You may have heard the term “progressive web application (PWA)” and wondered what it was. To start with, there are three basic types of apps, a native app, a web app, and a PWA. A native app is coded in the language of the device, like Camera+ for an iOS. A web app is used over a network, like a company intranet, or can be used for online forms, like a shopping cart.
PWA is written in a common language like HTML and can work on any platform. It can use data captured while online but use it without an internet connection. It is also versatile because it will work with any browser or type of device.
PWAs are gaining popularity because they have a good range of uses, are dependable, and offer the user a good experience. They are particularly applicable to small and medium sized businesses.
From a financial standpoint, progressive apps are significantly less expensive. After the material is produced, updates are generally unnecessary.
So for a company that uses an online catalog, it won’t need to be reloaded to view it. This will make the user happy.
Downloads are quick.
SEO content is always an important feature and it is nice to know that information in a PWA is included in the search optimization. With pertinent and distinct material, this will help the business get noticed. Using tools through Google, you can even check your effectiveness.
The convenience of navigation make it a good choice. Just like other apps, screen buttons and other aids will help reach your target audience and keep them engaged. Push notifications are also available through PWAs. These text-like messages are crucial to advertising sales, events and other features.
Since they are highly effective on mobile devices, they are becoming widespread in the business world. Coupled with the ability to keep browsing without an internet connection, this is a definite advantage to the seller.
Is it for You?
As you enter the wonderful world of ecommerce, it is a given that you will need a good app to work on mobile devices. Studies are showing that phones are now the preferred device for accessing web information with tablets a close second. Desktops and even laptops are losing favor with shoppers.
Because of the speed of operation and ability to engage and retain user interest, PWAs are starting to outshine native apps for new and existing businesses. But you need to decide if it is best for your operation. Look at your target customers and decide if your app will help them do what they set out to do. You don’t need to jump in with both feet. Start with a single product line and see how things go.
Start by deciding which features are going to work best for your ecommerce situation and what is most important to your operation and growth. If you are unsure, consult with someone who is already using the system or a Software development company.
The bottom line is that just because it is a hot item and easy to implement, don’t feel you should commit to it if it isn’t right for your circumstances.
Give Business a Boost
What you want as a business owner/operator is something that will bring in more business. Here is what a PWA can do.
When someone accesses your website and adds the PWA, it will automatically stay on the home screen as an icon. That means every time the user needs your site, it is already there and won’t need to be downloaded over and over. Easy access can mean returning customers as long as you have a product or service they need.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the important factors in a PWA. Any of the major search engines can access your information and, in turn, publicise your brand. In addition, a PWA does not need a network connection to be effective (unlike a native app).
Once a user downloads your app, you can draw on the data he or she provides by seeing which pages/products they are seeking and then shooting them additional news, special services, or deals you are offering. This offers you the best chance to convert hits into sales and to retain customers long term.
All of this is available at an affordable price. It is a quick install into your system and is significantly lower in price than a native app. With a native, you need to wait for the app store to sell and distribute but with a PWA, it is right there when you need it.
For the user it is an easy download and the icon is automatically found on the home screen. When they re-access the app, it is only a few seconds before the site appears. In a time when speed is priceless, you will be ahead of the game.
Those large company native apps that are sold in stores like Android have a definite marketing advantage. They have built-in advertising and a large audience to draw from. A PWA pretty much means you are on your own. In that same area, developers find it difficult to compete in advertising or find funding.
PWAs generally have limited features which will, in turn, mean limited uses. End users like a realm of possibilities and functions and a PWA just can’t compete with the native apps.
In the same sphere is that not all the communication options (like Bluetooth) are possible, creating another limitation.
As long as the user has a relatively new device and browser, things are fine. However, compatibility with older models does not lend itself to a PWA. There is hope for a solution, but if not, customers trying to get as much mileage out of an existing phone or desktop will probably not want to deal with a PWA.
Mobile users will notice that a PWA takes a toll on battery power. The phones simply have to work harder to translate the code into the display. There have been some counter arguments to this issue, but if you want to be sure, try it out yourself.
Progressive Web Apps certainly seem to be effective for many business enterprises. They are easy to program and download and are proving to drive more business to ecommerce operators. Statistics are beginning to verify the success especially for small to medium sized concerns. At this point indicators show over 60% increase in traffic and over 50% in conversions.
Since they don’t need a distribution system (app store), they are easily accessible and to the user they feel like a standard app. Advertising is adaptable to a number of different ecommerce models and push notifications increase sales opportunities.
Couple this information with the low cost of development, the fact that the PWA is very user friendly, are SEO compatible, and can even work offline, and you may find yourself jumping on the bandwagon. Native apps still have some advantages and before taking the plunge, a reasonable entrepreneur will study both types before making a final decision.