The Slow Death of Mobile App Stores!

PWA AppBrowzer

It’s 2019, and being on the mobile is more important than ever. Everyone has a smartphone these days. All this through progressing technology and access to high-speed internet. Mobile devices have changed our very behaviour. A recent report study revealed that we swipe over 6000 times a day! That is the kind of hook Mobile phones have on humans.

What about Mobile Apps? “There’s an app for that”, how many times have you heard this phrase. Just goes to show you the kind of influence and reach of apps. Ever since the advent of mobile apps, they took over almost every category (utilities, productivity, gaming, entertainment, lifestyle, social networking, and news and so on) and continues to do so as I write this. Businesses need to be on the mobile to reach their audience. Now more than ever before. 

The typical approach would be to put in resources in development and add your app to the big 3 – Apple, Google Play Store and other third-party app stores. But it’s easier said than done. I’ve been in the mobile space for over 6 years now and I am constantly learning and finding the most efficient ways to reach our potential customers on the smartphone. Nevertheless, here is my insight. Let’s go to detail with each of these platforms in the practical world. 

First, let’s start with the more famous Google play store. First, you would have to pay a fee of 25$ to get yourself registered. That’s easy, however, from there you are one app in the millions of apps inside, 2.6 to be exact. You are literally a fish in the ocean. It is almost impossible to market your app without monetary adverts. Plus, if you’ve got a big player in your industry, its a cruel monopoly. You are limited to the ecosystem from the get-go. From a technology point of view, you will still need the resources (time, money, and people) to build your app for Android and will be restricted to inside it.

Next, let’s go to Apple. It should be noted that Apple reach in India is limited, with only a 1.2% market share in India at the end of 2018. The iPhone’s share of India’s smartphone market is now at “its lowest in recent history,” according to Counterpoint. These are enough reasons for you to avoid the apple store. Further, the legal process to get your business verified coupled with a 99$/year fee to enter it really make it tough to publish your app on the apple store. From a technology point of view, it takes a lot of resources to build your app in the apple play store. Their approval process may require you to completely change the flow of your App! (speaking from experience) 

Well, after years of experimenting with different options and technology approaches, I have realised that the most optimised way is through Progressive Web Apps! Especially for small businesses and startups looking to get their products/services to the hands of their users. 

But seriously though, what on earth is a PWA?

We wrote an entire article on the AppBrowzer blog page on why Businesses need PWAs. But let’s define it anyway, what is a PWA exactly? Progressive web applications are web applications that load like regular web pages or websites but can offer user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and device hardware access traditionally available only to native applications. Hence the term progressive… 

The biggest advantage – it’s FLEXIBLE! Typically from my experience, you save literally half the time and resources in building your app through PWA when compared to a native app for a particular store. What’s more, it’s responsive to fit any form factor, behaves like a native app and can be made engageable through push notifications and Installable, to the home screen allowing users to “keep” apps they find most useful without the hassle of an app store. They’re friction-less (no download or install), the user clicks a link and TaDa – they start using the application.

Progressive Web Applications are often compared to native and hybrid apps because they share many of the same functionalities. But here is the beauty of it, building a PWA as a base will enable you to publish it on multiple platforms including the play store, apple and other stores. Basically what I’m trying to say is you won’t be limited to just one platform. 

The Big Picture – PWAs on AppBrowzer

We started Appbrowzer with the vision of bringing everything to one place. A ‘Super App’ in a nutshell. Users would be able to browse and instantly search for apps across different categories anywhere at any time without the need to download from the play store. Currently, we have over 500+ apps on AppBrowzer. Very recently, we partnered with over 50 businesses and startups to put their product/service on AppBrowzer. We have a combination of Native Apps and PWAs.

PWA, AppBrowzer

Case Studies

After looking at the industry and talking to multiple App business owners, in my view, the most scalable type is Progressive Web Apps. Still not convinced about building a PWA for your business? Let’s take a look at some examples and see how PWAs on AppBrowzer have fared… 

Flipkart 

We integrated Flipkart through PWA back in 2017 as an obvious option for our users to get the instant option in the shopping category. The PWA provided for a native feel, you actually couldn’t make out any difference between the PWA and the native Flipkart app on the play store. Take a look at the picture below.

PWA, AppBrowzer

After a couple of months of integration, we saw a GMV of over 35 lakhs/month. 

Smart Social

There really is no ‘Super App’ without social media. After noticing the massive usage of social media in our country and people around the globe. There remained an underlying problem. Users have to constantly switch between apps to get to the app of their choice. Which meant that we constant shuffle between apps on our smartphones. It started a train of thought in AppBrowzer to get it all in one screen. It is with this notion, we created ‘Smart Social’, a place that contained Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LInkedIn. In comes the magic of the PWA, we managed to bring all the social media platforms in one category for users to get instant access. 

After the integration of Smart Social, we saw incredible engagement rates of over 4-5 mins per user per day and it’s increasing day by day.

Gamezop 

GameZop is a mobile web-based social network for addictive casual games. AppBrowzer did not have any games category up until last year. We introduced Gamezop seeing the growing trend in the gaming industry.

PWA, AppBrowzer

Post integration, we were receiving over 300K impressions/month by the end of December 2018. This number grew to over 12-15mn impressions/month by the end of June, 2019.

 

Like Gamezop, we’ve had several other partnerships with businesses that needed PWAs. It is both feasible and scalable for any type of business. It’s high time businesses/startups realise the power of the PWA. Just because of capital cost, a lot of business owners are hesitant to build their business on the mobile on the popular play stores. But now with PWAs, you can get your business up and running and bring it to the palm of every mobile user. In fact, giant businesses like Alibaba, Flipkart, KFC, McDonald’s, and Forbes have already selected the PWA route. This is marking the rise in one of the major emerging technologies that we are witnessing today. At AppBrowzer, we have built over 150+ PWAs within the app. We are on a mission to create an ecosystem for the App Developers/Businesses, that will give them frictionless reach to their users. Through this, we want to bridge the gap between businesses and end users. 

Final thoughts

I’m not trying to say it’s Native vs Web Apps here, but it is the integration between and seamless merging between these two technologies. That is why we at AppBrowzer exist, to bring business all options to get on the mobile.

Now, are you looking to build an app on the mobile, don’t think again. If there’s anyone you know trying to get on the mobile, send this to them. 

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