Native vs. Third Party Applications for eCommerce: A Comparative Analysis

Sol Dieguez
Apr 6, 2022

Mobile eCommerce has risen in popularity for the last decade or so, with 79% of smartphone users making a purchase using their mobile device within the past 6 months. Considering that 10% of retail sales have also been made through mobile devices, it’s time for business owners to work on joining the mobile eCommerce space. This signifies it’s also time for an intricate decision: the choice between native vs third-party applications for eCommerce. That’s why we’ve created this article with all the information you need for choosing how to create your eCommerce applications. Keep reading to learn all about the pros and cons of native vs third-party applications!

The pros and cons of native vs. third-party applications for eCommerce

Pros of native applications for eCommerce:

1. Increases brand identity and awareness. 

Because native applications are unique to your brand and your eCommerce business, having one of these apps will help you increase brand awareness. Having an app exclusively for your business will help you strengthen your brand identity and establish your presence in the digital retail space. It’s a great strategy to differentiate your business from competitors and provide a personalized experience to your customers.

2. High personalization of your application. 

Personalizing your eCommerce application is a fantastic opportunity to provide the best user experience possible. You can add as many features as you’d like, offer multiple digital payment methods, and have complete control of the overall customer journey. You can also add tracking analytics to the code to receive insightful details about each and every one of your users and how they respond to your products and app updates. 

3. Loyalizes customers in the long term. 

Another one of the best pros of naative applications for eCommerce is the way it can help to loyalize your customers in the long term. While on a third-party application your eCommerce brand us one amidst thousands, on your own native app your products really get a chance to shine. You don’t have to fight the on-app competition, all users are there because they already know and care about your products or services. Plus, giving customers a one-stop destination to shop your brand will help them come back to it because of its convenient and useful features. 

Pros of third-party applications for eCommerce:

1. It simplifies the process and allows for immediate results.

While native applications are more customizable, third-party apps have the benefit of lacking lengthy developing times. They are rapidly available for eCommerce businesses to upload their catalogs and start making new sales. No waiting for a native app to be developed or for the initiative and project budget to be approved by company management. All you need to do is choose a third-party app that gives you a solid cost-benefit ratio and put together your mobile eCommerce shop. 

2. The company saves on software development costs. 

third-party apps only charge eCommerce businesses a percentage of every sale, as opposed to the costs of building an entirely native application for your eCommerce brand. While these revenue percentages can add up in the long term, it’ll take a significant amount of time until the cost becomes equivalent to a native solution. 

3. Instant access to a large customer base. 

One of the most competitive advantages of third-party applications for eCommerce is the fact that they already have an established customer base. Many small to medium eCommerce businesses struggle to attract new leads, making a native application a rather risky enterprise for them. third-party apps allow them to access the large and often international customer base of third-party apps to gain some valuable traction first. 

Cons of native applications for eCommerce:

1. Higher costs because of development and maintenance. 

Native software development applications are expensive, that’s undeniable. They require a dedicated development team to work on the project, a unique and marketable design, a budget for regular updates and maintenance, and a strong copy for all product descriptions. It’s a huge undertaking and, as so, it costs a significant amount of money, time, and resources. 

2. It takes time for the app to gain traction. 

Unless your brand is highly established and has a large base of active followers, it’ll take time for your native application to gain traction. It can be weeks or even months until you see a stable influx of returning and new users, risking financial hardship if you haven’t prepared for slow traffic at the beginning. Still, once your target customers learn of your brand they will most likely give it a chance, as long as it’s working as it should. 

3. Harder to optimize for search engines. 

As mentioned before, the success of your native app for eCommerce will highly depend on your marketing efforts. This not only includes different campaigns to attract your target customers. It also involves a strong SEO campaign to establish your apps’ presence on social media, Google search results, and both Apple and Android app stores. Still, no matter the SEO efforts on your end, a native app might take longer than expected to optimize for search results. This is because it’s a brand new project and will need a couple of weeks to be picked up by search engines. 

Cons of third-party applications for eCommerce:

1. You risk becoming one more of hundreds of brands in the app. 

While a native application for eCommerce helps to build your brand identity, third-party apps just add your brand to their large catalog of eCommerce stores. Though this gives you access to their base of existing customers, it also makes your brand just one more between dozens of competitors. You’ll need to build a solid marketing strategy to distinguish yourself from the other brands. 

2. The experience is less personalized and meaningful for the customers. 

third-party applications offer an off-the-shelf to your customer, experience that would be virtually identical if they bought something from a competitor with a presence on the same app. This might not be an issue for your brand if you have built a large following, but it can really trouble smaller brands trying to stand out. 

3. third-party application terms and conditions can change unexpectedly. 

With a native application for eCommerce, you have complete ownership of the platform, content, and technology. But with third-party apps, your products are sold on a platform that belongs to someone else. This means the owners might change the terms and conditions, such as the percentage they get from your sales, at any given moment. 

Looking to develop native eCommerce applications for IOS and Android? Let us help! 

With this information, you know the pros and cons of native vs third-party applications for eCommerce and can decide which alternative is best for your business. Now, if you choose that native applications are exactly what your brand needs right now to scale to the next level, we can help you achieve those goals. At Resolve Digital, we offer custom software solutions, including the development of native applications for eCommerce. Contact us to learn more about our services! 

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