Why You Must Have a PWA for Your Magento Store?

With the advent of technology, smartphones and a fast internet connection are now available in everyone’s hands. Due to this most internet users now rely on mobile devices, and the same is true for ecommerce. People are using mobile for booking a cab, ordering food, making an appointment, and their regular shopping. Yes, there has been a great increase in mobile users for ecommerce shopping. It has been estimated that in 2019, there were sales of $2.3 trillion in 2019, which has been expected to reach the figure of $3.5 trillion, in 2021 globally. This comprises nearly three-fourths of total ecommerce sales. Here is the break-up of ecommerce spending in Q3 2017, by category.

As per a recent report of Shopify, mobile phones and tablets account for 69% of total sales. The reason is people prefer to use mobile apps for their shopping, as they provide a better user experience and are also fast.

But not every business can afford to develop a mobile application. Henceforth, in 2015, new web-based technology was evolved which can provide a feel of a mobile native application, however, built in the standard web technologies. These are Progressive Web Applications. Progressive Web Applications aim to provide users with a feel of a native mobile application in both iOS and Android. It is even used by bigger companies such as Twitter, Alibaba, Trivago, Walmart, etc. These companies doubled their conversion rates and observed growth in their revenues faster than ever.

What is a PWA?

A PWA is a web application that is highly responsive to mobile devices and intends to be an alternative to the native mobile application. It is developed using standard web development technologies such as JS, HTML5, CSS3, etc. It is faster than the traditional website, and users can also add a PWA on their home screen. PWAs can send push notifications and can even work offline. The best thing about PWAs is that the same PWA can be work on both iOS as well as Android devices. This saves your money on developing different iOS and Android mobile apps.

Market Statistics of PWAs:

1. In comparison to native mobile applications, PWAs have 36% higher conversion rates

2. There is 50% higher customer engagement on Progressive Web Applications

3. Businesses switching to PWAs notice a decrease in page loading speed of up to 10 times

4. In matters of cost, PWAs costs 4 times less than the native mobile applications, also they required one-third fewer costs to maintain.

5. AliExpress observed a conversion rate increase for new users by 104% with a PWA.

6. BookMyShow experienced an increase of 80% in conversion resulting in more revenue with the help of a PWA.

7. OLX gets 80% lower bounce rates and 23% less time to interact with the help of PWA

When you must consider a PWA for your eCommerce Store?

If you are baffled in deciding whether you should develop a PWA for your Ecommerce store, then you can ask these questions to yourself, and you would be able to decide.

· Do you have a limited budget and resources for developing a native mobile application?

· Don’t you have enough time for marketing campaigns?

· Do you have a small or medium scale business?

· Do you want to target Android users instead of iOS?

· Are you facing a decrease in conversion rates on your ecommerce website?

· Do you want to deliver a better browsing experience?

· Is your USP instant service?

· Do you want to redesign your ecommerce website?

Technologies used for developing a PWA

The common technologies employed in developing Progressive Web Applications are:

Service Workers

These are the JavaScript programs that run independently of web pages and can intercept network requests. These are just like web workers but can be accessed by main threads that are running in different browser tabs at the same time.

Cache API

As the name suggests, it caches the types of request/response objects that PWAs assist upon. It is a system for storing and retrieving network requests and their responses. It was created to enable Service Workers to cache network requests so to provide appropriate responses even while offline.

Web-push notifications

Web-push notifications are notifications or messages that come from a web application. The customer gets them on its browser, desktop, or mobile device when the web application is not running in the browser.

Web App Manifest

Web App Manifest is a JSON file that tells the mobile browser about the PWA and how it should respond when installed on the user’s desktop or mobile device.

Features of a Progressive Web Application

To develop a Progressive Web Application, the developers have to follow a checklist. This checklist has been developed by Google.

· HTTPS: The site should be secure to access by user and the data must be encrypted when transferred between a browser and a website.

· Offline Access: The users should be able to surf the Progressive web application without accessing the internet.

· Push Messaging: PWA should be able to deliver messages to users without asking for requests.

· Main Screen icons: The users should be able to add the PWAs on their home screen for faster access.

· Multi-browser compatibility: The PWA should be responsive across all browsers and give a soothing best experience on all browsers.

· Flexibility: The PWA pages should be able to display properly on all devices.

How a Progressive Mobile Application is different from a native mobile application or a website?

