Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s), exciting new technology and can be seen as an evolution in the domains of front-end web technology. If one asks any technology enthusiasts whose well-versed with PWA’s, they’d instantly tell you the biggest plus point of these. That’s ‘bringing back the high speed and slick experience of native apps, on web browsers.’! Yes, that’s right.

PWAs are unlike responsive web sites and native apps as they directly resolve many of the problems that eCommerce businesses face today. PWA’s provide retailers with higher conversions, as well as an experience to consumers that’s very app-like. They’re completely mainstream, and not a thing that very few businesses have adapted to. Big names in e-commerce have shifted to PWA’s in the wake of declining engagement numbers. Even Google Inc. recently introduced certain criteria that all Progressive Web Applications must satisfy – HTTPS (Data security between browser and website), Offline Mode (surfing without active internet), Push Messaging (Deliver information without client requesting for it), Home Screen (PWA on start screen for fast access), Browser Compatibility (Optimum experience across existing browsers), and Flexibility (inter-device viewing capabilities, display fits perfectly as in-between phone and tablet).

But before one reads any further, it’s important to outline when and why e-commerce needs a PWA. Now the issue with developing ‘traditional’ apps is that they can be costly and often use a significant amount of data as well as storage on the users’ device. The past couple of years have seen numerous changes in the way consumers search for and buy products. A lot of people are finding things they want straight from their mobiles. M-commerce is on the rise! Naturally, any e-commerce store that wants to cater to this major chunk of potential customers has three possibilities of online expansion in front of them –

  1. Optimize their responsive website
  2. Invest in a native application
  3. Launch a Progressive Web Application

One of the biggest reasons for any business to launch a PWA over native-app is the lack of resources and availability of capital. If the mobile website is frequently updated or when there is very little time-to-market, PWA’s the way to go. Since mobile web pages continuously feature new content almost every other day, with some deals or schemes for savings and shopping; All this causes the native apps to run slowly and they seldom load instantly even in good network coverage. What generally happens in such cases, is that customers would stop visiting the application and move onwards with those sites that present them with an enhanced-improved experience. PWA’s gives your consumers the opportunity to surf through the site offline. And if there’s a chat platform that, then push notifications for updating the customers with new data.

Progressive Web Apps (a combination of responsive web design and native apps) are web basically applications that are an upgraded version of web pages satisfying certain specific requirements while at the same time delivering an experience similar to apps.  

There are four-five major categories of benefits that Progressive Web Apps have over traditional applications –

 

Traditional Applications Progressive Web Applications
Require active internet connection along with storage space in the phone memory. Minimal storage space needed very low data usage over the network.
Routine app updates to be downloaded, as per the publisher. Approvals for chunky files. Updates happen ‘on-use’, very much like any webpage.
Costlier to produce. Native applications necessarily have to create for both Android and iOS devices. Significantly cheaper to produce, though not at the cost of functionality. Single PWA for all platforms
Penalized by Google Search engine results Boost accessibility and searchability for your app
Consumer awareness but not retention Consumer conversion, higher scale than native apps
Downloaded only via the application marketplaces. PWAs can be downloaded via any of the browsers and installed on any device regardless of the screen size and other specifications.

 

To generalise for sake of estimation: Developing both an Android and iOS app can cost $20k – $80k while a PWA can be developed for a fraction of this cost at around $6k – $10k. As mobile phones remain the major source of traffic nowadays, particularly for e-stores, PWAs are emerging as an excellent solution for merchants in search for increased conversions.

Major Advantages of PWA’s

Offline Mode – Every web page has cached data. The browser history stores this cache on local memory, and recalls it for saving on load-time. PWA’s use pre-cached data for allowing customers and clients to browse through web pages and sites in the event of a low or zero internet connection. While this doesn’t work for days on end, it will work for short periods of time when the connection is limited.

Payment Request API – Anonymity and security are two major concerns for anyone who shops online. That’s why customers always appreciate payment request API, which provides everyone with a secure and fast way to shop.

Navigation – PWA’s resemble native apps in outlook, thus making the user experience of PWA’s vis-a-vis responsive designs much better.

Instant Page Loads – Instant page loads are one of PWAs most valuable features. Instant page loads mean that all of the information on a given web page is loaded instantly. In many web pages, a white page will appear before the page loads; however, PWAs resolve this.

Push Messages – This facility is available with both responsive and PWA’s. However, nine-out-of-ten consumers start their buying process with search engines. Hence, being found on the web is a big deal, and thus the SEO compatibility of PWAs as against the penalisation of native apps by search engines is what shifts the scales in PWA’s favour.

Most marketers and app developers are well aware of the relation between online conversion/engagement and sales. By having reduced loading times, customers get to navigate the number of pages and generate more engagements. This results in an efficient interaction with the system, meaning that they’ll return to the e-commerce site.  

Challenges of PWAs for eCommerce

Despite all the advantages of PWAs for e-commerce projects, they are not without limitations –

  • As PWAs refer to both applications and websites, they can only be designed with strong knowledge of app architecture along with that of web design and coding.
  • A relatively new mobile tech with not so many “out-of-the-box” solutions. However, necessity has been the mother of all inventions!
  • PWAs usually don’t access users’ data, including media, contacts, social profiles.
  • Being crucial for PWAs, caching arises a lot of issues, for instance, the balance between the performance of a website and its usability. Moreover, fast “booting” requires intricate mobile technologies and is not as easy to achieve as it seems to be.

Like every other technology out there, PWA’s have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Though, in the wake of rising m-commerce, businesses ought to leverage this competitive tech that has the ability to work on any gadget irrespective of device functionality along with their enhanced capabilities with the more-so advanced devices. A growing number of merchants have shifted their consumer engagement activities wholly on PWA experiences. And in doing so, have improved the conversion as well as engagement rates significantly, though not without professional assistance.

Webkon has been in the business of creating custom Progressive Web Applications for the past couple of years and have worked with big names like -. Close Brothers, Liqui Moly, Deluxe, WaterSwitch, Wes Brown and Leanne Brown Official App and many more. With the latest mobile technology adapted specifically for retail & restaurants, keep customers engaged from discovery to checkout. With the Google-backed Progressive Web App (PWA) technology as the core, the high-converting feature-rich app significantly improves mobile revenue. With fast Webkon apps, ensure higher conversion rates and increase revenue. These apps can be shared via multiple distribution channels and are hosted over HTTPS, featuring push notifications and dynamic content updations. With webkon, get PWA’s that are discoverable through search engines and can find their way right to the user’s home screen. Smooth as Butter!

Thinking about PWA’s? Are sure about benefits to your business, but unsure about the way forward? Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help –

 

Written by webkon_blog