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Top 5 benefits of PWA for retail brands in the eCommerce industry

Benefits of PWA in eCommerce

A successful eCommerce business offers quality products and services, has high customer satisfaction and retention rates, seamless payment and checkout experiences, and low cart abandonment rates. PWAs fit right here and the benefits of PWA facilitate website and mobile application developers to build and deploy an eCommerce store that assures a seamless and omnichannel customer shopping experience.

PWAs or Progressive Web Apps are the fastest-growing and rapidly evolving technologies; that bring together the desktop and mobile versions of an online store. The look and feel is an important aspect in the digital world of portable and non-portable devices. 

And, PWAs play a vital role in enhancing the display experience for eCommerce users and boosting retail sales for eCommerce merchants. With mobile commerce retail sales estimated to reach £105 billion by 2024, retailers cannot miss the opportunity of closing big sales and fueling e-retail experiences in today’s competitive eCommerce landscape. 

What is PWA?

PWA meaning Progressive Web Application is a web application that functions as a native mobile application, but users are not required to download it from an app store. A progressive web application is an emerging headless commerce technology that facilitates developers to build a user-friendly and customized frontend and connect it to an independent decoupled backend via APIs.

In the current digital shopping scenario, the number of smartphone users is much higher than the number of people using laptops or desktops. And brands can leverage this opportunity to offer mobile-first shopping experiences by adopting improved and competitive solutions such as PWAs.

PWAs enable brands to offer a responsive, time-saving, and seamlessly navigating online shopping platform to their customers. Of the many benefits PWA offers, its intuitive approach can help improve sales, revenue, conversion rates, customer retention rates, add-to-cart rates, and brand visibility.

Why PWAs in the eCommerce industry?

As the number of brand-customer touchpoints increase, the traditional eCommerce platforms have to pave the way for advanced and leading enterprise development platforms like PWA eCommerce mobile app. By implementing the best progressive web apps for building an eCommerce store, retailers can improve their customers’ buying journey and build brand loyalty.

While native apps are a great way of customer engagement, they have certain drawbacks with their legacy architecture, which are eliminated by progressive web application development. In fact, according to a survey report, PWAs have 36% higher conversion rates than native apps.

Also, the response time of PWA is much faster, as once the service workers are installed in the browser, all data related to web page information is cached within the device of customers. So, whenever a customer loads a pre-cached page, requests do not go out of customers’ browsers, and all the data is available within the device. Whereas, in the case of CDN, service requests need to go out from customers’ devices to the edge cache server, but PWA removes that latency as well.

The process behind the working of PWAs

Here’s a small comparison to understand the pros and cons of native app development and progressive web app development.

#1: Programming languages

Native mobile apps are built for specific platforms to run on mobile devices and developed using platform-specific programming languages like Java for the Android platform and Swift and Objective-C for the iOS platform. PWAs, on the other hand, are web applications that run on web browsers and are developed using HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

#2: Accessibility 

A progressive web application is easy to share amongst users with a simple URL. A native mobile application needs to be downloaded from a dedicated app store based on the type of operating system of the mobile device.

#3: App development cost

The development and maintenance cost of native apps is higher than PWAs, as it involves a complex process and requires multiple resources to work on varied platforms. However, as PWAs work on headless commerce technology, signifying that the same source code can be deployed faster on diverse platforms with minimal cost. Statistics suggest that PWAs require 33% less maintenance cost than native mobile apps. Also, PWAs can use core operating system features of the devices, which makes it simple and cost-effective to deploy on electronic devices.

#4: Ease of updates

Headless PWA makes it easy for retailers to implement changes on the frontend without disturbing the backend, reducing the total time and cost required to implement changes significantly. However, the same is not possible with native apps that are tedious to maintain and update. PWAs are microservices, while native apps have monolithic architecture, making it compulsory to update the backend and frontend for every small change in any one of the layers.

