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Everything to Know About PWAs in eCommerce

Technology around us is changing at a breath-taking pace. The most prominent paradigm of this is the way we shop or surf the net. From ordering our daily needs, groceries, food, clothes, essential services, cabs, booking flights to almost everything. You name the need, and there are already several applications available on the internet that address it.

PWAs, or better known as progressive web apps, help convert the high-end features of webpages into a near native mobile experience. More than 78% of online users access these services via their mobile phones or other hand-held devices, such as tablets. Thus, it becomes imperative for merchants to make the shopping experience as seamless and as quick as possible. PWAs come here to rescue us from unnecessary delays, and provide a better user experience, or in other words, provide a seamless customer journey.

Why do we need PWAs?

Some developers and retailers still believe that they do not need PWAs. This misconception is because of the lack in awareness about the features of PWA technology. They think that making the page responsive to both mobile and desktop devices alone will help them. Effectively this does not solve the problem, only just delays it. A responsive page makes the information reflow from one point to another. It totally ignores the expectations of users consuming a web page through a mobile device. A respective web version consumed on a desktop computer is always more responsive because of the larger hardware capabilities. The mobile version, however, needs powerful PWAs to make the experience as swift as their desktop counterparts. When conversions are not matching merchants’ expectations, retailers tend to shift to native apps. These are very costly and difficult to build. Thus, PWAs are a one-stop solution, serving both desktop and mobile users alike. Here’s an infographic showcasing the stats regarding the switch from desktop to mobile.

How do they come into operation?

Google introduced progressive web apps technology in 2015. Getting feedback from various retailers and the failures in mobile conversion led it to come up with this. The progressive web apps are not only powerful in working with the content but had added benefits. The web conversions process is totally revolutionized by the advent of PWAs. It allowed for a faster webpage download, more responsive pages, assisted touch technology, and an optimized mobile-first user interface. The higher conversion rate of PWAs also helps boosting SEO by 50%. Consequently, they solved the fundamental problems related to mobile conversion.

How did mobile optimization change?

The role mobile devices play in customer engagement can put aside 20 years of desktop legacy. Websites are now increasingly being optimized for mobile traffic. Today’s traffic has shifted from desktop devices (around 45%) to mobile devices (65%). This has led to stronger search engine optimization for mobile devices, in advent of Google providing search results individually for mobile users. Apps are now able to complete a task quickly. This means that ‘task to completion’ time has significantly reduced after this optimization.

Some features of PWAs

Instant page loads

Progressive web applications are optimized for instant page loading on mobile devices. This is particularly possible because page assets are cached and stored on the device itself. So, every time you visit the web page or website, the PWAs instantly grab the downloaded assets first, and then refresh it with the latest information. This helps the user to instantly land upon the content page and not on a white screen without any visual feedback for loading progress. This also decreases the processing time and saves mobile data.

Web push notifications

Web push notifications are a new way to engage customers. The customers can get a 24/7 notifications about their favourite news or products on sale, without having to open the browser. This means that a browser windows does not need to be active in the background. Web push notifications are also less intrusive compared to email notifications, or other types of alerts a user normally receives. Thus, you can keep track of your important messages and there will be no chance they can get lost amid less important notifications.

Payment request API

The payment request API is a simple JavaScript that helps in digital transactions. This interaction was simply impossible in the past. PWAs enable us to use payment apps and switch from the parent app to the digital payment app. This is very important for a unified payment flow, as toggling between the apps has crucial importance. The payment request API provides a safe gateway for payments. It also ensures that money and important information such as bank or credit card details, are kept encrypted and remain private.

Offline Mode

PWAs help keeping the data available in offline mode, when users are out of WiFi or mobile networks. Offline mode allows the user to consume the application when there is no internet connectivity available. This is beneficial if you are traveling off the grid or there is an intermittent network. PWA offline mode continues to power the page by using very slow network strength or downloading the web pages in advance. It checks the network connectivity and data speed to make the judgment.

This plethora of features such as using offline mode or web push notifications was not possible before the PWA era. Thus, the coming of PWAs has revolutionized the mobile user experience, both for retailers and customers in eCommerce.

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