You might assume that getting a responsive website design is the best way to reach your mobile users. But sooner you will realize that responsive websites are not enough anymore. They have their own share of problems. Content simply reflows from one device to another, and they no more satisfy the needs of a tech-savvy user.
This is when you will make your mind to launch your own native apps, only to find out that they are expensive and reach only a part of your audiences. Further, as per a research, an average consumer spends more than half of their mobile time in just 3 apps, most of which is already dominated by the apps from Google and Facebook.
So, what is the solution here? Well, ever thought of progressive web apps? They are the new entrant, and might be a perfect fix to all your problems. Let’s find out.
What is a Progressive Web App?
Simply put, progressive web apps are a combination of best of the two worlds – websites and mobile applications. Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are still a new concept which had been initially proposed by Google in 2015.
Progressive web apps combine the goodness of mobile apps in websites. They basically are websites with high conversion rates of mobile apps. Thus, a user don’t need to download them from app store, but can simply browse them on their browsers.
The best part of progressive web apps is that they provide 50% higher conversion when compared to websites. Further, since they are fast and fit your mobile screens well, they even get brownie points from Google as far as SEO is concerned.
PWAs are very new into the web world but are gaining popularity fast. PWAs use web technologies to build a website but provide an app-like experience. The ongoing developments have even made it possible to install PWAs on your home screen. Further, they can even roll-out push notification and offline accessibility as well.
Why Progressive Web Apps are the Next Big Thing?
Progressive Web Apps provide freedom and ease on the go. You no more need to invest your time, or allocate resources to manage your apps on multiple platforms.
By combining the best of websites and mobile apps, the PWAs offer an array of advantages to the users. As per a recent report, apps lose a good 20% users during every step in between beginning from first exposure to the app and the time when the user actually starts using it.
This is where PWAs feature in, and provide an instant use ruling out the intermediary steps of downloading, installing and opening a mobile app. When a user finds a PWA, they will be able to use it instantly. And when the user returns to your PWA, they would be prompted to install the app.
It is the ease of use and usefulness of Progressive web apps, that big names like Flipkart Lite, Forbes, Twitter Lite and Air Berlin are using progressive web apps, thus catering to access the application even without an internet connection.
Features of Progressive Web Apps
Following are the features which will explain everything you need to know about progressive web apps for commerce.
- Being progressive by nature, PWAs are user friendly and function on all devices. They are further able to take advantages of all the features that your mobile and or browser might have.
- The progressive web app has all the features of a website, and thus can be indexed by search engines. This enhances their reach among the targeted customer base. Thus, PWAs have an advantage over mobile apps which cannot be discovered by search engines.
- The progressive web app is also linkable. Thus, your users can bookmark any particular page, or share the app through its link.
- The PWA fits form factor and screen size of a device.
- As already explained; a progressive web app looks like an app but behaves like a website with all the best features of both drawn in.
- One of the best features of progressive web app is its functioning capacity in low or no connectivity area.
- A PWA can be accessed anytime as you can install it on the home screen.
- You can use a PWA even when offline and the new content get updated automatically the moment the app is connected to internet.
Pros of PWAs
- PWAs can load very fast
- They are very easy to use and access.
- Animations and navigations are user friendly
- You no need to download and install
- They can be used offline too, and connectivity issues wont hamper the app functioning
- They provide consistent experience at low costs
Problems of PWAs
- At present, only a few selected browsers support PWAs
- Not all apps, especially the advanced ones, can be converted to PWAs
Should I Go For PWAs?
Yes, you should definitely go for PWAs, especially if you run an ecommerce store and want to penetrate deeper in your target niche. Further, PWAs are also a great pick for a website which uses third party scripts. The Washington Post PWA is one good example which is making the most out of the web using PWA by loading third party scripts exceptionally fast.
Even messaging apps relying upon PWAs, and Telegram is one such example. Other big names include PayTm and FreeCharge which are two giants of Indian fintech industry.
PWAs Can Boost Your Conversion Rates Significantly
If you don’t want to invest too much in mobile apps, and still water to provide an awesome user experience ton your audiences, PWAs are the way to go. This is simply because mobile apps are said to impact the decision making of users, and you can use this to your advantage by launching PWAs for them. However, it is highly recommended to gauge the user needs and actions before investing in a progressive web app.
That said, what are your views on this? Do let us know in the comments.