You can’t expect from your ecommerce store to drive sales just because it is highly responsive, as there are many other needs that an ecommerce website should satisfy, flexibility, and flawless work across all devices to name a few. But there is huge data on ecommerce sites, and most of these sites are slow. Hence, users look for another option for mobile apps. Here PWAs come to rescue. They can be downloaded by any browser and installed on any device regardless of the screen size and other specifications.

PWAs can easily compel the users for a purchase which is the main motive of an ecommerce application. Developing a website or a mobile application needs more time to develop in comparison to a progressive web application. Native applications are extremely pricey and labor-consuming to create & run, while a progressive web application requires fewer resources and cost.

Benefits of Using Progressive Web Applications:

1. Fast to Load:

Speed is the most important factor in driving sales on your ecommerce site. As per a report, if an ecommerce store is making revenue of $100,000 per day then a delay of 1 second can make you lose sales of $2.5 million every year. PWAs come with a cache features which helps in avoiding slow speed or troublesome performance. You should know that the size of the pages of your website shouldn’t be less than 1 MB and run in less than 5 seconds for providing a better user experience to the users.

2. Flexibility:

As we mentioned above, your ecommerce store website should be fast and responsive across all devices and browsers. PWAs have the capability to have responsiveness across all devices. Hence when the visitor access to your website from any device or browser, it adapts to its size and resolution. A better user experience triggers sales and turns the visitors into a regular patron.

3. Able to access offline:

PWAs one of the USPs is its autonomous functionality. The users can shop their favorite items even on the go. The users want to access your ecommerce store wherever they are, whether it is a bus, train, or while watching movies. There are conditions when the internet connection is poor, but as a PWA uses cache API & special scripts, it can repeat the components of the layouts stored in the browser cache.

4. Better Conversion Rates:

For using a native mobile application, the normal flow of the user is:

Open Google PlayStore-> Search App-> Click Install-> Accept Permissions-> Download and wait-> Use

This is a bit tedious flow. On the other hand, the flow of a PWA is quite shorter. Open browser-> Lands on URL -> Either start shopping there or Add to the home screen on a native popup. Remember, it is not mandatory to add a PWA on your home screen, it just gives faster access to the users if they need to use it regularly. This reduced flow results in better conversion rates.

5. Highly SEO-Friendly:

Your ecommerce site needs to secure its place on the top three Google results. You can easily achieve this by converting your Magento application into a PWA. It will act as an indexable web page and provide your customers with an app-like experience.

In easy words, the PWAs serves multiple purposes of a website as well as the app. It will load in quite less time and get your website a better ranking, and of course, a higher ranking can enhance the visibility of your business.

6. Alerts and Notifications:

Just like native mobile applications, you can also leverage notifications on the PWAs. When the push notifications send alerts, the users are notified of any updates or changes regarding the website. The users also don’t need to open the website, unlike in e-mails, hence notifications are less annoying.

7. Fast and Affordable Development:

Last but not least, it needs a lot of money to develop a native mobile application and more number of resources whether it is an Android app or an iOS application. Also, the developers need to work separately for Android or iOS. However, in the case of a PWA, web developers need to work on HTML, CSS, and JS. The app will work on both Android and iOS. Hence, developing a Progressive web application is comparatively fast and cheaper than native mobile apps.

Tools For Developing PWA for your Magento Store:

Magento is one of the most popular platforms for developing ecommerce stores. It accounts for nearly 12% of all online stores which are more than 250,000 active ecommerce sites. As of April 2020, Magento has a 1.4% market share of all websites that use content management systems. These stats reflect the huge popularity of Magento. If you wish to develop a progressive web application for your Magento ecommerce store then must use the Magento PWA Studio tool. With this tool, you can implement, maintain, and deploy a PWA for your Magento 2 store.

· PWA Buildpack: This is a developing tool for Magento PWA. It is used for setting up and configuring the local environment for developing PWA.

· Venia Storefront: It helps in setting up the frontend or storefront of your Magento PWA. It comes with a default theme “Luma”.

· Peregrine: It defines the UI components of Magento PWA projects. The developers can create a custom storefront using these UI components.

Final Words

There are many benefits of developing a PWA for your Magento store. A PWA can help in increasing conversion rates, increase the no. of visitors, improves the SEO of your site, etc. We, at Emizentech, are having expertise in all the aspects of Magento Development. Whether you need to develop a Magento store from scratch or implement new features, we can do all. Let us know your requirements.

I am a technical blogger at Emizen Tech, It is a reputed software development company which deals in Magento 2 solutions.