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Smartphone owners will use apps 88% more often than the browser, according to eMarketer forecasts. But does it mean that you urgently need to create your application to maintain high ranking on the market? Or will you face even more competition? 

In 2020, the App Store lowered commissions to 15% for small businesses making less than $ 1M per month. Reduction of the costs opens up more opportunities for new startups, which will increase competition in the app market. 

In addition, customers do not like “to clutter up” the home screen. They have limited storage space, so they are selective in choosing programs to download. What are the alternative solutions that can help meet the needs of mobile users and avoid developing a full-fledged application?

What is PWA?

Progressive web apps are a combination of a mobile application and a website. It looks normal when you open it on a computer or laptop. But when a person visits it using a smartphone, they can download it as a standard application and log in without an Internet connection. They also can add its icon on their home screen. 

It is a relatively new technology that is becoming more and more popular. But many well-known companies have already appreciated its advantages. It allows you to save on development costs and access the benefits of a mobile application. 

Why should businesses use progressive web apps?

PWA has many positives for companies that want to be closer to clients but have limited financial resources.   

What are the advantages of progressive web apps?

 If you doubt whether you need PWA, check out its main pros.

Offline access 

Smartphone owners can download the app to their mobile device’s home screen. They only need to do a few things to install your program. After saving, the site will be available without an Internet connection.

It is especially important for content projects, blogs, and media. Remember that you should find a good developer who implements the correct loading and data caching settings. If you do not limit download videos or photos from the site, the user will quickly consume memory on the phone. 

Sending notifications 

Consumers often ignore and do not open the newsletters that you send by email or instant messengers. But they always check push notifications. This fact increases the chances that they will view your advertising messages, current news, and special offers. 

Improving the website loading speed 

The longer the site is loaded, the more chances are that the user will leave it without ordering anything. Site loading influences conversion, abandonment cart rate, and other important marketing KPIs. 

People will choose the web resource that does not make them wait. If the page loads more than 3 seconds, the visitor will leave it. Do you want to reduce the number of abandoned purchases? According to Google statistics, every second of delay costs you 12% of conversions. Imagine what will happen if you make the user wait 4 seconds longer. You will lose 48% of potential buyers. 

Building a progressive web app helps customers shop faster. Thanks to the caching function, you will increase your loading speed. 

Search Engine Optimization

Search robots analyze user behavior. How long do they stay on your site? How do they interact with the content? Traffic and engagement data affect your ranking in search results. Algorithms are programmed to show interesting pages first. If a visitor is in a hurry to skip your site, it is a sign that they do not like something. 

To boost your e-commerce SEO optimization, you need to ensure high speed. Integrating PWA technologies reduces loading time. 

Unlike native applications, PWA has one URL with the site. It means that you will get more traffic to your website. The more visits, the better the search engines will rank you. In addition, Google actively promotes sites that are adapted for mobile users

Reducing development costs 

Building progressive web apps is cheaper than creating separate versions for Android and iOS owners. Plus, you don’t have to pay commission to app stores. Development for a single operating system can take several months. If you have a quality website, you can implement a progressive web application in a few clicks. Of course, you reduce expenses on maintenance.

Simple installation 

If you have a popular CMS, you can figure out how to make a progressive web app on your own. Look for instructions that explain connecting special modules. Otherwise, you need developer help.  

Before you start implementing a PWA, you also need your site to conform to some requirements: 

Saving space 

Every smartphone owner faces a situation when their storage is full, and they urgently need to delete something in their gallery or an application that takes up a lot of space. PWA has a small size and uses less storage space than a typical application. It means that you have fewer chances to get into the “Trash” because a person wants to free up the storage.

What are the negatives of PWAs? 

Like any other technology, PWA has its positives and negatives. Check out it’s downs to make sure you are ready for the side effects you may have after implementing a progressive web app.

New technology 

The first developments appeared less than 10 years ago. That is why it is more difficult to find specialists that know this technology.

Limited browsers choice

Some browsers do not support or partially allow the usage of progressive web apps features. You can use all their functionality in Chrome, partly in Safari. Newer versions of Firefox will no longer support web applications. 

Reduction of functions

PWA has limited access to the camera functionality, contacts, wireless connections, fingerprint, and some others. Apple users will face some limitations on iOS and the Safari browser. For now, they cannot receive push notifications. 

Only new versions

It is a quite new technology that is just beginning to conquer the market. Сomparing progressive web vs native apps, not all consumers can use the first variant. Your customer needs to have a new device version to support them well. 

What problems will you solve by using PWA? 

