With the boom in M-Commerce, you might be tempted to think “right, so I need an app for my online business!” While creating a native app is an option, it’s far from the most cost-effective, agile, and sustainable one. Creating a mobile-first commerce platform that is accessible on any device, with any connection speed, and that meets consumers’ ever-growing expectations is key. This is where PWAs come in. Not familiar? Let’s go over what they are and why they are a must-have in your m-commerce strategy.
What are PWAs?
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are a new breed of web applications that bring the best of the web and mobile worlds together. They’re more than just mobile websites that load fast; they’re actually more like hybrid apps. They behave like native applications without needing to be installed. To access them, users don’t need to search app stores, they’ll simply be in the search engine search results when they’re looking up their favorite retailer.
PWAs work offline, provide push notifications and automatically update themselves when new content is available. PWAs have been around for a while now, but gained popularity in 2018 when Google announced support for them in Chrome version 70. One thing’s for sure, PWAs are popular and here to stay.
Why are PWAs better than native apps?
You may have heard that native apps are the future of mobile commerce. But I’d beg to differ. PWA are more accessible, more flexible, and more cost-effective than native apps. Here are some of the benefits of PWAs over native applications:
- Reduced Cost: A high-performance native e-commerce app can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars and can take anywhere from six months to two years to develop. And that’s without considering the thousands of hours of maintenance that will follow. A quicker site loading time significantly reduces cart abandonment and increases client engagement.
- Low Data Usage and Storage: Native applications require users to visit an app store, download, install, and grant them all the necessary permissions in order to function, but these processes offer consumers plenty of opportunity to change their minds. Users may also completely skip it if an application is too large or consumes too much data. Progressive web apps, on the other hand, load everything as instantaneously as websites do. As a consequence, issues with data use and size disappear, greatly improving the likelihood that a user would continue with the PWA.What is more, as PWA allow caching of all the webpages visits, the load time is instantaneous for return visitors who can even view those pages when offline.
- Speed & performance: PWA uses background service workers to do labor-intensive tasks, resulting in a speedier loading time. These scripts operate independently of the web page and prefetch all the information required to maintain quick and smooth navigation. Additionally, since the scripts are not active on the page, they have no impact on how quickly the page loads.
- Agnostic: As they don’t need to be downloaded from an app store, PWAs are completely compatible with any browser, platform or device! All you need is a working internet connection to access them.
- Sustainability: Thanks to the aforementioned reduced development time, lower data usage and caching capabilities, PWAs’ energy consumption and, as such, their carbon footprint are significantly lower than that of a Native app. If you combine that with Green coding practices, you’ll get a much more eco-friendly and sustainable app.
How will a PWA impact my M-Commerce user experience?
Firstly, as PWAs are agnostic, you can reach customers worldwide on whatever device they have in their pocket. This will mean your reach is 3 times higher than with a native app. And with phone storage becoming increasingly limited as users download more and more apps, they will be more selective with the apps they chose to download. So offering a low-data option is key.
PWAs also allow you to give your customers a native app-like experience with ultra-fast loading, user-friendly navigation and personalization. They also help you reengage existing customers by allowing you to send push notifications, thus drawing them back into your app.
So to recap, here are the top benefits of PWA for users:
- fast loading times
- strong performance even with a poor network connection
- small size
- app-like user experience
- no need to download from app store
What will the ROI of a PWA be for my M-Commerce business?
PWAs can make the page load time up to ten times faster, which keeps shoppers on your website for longer, reducing the bounce rate, and increasing the conversion rate. As an example, Asda’s clothing brand George switched their mobile site to a PWA and their results speak for themselves:
- Their average page load time was 3.8x faster
- Their bounce rate was divided by 2
- They saw a 31% increase in Conversion Rate
- 20% more pages were viewed per visit
- A quicker site loading time significantly reduces cart abandonment and increases client engagement.
So, if you’re looking to boost your M-Commerce sales, improve conversion rates and offer your customers the best possible mobile shopping experience, you need a PWA!
Find out more about how a PWA can improve your e-commerce’s ROI