Is it a good idea to start investing in PWA?

28.02.2019 Angelika Siczek
Progressive Web App is one of the latest trends in building websites and is especially helpful with online stores. That’s why since Magento 2 appeared this topic is very popular within developers circles.
Entrepreneurs often wonder if it’s a good idea to invest in PWA. And how much effort will they need to put in? Is the fuss around this idea noteworthy? Learn the perspective of a store owner that uses new technologies, see what he thinks about PWA in Magento.

The advantages of a traditional app and a responsive website

Pages built on the Progressive Web App, for the most part, follow mobile applications. However, they can not take over all of their functions. A simple service is the biggest advantage. They do not require going through a time-consuming and costly application development process, which then needs constant updates for two operating systems (Android and iOS). And in addition, despite previous activities, constant care for the website itself. PWA allows you to focus on all these activities in one place.
What else does PWA simplify? Probably the biggest advantage for a customer using your store is that you do not have to run Google Play or the App Store and download a separate application. The shortcut to the page in PWA can simply be added to the welcome screen – the effect is the same as in the case of the mobile application. This shortcut will launch the browser and in it a page that looks exactly like an application.

What features of the mobile application does the Progressive Web App have?

PWA works offline. This is a great convenience compared to using a regular website. The web application has push notifications, which until now only offered mobile applications. Already mentioned abbreviations on the welcome screen leave the impression that you really use the mobile application. And the ability to open PWA in full-screen mode further enhances this feeling.
What is the advantage of a Progressive Web App that distinguishes it from using an app? It is a typical feature of classic websites, i.e. the ability to index, e.g. your store, by search engines. With it, you can take care of the positioning of your website. And users will easily find it in a number of other websites.
Another advantage of PWA is that you do not have to take care of an internet application in the same way as for a mobile application. You do not need to share the content you enter into those matched to the website and separate ones created for mobile devices. PWA will work in the same way on any hardware, without the need to install dedicated software (downloading a mobile application). Thanks to this solution, you also do not have to worry about having to update the app.

Does the Progressive Web App only benefit users of mobile devices? What advantages does it offer to customers using desktops?

The development of PWA is definitely focused on users of mobile devices. However, the benefits of PWA’s technological progress will also affect consumers using desktop computers. Thanks to this your website will work better regardless of which device the client will use.
The Progressive Web App was definitely good for users of fixed-line devices. Some operating systems support the operation of PWA in the browser. These include Google Chrome since version 70 in Chrome OS, Linux, and Windows.
This means that early use of this technology will facilitate adaptation, along with the further development of stationary versions of PWA. It’s an advantage if you plan to keep your online store modern for longer, without a big financial contribution.

I did not need a mobile application before, why should I start using PWA?

Even though the need to have a mobile application may seem unnecessary, the clients, using mobile devices, surely will think differently. Nowadays the majority of online shopping takes place on mobile phones and tablets, and the user expects quick and comfortable purchases. With Progressive Web Application, the optimization of transactions translates directly into a higher conversion rate. In the case of a network store, it means the number of users who actually left the store, making purchases or putting products into the shopping cart.
The main advantages of PWA affecting the improvement of the conversion rate are the possibility of fast navigation on the side, shorter page loading time and offline use (if the mobile device has a weak connection to the internet).

How exactly does the page building process look in PWA? Does it boil down to the use and modification of an already existing Magento?

Not entirely. Developers can use the back-end (console applications) Magento 2 along with PWA, which don’t need to be modified. However, everything regarding the front-end (receiving information from the user) in PWA differs from the graphic design and Magento template. It is also created in a different technology – using JavaScript. In a nutshell, this means that the entire front-end will be adjusted in relation to the previous Magento while creating a website with the Progressive Web App.

Why should I use Magento PWA instead of Deity or Vue Storefront?

There are many products that will help you start up your store. However, you will certainly need professional help in finalizing the venture. Only then will the online store meet all your requirements and work smoothly.
Each product listed above has its strengths. Each one can help you create an online store. Deity and Vue offer a quick start. However, you will need the help of people specializing in the Progressive Web App. It is not known in what direction PWA will begin to develop and what shape it will take in the future.
By deciding to use the professional service of the Magento platform, you gain access to an extensive development community. It will guarantee technical support regardless of the area of technology innovation. PWA will continue to be compatible with the latest Magento, as it happened by the fact of changing REST after version 2.3 to GraphQL. Regardless of the direction, PWA will take, a solid platform along with specialized developer support will guarantee mutual success – both the sellers and the customers.

What’s the cost of creating an online store using PWA?

The cost depends on a few factors. First of all, it will depend on your expectations towards the website. Additionally, it will rely on how compatible with PWA is your page already. During pricing, the extent of work needed to make the page compatible with the new Magento PWA elements needs to be taken into account. All this to make it work faster.
Professional help is indispensable in this situation. Not only to create an indestructible e-commerce solution but also to plan it out carefully and ergonomically for the client.  An online store working as a mobile app will be the result and not only from the browser’s level but also many other operating systems. However, without having to pay for the creation and maintenance like in the case of programs prepared for smartphones and tablets. The website will be adapted to the development of PWA and its future modernization. It will be hosted on one platform instead of mobile applications on several operating systems. The initial contribution in the Progressive Web App, therefore, includes not only creating an e-Commerce solution tailored to your needs, but also a basis for further modernization.

I have a platform based on Magento 1, can I use PWA on it or do I need to upgrade to Magento 2?

Magento 2 is tailored better to use PWA on API level. The solution created with the help of M2 contrary to M1 is simpler and faster to prepare. Therefore, it is possible to create a PWA website on Magento 1 but in the case of newly created websites, that’s not recommended.
Adjusting M1 to PWA required much more work and preparation. Using extras is often needed. As a result, you receive a product with less possibility of updating and more expensive to maintain. Additionally, Magento 1 will be supported only until 2020. That makes investing in a store based on Progressive Web App unprofitable in the long run. That’s why we recommend using the Magento 2 platform.

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