One of the mobile technology trends in 2018 is a rise in the popularity of progressive web apps. The PWA landscape is fast changing the e-commerce vertical and big names in the business like Twitter, Starbucks, Washington Post, Pinterest, the Weather channel and many more have launched their PWAs in last six months. Though considered at infancy stage, the Progressive web app technology is a force to reckon with that has the potential to change the face of the e-commerce. Let’s find out more about Progressive Web apps and their growing influence.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
Until now we have read about native apps built separately for Android and iOS platform. The progressive web apps is a new way of developing mobile apps where app developers ditch the method of writing codes for building native applications. Instead, they build a web application that can looks and functions like a mobile app. The PWAs can run on Chrome and Safari browser and many third-party browsers are working to build compatibility for PWAs.
How are brands using progressive web apps to connect with customers?
Though Internet reach has extended to corners of the globe, the network problems is a reality and main hindrance in user experience. The native apps are fast but they are incapable of handling network problems. With a good connection, there is no problem but in no connectivity scenarios, the user is helpless and there is nothing the user can do but wait till the screen loads just to see the error message. In slow connection scenarios, things get worse and the page seems to be loading and all the user sees is a blank screen. Thus, network problems make the native app less effective. This is where progressive apps come into the picture.
The progressive app is designed to function even in no connectivity scenarios (offline working). The PWAs are capable of rendering pages much faster than native apps. Currently, the PWAs offer several useful features like push notifications, app-like experience, no use of device storage, ability to add app shortcut on screen for easy access, work on any device(they run in browsers)and significantly reduce page loading time even on slow internet connection.
The ease of access, cross-browser compatibility and faster page loading times help the businesses to render a higher-level user experience that impresses the customers and gets them hooked. With PWAs, there are lesser chances of your customers seeing the downside.
The PWAs are economical to build and developers can use the reuse the code to build PWA for different browser platforms. Currently, PWAs are only supported by Chrome (Android) and Safari (iOS) browsers. However, many third-party browser developers are working to add functionality to support PWAs.
Here are some of the PWAs that are making noise in the mobile app domain for good reasons.
Wego is now one of the fastest loading websites in the world. Using a combination of AMP(Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Progressive web app technology, the travel company has built a PWA that delivers great web experiences on the Web. Wego PWA has been specifically optimized for search and shop experience.
The Wego PWA rebuilds the static pages with AMP which improves the core search experience. With PWA, the page loading time in Wego has decreased from 12 seconds to 0.50 seconds to 3 seconds. Around 70% of Wego searches happen on mobile and the increase in site speed has played an important role in improving user experience which has led to increase in conversions.
The Flipboard PWA organizes the world stories in such a way that you get all news and happenings in one place. The Flipboard PWA works to delivers great mobile experience by offering a combination of speed with convenience.Just like Washington Post website, the Flipboard app has to draw the content from 3rd party sources. The Flipboard uses Service Worker API that comes with Cache interface. The PWA’s service caching feature helps you create stores of responses keyed by a request that helps achieve resiliency.
Crabtree & Evelyn
TheCrabtree & Evelyn is an Omni-channel brand that was founded in 1972. The Crabtree & Evelyn PWA is a direct reflection of the brand which is achieved through the delicate use of typography and color. The PWA also takes a refreshing approach for the homepage by delivering a focused experience to the user. The product landing page templates and the classic row listing design focuses on product imagery. The product detail pages have product detail sections that also give out a strong sense of typographic hierarchy supplemented by beautiful pictures. Some of the highlights of the Crabtree & Evelyn PWA are the page loads in no time and the content trickles in quickly without any reflowing effect. The subtle animations on the product page render a different shine to the brand image.
Redmart is a Singaporean online supermarket that is popular for fresh farm produce and friendly aesthetic. The Redmart PWA is super-fast that allows the customers to add products to their shopping cart from product listing pages. The search functionality is designed in such a way that it allows the shoppers to move from one category to another quickly without much effort. The Redmart progressive app has a native app like look which is unique and it also solves the difficult UX challenge of shopping for farm produce and groceries on small mobile device screens.
The Payless ShoeSource is a brand that focuses on variety and value. The Payless PWA features product listing pages with a unique loading pattern that uses page skeletons and animation intelligently to render a sense of instantaneous loading. When checking out of Payless PWA, the customers have the option of picking up the orders from any Payless physical store which saves time and also help them reap the benefits of online deals. The user interface of Redmart PWA is not only strikingly beautiful but it also has obvious customer touch points that take the user experience to next level and helps in connecting with the brand.
Twitter Lite Social Media PWA
Twitter is micro-blogging platform that needs no introduction. The Twitter Lite Social Media PWA is one of the best designed progressive web apps that offer a potent combination of reliability and engaging user experience. The Twitter PWA has reduced page loading time and lower visitor bounce rate which is one of the reasons of its popularity. Twitter is always updating its progressive web app by adding new features.
Today, the Twitter Lite Social Media PWA is the most reliable, the fastest and least expensive way to access the Twitter platform. The Twitter progressive web app requires 3% of the storage space in comparison to its native Android counterpart. Today the Twitter Lite Social Media PWA is generating more than 10 million push notifications everyday which shows it the mighty capability of user engagement. According to Google case study, around 250,000 Twitter members use the PWA directly from their mobile screens at an average frequency of 4 times per day.
Forbes News and General Interest PWA
Forbes took the decision of converting its mobile site into a full-fledged PWA and the results are amazing. The PWA has been successful in improving user experience through highly visual content and faster loading times. The Forbes PWA also has some enhanced functionalities like the push notifications and offline reading for Android platform.
The PWA also incorporates a story format feature like Snapchat where the latest stories are offered in the form of cards and the user can swipe through any kind of content through these cards. The Forbes PWA renders the pages at an amazing speed – eight-tenths of the second that is faster than any media site. With new Forbes PWA, the company plans to serve more than 38 million monthly mobile readers and save around 2 to 10 seconds for every page view for the user.
AliExpress Etail PWA
AliExpress is a retail division of highly successful Chinese B2B platform Alibaba. When the company launched their e-commerce website, their primary aim was to encourage downloading AliExpress a native app for iOS and Android. However, the company did not achieve much success with AliExpress native app and the number of downloads was a tad lower than expected. The answer to the challenges faced by AliExpress native app came in the form of Progressive Web App technology and the company built a cross-browser progressive web app that was able to combine the best of their mobile app with the broad reach of the Internet.
After launching the AliExpress Etail PWA, the company registered conversion rates of new users to 104% which was a great achievement in itself. The PWA offered better user experience and the users visited twice a number of pages in a session and the time spent in browsing products also increases to staggering 74% across all browsers.
There is no doubt the progressive web apps are the future of mobile apps that give you app-like experience without taking you away from the Web. A large number of small and medium enterprises will like the PWA concept as they don’t need an ample budget to develop one. The PWAs can be downloaded directly from the Internet and you don’t have to put the app through lengthy verification and approval cycles of app stores. One of the good things is they can be installed in few minutes and it needs just one click to access them. The most important thing is they offer multiple customer touch points that work to increase conversions for businesses.