Native vs. HTML5: Building a Winning Mobile Retail Strategy

by Michela Stribling

If I told you that by the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices than people on the planet according to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, would you be surprised? Consumers are so in love with their smartphones and tablets that these devices are now a significant driver of e-commerce: Forrester expects that U.S. e-commerce sales will reach $370B by 2017, fueled in large part by our use of mobile devices.

It’s little wonder that retailers are rushing to build comprehensive mobile strategies or to expand and revise existing approaches. But mobile retail requires more than simply optimizing existing websites for the mobile consumer. It needs to more accurately reflect emerging consumer behavior, and it must accommodate new devices and new platforms. Against this background, retailers are faced with the fundamental and potentially career-ending challenge of whether to build a mobile strategy using native apps or HTML5, or indeed, whether hybrid apps present an opportunity to bypass the issue altogether.

The reality is that consumers use their devices in very different ways, making a one-size-fits-all approach to mobile commerce short-sighted and ineffectual. A successful mobile retail strategy must reflect consumer behavior holistically and support specific business objectives. For example, native iPad apps, with their ability to deliver rich, immersing, nearly magical shopping experiences, represent a smart, strategic investment in building closer relationships with brand loyalists and repeat customers. They’re what you build when you want to retain and reward your best and most loyal. But a pared-down mobile web experience using HTML5 sites or apps, may prove just the ticket for acquiring new customers or helping people quickly complete their purchases on their phones.

Learn more about how to build a comprehensive mobile retail strategy in our new whitepaper, Retail Mobile Strategies: Native versus HTML5 vs. Hybrid.


Michela Stribling is the Vice President, Corporate Communications for Revel Touch, a creator of cloud-based, front-end platforms for building powerful mobile shopping and branding experiences.