Web Design

How Progressive Web Apps Could Change the Mobile Landscape

Make a website that runs like a mobile app.
How Progressive Web Apps Could Change the Mobile Landscape
Image credit: EmirMemedovski | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Chief Executive Officer of Newpath WEB
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the world of mobile commerce, every second counts. Even the slightest delay can cost your site conversions and your business money. With Google now seriously homing in on site speed as a ranking factor, the adoption of progressive web apps (PWAs) is looking more attractive to any website operator/business owner, and especially to those running ecommerce sites.

For those unaccustomed to the advantages of PWAs -- or even what they look like -- the easiest way to define them is a website modeling the features, user interface and user experience an app. This includes mimicking the layout, home screen icon, push buttons and notifications you would usually associate with an app, but all operating from your browser, and offering the same usability on mobile as on desktop.

They are also significantly easier to build compared to native apps, as they don't rely on complex coding: They can be built using the same code as your site and work the same way across iOS and Android phones.

Here are some more of the advantages of using a PWA over a native app for your business.

Related: A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Mobile App

Push notifications

One of the biggest advantages of PWAs is they can offer your customers push notifications, alerting them to new products, sales and updates. The benefits of getting your message and products/services immediately into the hands of your consumer can't be overstated. The savings on marketing spend alone makes obvious business sense, along with the boost to your branding, keeping your business at the forefront of your market's minds.

Caching

Through the use of a service worker and cache API, PWAs can function offline, meaning your customers don't need a mobile connection to access your site or store. The caching function stores your layout elements and loads them into the browser, significantly increasing load times and decreasing bounce rates, which is -- let's face it -- the death of any conversion opportunity. The faster your visitors and potential customers traverse their way through the purchasing journey, the more likely they are to not just make the purchase but return in the future (more on conversions below).

Related: 15 Useful Tech Tools for Your Business

App market saturation

PWAs serve as an excellent means of rising above the saturated app market. There are approximately 2 million apps available on iPhones and nearing 4 million on Android phones. Among the retail giants stands Amazon, the only retail app among millions within the top 100 downloaded apps. Cutting through those numbers to get on the radar of your customers is a tricky feat, and there is never a guarantee they will download an app for your store. A progressive web app offers the benefit of working across all devices, requiring less upfront cost.

Related: 8 Online Careers You Can Start Today From Home

Increased conversions

There's a lot that can be said for making your customers' purchasing journey as easy as possible, and those businesses that have implemented PWAs have seen the benefits. For example, Best Western River North (in Chicago) saw a 300 percent increase in revenue and 500 percent in bookings compared to the conversion rates of its old website. 

In summation, PWAs are simpler and typically cheaper to build, effortlessly work across the majority of smartphones and browsers, are more likely to be adopted and used by consumers, are faster to load, and lead to increased conversions. It's clear to see these are game-changing benefits with lower risk and investment required. And it's a safe bet that we'll see a substantial rise in businesses adopting them throughout the year and years to come.

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