Only bringing your business online is no more sufficient today. People are trying out new ways of advertising every other day. According to recent studies, restaurants are going through a serious growth of mobile app development phase. Progressive Web Apps are no more vague term today. We already have proven results that PWAs are the next-gen mobile marketing tool.
Progressive web apps offer a package of best of the web with the best of mobile user experience. It provides many distinct marketing opportunities, specially designed for restaurants. If you are looking to reap the benefits of it, this is the way to go.
#1: MOBILE WEB IS LAGGING
There’s an insane amount of difference between the two experiences, one which is viewing a business website on your laptop/desktop and second is seeing the same site via your mobile browser.
Native mobile apps for restaurants were explicitly meant for facilitating an improved user experience on mobile. While they have managed to charm the users with intense creative imagery and persuasive copies, the flip-side is that they somewhat failed to accomplish its very purpose. The purpose of driving business growth and user engagement.
So, although the mobile web browser has proven to be the less preferred interface through which someone views a website, we don’t think that’ll be the case for much longer as more businesses build PWAs.
Progressive Web Apps combine together the best things users love about native apps (offline access, the app shell, telephony features, the omnipresent navigation bar and so on) in an easy-to-use convenient package that can be accessed right from their mobile home screens. It’s one of the best ways for restaurants to generate engagement and fetching the maximum returns on their investment.
One of the Leaders in Restaurant Business, Starbucks, has newly launched PWA, which has a look and feel of a native app. Sleek animation and navigation have made this restaurant app feel like a native, and the small size makes it fast and ultra-responsive.
- Homescreen PWA faster than the iOS mobile app
- Starbucks reported that they have doubled their daily active users
- Newly launched PWA uses 4% of mobile app phone memory only
- 19% higher System Usability Score (SUS) on mobile and 14% higher on desktop devices
- The new PWA is now 233KB which is 99.84% smaller than the previous 148MB sized iOS app
Take a look at Crabtree & Evelyn, the major retailer with enormous availability of funds for creating a native app, but it instead went ahead with a progressive web app. The experience for users includes the convenience of browsing the online store and making a purchase without even having to leave the browser. Or, users also added this PWA to their home screen and treat it as they would any other app.
Furthermore, the PWA created by Infobae comfortably trumps the mobile web experience. And as per Google, the Infobae PWA has:
- The bounce rate of 5%, while the same rate for the mobile web was 51%.
- Average time spent per sessions on PWA is 230% longer than the mobile web.
- Three times more pages views per session.
#2: NATIVE APP STORES ARE OVERFLOWING
App stores are overflowing with native applications, and the cutthroat competition between business apps is causing an overburn of resources without much ROI. Local businesses, especially restaurants, are struggling to retain audiences. The interesting theory for this is for the ‘kind of native application’ the restaurant business has, as this can be the deciding factor for gaining popularity with consumers, as against the app store.
And then again, restaurants owners often think here – “And what if my app has a unique edge? That should be enough to dominate the niche?” Well, that’s a possibility! Mainly if your app is targeted to region-specific mobile users. But then again, you’d have to consider what sort of app types perform well with mobile app users.
The top 4 applications dominating the app store belong to the below-mentioned categories, irrespective of the part of the world mobile users are located in. Roughly speaking, 70% to 80% of all time spent on mobile apps goes to these four categories as well –
- Entertainment (e.g., YouTube)
- Social media (e.g., Facebook;
- Instant messaging (e.g., Whatsapp)
- Games (e.g., Fortnite)
If your app concept doesn’t fall into one of those categories, there are so many cases of well-known entities that have opted not to compete in app stores, despite having a large enough audience or customer base to do so. West Elm is an excellent example of a retailer who’s done this, by developing two native apps. One is for registries. This makes sense as a mobile app could be conducive to tagging and tracking registry items. Such applications are perfect for frequent shoppers. That said, neither of these native apps is popular with users, in terms of quantity of reviews! So, it was a smart and economical move by West Elm to keep its main shopping interface in the PWA.
#3: PWAS RANK IN SEARCH
The added benefit of ranking in search engines from PWAs –
- The mobile apps rank in search engines is a factor of the number of SEO efforts associated with the application.
- The chances of a brand new app getting buried in the app store search are very slim. And the same goes for the app being dismissed due to a lack of ratings.
- PWA’s are distributed directly via links, making it easier to share with friends/family/colleagues.
Bottom line: Searchability and providing users with a tangible link to your app can drastically reduce the friction, which is caused by having a single native app existing only in the app store.
