Which is best for you?

In the race to embrace mobile shopping, a new form of “mobile app” has become popular for its low cost of development and quick deployment time – Progressive Web Applications (PWA). Despite their affordability, PWAs lack the power offered by native apps to support the complex functionality required to deliver unique shopping experiences, differentiate your brand, and strengthen long-term loyalty. In this article, we’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of native apps and PWAs and their best use cases.

From the grocery retailer’s perspective

Cost of Development

New development frameworks, such as React Native, allow developers to create platform-agnostic mobile applications for iOS and Android, decreasing the cost of developing and maintaining native apps by removing the need to develop separate versions for each operating system.

Since PWAs are often modified versions of online storefronts, grocery retailers can task the same vendor or team that develops their website to create their PWA. Native apps, on the other hand, typically require a separate team, with developers of a different skill set.

SEO & Discoverability

Native apps are only distributed through App Stores, thus your digital marketing team’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts have little effect on the discoverability of your native app.

Nevertheless, App Store Optimization (ASO) shares similar strategies with SEO, including keywords and metadata. ASO additionally requires high-quality screenshots and relevant categorization, providing your customers a glimpse of your native app and its functionality.

PWAs are indexed by search engines (i.e. Google, Bing), therefore the same SEO strategies being implemented for your website can also be used for your PWA.

Security

Unlike PWAs, native apps offer more security options allowing grocery retailers to better protect their customers and their data. By tying into the underlying operating system of mobile devices, native apps enable grocery retailers to create more robust security features in their apps, such as multi-factor authentication for login and certificate pinning for secure communication.

From the shopper’s perspective

Performance

Problematic app performance is one of the main drivers of users uninstalling apps, even if users enjoy the functionality and frequently use the app. PWA users frequently experience higher latency and more battery consumption, as a result of PWAs being browser-based.

Native apps are built using powerful and efficient programming languages, minimizing latency. Their deep connection with mobile devices provides additional speed and power, allowing them to perform more complex calculations and deliver a better experience for the end-user.

Functionality

The functionality of PWAs varies greatly depending on the browser being used, as each platform has different rules and restrictions. Features such as push notifications and mobile payments vary depending on the platform.

Native apps provide more unique functionality, specifically geofencing and interactions between other apps. Geofencing in particular is extremely important for grocery retailers as they can send push notifications such as promotions or new recipes to customers when they are close to their stores. The ability to interact with other applications on a mobile device creates additional functionality by allowing native apps to call on other apps to perform actions.

What’s best for grocery retailers?

Functionality, performance, and foundation for innovation are the top reasons why a native app is the best solution for grocery retailers. Grocers must look past the affordability of PWAs and invest in building a stronger foundation for mobile shopping and loyalty with their very own native apps.

Solutions such as Wynshop Mobile provide a platform for your customers to conduct every phase of their shopping experience in your app, including browsing recipes, creating shopping lists, using coupons, managing loyalty profiles, placing orders, and more. Native apps are the foundation required to adapt to the evolving customer experience, including frictionless shopping (i.e. scan-and-pay), advanced loyalty programs, augmented reality, personalized experiences, and more.

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