Use of Progressive Web Applications (PWA) As Mobile App Alternatives Within Website
The number of internet users from Smartphones has rapidly risen in the past years, with close to 51% of traffic coming from the mobile channel. This has created an urgent need for websites to be mobile-friendly and provide ease of usage for mobile customers-which caused an associated increase in Mobile Apps across the Android and iOS platforms. However, it has been noticed that average revenue from the mobile channel account is quite lesser then overall online sales-creating an increased need for focus on mobile conversion optimization. The answer is the emerging Progressive Web Applications (PWA), which creates App like functionalities on a web browser to provide more features and enhanced user experience for the customer. Magento has recently launched its support for PWA’s, so let’s look at the future of eCommerce websites with Progressive Web Applications.
Need for Progressive Web Applications (PWA’s) against Mobile Apps
Mobile Apps are fast gaining popularity and are designed to provide all the functionalities of a conventional website, but store owners do see a challenge in high cost associated with mobile App design and maintenance. Though Apps are increasingly relevant and popular-they cannot fully replace conventional eCommerce websites in terms of ease of access and availability. This has caused a need to provide App like features in an eCommerce website- a scenario that PWA’s are designed to address, along with improvising on design and functional areas in the current Responsive Design Environment and Native App architecture.
What makes Progressive Web Applications different?
Progressive web applications are designed to give an App like browsing experience and usage functionalities that would increase user engagement, boost conversion rates, and increase revenue. They are built to combine the best in the design structure of both responsive web pages and the fluid architecture of Native Apps. Unlike conventional web pages, they require less data by a design structure that would only load the essential elements of a web page on the mobile browser and create enriched user experience with smoother animations, fluid scrolling, and intuitive web page navigation that reduces the average user touchpoints. They also use a special script called “Service Workers”, which works in the background to create local data, notifications, and handle user actions, so that users can also use the application when offline or during a disruption in the network.
Progressive Web Applications do away with many conventional native Apps requirements in terms of initial download, installation and periodic updates as they are designed to run and update dynamically instead of requiring a user-triggered upgrade. They work on all major browsers, and can also be locally stored as screen icon-which does way with having to use a browser to open them again. They can be installed right from the browser itself and can also run in a full-screen mode like a Native App on the mobile.
The major advantage that Progressive Web Applications provide is their ability to use Smartphone features such as GPS location, camera and microphone right from the browser- a feature that conventional websites cannot access unlike a Native App. This allows them to be of immense use in proving features such as barcode scanning in stores, payment processing, and providing location- based information by using the core Smartphone features. They can also send “Push” notifications like Native Apps, making it easy for the website to send across relevant real-time and contextual communications to the user.
Case Study: Progressive Web Application implementation results in increase of 104% in new-user conversion rates and 74% increase in average session time
One of the most featured usages of Progressive Web Applications is by AliExpress, a prominent global online store and a part of the Alibaba group. By implementing PWA’s, the group saw an increase of 104% in conversion rates from new users across all browsing channels, with an 82% increase conversion rates from Safari. This was achieved by building an engaging Progressive Web App (https://m.aliexpress.com) that combined the functionalities of their Native Mobile App with the advantage of being a website. This implementation resulted in better user engagement with a 74% increase in session time and a 2x increase in average web pages browsed per session.
With some of the World’s leading and popular brands using Progressive Web Applications on their websites, it’s fast emerging as a technology that would redefine mobile customer experience and increase conversion.
The article is part of a series of articles on Progressive Web Applications.
For an overview of PWA benefits to customers and website owners, please Click Here
For an introduction to Magento PWA Studio, please Click Here
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