There was a strong trend to build mobile apps for eCommerce, but it was my strong opinion that this was something that was worth the effort only for large brands.
The reason for this was that users don’t want to install another app on their phone unless they are planning to use it repeatedly, and the reality is that with the exception of a few shops they are not planning to do so (regardless how much stores would like them to). It’s close to impossible to convince a first time user (or perhaps even a returning user) to go into the effort of installing an app. Think about it: how many shops you have installed apps for? (for me, it’s 1)
But that’s all about to change soon
At I/O 2016, Google announced a new feature for Android: Android Instant Apps
In short, when users will open a link to a site on their Android device, if the site has an app, it will take them directly into the application to the exact page they were looking for (deep linking), without installing the app.
Here is the part of the I/O keynote presenting the feature (1:39:50)
After using the application for their browsing/purchase, users will be much more likely to decide to install the app and keep it on their phone. But even if they don’t, you were still able to offer them the premium native app functionality.
And the best thing is that this will work on older Android versions too, which is very important for such a fragmented Android OS market.
By removing this barrier, mCommerce will finally be for every store.
How about iPhone?
This is such an exiting feature, that Apple will definitely implement something similar as well. Maybe it won’t happen at WWDC in a couple of weeks when they will announce the new version of iOS, but it will certainly happen.
So what’s next?
If you were planning to build a mobile application for your store, now would be a good time to do so and jump on this trend early; the apps will most probably need some special Android coding, so make sure your developer builds in with this feature in mind.
About the author
Vlad Stănescu is founder and CEO of MindMagnet, a web development agency in Romania focused on Magneto and custom web development.