These days, there is an app for everything. From banking to studying to trading to shopping, and more. Most businesses are relying on apps to enhance the customer’s experience and thereby gain a competitive advantage over others.
If you are here to find out how Progressive Web Apps can benefit your business. Then this article will help.
So, read on if you want to know:
- What is a Progressive Web App?
- Characteristics of Progressive Web Apps
- Three main building blocks of PWAs
- Why are leading brands looking forward to PWAs?
- Progressive Web App Vs. Native Apps
- How PWAs can benefit your business?
What is a Progressive Web App?
A Progressive Web App is an enhanced version of a web app.
PWA is the latest web technology that allows you to use websites by giving you the feel and functionality of an actual native app.
If a PWA performs well, users will never realise that they are using a web-based app instead of a native one. And it is one of the best benefits of Progressive Web Apps.
And, how are PWAs different from Native apps?
Both are different because the benefits of Progressive Web Apps are widely different from that of Native Apps. Listed below are those key benefits.
Progressive Web Apps: Characteristics
Progressive and Responsive
As the name suggests, Progressive Web Apps are Progressive. They are built with progressive enhancement principles. It is a web design strategy to provide the basic functionality and content to everyone without considering the browsers they use for a connection.
Put simply, PWA works with all the browsers and is responsive with any device, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc., regardless of the screen size and other specifications. This benefit of Progressive Web Apps will help you to avoid creating separate apps for separate operating systems.
It is one of the strongest benefits of Progressive web apps. PWAs help you access the app even if you have a low-quality internet connection/even if you are offline. This is possible because of the Service Workers technology of PWAs.
Service Workers allow applications to control network requests. In addition, it caches requests and provides offline access to the cached content to improve performance.
The music app Spotify is an example that helps you to access offline playback.
Regardless of the tools and technologies used to develop PWAs, they give you the same user experience as native apps/hybrid apps. It is because of the application shell or app shell model. App shell architecture helps build PWAs that reliably and instantly loads on the user’s screens as they load on native apps.
Discoverable on the search engines
PWAs are highly discoverable on the web. The PWA manifest enables search engines to categorise these apps and make them easily discoverable.
Unlike native apps, PWAs have URLs and can be crawled and indexed by search engines. So, users can find them directly on search engine page results.
Compared to normal/responsive web pages, PWA has increased performance and engagement, which helps your website rank better and if it is search engine optimised, it can rank even better.
The significant benefit of Progressive Web Apps over both apps or websites is that it enables potential users to add your PWA to their Home Screen directly from the browser. Thus, it makes them a lot quicker to deploy.
PWA avoids the need of bookmarking a webpage, and also it helps your users to avoid searching through Play & App stores to find and download the required application.
Once the PWA is added, your user will not need a web browser to use the application. They can always access it whenever they want as it is displayed on their Home Screen.
PWAs are highly secure because they run on HTTPS. It protects the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data. So, while entering sensitive or personal information in PWAs, like credit card details or contact information, users will feel more secure and help them enjoy the peace of mind they deserve.
It also helps them ensure that they install the right app as the URL will match your site’s domain. This is different from apps in app stores. There can be similarly-named apps in app stores, which adds confusion. PWAs eliminate this confusion and ensures that your users get the best possible experience.
No updates required
It’s a kind of liability for users to update an application. PWAs will help your users by avoiding the need to update them. Instead, it actively updates itself in real-time, just like a website, and users will notice the new and updated features in their app.
Cheaper to develop than native apps
Building a native app can be costly as you have to use specific programming languages to develop apps on separate platforms, like Android, iOS, etc. Down the road, you will need resources to maintain and update the app. It means you need to spend a lot of money and time on that.
In the case of PWAs, they are developed using a single codebase for different platforms. It saves your time and you don’t have to develop the app from scratch for particular devices.
Push notifications functionality
The push notification functionality helps you to engage with your users continuously. In addition, it allows you to make use of content advertising, which significantly increases the chances of promoting your products/services.
Other than that, these notifications are displayed on the screens of mobile phones. This boosts your opportunity to attract your user’s attention compared to blog posts, e-mail newsletters, etc.
So, this way, you get better access to your target audience, and the responses you receive from them also increase.
How to Build a Progressive Web App?
For an application to be a PWA, there are three main things you need to provide.
Web App Manifest: It defines the features on an app like icon, name, splash screen, and theme colors in a JSON-formatted manifest file. It tells the browser about your Progressive Web App and how it should behave when installed on the user’s desktop or mobile device.
Service Workers: As said earlier, service workers act as a proxy between the network and the application. They can seize the network requests and cache information in the background. So that they can load data even if the user is offline.
Served Over HTTPS: A Progressive Web App only works on secure/trusted connections. It is not only a matter of security, but also it is a crucial trust factor for users.
