Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) combine the look, feel, and ease-of-use of an app with the simple building and coding of a website. As mobile shopping continues to grow, it’s time ecommerce brands seriously consider transitioning their sites to PWAs.
In this four-part blog series, we asked ecommerce experts from our top partners to provide you with exclusive insight into the power and benefits of incorporating PWAs into your marketing strategy.
PWAs: a must-have addition to a brand’s digital armory
When considering digital solutions, it’s essential to look at the bigger picture. It doesn’t get much bigger than discovering half the planet – some 3.8 billion people – now own a smartphone.
On top of this, smartphones are on track to contribute to more than 50 percent of online spend by next year, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index.
For online retailers, improving their mobile strategy is more important now than it has ever been. It’s why Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are fast becoming a must-have addition to a brand’s digital armory.
PWAs take the best parts of a native mobile app but allow it to be run through a web browser, delivering much faster and engaging mobile experiences for customers.
Redbox’s CEO, Jonty Sutton, believes PWAs are growing in popularity among digital-savvy brands.
He said: “The pandemic saw many consumers embrace online shopping for the first time. Some of these are now more comfortable using their mobile phones to make purchases and are unlikely to turn back.
“Brands must prioritize digital initiatives to maximize online efficiency and revenue, and emerge even stronger in the recovery.
“At Redbox, we are seeing more inquiries about PWAs for the simple reason that they provide a more seamless and faster customer experience. It’s precisely why they are considered an important technology now and for the future.”
Often referred to as ‘app-lite’, PWAs give consumers an app-like, richer experience within a web browser and without having to download anything.
When a customer lands on your URL, the PWA appears on their mobile browser, giving them the best of both a mobile website and native app. They can provide a seamless experience on all devices from just one code base, saving time and cost in build and maintenance down the line.
PWAs load cached content instantly, enabling consumers to continue browsing offline in areas with no or low connectivity. Speeds of up to 10 times faster than mobile sites, lead to an increase in consumer engagement and pages visited, lower bounce rate, and improve conversion rates drastically. Push notifications can engage customers, even when their browser is closed.
The benefits are clear: quick to market, reliable, efficient, and a better all-around user experience. Redbox is delivering PWA’s for customers in the UK, Middle East, and South, helping them to deliver a much more seamless, quicker, and compelling mobile experience for their customers.
Redbox is a global commerce and design consultancy. Over the years, it has gained a reputation for delivering high-end digital experiences for some of the best-known B2B and B2C brands, including Nespresso, Fortnum & Mason, Screwfix, Radley, Nestlé, Diesel, and Hamleys. Learn more about Redbox.
The benefits of PWA
PWAs are a great way to unify the best of both worlds: regular ecommerce pages and native applications. The charm is that a PWA only uses as many features as the user’s system allows – hence the word “progressive”.
Depending on the device of the end-user, only those PWA features will be utilized that are supported by the device. That brings us to one of the main advantages from a technical point of view: PWAs are developed on one technology for a multitude of devices and operating systems, as opposed to apps, that need to be developed for a specific operating system.
But what are the benefits of PWAs in terms of features?
Here we can close the circle to native apps because many features that have been exclusive to native applications are available to websites with the help of PWA technology. One of these features is push notifications, which have much higher visibility than emails.
Another great feature is the possibility to add the shop’s icon to the home screen. That makes the shop accessible the same way as a native application, with the full flexibility of a regular website.
In a nutshell, PWAs are a great way to enable a great mobile user experience that we have learned to appreciate from native applications, without having to shoulder the massive development overhead needed to develop different applications for various systems.
What to consider when moving to PWA
One of our favorite PWA cases is our client NKD, a large discount clothing chain. For NKD’s web store, we have implemented offline loading features with PWA support. Whenever a user with a low mobile internet connection is experiencing a time-out, he is instead shown the current catalog so they can still browse the latest collection without an active internet connection.
Another interesting example is our client Titolo, a Swiss urban fashion retailer. For Titolo, we have implemented push notifications when an item on the wish list is back in stock. This is a very simple yet effective way to combine PWA technology with a marketing automation approach and use PWA to actively improve mobile user experience and conversion rates.
What to consider when moving to PWA
PWAs can be viewed as a valuable addition to an ecommerce platform. For that matter, it’s important to select an ecommerce platform that widely supports PWA features already, and has a strategic roadmap for future developments in mobile commerce.
Creativestyle is a leading ecommerce agency in Europe with four offices in Germany and Poland. With 20 years of experience in web development and digital commerce, creativestyle supports merchants in their digital growth. We focus on data-driven commerce and automation, and partner with dotdigital to deliver personalized online experiences across all devices. Discover more about Creativestyle.