#5: Security

Native mobile applications are more secure to use as they implement cybersecurity measures like multi-factor authentication, certificate pinning, data encryption, and managing OS vulnerabilities. PWAs are also equally safe as they rely on updated SSL certificates to use HTTPS protocol.

The benefits of PWA fueling eCommerce growth

Progressive web applications are emerging as game-changers in the digital commerce ecosystem. PWA benefits online businesses by offering them a great chance to improve their clicks, present to them better cross-selling and upselling opportunities and enable them to provide consistent user experience across multiple touchpoints such as various hand-held devices, websites and smartwatches.

Following are some of the prominent features of a progressive web application that makes it stand out from the competition when it comes to delivering smooth-functioning and customer-friendly eCommerce services.

#1: Offline mode usage

One of the most distinguished benefits of PWA is that it can be used on your device even when there is no or limited internet connection. All the data and app features are stored in the workers cache, which are made available to the user in offline mode.

#2: Optimizing storage space

Native apps take up much of the storage space on a mobile device. So, downloading many apps is often not feasible, as it also slows down the smartphone or might even cause overheating issues. A PWA eCommerce mobile app is almost 90% light in weight compared to a native app, and it gets added to the home screen of a mobile device, saving a significant amount of disk space and accessibility time.

#3: Improved performance

Faster page loading time is one of the most remarkable benefits of PWA. This PWA feature significantly improves the customer browsing experience, reduces bounce rates, increases conversion rates, and builds a smooth omnichannel shopping experience for customers. Most of the best progressive web apps have a page-load time of less than 3 seconds, enabling them to gain more traffic on the eCommerce site due to faster browsing speed.

#4: Push notifications

PWAs enhance customer engagement by allowing brands to send push notifications to the users. Push notifications can inform customers about ongoing promotions, available discounts, the launch of new products, availability of previously searched products or announcements of any other kind. Brands must have the right marketing strategy to gain customer traction with the push notification feature of PWA.

#5: Automatic updates

A PWA is committed to providing friction-free customer experiences. The auto-update feature of PWAs is another attribute that works towards enabling the brands’ goal of delivering a fully functional app without gaining users’ unnecessary attention. A progressive web application installs the new updates when users open it on their mobile device.

The 5 best examples illustrating the benefits of PWA in digital retail

Here are a few examples of top PWA eCommerce apps.

#1: Starbucks

Implementation of PWA by Starbucks

Starbucks, the most loved coffee serving business, uses progressive web applications to deliver seamless coffee ordering experiences to its customers globally. Starbucks’ PWAs allow them to customize their products list and payment options, just like their native app based on customers’ location.

#2: Flipkart Lite

FlipKart Lite - The lighter version of the eCommerce website that facilitates customers to shop friction-free using their smartphones

Flipkart Lite is a mobile web app launched by the eCommerce giant to enable effortless product navigation and offline browsing on mobile devices.

#3: Eleganza

Eleganza scaled its business to new heights with faster page loading using PWA

Eleganza is an online shopping platform where users can purchase high-end luxury products such as clothing and shoes created by international designers. The PWA of this online store is built on the Magento 2 platform that has helped scale its business to new heights with faster page loading, increased average order value, decreased server load, and improved customer shopping experiences.

#4: Burrow

How did Burrow use headless commerce to grow their business

Burrow, a leading D2C furniture retailer, used headless commerce to increase their conversion rate and work with scalable backend and offer customized frontend to their eCommerce customers.

#5: ROECKL

How did Roeckl built responsive online shops for their customers using PWA

ROECKL, a German manual leather processing company, implemented PWA based on the Magento platform to achieve advanced, high-performance, and responsive online shops for their customers while making the backend and frontend mutually exclusive.

Offering the benefits of PWA to scale online businesses

eCommerce brands can leverage the benefits of PWA extensively to drive traffic to their website and plummet their sales and revenue. Progressive web applications are emerging as the future of the mobile app world by solving the challenges related to customer engagement, conversion rates, omnichannel shopping experiences, cart abandonment rates, dissociated backend and frontend designs, brand visibility and more.

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