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TechnologyJan 15, 2010

mCommerce Decisions – Part 3

Andrew Warden

I’ve written in the last couple of blogs about platform considerations when choosing to go mobile with your web site. Native platforms give the richest user feature experience, but are more difficult to develop and support. Independent platforms are generally easier to develop and support and offer the ability to reach the broadest audience with the least effort, but lack many of the features to offer a rich experience. Platform independent solutions offer one additional drawback, upon which I will focus today’s blog, and that is market awareness.

If you’re like me, you head first to the iPhone App Store when considering mobile commerce options. Just a few days ago, I spent several minutes seeing if my favorite stores were there and downloaded their apps to my phone (they were all there, and they were all free). In contrast, building a platform independent solution that optimizes your eCommerce site for mobile gives you no market presence for users visiting their device’s App store, potentially hindering your ability to reach your customer base.

However, if the platform independent solution appears better suited for your particular needs, you have the option of pursuing a hybrid solution – develop your mobile commerce using an independent platform and then built “shell” apps for one or more native platforms that create market awareness and route traffic to your mobile site.

A client of ours decided recently that this was the best solution for them. We developed an independent platform mobile commerce solution using Javascript. This enabled the company to get establish a large presence with customers across devices. We augmented that approach by registering with Apple to develop a native application that can be accessed and downloaded from the iTunes App Store. The native application does nothing more than call the platform independent application through the phone’s web browser. This approach did not enable the feature rich controls of a true native application, but that was not deemed critical for the client’s goals of a mobile application presence. The final result gave the client market presence in the App Store and an easily developed and supportable platform independent mobile commerce solution.

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