It’s the classic debate – does your online store need a mobile app or mobile-friendly web store is enough? It’s not a case of „if” but more of „when”. And when your store’s traffic is big enough to earn back the investment of a mobile app in a reasonable timeframe, it’s a no-brainer.
E-commerce stores on mobile apps have shown improvement in customer user experience and technical possibilities. However, there’s one thing that’s non-existent on a web store that is available on a mobile app. Judging by the title of this article, you should already have an idea of what that is – push notifications.
Push and web push notifications
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s quickly run through the topic and the current possibilities. To be clear, we are considering only mobile device notifications, not desktop.
A push notification is a message that users receive from a downloaded mobile app, and it typically looks like this:
A web push notification is what users receive from an internet browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc., and typically looks like this:
As for now, iOS devices do not support web push notifications, but Android does. Therefore, theoretically, you can reach your customers on mobile devices with web push notifications, but only to those using Android.
For the sake of this article, web push notifications for Androids won’t be considered as we move forward. That might sound biased, but from personal experience, I haven’t seen anyone use web push notifications on Android devices. Only my 60+ mom has hundreds of them piled up in the notifications bar. She doesn’t understand what certain buttons mean and what she signs up for, let alone that she struggles with English.
Android vs iOS
You can skip this paragraph – my goal here is simply to justify why I’m not even considering the possible web push notification case for Android devices. The graph is a little outdated, but it shows the distribution of Android and iOS devices across some of the world’s biggest nations.
The worldwide sales data of iPhones and Android devices suggest that the iPhone continues to maintain its strong market position and is steadily growing. Considering the current exciting era of AI, there is favorable potential for Apple’s growth. If you want to learn more on the subject, read here.
This shows us that even if an e-commerce store uses web push notifications for mobile devices, a significant chunk of the market made up of iOS users remains untapped.
Let’s talk numbers (case study)
Picture this – an online store owner uses two marketing channels to reach their customers: emails (web store case) and push notifications (mobile app store case).
Our hero of the story is Bananique, who owns a store called Peeling Strong! (PS!). The store offers customers powders for protein shakes.
According to Statista , there are three important metrics to measure marketing channel success: click-through rate, conversion rate and average order value. Let’s focus on these three.
Online sources show us that, on average:
- Emails have a 2.01% click-through rate (CTRE) 
- Push notifications have a 5.8% click-through rate (CTRPN) 
- Web stores have a 2.75% conversion rate (CRWS) 
- Mobile app stores have a 130% higher conversion rate than web stores which gives us 3.58% (CRMA) 
PS! 's best-seller is a jar of vanilla flavor powder that costs 15$.
Let’s assume this is our average order value (P).
Bananique’s store has 10k active customers (C).
Now, just like in 8th-grade math, let’s take a look at two scenarios:
Bananique has a web store:
WEB = C x CTRE x CRWS x P = 10000 x 2.01% x 2.75% x 15 = 82.91 $
Bananique has a mobile app store:
MOBILE = C x CTRPN x CRMA x P = 10000 x 5.8% x 3.58% x 15 = 311.46 $
That’s close to a 4x increase in sales.
This case study shows a clear gain in potential sales when comparing mobile app vs web store performance.
The success of marketing channels differs from industry to industry but on average mobile apps tend to perform better overall. Push notifications are just one of the advantages of mobile app stores, which help them dominate over web stores.
Gain customer feedback, research your store’s specific niche, consider your budget and figure out when to expand your store to a mobile app.
While web push notifications exist, they are not supported by iOS devices and have lower usage rates. To sum up, the case study in this article shows that a mobile app store can generate almost four times more sales than a web store.
You might also enjoy:
- ChatGPT-4 may be the best thing that could happen to Apple
- Why Mobile Apps Convert Higher Than the Mobile Web
- Web Push Notifications – The Complete Guide
 Frizbit „Web Push Notifications – The Complete Guide”
 Statista „Apple or Android Nation? Operating System Popularity Across Countries”
 Sixcolors „Apple’s fiscal 2022 in charts”
 Counterpointresearch „Apple Leads Top 10 Smartphone List for April 2022, Samsung Follows”
 Statista „What are the primary metrics that you track to measure your personalization initiatives and their success?”
 Mailchimp „Email Marketing Statistics and Benchmarks by Industry”
 Businessofapps „Push Notifications Statistics (2023)”
 Shopify „Ecommerce Conversion Rate: A Definitive Guide”
 Businessofapps „Why to convert an Ecommerce store into a mobile app”
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