This story originally appeared on Glossy, Digiday’s sister publication for all things tech, fashion and luxury.
Patagonia, long known for eschewing traditional retail models, announced today that it is disabling its mobile app, a result of enhanced mobile web capabilities that may render certain apps obsolete.
The high-end outdoor retailer shared a note on the app today bidding users farewell and pointing consumers to its optimized website on mobile browsers. The move comes on the heels of other provocative gambits taken by the company, including launching a second-hand-clothing shop in Oregon, integrating repair and recycling into its business model to increase longevity, and its controversial “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign in 2012 that targeted over-consumption and consumerism.
“Thanks for supporting the Patagonia iPhone app. Now that our website is beautiful and easy to use on all mobile web browsers, we will no longer be supporting this app — you may delete it from your device,” the note reads.
Mobile web-app hybrids are a growing trend among brands and publishers alike, as a result of the rise of Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, a new standard for building mobile websites. The Washington Post debuted its new web-app platform at the Google I/O developer conference last month.
“They are a better way to enable a website to work more like a native installed app,” Aaron Gustafson, who works on web standards at Microsoft, told Digiday last month.
What makes PWAs so enticing to companies like Patagonia is its ability to load on an array of unique browsers and devices, without fear of distortion or altered functionality due to differences in size and specs. It also helps cut costs, allowing brands to build consumer experiences without investing in separate native apps.
Beyond the benefits to companies like Patagonia, it also increases ease to the consumer, who can use a website in an app-type interface without the added hassle of downloading a separate app.
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