PWA – what is worth to know?

01.12.2020 Angelika Siczek
pwa what is worth to know

Consumers are more likely than ever to buy with their mobile phones. According to Adobe, smartphones are on track to generate over 50% of online spending by September 2022. The share of people using them to obtain a loyalty loan increased from 26.8% in 2019 to 34.8% in 2020. Experts believe online shopping and mobile commerce will continue to expand as the pandemic continues.


Improving the comfort of using your mobile phone may therefore be one of the most important investments you will make in your business this year. “Meeting customer needs and expectations is essential at this point: it can either build up or damage your brand,” said Nate Smith, group manager for product marketing, Adobe Analytics.


Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are the best way to provide a great customer experience across all mobile devices and even desktops. They can replace a mosaic of responsive websites and mobile apps with a single codebase that works for all endpoints.


Two technologies

When talking about the future of PWA, it’s important to look at the technologies that PWA can ultimately eclipse – responsive websites and native applications. You are probably using one or both of them right now, and your customers may be frustrated by their limitations.


Let’s start with responsive websites. These are websites that change dynamically to match the device and browser they interact with. Typically you start out with a desktop design and then specify modifications for smaller screen sizes. Often the results are imperfect, especially for users with older mobile browsers. Navigation may not work and users must put a lot of effort to view the content. Moreover, the charging time can be very long.


Now consider native applications. Where responsive websites try to match all mobile devices with the same code, native applications are coded individually for each mobile operating system. Most retailers who choose mobile applications will have at least two versions – one for iOS and one for Android. These apps generally offer a solid experience that integrates native smartphone features like camera and push notifications.


However, native applications have significant drawbacks of their own. Consumers often forget about them. In fact, 90 days after the app was downloaded, more than 95% of the apps were abandoned. Only 12% of mobile shoppers find viewing the app comfortable. Moreover, native applications use local storage and consume bandwidth with frequent updates.


If the cell phone conversion rates are not as high as you would like, one or more of the problems described above may be the cause. To really change your mobile conversions, you need something more effective.


Progressive Web Apps

Google has introduced PWA as an alternative to responsive websites and mobile applications. In 2015, Chrome developer Alex Russel coined the name “Progressive Web Applications”. He explained that the goal of PWA was to deliver a richer mobile experience with one code base straight from the browser. This means you create one PWA set and can use it to provide a great experience on any device – mobile phones, tablets and desktops.


PWA are websites built using technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They are designed with mobile devices in mind, which means that text fits comfortably on cell phone screens, and forms are simple and easy to use. However, unlike responsive websites, all URLs in PWA load even when the device is offline. This means buyers can always use the latest cached version of the page. PWA’s intelligent approach to caching also speeds up page load times.


Another way that PWA offer an app-like experience is by including metadata that allows shoppers to easily save it to their home screens. They can also access smartphone features like push notifications and camera for a richer and more interactive experience. However, unlike native applications, users do not need to download and install PWA applications or worry about using Internet transfer with frequent updates.


Overall, PWA combines the best features of responsive websites and native apps with a few of their downsides. They are perfect for mobile trading and can improve mobile engagement and conversion rates.


Your company

More and more well-known companies use PWA. The list includes Alibaba, Google, Lyft, Starbucks, Twitter, Uber, and The Weather Channel. The main reason these organizations chose PWA was to provide better mobility.


You may be wondering, how does a better mobile experience translate into tangible business benefits? And is it really so important to implement PWA now? It could actually be. PWA offer attractive business benefits and a high return on investment.


Lower development costs

PWA applications can provide a great experience on all types of devices – desktops, tablets and smartphones and all from one code base. If you upgrade to PWA, you no longer need to keep your iOS and Android mobile apps separate, which can cost 20% or more of your original budget each year. This means a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), while IT spends less time improving and refining many applications.


Convenience of using a mobile phone

Many users do not like to shop on mobile devices because websites load slowly or it is difficult to read product information or fill out payment forms. PWA offer a more enjoyable experience that users will interact with and come back to more often over time. According to Google research, PWA increase overall engagement by 137%.


Eleganza, a high-end clothing retailer in the Netherlands, has used PWA to accelerate its mobile store and increase customer engagement. Soon after the launch of the new site, page load time was 23% faster and server response time 327% faster. Visitors noticed and viewed 76% more pages per session. “We saw immediate benefits from our investment in PWA,” said Guus van der Staak, e-commerce manager at Eleganza. “We look forward to achieve additional value in the future as PWA not only puts us at the forefront of our market but also keeps us there for years.”


Another great example is Xercise4Less, a UK chain of high-value gyms. When the company realized that about 80% of its web traffic came from mobile devices, it decided it was time to implement PWA. It worked closely with Magento partner JH to design a custom PWA Headless for the Magento backend. The results speak for themselves:


• Average number of pages viewed per visit increased from 4 to 7.

• Bounce rates decreased from 41.7% to just 7.8%.

• PageSpeed ​​and YSlow ratings above 80% (compared to competitors with an average rating of 50-70%).

• Higher membership sales.


Greater mobile conversion rate

In addition to improving the involvement of PWA, it has been shown that they increase conversion rates. It really makes sense! When websites are easier to use and perform better, faster, people are more likely to buy. Numerous real-world examples show that PWA can often double or triple conversion rates for many different companies. For example, after switching to PWA, Grand Velas Riviera Maya increased its conversion by 53%. Another Treebo company saw its conversion rates increase by 400% and Petlove saw a 280% increase in conversion rates.


Change your B2B business

Consumer-oriented companies are not the only ones that can benefit from PWA. PINO, a German company that sells products and equipment to physiotherapists, uses PWA to support its sales team and rethink customer experiences.


“We have created a PWA that enables our traveling resellers to place orders on behalf of their customers, even if they are in remote locations with minimal network bandwidth,” said Martin Mannowetz, e-commerce manager at PINO. “When they get back online, their orders are automatically sent to the Magento Commerce backend.”


Although traveling PINO sellers are now on hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mannowetz explained that his team is working on PWA. One of them will use Adobe Sensei to autofill a personalized product selection for each customer visiting the site. On the other hand, service representatives at call centers will be able to recommend products and place orders for customers who call.


Mannowetz added that his team is developing PWA Headless in the Magento Commerce version. “The headless configuration allows us to create a highly customized experience to support our unique sales cycle. Our experience shows that early adoption of a new technology can be a major competitive differentiator”, he said.


What’s next?

The Magento Commerce team at Adobe is so sure that PWAs are a bright future for online store owners that they created PWA Studio. It’s a development environment that can help you quickly build PWA applications and connect them to the proven Magento Commerce backend. It is worth using this solution, especially if you know that most of your recipients use their smartphones!

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