Much has been made of the recent data breach at Target, and many place blame squarely on those responsible for making the breach possible. I’ve heard about a few arrests here and there of individuals with stolen credit card numbers, but the company and it’s employees paid the biggest price of all. Certainly negligence played a part here and that should be dealt with, but how much damage was actually done because of the security breach? For Target, and many other companies, it may not even be measurable.
When thinking of developing a mobile presence for an eCommerce site, many people think of apps first and mobile web second. For most, I think this is the opposite of what it should be, but many companies continue to get lured by the sexiness of app development, the possibilities of native platforms and he huge success of some apps. Native app development is certainly appropriate and necessary in some cases, but there are three good reasons to look to mobile web first:
Lower Cost of Development: Native app development skills are growing at a fast pace within the developer community, but can still be quite expensive when compared to typical web UI programming costs. There are a growing number of companies that provide offshore mobile development at affordable rates, but there still exists the need to be able to manage an offshore development team, even if with an onshore project manager. Included with the cost of development is the cost of deployment, which can be complicated by the gating effect of app stores, especially Apple’s appstore. Trying out functionality via mobile web most often leverages an investment already made in similar functionality on a web site by many companies and this can be a shortcut to testing functionality with your users. You can always decide to develop native apps when a real need has been demonstrated for functionality that truly requires a native implementation.
Limited Success of Most Native Apps: The latest Visionmobile Developer Economics Report shows the reality of mobile app success. A tiny 1.6% of app developers earn the majority of revenue for paid applications which is an interesting statistic, whether you have a paid app or not. It leads to the reality that apps are largely seen as disposable and many are forgotten and deleted just a short time after their install on a mobile device. Most apps simply aren’t seen as must-haves, but are seen as also-rans. This is a very revealing report — take a look.
For these reasons, it is usually a better choice to test mobile functionality using mobile web development techniques and save the investment for native development when the needs are specific to what native does better than mobile web. There are certainly situations where native development is a must, but for eCommerce companies, these situations require careful consideration. The mobile web approach is less expensive, more flexible, and will likely be more successful for many online retailers over the long run.
Recent legislation that passed the House is poised for a vote in the Senate, should they get around to it anytime soon. While this legislation’s intent is to level the sales tax playing field between local retailers and online retailers, it will likely do more harm than good in the long run.
- Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA): Placed a moratorium on internet access taxes that expires on November 1, 2014. A few states that were charging taxes prior to the moratorium being enacted were grandfathered and allowed to continue collecting access taxes. The house also passed The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA) last week that permanently bans taxing internet access.
- Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA): Would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers regardless of whether they have a physical location (or nexus) in the state.
- Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA): Essentially a combination of the above two laws, MITFA would extend the moratorium on internet access taxes for 10 years and ban grandfathered states from collecting access taxes all while allowing states to collect sales tax from online retailers without a nexus in the state.
So we’re up for a little banter between the House and Senate over taxation of access and online sales and I’m not surprised to see them combined as a way to get a little leverage on moving things ahead. As usual, when legislation like this is enacted, some of the longer term effects Continue reading
There are a lot of amazing technologies and devices being brought to market these days. We’ve all seen them — Bluetooth capable health monitors, the Nest thermostat, fitness devices — and the number is going to continue to grow. Underlying all these devices is a technological battlefield where companies are trying figure out the best way to work with and encourage the app building in the developer community.
Apple and Google have huge developer camps writing thousands of new apps each week using their tools and technology. Both of these companies have well-rounded software Development Kits (SDK) and each technology is capable of being used to build apps with similar capabilities. However, I think one company has the advantage here, not because of the technology, but because of the way they think about the market, and that company is… Continue reading