How Can Online Stores Benefit from PWAs?

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Have you ever seen a curious “Add to Home Screen” notification while browsing from your mobile gadget?

If you click on it, you will see a shortcut that appeared on the screen. This shortcut is similar to the one that appears when you download a native app.

But you don’t need to download anything from app stores.

This is how PWAs work. Introduced in 2015 by Google, Progressive Web Applications reinvent the mobile web experience and continue to conquer the e-Commerce market. They are blazingly fast, easy to download and use, light-weight, extremely responsive. And what is more, they can be available from everywhere even in a disconnected mode.

But how can online stores benefit from the technology? And why do some experts call PWAs the future of e-Commerce? Let’s dive right in.

PWAs and online stores are a match made in heaven – Reasons:

Technical advancements have had an immense impact on how consumers behave and how they make purchasing. The ability to buy everything from any store worldwide using mobile devices resulted in the boom of the e-Commerce industry.

According to the latest stats, 79% of smartphone users have bought at least one item from their mobile gadget. 

However, the times when every consumer has thousands of native apps installed on their smartphones fell into oblivion. As far as users open a native app of an online store once or twice a month to make a purchase, they no longer want to store tons of apps on their phones.

Progressive Web Applications are a real catch for e-Commerce stores. This technology is a symbiosis of a mobile-friendly website and a native app. PWAs, on the one hand, have all the features of responsive sites like visibility for search engines and the absence of the installation process. On the other hand, they look exactly like a native app.

Progressive Apps operate inside a browser but get access to hardware and software of a user’s device. This offers great opportunities for e-commerce businesses.

Think about it this way. With PWA tech, your site can:

  1. Work even in a disconnected mode (thanks to site caching).
  2. Send push notifications to users due to Service Workers.
  3. Provide a barcode scanner.
  4. Deliver localized content (using the access to user’s geolocation), and much more.

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps for Online Store Owners

Fast Speed

Load speed is essential for e-Commerce stores. Google says that if website pages load more than 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases by up to 32%. That is why speed remains the major concern for entrepreneurs.

Building a PWA is a great way to improve website load speed. It relieves pages from the necessity to reload.

Let’s assume that a user visits the PWA of your store for the first time. All CSS and JS files will be rendered on your PWA Storefront. So, when the user goes to another page, it loads faster. For instance, there will be no need to reload the page header or footer whenever the visitor goes to another page because these elements are already loaded on the Storefront. Consequently, the online store performs better.

 Reach a wider audience

Progressive Web Apps are designed to be versatile. They offer universal access for every user, no matter what platform they are on. Once loaded, PWAs work smoothly on different screen sizes; be it desktop, tablet or mobile. They need low space on a mobile gadget and are able to work offline. Therefore, they have higher potential to reach masses. With a polished PWA, store owners can be sure that their users get the best UX possible, regardless of the browser they use.

App-like experience

Progressive Apps not only look like native apps with their perfect UI and UX features, but they also deliver extremely fast performance to customers. Better user experience for customers means higher conversion rate. For instance, Alibaba, a famous Chinese e-Commerce platform, saw a 76% increase in conversion rate after implementing a PWA.

Besides, users can save a PWA shortcut on their home screens, just like they can do with native apps. The only difference is that they don’t need to download anything from the App Store or Google Play.

 Reduced development costs

Well, let’s just see what the figures are. Developing a native app of the average store costs about $20,000-$80,000. Not to mention the fact that developers need to customize the app for at least two stores. With PWA development, the client gets both an app and a mobile-friendly website, as a surplus dividend. The price of PWA development is $15,000-$50,000.

Offline functionality

Thanks to site caching, PWAs can work without connecting to the global network. The function allows buyers to visit the website pages, look through their orders, and change them in a disconnected mode.

Push-notifications

The ability to send push-notifications to users is one of the main benefits of Progressive Web Applications for e-Commerce websites. With this feature, you can keep your customers informed about new arrivals, sales, and discounts. It will help to re-engage those buyers who have bought something from your store and inspire them to make new purchases.

Thanks to Servers Workers, your customers can receive push-messages even when the app is not active and their browser is not opened.

Enhanced Security

According to recent research by the Department of Commerce, half of American Internet users are afraid to buy things online because of security and privacy concerns. They are worried about security breaches and identity theft.

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Therefore, one of the major tasks entrepreneurs face is to ensure the customers that they can do transactions and pay for goods securely through their website. As far as PWAs for online stores are concerned, they provide retailers with an extra layer of protection by separating the front-end and back-end sides. As well, PWAs enhance cyber protection as they serve the content through a secure HTTPS protocol. With that, retailers can deliver a much more secure shopping experience for their buyers.

Compactness

Native apps are massive. While customers use them once or twice a month to buy a thing, the apps take up a lot of storage space. As a result, users delete them as they want to clear a space for other applications. Since PWAs don’t require installation from an app store, as well as they are downloaded and run on a browser, this issue doesn’t arise.

While the average native app size is about 50 MB, a PWA would take no more than a few MB. Let’s take Jumia’s PWA as an example. It is 25X smaller than its native analog. 

Jumia’s PWA example

Why are PWAs the new era of e-Commerce?

Rather than saying much of PWAs, we’d better give a glance at the fantastic results of implementing this tech by some big names.

  • Aliexpress boosted their conversion rate by up to 104%.
  • Debenhams, a British multinational retailer, increased its mobile revenue by 40%.
Debenhams PWA example

Konga, a Nigerian online retailer, saw a 92% decrease in data usage for the initial load (as compared to their native app).

5 Miles, a mobile marketplace, reduced the bounce rate by 50% and increased conversions by 30%.

Magento, a leading platform for e-Commerce websites, is into PWA, as well. In 2017, the CMS announced its own PWA Studio. It is a set of powerful tools for creating online stores with app-like UX.

However, building a PWA in Magento is not the easiest task. So, if you are not sure that you can tackle it alone, hit up a professional company providing Magento consulting services for support.

Summary

PWAs for online stores deserve the right to be called an impactful technology for e-Commerce. A Progressive Web App developed for an online store is a great way to deliver a convenient and fast shopping experience for customers.

The point is that those business owners who neglect to build their PWAs leave the opening to do so for their competitors. Thereby, such businesses take on the risk of falling behind the market.

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