HTML5 vs Native – A battleground within retail banking

Written by Matthew Jones

If mobile is the battleground for retail banks, native, gesture rich apps are the weapon of choice to succeed.

HTML5 vs Native

For years, many have argued the advantages and disadvantage of HTML5 vs native mobile apps. The cost-effectiveness of HTML5 vs the enriched user experience that can only be achieved through a native app is just one point in this endless debate.

At shinobicontrols we have pitched our tent in the native camp; however even I can appreciate HTML5 is a viable option for some businesses. It offers faster and cheaper delivery, and a universal code base for use across platforms. It’s therefore a good fit for businesses that want to test the water with a mobile offering, or protect themselves for the next six months.

However forward-thinking businesses are realizing the importance of the user’s experience, and for that, a native application can:

  • Harness the power of the device. That means as consumers upgrade their device, their experience gets faster
  • Take advantage of mobile features such as accelerometers, and advanced gestures like Apple’s 3D touch, or Google maps’ pan and zoom
  • Use offline functionality, and emerging security features such as fingerprint recognition

One clear disadvantage of native application development is the additional cost involved and the fact you need a team with a wider skill set to work on it. Many are put off by this and as is the nature of business, look at costs first. However, this cost first culture cannot be sustained in the retail banking industry; the cost to a bank’s brand and relationships with its customers is too great.

Mobile is becoming the lynchpin of the customer’s relationship with its bank and the battleground for attracting and retaining customers in the future. Consumers expect financial applications to deliver an uber-slick user experience, helpful services and information, here and now. Mobile is so important to consumers; one in six looking to switch their account are taking a bank’s mobile offering into account [KMPG, 2015].

Over the years, banks have competed to offer the best in-branch experience with helpful and knowledgeable cashiers who represent the brand. However, with in-branch visits falling in number, and losing relevancy, banks have realized the power of mobile, a topic that I have discussed in more detail in my previous blog on how mobile is changing banking forever. The outcome is that they are now all competing to deliver the best mobile experience possible, to address changing consumer behavior.

By investing in mobile solutions that focus on the user’s experience, not just the financial cost to get the app to market, there’s an opportunity for banks to create a competitive advantage and set themselves apart in an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive. For retail banks that want to be on the front-foot, attract new customers and engage their existing clients, a native app is the best weapon; there’s a reason why the HTML5 logo is shaped like a big cumbersome shield.

To help address the changing landscape, we’ve released a new white paper, Style and substance in mobile retail banking; charting in mobile apps – available to download here. It’s backed by substantial research and case studies. In it, we explain how to improve your own mobile strategy so you can attract, engage and retain your users.

Download White Paper