PWAs: The ABCs

Mobile phones are becoming more popular with consumers shopping online. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index smartphones will contribute more than half of all online spending by September 2022, according to Adobe. The share of people who use them to earn loyalty credit has risen from 26.8% to 34.8% in 2019, to in 2020 . Experts predict that online shopping and mobile commerce will grow as long as the pandemic persists.

Your business’s most significant investment this year is likely to be improving your mobile experience. “At a time like this, it is crucial to understand your customers‘ expectations and needs. It could either make-or-break your brand,” Nate Smith, group manager for product marketing at Adobe Analytics.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), are the best way to provide a great user experience on any mobile device, and even on the desktop. With a single code base, they can replace multiple responsive websites or mobile apps.

This blog will discuss PWAs and their potential benefits for your online business.

Two technologies, one story

PWAs are important before we discuss native apps and responsive websites. Your customers might be frustrated by the limitations of either one or both of these technologies.

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Let’s begin with responsive websites. These Web pages adapt dynamically to the browser and device they are being accessed. You usually start with a desktop design, then make modifications to fit smaller screens. Users with older mobile browsers may find the results to be inconsistent. Navigation might not work and users may need to pinch and zoom in order to see content. Load times can be extremely slow.

Let’s now consider native apps. Native apps, unlike responsive websites that try to adapt to all mobile devices using the same code for every device, are customized for each mobile operating system. Mobile apps are a popular choice for merchants. They will offer at least two versions: one for Android and one for iOS. These apps offer a solid experience and integrate native smartphone features such as the camera and push notification.

Native apps have their limitations. These drawbacks are often forgotten by consumers. In fact, 95% of downloaded apps are abandoned within 90 days. Only 12% of mobile shoppers consider browsing apps to be convenient. Native apps consume local storage and consume bandwidth when they are updated frequently.

One or more of these issues could be causing low mobile conversion rates. You need something better to transform your mobile conversions.

PWAs are available

Google introduced PWAs to replace responsive web pages and mobile applications. Alex Russel, a Chrome developer, created the term “Progressive Web Apps” in 2015. He explained that PWAs were designed to provide richer mobile experiences using a single code base directly from the browser. You can create one set of PWAs, and you can use them all to deliver a great experience on every device, mobile phones and tablets.

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PWAs are websites that use HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. These websites are mobile-first, meaning that text is optimized for mobile devices and forms are easy to use. However, unlike responsive Web sites, PWA URLs can load on any device, even offline. So shoppers always have the most recent cached version of the site. PWAs intelligent caching approach speeds up page load times.

PWAs also offer an app-like experience by including metadata, which allows shoppers to save them to their home screens. To make the experience richer and more interactive, they can access smartphone capabilities such as push notifications and camera. Users don’t have to download or install PWAs, nor do they need to worry about their frequent updates consuming bandwidth.

PWAs offer a combination of the best features of native apps and responsive websites, but with fewer drawbacks. PWAs are ideal for mobile commerce and can increase mobile engagement and conversion rates, as we’ll show you.

What do PWAs mean to your business?

PWAs are being adopted by a growing number of prominent businesses. This includes Lyft, Google, Lyft and Starbucks. Uber, Twitter, Uber and The Weather Channel are all on the list. These companies chose PWAs because they wanted to provide a better mobile experience.

You may wonder, however, how can a better mobile experience translate to tangible business benefits. Is it really so important to use PWAs now? It may be. PWAs have compelling business benefits and high ROI.

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Development costs are lower

PWAs are able to provide great experiences for all types of devices, including smartphones, tablets and desktops. They can be built from a single code base. Switching to PWAs will eliminate the need to maintain mobile apps for iOS, Android, , which can run 20% to 20% of your initial development bill. The overall cost of ownership (TCO), is lower, and IT spends less time patching and refining multiple applications.

Mobile experience can be improved

Mobile shopping is not popular for many reasons. Web pages can be slow to load, or it can be difficult to fill out forms or read product information. PWAs provide a more pleasant experience that users will be more inclined to revisit and interact with over time. According to Google Research, PWAs increase overall interaction by 137%.

Eleganza is a Dutch high-end fashion retailer. It used PWAs in order to increase customer engagement and speed up its mobile store. Page load times were 23% faster, and server response times were 327% faster after the new site was launched. Visitors noticed this and visited 76% more pages per session.

Guus van den Staak, Eleganza’s eCommerce manager, stated that PWA has provided immediate benefits. We look forward to realizing more value in the future because PWA not only puts us at the forefront of the market but also keeps us there for many years to come.

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Another example is Xercise4Less. This value-gym chain is based in the U.K. The company realized that approximately 80% of its web traffic came from mobile devices and decided to implement PWAs. The company worked closely with JH , a partner Magento agency, to create a custom PWA that would be used for a “headless” Magento back-end. These are the results.

* The average pages viewed per visit rose from 4 to 7. * Bounce rates dropped from 41.7% down to 7.8%.
* PageSpeed and YSlow grades exceeding 80 percent (compared to competitors with an average grade between 50-70%)
* Increased membership sales

Mobile conversion rates can be increased

PWAs are proven to improve engagement and increase conversion rates. It’s logical. People are more inclined to purchase from websites that are simpler to use and provide a faster experience. There are many real-world examples that show how PWAs can increase conversion rates by up to three times for a variety of businesses. is one example of that has been converted to PWAs .

* Conversions were increased by 53% at Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Treebo saw a 400% rise in conversion rates.
* Petlove saw a 280% rise in conversion rates.

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Transform your B2B company

PWAs can also be used to benefit consumer-facing businesses. PINO is a German-based company that sells equipment and products to physical therapists. It uses PWAs to help its sales team and rethink the customer experience.

Martin Mannowetz (PINO’s eCommerce manager) said, “We created a PWA which allows our traveling salespeople to place orders on their behalf, even if there is minimal network bandwidth.” When they get connectivity again, orders are automatically sent to the Magento Commerce backend.

PINO’s travel sales team is currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, Mannowetz said that his team still has more PWAs in development. One will use Adobe Sensei in order to automatically populate a personalized product list for each customer who visits the website. Another will enable service representatives in call centers to suggest products and place orders for customers calling in.

Mannowetz said that his team is currently building PWAs using a headless Magento Commerce. The headless configuration gives us the ability to create highly customized experiences to support our unique sales cycles. He said that early adoption of new technology can make a significant competitive difference.

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