  • Increase repeat purchases. Send push notifications with personalized offers and marketing content
  • Provide quick access to your company. Customers don’t have to search for you in their browser. They just need to go to the main screen.
  • Improve brand visibility. How often do you check your phone? Imagine how many times a day the shoppers can see you.  
  • Communicate with clients. Inform them about the order status: processing, packaging, delivery. If you organize events or personal consultations, remind them of the meeting date. Show your client-oriented approach. 
  • Reach more customers. Attract shoppers who live in places with poor Wi-Fi signals or prefer to shop through a mobile browser. 
  • Do not let consumers choose your competitors. If they search your brand or products, will you be the first they see? You have to compete for their attention with other companies and advertisements. But if they install your application, they are more likely to contact you. 

How different businesses can use PWA

It is a universal technology that many companies can apply in their field. We have listed just a few options.

Restaurant business

  • To provide an electronic menu that a user could conveniently view on a smartphone;
  • To inform about the delivery status using notifications; 
  • To notify about seasonal menu changes; 
  • To provide quick table reservation; 
  • To give access to contact information, address, menu offline;     
  • To share special offers and promo codes. 

E-commerce 

  • To inform about seasonal sales; 
  • To speed up the loading of product cards on their mobile phones; 
  • To allow to view products offline; 
  • To еncourage to complete the purchase process if the buyer abandon the checkout; 
  • To collect information about the clients and their preferences;
  • To notify the customer if the product they liked is back in stock. 

Medical institution 

  • To provide offline access to the schedule of doctors and contact details of the medical institution; 
  • To send appointment reminders; 
  • To share interesting articles on medicine if you have a blog;
  • To make an appointment with a doctor. 

Hotel business

  • To allow to book a room; 
  • To inform about the appearance of available rooms for the dates that they previously entered in the search; 
  • To send promotional offers during periods of low season occupancy. 

Online journal 

  • To promote the material based on the interests of the user; 
  • To provide quick viewing of articles; 
  • To make it possible to read publications without connecting to the Internet; 
  • To share promotional content. 

Service provision

  • To send notifications about regular services (haircut, registration for cosmetic procedures, cleaning, etc.); 
  • To remind about an upcoming meeting; 
  • To offer additional services and products. 

Educational platforms 

  • To stimulate not to miss classes; 
  • To send a notification about the start of the event or the lesson; 
  • To notify about new courses; 
  • To allow to watch lessons offline;
  • To offer profitable subscriptions. 

Maintenance organizations 

  • To show repair status; 
  • To sell additional services or products; 
  • To inform about the completion of work; 
  • To boost sales with free checks or combo services. 

Travel and transportation 

  • To allow to track the cargo; 
  • To send suggestions for popular routes; 
  • To remind of precautions during the quarantine period. 

Event platforms 

  • To inform about upcoming conferences, meetups, workshops, concerts, etc.;
  • To warn about the changes of the place or time of the event; 
  • To provide quick access to your site. 

Progressive web apps examples

Although this technology has appeared recently, you can already find many examples. Even such giants as Uber, Twitter, and Alibaba saw its potential. 

Google Maps Go 

It helps people access all the features of Google Maps using a web application. The main advantages are: 

  • the possibility to use it without Internet connection what often happens in journeys;
  • to free up the space. The original Google Maps weighs more than 100M when Google Maps Go takes only 2.3M. 

But it requires you to install a Chrome browser. 

MakeMyTrip

MakeMyTrip is an Indian online travel platform. After the research, they found out that 75% of site visitors are mobile users. But some of them had inexpensive phones and could not download the application. The service was missing out on many customers who live in cities with unstable Internet connections. They needed a solution that would help them reach more potential buyers. 

As a result, the company increased 3 times the conversion rates thanks to progressive web app development. They also reduced the abandonment rates by 20%.  

The Weather Channel

The service received 50% of mobile traffic from the site, which needed optimization at that moment. The Weather Channel team also wanted to send notifications of changes in weather conditions to their users. But the functionality of the site did not allow them to realize this task. 

They used the advantages of progressive apps to provide offline access to their platform and inform about severe weather on time. 

Conclusion 

The number of mobile users is growing every year. If you ignore this fact, you will give your competitors a significant part of the market and your profit. 

Nobody likes to wait for pages to load. Users want to get fast and unlimited access to Internet resources. It means that companies need to take care of more than just creating a good site if they want to attract more customers. You should give them the solutions that they prefer. But not every business can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on realizing native applications. So think about the development of a progressive web application. 

The main advantages of such technologies are offline access, fast loading, sending push notifications, SEO optimization, small size, low development and maintenance costs in comparison with native applications. 

Please note that they do not support all functions and have some limitations. These nuances also need to be taken into account when you will make the final decision.