early stage, but especially Google and the Android camp have a lot of reasons to advance them. Apple doesn’t seem to be interested in progressive web apps (for obvious reasons), but even without Apple they could be the next big thing in web development. At least many are hoping so.
- Progressive web apps development could be really huge for online stores since they often don’t have enough good reasons to build native apps, but could still occasionally benefit from having better access to advanced capabilities like positioning, notifications, offline saving and storing account/login information.
Perttu Tolvanen is a Web Technologies & E-Commerce Expert at North Patrol. Perttu assists clients on early-phase service design, defining requirements, and in technology selections.