We are all acquainted with installing apps from the Apple and Google stores. If you need an application, you follow the link or use the search in app markets to find what you need by name. But technologies take steps forward. Innovative, convenient ways are appearing to reach users faster, to offer them an out-of-the-box, uncomplicated way to interact with the business using PWA.
Imagine: what if the site itself offers to install the application in just one click as a lightweight shortcut? It will appear on the phone screen, so you don’t have to go to Google Play or App Store and download anything. In the meantime, the user doesn’t need to perform unnecessary actions, store unsafe files from unverified sources, or hazard the security of a smartphone.
The search giant, Google, became a developer of such a technology in 2015 as it sees the future in it. It’s called a Progressive Web App. It was still quite raw since the announcement, and not all browsers supported it. Pioneers include Lancome, Uber, Tinder, Facebook, Instagram, Starbucks, Pinterest, The Washington Post, and, of course, Google itself in Maps and Notes. Many other large enterprises around the globe have plumped for PWA technology to develop their business. PWAs now work correctly in almost all modern popular browsers.
You can opt for various solutions for PWA development like Vue Storefront and Deity that have some of the basics of PWAs built-in, or opt for Magento 2 PWA studio install which leaves more room for customizations. Your technology partner will advise you on the appropriate tools and options for your specific eCommerce platform.
In this article, we will enumerate the reasons why online store owners should decide on building PWAs.
In What Way eCommerce Stores Can Make the Most of Building PWA
1. Swiftness of Page Load
To begin with, speed, performance, and content delivery are one of the main aspects of a PWA. Various solutions, such as advanced caching, GraphQL, the modern API approach, and others, as a result, become the factors that satisfy your client and contribute to the advancement in search engine rankings.
It has long been established that page load speed shouldn’t exceed three seconds, as otherwise, the bounce rate rises to a swingeing 90% or more.
Rapid work is key in terms of PWAs as they utilize application shells. As the page loads, a layout of the content appears on the screen, although it hasn’t loaded yet. This signals to users that the content will soon appear in front of them, which represents an essential element for perception.
Take a look at, for example, this screenshot of the Pinterest PWA that demonstrates this phenomenon. Even though it takes seconds to load the images, the application shell is much better in comparison with looking at a blank page and anticipating content to load. On this account, the probability of bounce dwindles and the conversion ascends.
Screenshot taken on the Pinterest PWA
From the point of view of search algorithms, the fast page opening that PWAs allow boosts the site’s ranking and provides a competitive advantage over others.
2. Flexibility of PWA: Cross-Device Engagement
PWAs, unlike native apps, work everywhere (because they are launched in browsers) and are not demanding on operating systems and technical capabilities of various devices. One of the powerful features of PWA, as opposed to native apps, is their flexibility and responsiveness due to reactive layout.
Thanks to them, it is possible to satisfy the needs of various consumers, regardless of which device they are using. The site layout adapts to the size and resolution of the device, be it a smartphone, desktop computer, or tablet. It ensures a consistent user experience across different endpoints and expands the platforms for online sales.
It keeps users coming back to you over and over again by grabbing clients’ attention. Moreover, it maintains their engagement, thus facilitating a continuous experience. This means that settings and data can be provided for another device as well.
3. Comprehensible Design as Leverage for SEO
Another SEO leverage that PWAs possess is their smooth and user-friendly design and navigation, which usually was a prerogative of native apps. PWA design is challenging to distinguish from native app design and sometimes even more convenient. Like you can see in the example below, the Apivita store employs PWA. It is exceptionally responsive, reminds a native app, and the buttons are located right for the user’s comfort.
Screenshot taken on the Apivita PWA
However, unlike native apps, PWAs are scalable, meaning they can be found through search engines like any other website.
PWAs are, to some extent, even superior to their peers since they require much less space on the device’s memory, load lightning-fast, and are available to be found via search engines.
Thus, PWAs are more beneficial as they are more intelligently organized in terms of UX\UI. This is especially important in the light of information about the Google search algorithms update. Beginning from the summer of 2021, they will consider the usability of the page when ranking. From now on, sites that provide the best user experience and are optimized for both desktop and mobile devices will be in the top search queries.
4. Smooth Installation and Light Shortcuts
The average number of apps downloaded from the store is approaching zero, as people are in no hurry to fill the memory of their phones with dozens of heavy applications. Perhaps they will resort to them no more than once a week, and maybe even once in a lifetime. This is especially true for the eCommerce segment. The lack of features in the web version that native applications can boast reduces user engagement in its turn.
