What Are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive web apps, also known as PWA, are changing online stores and businesses giving users a faster and easier way to stay connected to their favourite brands using their mobile devices.
Accessing online content via a mobile browser or a mobile app has been the normal for many years however there is a new kid on the block, PWA or progressive web apps. So what is a PWA. In short, a PWA is a website that is also a hybrid mobile app. Rather than visiting Google Play or Apple’s App Store, users simply visit the site using their mobile browser and they will be prompted to install the website as a PWA on their device. Alternatively, they can go to their browser’s setting menu, 3 dot menu, and select “Add To Homescreen” to install the PWA. On Iphone, users can install via Safari and “Add To Homescreen” via the bottom menu, swipe up to access. Other installs methods include a custom install button in the footer of the website which can install the PWA, Android devices only. We are expecting Safari to support this feature in future releases.
The PWA will save a launch icon onto the users device desktop like any other mobile app and it will launch from that icon in it’s own window without the browser. The PWA’s content will be cached on the user’s device so will be ultra fast and responsive. Unlike traditional apps the content will automatically update content when online and cached content, main landing pages, will still be accessible even when offline.
Faster Cheaper Easier
PWA’s are faster, cheaper and easier to develop and manage compared with traditional apps built for specific platforms. A single PWA can be easily installed by users on any platform and because the content is using traditional web based technologies, it’s a lot cheaper to develop. A PWA can be fully commerced because at the end of the day it’s your business website and will contain all the content your current website has, products, pricing, descriptions, photography and payment gateways.
Fragmentation occurs when a user is using a traditional mobile app and is then suddenly bounced into a mobile website to make a purchase or find other content will often result in the user not making a purchase or deleting the app within the first 7 days of using it. Marketers whom adapt their marketing strategy to provide a seamless user experience cross platform can achieve lower acquisition costs, as the user just visits the site to install the PWA, and can achieve higher user engagement and retention with improved ROI.
Mobile Browser Or Mobile App
Market research indicates mobile web users don’t do the following compared to mobile app users:
- Products are viewed 4.7x more than users using mobile web browsers
- Products added to the basket are 2.5x more than users using mobile web browsers
- Completion rate is 1.2x more likely than users using mobile web browsers
Overall users using a mobile web app are 3x more likely to convert than users using a mobile web browser. For marketers this means they must use a strategy that is going to encourages users to download their app, install it and use it to convert into paying customers.
This is where a PWA strategy shines as users are automatically prompted to install the website as a PWA from the mobile browser. For marketers and developers, this seamless integration of website content delivered as a web app straight from the browser is the way forward. A PWA creates a user experience that is contextual and it can get users quickly to the content or product so they can convert quickly and easily.
Mobile App Or PWA
A PWA is able to provide an experience that is often superior to both mobile sites and mobile web apps.
- A PWA has excellent performance supported by smart caching
- A PWA supports offline browsing
- A PWA has notifications support
- A PWA can be installed without visiting a download store such as Google Play or the App Store
- A PWA is far less expensive to produce than a mobile web app
- A PWA is cross platform compatible
- A PWA is automatically updated when content is changed and the user is online.
So with a Progressive Web App, developers can write a native app-like user experience with web technologies. There is no platform specific code and no browser specifications. Additionally, PWAs don’t have to go through an app store review process. User discover you PWA from your site and are prompted to install in seconds, easy.
PWAs For Ecommerce
PWAs create a direct and user friendly mobile app experience when shopping online. Being optimised for engagement and interaction they fit in nicely with any user base segmentation. Because they operate in their own window, a PWA is more likely to retain and engage users with new content than a web app that needs to be reinstalled.
A PWA can embrace new technologies faster, quicker and easier such as augmented reality and multimedia than a mobile web app and this all affects conversion rates. A PWA promises a frictionless user experience cross platform which is now not optional, while allowing developers and marketers to design, test and iterate on web campaigns that retain and engage their users.
At Kodako, all our website designs come standard with a PWA.