Progressive web app guide
Guide on Progressive Web Apps for eCommerce

Guide on Progressive Web Apps for eCommerce


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Progressive Web Apps are getting so much hype in recent years. Many experts even helm it as a game-changing solution for the eCommerce enterprises. Being a relatively new technology, PWA is getting immediate traction of many big brands. In fact, big brands are producing incremental result after building PWA for business. But small and medium businesses are still lagging in starting this technology.

If websites and native apps will have kids, then they will be called Progressive Web Apps.

For small businesses, investing in technology is always tricky. After all, SMBs do not possess the big purse of a brand. They are not going to invest unless they get something in return. So here is a guide on Progressive web apps for eCommerce. In this post, we will give you an insightful view of PWA websites is all about, features, benefits, the difference in PWA vs native apps and how it helps business websites?

Topics Covered:

  1. What are Progressive Web Apps?
  2. Why do you need PWA for eCommerce?
  3. Key components of Magento PWA Studio
  4. What is headless commerce and what makes it different?
  5. What are the features of Progressive Web Apps?
  6. What are the benefits of PWA for online business?
  7. Progressive Web Apps vs Native Apps
  8. Examples of successful PWA by top brands
  9. What are the advantages of PWA over native apps?
  10. Conclusion-PWA is future of eCommerce

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps are a technology of developing websites that look and feel like mobile apps to the user. It takes the best features of native apps and combines them with the elements of a website to create a web application. The primary approach is to provide a user experience on par with native apps on the website across all platforms. We will also take a brief overview of the interesting similarities and differences of PWA vs native apps in a while. So hang on till then.

Avail the exclusive guide book on Magento 2 PWA completely free  – An introductory guide to Magento PWA Studio for eCommerce

For instance, Magento PWA Studio utilizes visually interactive elements to create an app structure and takes service worker and API features of websites to create a web application. This makes Magento 2 PWA a highly customizable and engaging Omni-platform solution. Progressive web applications work equally well on mobiles and computers. It offers the best of both worlds in a unified solution.

eCommerce Conversion Rates by DeviceSource – Statista

Why do you need PWA for eCommerce?

Smartphones bring more than 53% of internet traffic today. If we just take eCommerce traffic the number gets even more dominating. This clearly shows the undeniable significance of a mobile-first approach to the eCommerce industry.

Mobile web reach - Unique visitors

Source – ComScore Mobile Metrix 2.0

One more interesting aspect is that eCommerce apps are working but only limited within a loyal consumer base. A hefty majority of first time visitors come through mobile browsers. So mobile apps were not bringing any new consumers to the business.

Consumers were losing interest in the mobile web even though they do not like to congest their smartphones by downloading bulky apps. Who wants to compromise the mobile’s performance? They do not spend plenty of internet data for the sake of app trials.

mobile eCommerce growth63% of eCommerce users came from mobile in 2019 which is expected to go up to 72.9% by 2021.

Source – US Mobile eCommerce

These stats clearly suggest eCommerce websites are not leading to conversions in spite of humongous traffic. In the year 2015, Alex Russel, a member of Google’s Developer team, first introduced a concept of the progressive web app. It was actually a website built and designed like an app.

Key components of Magento PWA Studio

 Components of Progressive website

Magento PWA is made up of 2 key components. These two components work separately as independent units connected through API which keeps the flow of information between the front end and the server.

  • Service worker –

    Service Workers enable JavaScript to function at the back end of the PWA. Service workers carry out some important background tasks such as preloading the content using predictive analysis of the cache, delivering push notifications, and synchronizing the data in cache memory.

  • Web App Manifest –

    It is the .JSON file which keeps the format of presenting the web application on the browser. It makes PWA adaptable, interactive, and engagement-friendly along with crucial features like add to the home screen, etc.

Learn more about Magento PWA and its importance.

What is headless commerce and what makes it different?

The concept of headless commerce arrives from the notion of making front end and back end can operate individually. Thus front end which is the application interface can operate the functions without the back end i.e. service worker and save progress. It simulates the process and takes much lesser time to load up. This is why headless eCommerce is always able to deliver better overall performance and improves user experience.

The aim of progressive web apps was to provide a web solution that works like a charm on smartphones as well as computers. But being progressive truly blesses PWA with a splendid ability to work flawlessly no matter if internet connectivity slows down and even offline with no connectivity at all. This enables progressive web apps to save progress offline up to a certain extent until the internet reconnects.

Read more about the technical details of PWA Studio here.

What are the features of Progressive Web Apps?

Features of PWA

Features of progressive web apps are very aptly optimized and use a responsive framework to make the pages highly adaptive to every device. The webpage uses interactive layouts and visually engaging design helping to elevate user experience nonchalantly across all platforms.

Here are some key features of PWA for eCommerce which make it an extremely promising solution.

