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Progressive Web Apps (PWA) in eCommerce

The user experience with a service is the main factor influencing a website’s sales and overall performance. Notably, although applications usually provide smooth and convenient user interactions, there is also a possibility to achieve an app-like experience on the web with the help of Progressive Web Apps (PWA) technologies. In particular, the shift to PWA can become the major trend among eCommerce merchants who want to maximize their sales by offering more diverse and convenient shopping experiences. Therefore, we will discuss PWA’s benefits and how it can be utilized in the eCommerce industry.

What is PWA

PWA logo

Progressive Web Applications imply that a website can have an app-like experience while not using the same development tools required for creating a native app. Moreover, PWAs can offer smooth browsing, are easy to build and deploy, and work across different platforms. The main principle in developing a PWA is the knowledge of creating web pages with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript (Namely, one has to have experience with JS frameworks like React or Vue.js). In addition, it is vital to ensure a solid backend server side where the products and orders will be processed). Nevertheless, to make a website PWA-approved, it is important to ensure that it can work offline by cashing the content. To create a PWA, one needs to have two components:

  • Manifest as a JSON file which includes the metadata of an application.
  • Service Workers which connect applications with servers and perform responses to the requests. In the case of PWAs, Service Workers are needed to include notifications and caching.

Besides, a PWA should comply with other requirements regarding performance and features. For that, a developer can use a tool that can be found in chrome called Google Lighthouse. It analyzes the performance, accessibility, and indicates whether a site is PWA.

Advantages of PWA

Since PWAs is a solution for launching app-like websites which would engage more users, it is vital to discuss the benefits more closely. By working on PWA as one of the channels for eCommerce stores, the advantages are the following: 

  • Works on every device and platform. Basically, PWA requires only a browser for the launch. 
  • Fast and responsive experience with no need to create apps for iOS and Android. The PWAs do not require additional marketing efforts to promote the application and work as smoothly as native apps.
  • It can be deployed and updated in one click. Since PWA implies a web-based store, the changes can be easily implemented.
  • Future-proof. The convenient updating and customization process allows changing the features and appearance without updating the whole application (as would be required with native apps).
  • SEO-ready. Unlike native applications, PWAs pages can be optimized to appear in the search results.
  • Less bounce rate and more engagement. These advantages come as a result of the responsive and convenient user experience, which ensures that users stay longer on the website. As a result, these factors positively influence the conversion rate of a store.

The peculiarities of PWAs provide the significant potential for the eCommerce business to improve the shopping experience with more effective tools and less expenses which would have been required for the development of native applications.

Future of PWA in eCommerce

eCommerce is moving toward mobile devices as the primary shopping platform. Namely, in one of our articles on Mobile Commerce, we discussed that this phenomenon is growing and will become a major part of the industry. In addition, since in-app purchases are even more dominant, utilizing PWA as the alternative to building native apps can become more important for the merchant to increase the conversion rate. This move would ensure that customers get the best shopping experience on any platform.

Consequently, the eCommerce business has already recognized PWAs as an important aspect of the business. For instance, the major eCommerce platform Magento offers tools for developing PWA storefronts. The Adobe Magento PWA Studio aims to enhance the development of Magento 2.3 and above to make PWA-ready eCommerce stores. Therefore, one may agree that the investment in developing PWAs for online shops is one of the most critical parts of the strategy for every merchant.

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