At this summer’s conferences you can’t move for hearing about PWAs – it’s 2018’s buzz-technology for sure, but certainly not one to be written off as a fad, or as something we already have re-named: it’s certainly neither.
But what will the future of PWAs mean for your customers and their shopping experience?
What’s a PWA?
Progressive Web Apps are set to change the mobile landscape. Essentially, they’re a mobile app delivered through the web. Functioning like a native app, due to the use of an app shell that allows for the app-style experience consumers have come to expect – but, with no need to download it from an App Store. In short, they combine everything that’s good about a native mobile application, with everything that’s better about a mobile site.
A PWA runs self-contained, right in a web browser. They’re able to load instantly, even in extremely low areas of connectivity. With the help of pre-caching, the app stays up to date at all times, displaying the most recent version upon launching. Read more about the technical advantages of PWAs.
Why should your customers care?
The native apps that most users have installed on their device update automatically and oftentimes this requires a manual update or a Wi-Fi connection. PWAs don’t have this problem. As they are similar to websites, the update happens ‘on-use’ very much in the way a website is updated. You see the update when you load the PWA and it doesn’t have to be updated in the background or before you launch it like a native app. PWAs can be updated a lot quicker and there is no App or Play Store approval needed so any critical issues can be fixed in a much shorter time frame.
Whilst claims that PWAs can be used offline completely can be considered a little misguided, mobile users who use their devices whilst travelling, especially on trains where connection is more often than not flakey to say the least, will certainly notice the difference with PWAs. The PWA is more stoic in areas of very little connectivity, and when faced with some short temporary loss of connectivity too – due to the pre-cached content still being available.
Firstly, mobile apps can take up a lot of storage space on phones, and PWAs will, by and large, take significantly less. Your customer won’t need to download an app to benefit from all the expected features, so notifications and location services are all there, and without that trip to the App Store.
A PWA is linkable, which means anyone can launch the app straight from a URL. A business can share it on social media, email, text message, online ad, and the user will instantly be immersed into the app. Getting rid of the several stages it takes to download an app seems a really big deal for customers, as 20% of users are lost at each step of downloading a native app.
Where once we as consumers online shopped only at our desktops, it goes without saying that we now use several devices on a daily basis: laptops, tablets and phones. The way we browse the internet has also changed too, we’re now online whilst walking down the street, on the bus, during our lunch break, when watching TV, and let’s face it, in bed too. PWAs tap into our always-on mentality perfectly. Because PWAs are hosted online, they work across all devices. They also offer the same user experience regardless of what device your customer is using at that time.
The time’s now
Twitter, Uber, Starbucks – all already reaping the rewards of PWA technology… think these big brands will have got it wrong? For sure, they haven’t. Current stats would have that around 60-70% of your traffic comes from mobile, and most customers don’t want to download an app unless it’s for something they might use every day, persuading consumers to download new ones is one of the hardest sells. As an eCommerce business, you no longer have to choose between creating an app that provides and amazing experience, or a website that’ll see more traffic – going forward, you’ll get the best of both worlds in one PWA.
If you want to find out more about PWAs and how they can drive your eCommerce, get in touch with us at JH today.