Progressive Web Applications are redefining the way eCommerce websites are being designed by providing added functionalities, ease of usage, and a Native App- like experience to mobile customers. They function as a hybrid model of eCommerce websites and Native Apps within the mobile web browser. Let’s take a look into how Progressive Web Applications can be of benefit to customers as well as website owners. Later in the section, we shall also look at some of the world’s leading brands that have used PWA’s to redefine their customer experience.
Enriched Browsing Experience: PWA’s are designed to give an enriched browsing experience to mobile customers in terms of fast-loading pages, intuitive navigation, sleek animation features, and ability to run in a full-screen mode like a conventional Smartphone App. They are designed to optimize page loading speeds to facilitate easy purchases and site exploration, which creates create a better customer experience and increases sales.
Extended Web Page Functionalities: PWA’s offer extended web page functionalities not offered by conventional websites while being browsed through a mobile. They can easily access and integrate with your Smartphone Camera, GPS location data, and other features to provide App like features on the website. They can also give you contextual “Push” notifications like regular Apps-serving as a quick mode of communication from the website.
Low Data Usage: Progressive Web Applications are designed to be lightweight and only load with the essential elements for faster access. With intuitive navigation and a progressive display of relevant site pages, they consume less data than normal websites. This is quite useful for customers having data connectivity and low bandwidth issues and can be a game-changer in emerging mobile commerce markets where data plans are still a premium.
Ease of Access: Unlike Native Apps that require an initial download followed by periodic updates, PWA’s can be directly accessed from the web browser and are designed to auto-update in the background. This gives them the ease of usage like a normal web page, along with the complete features of a Native App, without the need for separate download and associated data usage. They can also be stored on the Smartphone-allowing them to be directly accessed without reloading in the browser.
PWA’s are designed to work with all major browsers-thereby being cross- browser compatible. Customers would not need to download and install an App, but can use its features right from the browser.
Offline Mode Usage: Progressive Web Apps can also be designed to work in the offline mode so that users can continue their site exploration even when disconnected from data. This is useful in cases of network interruptions and reduces the need for a stable and fast internet connection.
User conversion from mobile channels has been a constant challenge that eCommerce website owners have been facing since the past years. With the growing popularity of Apps, mobile conversion has somewhat improved with Apps being the new storefront’s, but they come with their limitations and complexities. Progressive Web Applications aim to address these issues by generating a hybrid web page that can be accessed from a mobile browser and has all the inherent features of a Smartphone App. This allows easy updates, access, and lower investment for website owners. Let’s look at a few advantages that website owners will get by implementing Progressive Web Applications, before moving to see how they have positively impacted major brands worldwide.
Increased Customer Experience: The speed and ease of usage that PWA’s offer to customers along with low data usage and offline mode browsing-greatly enhance the customer experience. This is a critical factor for the competitive eCommerce market, as user experience brings more new-user conversions and more return customers.
Boosts Sales and Cart Value: The ease of usage and access that customers get by using a PWA results in quicker sales and more average cart value per customer as they can easily browse through products and make faster selections by intuitive product display. PWA’s have been proved to increase page visits and average time spent per session in many use-case studies.
Ease of Deployment: Unlike Native Apps that require an initial design, development, listing, approval, and installation before they can be used, Progressive Web Applications can be easily deployed by a web page code that runs both on desktop and mobile browsers.
Budget-Friendly: With the average development costs for Smartphone Apps reaching around $50 K, website owners will find it easier to implement Progressive Web Applications in their existing websites to save on budget and maintenance and get all the benefits of mobile customer acquisition. This is very useful for emerging eCommerce businesses that can do away with heavy investment in mobile App development.
1) Twitter: Social Media giant Twitter used PWA’s to develop “Twitter Lite” which saw 75% increase in Tweets sent, a 65% increase in page views per session, along with a 20% decrease in bounce rate. The new version uses around 3% of the storage space when compared to the Android App and provides better user engagement and lower data consumption.
2) Forbes: Forbes has implemented a Progressive Web Application that allows users to browse from their mobile and select subjects or areas that interest them for rendering required content. This saw a faster loading of visuals and better content formatting that resulted in a 43% increase in session duration, an associated 20% increase in ad-viewing, and a 100% increase in engagement.
3) Washington Post: Washington Post is using PWA’s to provide a seamless reading experience for its users by providing fast-loading content and offline browsing along with an ability to add a direct icon to the user’s phone for easy access. This implementation saw a huge decrease in load time, which greatly improved user-experience.
4) Lancome: Luxury Cosmetic brand Lancome overcame a challenge in decreased conversions through their App by building a PWA that saw a 50% rise in mobile sessions, a 15% decrease in bounce rate, and a 17% corresponding increase in conversions. It also had a huge success with using “Push” notifications to reconnect with customers who have abandoned their cart, with an 8% conversion for such customers.
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