Plus, it’s essential to consider how exactly people are going to use your app in the micro-moments. Take, for instance, when a consumer is inspired to:
- Research something of interest,
- Go somewhere,
- Make a purchase,
- Or do something…
A PWA in such cases can be placed directly in search results. Making this biggest reason that e-commerce businesses like HobbyCraft have especially gravitated towards PWAs. Lancome is another e-tailer that’s made a conscious decision to forego the native app and keep the mobile shopping experience in a PWA format. An important design element is the positioning of Stores icon located in the top navigation bar. For businesses with brick-and-mortar counterparts and especially restaurants, there’s really no reason to stay out of local search in Google. Especially when searches with ‘near me’ have nearly doubled in the past year.
Take a look at this Restaurant PWA’s prompt layout, from Fat Jack’s Tap House in Salt Lake City, Utah. A classic example where the system finds the location-specific menu and delivery estimates for respective users.
Properly designed PWA can show up in relevant location-based queries, a specific business aspect that’s going to be immensely beneficial for eateries. Secondly, presenting the users with an interface that’s similar in UX and comes with the native app-like security like a native app (HTTPS) can compel mobile users to make a purchase on the spot.
#4: NATIVE APPS STRUGGLE WITH RETENTION
If there’s one thing that we ought to have learned by now when it comes to businesses and mobile apps, it all comes down to the kind of mobile app you’ve built for your business.
So an in-store application that tends to hook-on people, compelling them to spend time and money for fully-experiencing and unlocking features of the application is excellent. When you find that perfect fit, there’s good money to be made from having a native app. After all, it’s merely a matter of generating that will in users to download and committing them to use the application.
Having said that, most native apps struggle to retain users. What’s happening is that users are initially downloading the applications. But they’re not returning back and engaging with the content. Neither are they purchasing the subscriptions, upgrades or the ‘click’ on ads!
And the part where PWAs can change the entire scenario for restaurants and local eateries is the lack of high commitments from the user’s end. Business owners often believe that it’s never a tall-ask, that of asking people to download the native business apps in an incentivised manner. But the truth couldn’t be far from it. PWA’s are incredibly convenient to use, from the user’s perspective. They are a testimony to the adage – ‘Customer is King.’ And PWA’s let you pamper them without any inconveniences.
Nevertheless, you may want to urge users to save it for instant access in the future, as
The Weather Channel does it perfectly with a PWA that users are saving on their home screen, for easy access daily use. Now think for a second why consumers did not choose the native app that would chew through data and battery power a lot more quickly than the browser-based PWA. Furthermore, highly specialised publications are going to benefit immensely with PWAs for their daily readers. Plus, PWAs give users offline access, so they can get access to content no matter where they are or how limited their access may be to the Internet.
#5: PWAS CAN GENERATE MORE REVENUE
The big tech firms (Apple and Google) take a sizeable cut from any sales made through your native app, inclusive of paid downloads, in-app purchases, upgrades and subscription fees. This what businesses have to pay in exchange for the listing of native apps on stores owned by either of these tech-giants. And at one point in time, these fees were as high as 30% per sale.
It gets a bit unfair on businesses owners, as at one-place they have to pay for visibility via app-store ads while at the same time pay the app-store owners a hefty commission with every sale made on the native app. You could have spent that kind of money either on design tweaks, development updates and even promotional advertising.
And this another good thing about PWAs is that there aren’t any fees, no pay-to-play! This implies that whatever revenue is generated, it goes directly to the owner of the business app. This aspect is particularly beneficial for local businesses, such as newspapers and eateries, Savvy!
So, not only are PWA’s significantly more straightforward to build than native apps, they’re a lot easier to monetise and manage to post the launch. A single browser-based app for all your local eatery, restaurant business.
Updates on PWAs that is based on the WordPress website are ridiculously easier. You push an update through the pipeline, and it shows up immediately in the live PWA. There’s no need to push updates to the app store admins and wait for their approval. Everything happens in real-time, which means getting new features and money-making initiatives out to the public more quickly. The most significant example of this is the Twitter Lite PWA, which can stay on the cutting edge in real-time.
When going up against a plethora of social media giants that dominate the app stores, having the ability to keep your app updated in real-time can serve as a sharp competitive edge. This is in addition to all of the other benefits that come from developing your app in a progressive web format. This is what happened when Twitter put out its PWA. And this is what precisely you could do for your business.
As this case study from Google shows, Twitter took an incremental approach to optimise its PWA. As such, they’ve been able to introduce huge improvements to the user experience without much detection from the end-user. Their only response to the updates, in fact, has been higher usage of the PWA.
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