Magento Mobile App Cost Explained – Why Opt for PWA?

Guides & Advice
March 19, 2020
Guides & Advice
Magento Mobile App Cost Explained – Why Opt for PWA?

We’re glad you came across this article because it means you’re trying to embrace change — and the shift to mobile is one of the biggest changes of the past decade. 

This shift has brought in new technologies, new ways of approaching marketing, and new revenue funnels that can take your business to the next level. And that’s exactly why a mobile app could be the tool you need to reach more customers and blaze past your competitors. 

In this article, we’ll show you a Magento mobile app cost overview and also look at other options for getting the most out of mobile.

How much does it cost to build an ecommerce app?

This is kind of a loaded question because it’s like asking how much a house or car costs. The answer is — it really depends on what your budget is and what features you want or need. 

mobile browsing

We’ll look at ecommerce mobile app costs from a few different angles: starting from the cheapest option and ending with the high-end solutions.

Here’s the breakdown (1- lowest budget; 6- highest budget):

1- Use a ready-made Magento Mobile App Builder extension to create native iOS and Android apps.

Pros- super affordable, fast development

Cons- lacks branding and uses standard themes, dependence on a third party for updates, customization options are limited

2- Create a PWA — simply add a prompt to “add to home screen” and your store will be launched with a single tap from the user’s home screen.

Pros- all the benefits of PWA, optimized mobile experience
Cons- apps are not visible or accessible in app stores, PWA launches in a browser window and not as a separate application

3- Create a PWA and get it published on the app stores (Google, Apple, Microsoft) “as is.”

Pros- all the benefits of PWAs, optimized mobile experience, apps available in app stores
Cons- may require additional tinkering to meet app store requirements, lots of red tapes to get into the Apple App Store

4- Create a PWA and use Cordova (or another hybrid solution) to create hybrid Android and iOS applications.

Pros- all the benefits of PWAs, optimized mobile experience, apps available in app stores, doesn’t require two development teams for Android and iOS
may require additional development time to iron out bugs and add OS-specific features

5- Create apps using React Native (a framework for building native apps using React).

Pros- high-performance apps, apps available in app stores, doesn’t require two development teams for Android and iOS
development time and costs are higher than PWA options, unoptimized mobile web experience if you don’t have a PWA

6- Create pure, native Android and iOS mobile applications for Magento.

Pros- highest performance apps, available in app stores 

Cons- development time and costs are higher than all other options, unoptimized mobile web experience if you don’t have a PWA, requires two development teams for Android and iOS

The next logical question is, how do I know what to choose and how do I know if the cost to build mobile commerce apps is viable for my business?

If you really want a mobile app, read this first

A few words about app retention. 

retention curves for android apps

But why use words when a beautiful graph can do all the talking? 

As you can see on the graph above, users don’t really like to keep apps on their phones and smart devices unless they’re super useful. For ecommerce, the best option you have to keep users coming back to your app is incentivizing its use. For example, offering discounts or personalized push notifications for sales and promotions.

smartphone users

For SMBs (small to medium businesses), we believe that the best investment is developing a PWA and if that’s not enough, or your business analysis shows that users want more, you can choose to create mobile apps from your existing PWA. PWAs may not be quite as fast as a native mobile app, but they are easier and cheaper to maintain, they work on every device and platform, and on their own, they can significantly increase conversions. Check out these examples of PWAs in retail and ecommerce to learn more.

For enterprise businesses, we recommend developing a PWA and a mobile app. This way, you get an ultra-fast store, and you accomplish two goals at once — you create the best possible user experience for both desktop and mobile. 

At the end of the day, the costs involved with developing a mobile app heavily depend on your site and the complexity of the features you want. 

Important Takeaways — Magento Mobile App Cost

If before, trust in mobile and security risks were a concern, today, we’re in the golden age of mobile commerce. The decision of investing in an app is up to you but we hope this overview gives you some insights into the best direction for your business.

  • Mobile apps have the potential to increase revenue but it should be noted that a mobile-optimized site (and especially a PWA) has the same or higher potential.
  • Before investing in a mobile app, we would recommend either optimizing the existing version of your mobile website or developing a PWA for your Magento store.
  • By first creating a PWA for your Magento store, you have more flexibility because you can either 1) prompt users to add your site to their home screen without downloading anything; 2) submit the PWA to app stores where users can find them; or 3) take the PWA and repackage it with a hybrid solution (e.g. Cordova) to create native Android and iOS apps.

If you’re a new merchant and you need more information, we recommend reading our full guide on ecommerce website development cost.

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