February 3, 2012, 12:03 PM

HTML5 mobile sites give apps a run for their money

It’s hard to have it all, says an IRCE speaker from ShopNBC.

Lead Photo

Tom Kraus, ShopNBC

A growing chorus of voices in mobile commerce is rejoicing over the arrival of HTML5. HTML5 is the wunderkind of web programming languages that has the potential to change the face of m-commerce—from apps to sites.

HTML5 enables developers at retail and other organizations to create mobile web sites that function in many ways like mobile apps. The language allows mobile site developers to dig into the inner workings of a smartphone in ways an app that resides on a smartphone can. Sites powered by HTML5 can use a smartphone’s GPS technology, enable common app gestures such as swiping and double-tap zooming, and cache data within the mobile browser on the phone to speed page load times.

“It comes down to apps versus sites: Do I need both? Do I want both? Can I afford to manage both?” asks Tom Kraus, vice president of content and commerce at ShopNBC.com, which operates an m-commerce site recently juiced up with HTML5 as well as multiple smartphone apps for various mobile platforms. “Your web team is now managing multiple platforms—web, smartphone, tablet. How do I support that with the resources at my disposal? This is something we are all wrestling with. Our world has turned very complex, very quickly.”

HTML5 has the potential to alter the landscape, giving more prominence to app-like sites than mobile apps because an organization need only manage one mobile site as opposed to multiple mobile apps for different platforms with different requirements, he adds.

Kraus will address the subject of HTML5 during the Mobile Commerce Workshop at the Eighth Annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 5-8, 2012, in Chicago. The title of his June 8 session is “Powerful new mobile sites could put apps on the back burner.”

Workshop attendees will learn about the role HTML5 is playing at ShopNBC.com, No. 64 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300 and whether HTML5 really is the godsend many in m-commerce say it is.

“People will learn about some of our hard-won lessons,” Kraus says, “and some things to think about in a digital world in which it is hard to have it all.”

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Kraus to speak because he oversees online commerce and content at the TV, web and mobile retailer. He has more than 18 years of retail experience in merchandising, planning and online commerce.

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