In this post I’ll give an overview of the key technologies and building blocks involved in delivering a full featured E-Commerce mobile app across Android and iOS that is fully integrated with your existing EPiServer Commerce website.
Research has shown that conversion rates are 3 times higher for customers on Native mobile apps compared to responsive web sites. Native apps can provide a speedier, cleaner user experience while taking advantage of mobile features such as push notifications to drive engagement.
The issue has been that Native App development is often prohibitively expensive. Done in it’s purest form, it requires separate iOS and Android developers working in totally different technology stacks to deliver apps that are fundamentally the same. Maintenance costs are then effectively doubled as you roll features out across both platforms.
React Native is one of a number of cross platform mobile development frameworks and frankly, without getting into comparing with other options, it’s the one i have been by far the most impressed with.
While React uses the Virtual DOM to render code in the browser, React Native uses Native API’s to render components on mobile. These Native Components and Native Modules which come with React Native are optimised for performance.
ReactNative and EPiServer Commerce with Flagship
Flagship is an opensource accelerator kit developed by Branding Brand for mobile applications built on ReactNative. The open source code lives in Branding Brands Github repository at: https://github.com/brandingbrand/flagship
This code base provides a whitelabel pre-built starter site and set of reusable commerce components which you can use to kick start your React Native application development.
Being a React Native application, styling is handled within the components via close to standard CSS style sheets.
Flagship already comes with connectors for Commerce platforms such as Shopify & Demandware with the EPiServer connector coming soon through integration with EPiServer’s Service API and Content Delivery API. However there is already the opportunity to integrate with standard Flagship components by normalising your existing responses to a Flagship JSON standard.