New Technology

E-commerce & The Rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

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We’ve spoken about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) before. Even given some good examples. In case you’ve missed us talking about them, we’re big fans here at Bigger Picture. They’re an exciting development for those in the web design industry and since 2015, they’ve started to make some serious waves.

Essentially, PWAs give you all the functionality and nice bits of a native mobile app but in a website. This means you can reap all the benefits, like offline support and push notifications, without the hassle of things like installs and downloading. If you’d like to know a bit more about them, we recommend you go back and read our Everything You Need To Know about PWAs blog.

Today, we’re going to talk about Progressive Web Apps in the context of e-commerce. Because, e-commerce is the future for most markets. In fact, some are predicting that by 2040 95% of all purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce. So, what impact will PWAs have on e-commerce and how can we take advantage of that? Read on for our answers!

Why Use Progressive Web Apps for E-commerce?

Progressive Web Apps are what is often termed as “emerging technology.” This essentially means that most people haven’t quite clicked on to just how powerful an innovation can be. These technologies are likely being taken up by industry innovators and disrupters, while other organisations hesitate and hold back. Apple is very slowly adjusting their browser to take advantage of PWA tech used on websites, while Google is already miles ahead. You might be wondering, in that case, why you should bother with PWAs for your e-commerce site at all?

They’re Fast

Firstly, they’re incredibly fast. This is largely due to the service workers that enable the browser to store repetitive elements of the website's layout and display as and when required. This speeds up download times significantly, giving your site the same instant loading and updates enjoyed in native apps.

They’re Responsive

Secondly, PWAs are highly responsive by design. They automatically adjust their layout to fit perfectly and seamlessly to mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop. This means that every single visitor is guaranteed an outstanding user experience, regardless of the device, browser or internet connection they’re accessing it with. It’s also a winner for SEO rankings as Google, like us, is all over responsive design.

Over the 2018 Christmas period, almost 40% of all e-commerce purchases were made via mobile. As this trend continues to grow, e-commerce businesses should be working to ensure their websites are up to scratch - and PWAs can help do just that.

They Convert Well

With PWAs granting you all the benefits of a native mobile app, they’re also incredibly good at engaging users and driving them towards sales. PWA-based websites can be added to a user’s smartphone homescreen and even allow you to send push notifications. Want to tell people about your latest sale or nudge the users who abandoned their cart to buy? PWAs can help.

Trivago, one of the world’s leading hotel search engines, recently implemented a new PWA. In doing so, they saw a 150% increase in engagement and a 97% increase in click outs to hotel. What’s not to like there?

They Work Offline

Once again, the service worker returns as the e-commerce hero. With their pre-caching ability, they ensure that the user can access your site even when connection is lost. 

Why is that important in the world of e-commerce? Well, if you want users to spend money on your site, you don’t want them to be halted in the middle of the checkout process thanks to lousy internet connection. Putting offline functionality in place can help you catch those that fall through the cracks. It also means you can appeal to users who like to do their online shopping on the tube, on their way home from the office.

They’re Searchable

Unlike a native mobile app, PWAs are fully searchable, linkable and bookmarkable. This makes content easily discoverable through search engines and means you won’t lose out on traffic. It’s far easier than having to search optimise a native app, which can be a bit like pulling teeth.

Links to products on your e-commerce page can be bookmarked for later shopping and can be easily linked to by users wanting to email their significant other some birthday hints.

Conclusion

The technical innovations of Progressive Web Apps offer some impressive benefits for e-commerce businesses. Browsing and buying can be done anywhere, on any device, and users can experience a great site with or without a fast internet connection. And good online shopping experiences lead to money being spent. It’s that simple.

What’s more, the app-like behaviour also means they’re great at reaching out to users to re-engage them and boost your conversion rates. That also means you don’t have to bother with developing a mobile app - your website does everything already.

If you’d like to start taking advantage of PWAs for your e-commerce business, let’s have a chat.

We are recognized as a top E-Commerce Design & Development Company on DesignRush

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