Magento have finally announced that one of the lesser used features of Magento CE & Magento EE is being closed down for good. Magento Mobile is shutting its doors on 1st November 2015. Bug fixes will be accepted up to 1st September 2015, and change requests will be stopped after 1st October 2015.
Reasons for the closure
The official reasons for the closure are further development of the responsive base theme that was introduced in Magento CE 1.9, and the concentration on the new(ish) Magento Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK), which is only available to Magento EE customers.
However, an unofficial reason is that there are limited customers who could make use of the very limited features available through the standardised mobile offering. It also costs a lot to subscribe to the apps.
Do I need an app?
Honestly, this completely depends on your store and your customer base. Generally, there should be a specific reason for creating an app. As a standard your website should be fully responsive, and an app is not a replacement for a responsive website.
Apps are a lot of work, as there are a lot of platforms, devices and capabilities to deal with. Some of the reasons that can make the investment worth it are that:
- Your brand has a large following of regular / committed customers that want a more tailored shopping experience
- Your customers primarily shop on devices
- There is a specific use-case (such as a marketing campaign) which is more suited to devices
Even in the above cases, a really well designed, implemented, tested and optimised responsive website is a requirement for any company before looking to native apps. An app is definitely not a short cut, or a replacement for having a website that works on multiple devices.
What if I really want an app?
There are a few options out there, the main one is utilising Magento’s own Software Development Kit (SDK) which is currently only available for iOS. It is also currently only available to Enterprise level Magento customers.
For Magento Community ecommerce stores, there are alternatives such as using the built-in SOAP API. This has a lot of default behaviors / methods built in, and can be extended with custom or purchased modules from Magento Connect.
Both of these require some custom development by an App developer, and it is worth asking your development team what experience they have with the SDK or SOAP APIs before you begin.
There are other solutions that are looking to replace Magento’s Mobile offering such as SimiCart, and Mobi Commerce. These apps – much like Magento’s – don’t provide 100% compatibility with all your store features, an have limited customisation and design options.
Want to read more about the shut down?
For more information see the FAQs.
Ok, I want to up my game using Responsive Web Design
At LogicSpot we have a huge amount of knowledge about responsive web design, best practises, and continued development. This is especially so, when it comes to Magento Community and Enterprise. We have our own specially created workshops for creating the best responsive wireframes, prototypes and designs. Have a look at our Magento portfolio for a couple of responsive examples.
Please let us know your needs and requirements, and we’ll help your create an amazing customer experience.