  1. Responsive design – It is able to adjust the web page according to the device being used for the browser.
  2. Content Personalization – Cache memory to save the content of a webpage & use it even without internet connectivity. This reduces the page loading time to marginal value.
  3. Add icon to home screen – It enables a website to create its launch icons and adds them to the home screen of the mobile. The even better part is that SMEs don’t need to force visitors to download any app. Still, SMEs will get audience outreach equal to native mobile apps.
  4. Light & data-friendly – PWA optimizes the website in a way that works fast and fluently on mobile browsers. The loading time of the website goes down to negligible value. Cache data stores a few specific dynamics of a webpage which do not load each time you visit the page.
  5. Interactive web interface – The PWA elevates the user experience of the website with its interactive user interface and intuitive layout. It gives an impression of native mobile apps to your visitors.
  6. Search friendly – PWA being a website in its core follows a very well structured content layout. This makes PWA technology very SEO friendly. At the same time, being a web application makes it easier to index for search engines.
  7. Safe & Secure – Safety of Data servers is an advantage to PWA over native apps. You can secure any possible data breach with HTTPS protection.

Read More-Build PWA for eCommerce and increase business growth

What are the benefits of PWA for online business?

Benefits of PWA

The are plenty of benefits of PWA for eCommerce. It is serving a great browsing experience on mobile as it does on computers. It does not fail or disappoints to deliver what it promises to offer.

Progressive web apps are attracting visitors and holding them with a better engagement value which is necessary for any business. 

If we list a few of the major benefits of PWA, they will be:

  1. Works on all platforms –  To put it simply, PWA works on browsers, whether it is Windows or Android makes no difference to the application.
  2. Adapts for device configuration – Progressive web apps adapt according to the user’s device. So it works with equal efficiency irrespective of the size of the display screen or hardware configurations of the smartphone/computer.
  3. Fluent and smooth – Due to its small and compact size, PWA is able to deliver flawless user experience without any significant processing issues.
  4. Elevates visual appeal of the website – With an interactive design, PWA for eCommerce hooks more eyes than other websites.
  5. Reduces bounce rate – It is infectiously charming which compels visitors to stay on the website for more time even if they don’t intend to buy anything from the website.
  6. Enhances consumer outreach – It provides access to anyone and all user needs is a URL. Websites have better penetration due to convenient accessibility.
  7. Increases consumer retention – It is not just good in reducing bounce rates but it is also a great way to retain old users who abandoned you in the past.
  8. Consistency in user experience – It works in consistency with the user experience after the first visit of any new user. The personalized content is in alignment with data cache and uses it throughout all channels. 
  9. Improves conversion rate – PWA provides sufficient attributes to create a satisfying user experience. In case you don’t know, a satisfied user is easy to convert.
  10. Easier to maintain – Building a mobile app is not as much difficult as it is to maintain them. PWA allows businesses to escape the mess with easy & zero-cost maintenance.

Read more – Benefits of Progressive Web App & Challenges

Progressive Web Apps vs Native Apps

PWA vs Native apps

In a comparative study between PWA vs native apps, we can see both seem very similar though they are fundamentally very different, to begin with. They have functional differences yet you can’t ignore certain similarities in their appearance. But one thing that should not be used anyways is to see PWA vs native apps as an alternative for each other. This is not a logical assertion. Wonder why? Alright, let’s go through the contrasts and similarities between PWA vs Native apps.

Similarities in PWA and Native Apps

Native Apps vs Progressive Apps

Source – Quixey Consumer mobile survey

Similarities in PWA and Native Apps

  1. Both offer a very charming visual interface and engagement friendly design. This instigates the user interest and keeps him hooked for a longer duration albeit from seconds to a few minutes.

  2. Progressive websites can create home screen icons for direct access to the users the same way as native app icons function.

  3. Both PWA vs native apps stand neck to neck when it comes to the ability to seek attention. They are both capable of sending push notifications. It works really well as a sales trigger or tool for customer retention.

Differences – PWA vs Native Apps

  1. Users can install Progressive Web Apps without downloading it. In the case of native apps, the application can only be installed if the user downloads it.

  2. PWA saves a lot of data and easily works at poor internet speeds. If you pit PWA vs native apps, PWA has a big advantage in the internet compatibility. So much so, that Progressive web apps save progress in offline mode and update them whenever the internet is accessible later. Native apps need decent internet speed in order to work conveniently.

  3. One of the big differences between Native apps vs PWA is in their self-dependency. Mobile apps work independently on the operating system while PWA can’t and hence work on browsing apps.

  4. PWA  is a very small compact web application and saved in the form of cache memory. While native apps tend to be a lot bigger in size and occupy some space of the memory storage.

  5. In comparing PWA vs Native apps on their quickness, PWA is much faster and less complicated while native apps need a lot of permissions from the user to operate completely.

