Users choose companies who have mobile apps and offer a great mobile experience as the focus shifts to mobile. PWAs let you deploy faster, keep expenses under control, and reach out to consumers across various platforms, while native applications provide an excellent end-user experience — better mobile UX and more functionality.
What should your strategy for developing mobile apps be? Should you create a progressive web app or settle with a native app? Let’s try to compare PWAs and native applications to determine which is best for your business’s growth and which your users prefer.
What are PWAs? Pros and Cons
A progressive web app is a website that mimics the functionality of a native mobile application. The fundamental difference between a native mobile app and a PWA is that the latter runs on the web and does not require downloading from an app store. PWAs can save data on a user’s device in the cache thanks to service workers. Users may stay up to date at all times, regardless of how fast their internet connection is. Twitter, for example, has a progressive web application as well as native mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Advantages of PWAs
- Accessibility: PWAs have a significant benefit over native apps is that they are not dependent on app stores. Customers do not have to download PWAs or consume a lot of storage space. A web browser is all that is required.
- Autonomous Functionality: A PWA can function in an offline mode, allowing users to visit the online store at any time and keeping them up to date.
- SEO Optimization: Because PWAs have URLs, they are indexed by Google. Customers can quickly locate a PWA by utilizing a search engine.
Disadvantages of PWAs
- Feature Restrictions: The functionality of PWAs is limited because they are merely half apps. Some functions are unavailable to PWAs. Calendars, contacts, browser bookmarks, and alarms, for example, are not accessible to PWAs.
- No Indoor Geolocation: Bluetooth, which is required for indoor geolocation, is not accessible to progressive web apps.
- Limited Web Browser Support: All web browsers do not support PWAs. Progressive web apps are designed for Android and do not work in Safari. Given that Safari is the most popular browser in the United States, with majority of the market share, you run the risk of losing a huge mobile app audience if you just have a PWA.
- No Consumer Data: PWAs, unlike native mobile apps, don’t have access to customer data like contacts and social accounts.
What are Native Mobile Apps? Pros and Cons
Native mobile apps are designed to work best on iOS or Android devices. As a result, a native app can access all of a device’s features. A native mobile app must be downloaded from an app store before it can be used. PWAs skip this step, but they also don’t have any particular benefits for iOS users.
Advantages of Native Apps
- Enhanced Performance: Native apps have a high level of performance because they are designed and optimized for a specific platform. Native apps are downloaded directly to smartphones and take advantage of the device’s processing power.
- Geofencing: Native mobile apps, unlike PWAs, may utilize fundamental operating system functionality like geofencing. When a user approaches a geofenced location, they receive a push notification.
- Interaction with Other Apps: Native mobile apps may interact with other apps, allowing you to connect to third-party services with ease: from Facebook permission to FedEx shipping, any interface with an external service is available.
Disadvantages of Native Apps
- High Cost of Development: Unlike PWAs, native mobile apps are difficult to develop and maintain. Owners of e-commerce stores must create and maintain mobile apps for each platform.
- User Acquisition: To use it, customers must first download a native app from the app store. Most online customers regard this as an additional step in their online shopping process. As a result, customers may think of a PWA as more accessible.
PWAs VS Native Apps: Which to Choose?
With so many benefits to both Native Apps and PWAs, it’s critical that you consider every detail and take the best approach for your business strategy and resources. As you can see, PWAs and Native Apps are equally important for any type and size of organization, including start-ups, fast-growing businesses, and corporations.
In some circumstances, you may require a quick and cost-effective solution, therefore a PWA is preferable. A PWA, on the other hand, may not meet the device’s minimum performance requirements or cover all of its features. You might want to consider creating a Native App in this case. Otherwise, you can combine the two to improve the customer experience while also reaching a larger audience.
About Digital Crafters
We help retailers create their own e-commerce solution that includes both a PWA storefront and a native mobile app at Digital Crafters. Retailers can reach more customers and provide a better shopping experience with our consolidated solution.