The creators of PWAs have combined these capabilities and the extremely light size of applications by adding installation to the home screen. To download PWA has become as elementary for users as follow the web link and accept the invitation. The download turns the website into a real application by placing it on the home screen.
The essence of the download is quite similar to going through the app store process but without taking up much storage or further updates. The PWA allows you to see the most recent content by automatically updating it in the background.
A top-rated apparel brand George which is a part of ASDA Walmart increased customer time on site by 28% by implementing an “Add to Home Screen” query, an example of which is shown in the screenshot below. To find this request, you need to go to the page menu, download the application, and it will appear on your home screen, which allows you to dive into a native app-like experience right on the web. The icon of the app is lightweight and works as a link, opening the store in the browser of the device.
Screenshot taken on the George.com PWA
5. Compliance with Safety Requirements and Ease of Purchasing
PWAs provide security benefits for eCommerce businesses, among others. PWAs rely on HTTPS to mitigate risk and keep data secure. This protocol prevents tracking and content tampering, so people can be sure that it is safe to use the store and buy from it. In addition, certain security features are achieved by using Web Bluetooth technology.
Obsessive and tedious checkout procedures can prevent people from shopping and lead to cart abandonment. The browser built-in Payment Request API allows users to make prompt and secure payments by enabling mobile purchases. At the same time, customers can instantly make purchases, since this method ensures no order forms.
6. Possibility of Offline Mode
Thanks to a technology known as Service Workers, PWAs are available offline. At the initial loading of your online store, the content is stored in the cache. This makes it possible to view it without any problems next time both at 3G, 2G, and low bandwidth speeds. It also works for the cases completely without the Internet.
Users can access the app wherever and whenever they want, such as on the plane, on the bus, on the subway, and add products to the cart. In sync, the application caches the actions, and as soon as the Internet appears, the application will make corresponding updates.
The caching API and custom scripts allow an application to iterate over layout components stored in the browser cache. Native apps used to deal with the problem of no signal, but now PWAs have become their worthy competitors to make customers happy and satisfied.
7. Push Notifications to Hold the Attention of Users
PWAs enable businesses to connect with their audience through such an intuitive feature as push notifications. Just like the native app, users receive push notifications directly to their mobile devices and enjoy a very engaging user experience.
“What are the advantages of push notifications?” you ask. They attract more customers than traditional marketing methods such as email, blog posts, or social media posts. There is a great advantage of this method to marketers as the open/view rate for a push notification surpasses it for a newsletter by 30 to 60%. A business can save effort on collecting email addresses or other information to interact with users.
The overwhelming majority of Internet users browse the web without leaving contact information on websites and don’t create an account. To turn this blind spot into an advantage of its own, businesses invite users to receive notifications when promoting products or services.
For instance, a prominent eCommerce website in Africa, Jumia, introduced push notifications as one of the progressive web app technologies and saw 9X more conversion on previously abandoned carts and a 38% open rate on mobile.
8. Saving Money on PWA Development
Companies have to support and promote up to four systems these days: their website, iOS app, Android app, and in some cases also native Windows 10 apps, providing a multi-platform strategy.
It’s worth noting that building, optimizing, and maintaining a responsive website only takes resources. And additional native app development can easily quadruple this investment. In addition to creating an application, it entails constant monitoring, maintaining, upgrading, and observing verification processes in the app store.
PWAs are supported on any platform, allowing you to reduce development, maintenance, and marketing costs for a specific platform other than the flexible PWA website. One technical team serves all channels from one platform. This guarantees the same user experience for all customers, reducing time to market different software.
PWA: There Is Always Something to Strive For
Despite all the advantages of PWAs, some of the functionality of native applications remains more beneficial compared to them. A couple of such important functions make native apps superior to PWAs although they are not so crucial for eCommerce stores.
In addition, truth to tell, progressive web applications have some SEO-related peculiarities. However, proper handling from the outset and during the development phase helps to remove many obstacles.
Of course, it will take a long time before PWAs will supersede native apps. But as a complementary technology to help businesses expand their audience and get closer to customers, PWA is more than viable.
It is worth trying to take the first steps towards your mobile users and new customers. If you are not yet ready for the costs that developing and maintaining a native iOS/Android application entails or you crave testing new ideas, then the PWA option is a justified choice. This will help grow your business, reach new levels both concerning search engine optimization, marketing and in respect of improving user experience.
After all, PWAs offer the architecture of the future, allowing people to buy not only from mobiles and desktops but also from TV sets, refrigerators, etc. This way, you can stay ahead of your competitors and prepare for the new era of online shopping.