  6. PWA can be simply searched on search engines and visited using URL. Native apps are not identified by search engines and available for download in-app markets.

Read more – Progressive Web App Vs Native App: What is better for business?

What are the advantages of PWA over native apps?

First of all, it should be very clear that using PWA for eCommerce is not a substitute for native mobile apps. For instance, Magento PWA Studio offers a more versatile solution that is reaching a much wider audience than apps. There are certain factors which were drawback for native apps due to the necessity to download its first approach.

PWA gives some unprecedented advantages to eCommerce which are struggling to penetrate mobile audiences in spite of putting up their own native apps in the app stores. Some of the notable issues with native apps which progressive web apps resolve are : 

Issues with Native Apps which PWA resolves

Poor Discovery – Mobile apps are only available on app markets and do not show up in the results of the search engines. This hampers the audience outreach of native apps.

Installation Fatigue – The app market is overcrowded as new apps keep piling with each day. Users are fed up with downloading so many apps and look to escape downloading.

Depleting Loyalty of App Users – Even users who download new mobile apps, don’t keep it for long. More than 75% of users uninstall the app within a week while 42% actually delete it within a span of 48 hours.

  • 74% of consumers say they prefer the mobile web for ‘instant gratification and having everything in one place

  • 69% of mobile users say the user experience of apps is the reason they prefer apps over the website.

  • 51% of people say they prefer the web if they get everything in one place

Source – BizReport

Examples of successful PWA by top brands

Progressive Web Apps are a pretty recent innovation. Yet there is a long list of websites that are successfully growing after transition to the progressive web apps. This is a game-changer for most and therefore many top brands are willingly adopting PWA for their websites.

The successful examples include a wide range of websites from eCommerce marketplaces, social media platforms, online booking platforms to local listing sites, and plenty of others. You will be aware of many of those brands.

Twitter Lite PWA

Twitter LiteSource – Developers Google

Twitter is a popular social media website that adopted the Progressive web in 2016. After the PWA switch, twitter shows an increase of 40% in the average time spent users. The progressive web app also gives twitter healthy and engaging user experience and it is boosting its ad revenues by 45% ever since then. Today, twitter is emerging as one of the most influential social media platforms. It is now especially being used in politics and entertainment industry.

Flipkart Lite PWA

Flipkart Lite

Source – Developers google

Flipkart is one of the biggest eCommerce marketplaces in India today. But everything was not the same as it is now just a few years ago. After adopting Progressive Web Apps, Flipkart gained much better results. Its popularity grew among the online shoppers. It is a big factor behind capturing a hefty share in the market. Flipkart was losing users who were installing their mobile app because they were removing it after purchase. Flipkart PWA technology managed to pull 60% of users to return back to the platform but not without necessarily installing their native mobile app. 

Conclusion – PWA is future of eCommerce

Mobile users have increased exponentially in the last few years. This trend is not slowing down anytime soon, in fact, it is destined to grow. Many big brands are already making the most out of PWA. It is time for smaller businesses to reap the benefits of PWA for business advancement. Progressive Web Apps offer the most advanced web practices for business.

Check out our Webinar – Expanding future of mobile commerce with Magento PWA Studio

Next year or the one after it, but you should have no doubt PWA will take over the online business. Mark my word, we are going to see businesses hoping after Magento 2 PWA very soon. Benefits of PWA are evident and the incentives are growing too.

Have more doubts? Don’t worry. Here are Answers to All Your Queries About Progressive Web Apps.

When a crowd turns to Progressive Web Apps, it will become difficult to stand out and gain immediate attention. Wise minds are not waiting, they are pushing to build PWA for eCommerce today. It is one of the rarest of rare opportunities where investment could reap instant rewards, a lot more than you can imagine.

Read More – How to install Magento PWA?

Try Magento PWA Studio Cenia theme by CedCommerce

Magento PWA Studio

Don’t sit out and waste time. There is a very high probability that you will adopt PWA for the Magento store in the near future. It is going to become a necessity for eCommerce to make their online business engaging for one and all. Check out the demo of the PWA Cenia theme by Cedcommerce developed on the concept of headless commerce. The environment of headless Magento has been very carefully crafted by a team of experts. You can safely bet on success when you adopt the enhanced Magento 2 PWA Cenia. It has progressive features that serve a feature-rich web experience specifically meant for eCommerce.

Visit our Webinar – “Considerations before implementing Magento PWA for your business”.

When you choose a brand based solution such as our PWA Cenia theme, it is rarely any chance to go wrong. Magento PWA is one of the premier technology you can get for eCommerce out right now. Cenia theme blends the best tools for eCommerce website solutions in the form of an intuitive responsive web application. This enhances the scope of business interactions by manifolds. Eventually, all you want is the best chance to convert the mobile audience into your consumers and there’s no better way to do so.

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