Why are leading brands looking forward to PWAs?
The reasons are the above features and benefits of Progressive Web Apps. It enables you to enhance customer experience, customer engagement, thereby boosting your credibility, which helps you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Also, leading businesses, such as Trivago, Instagram, etc., have already adopted it. So, it’s high time that you should consider building a Progressive Web App if your business demands it.
To be precise, it is preferable to choose PWA development when:
- You want to distribute your app to an even wider audience and improve brand awareness
- If you have time and budget-constraints
- When you need cross-platform compatibility
- When proper indexing on search engines is important
- To improve customer satisfaction and engagement, etc.
Here is a quick snapshot of Native Apps Vs. Progressive Web Apps
|App Type||Native App||Progressive Web App|
|Explanation||Codes in different programming languages are written for separate platforms, like iOS, Android.||A single codebase is written to run the app on different platforms.|
|Installation||The app is installed directly on the device by visiting the app store, accepting numerous permissions, and signing in.||It is not installed on the device. Instead, the user can visit the website, add the app to the home screen, and launch it.|
|Access to device’s features||It can fully access the device’s features and can customise system settings.||The access to device features is limited.|
|Connection dependency||The functionality of some apps depends on an internet connection, and some apps don’t need it.||PWAs can work in low-quality connections or even offline mode. It means the interface and content are still available due to caching.|
|Update delivery||To release updates, you need to comply with the app store’s regulations. So, it takes time to reach your users.||Update runs in the background, so the users don’t need to update it by themselves.|
How Can Progressive Web Apps Benefit Your Business?
Reduce Bounce Rates
You may know one of the primary reasons for high bounce rates is when an app or website takes more time to load. Here, Progressive Web Apps can be a solution. It loads fast and provides a seamless experience to users, which helps you to reduce bounce rates.
Increase Speed and Time spent on Pages
Compared to traditional websites, PWAs can load information faster. Fast loading offers users a quality experience and lets them interact with you quickly. It can reduce bounce rates, which in turn boosts your chances of getting conversions. So, fast loading times are essential for your business.
Also, PWAs show reliable performance to users even they are on a bad internet connection or offline. They are lightweight and don’t put a lot of demand on a device’s resources.
It provides a seamless transition between pages and can result in users spending more time on your pages. An instance is Pinterest. They invested in PWAs for an increased app user experience, and it increased the time spent by users on their page by 40 percent.
Help You Focus on Mobile Users
If you are in an industry that heavily relies on mobile traffic, without any doubt, you should consider building a Progressive Web App. For instance, if you are from an e-commerce sector, research shows that 65 percent of e-commerce traffic comes from mobile devices.
A PWA can work on any platform. But, notably, it is useful for mobile devices because it is hard for them to load large websites or heavy apps, resulting in slow loading speed and poor user experience.
A PWA makes it easier to load and offers the best user experience. Thus, you could enjoy better user retention and engagement rates.
Can Help You Optimise for Search Engines
Native apps are not discoverable online as they are hosted on the user’s devices. But, when it comes to PWAs, they are discoverable by search engines, because they are websites. Also, PWAs offer many other advantages, like they are: indexable, fast, linkable, and designed with user experience in mind.
Likewise, PWAs can help you boost your SEO (make you discoverable) while giving the same experience that native apps offer.
No Monetisation Limitations
In native apps, Google or Apple must process all in-app financial transactions. No third parties are allowed in this. It is one of the significant limitations you can find in native apps.
In PWAs, there are no such limitations. The users can choose any payment processor as they would do on websites. You can also monetise your PWA in any way you wish.
Improve Client Retention
There are nearly three million apps on Google’s Play store. Most of the apps downloaded show that less than the majority of users use any given app after the day they downloaded it. This app abandonment results in a considerable waste of time and resources for businesses.
Here, Progressive Web Apps can help you. It can retain users more as it:
- Help users to add your PWA to their home screen. There is no need for registration.
- Requires no download; users don’t have to worry about storage space on their devices.
- Has push notifications to keep users informed of any updates in your business.
In this way, PWAs help you keep your customers engaged with your brand.
You can check our case studies to see how we helped our client in their Progressive Web App project “Waitwhile,” and see how it benefits their business.
Progressive Web Apps can be a great addition to your mobile toolkit. If done well, they are fast, can work without an internet connection, and perform like a native app. So, altogether, PWA can offer your users a fantastic experience and increase retention rates.
It is not only customer loyalty and satisfaction that adds value to your business. Affordable development cost, added security, and platform agnosticism is the features that also make these apps the go-to choice of multiple market players like Forbes, AliExpress, and Twitter.
Progressive Web Apps are the way to the future, which is the reason that you should consider switching to them now to get the most out of their capabilities for your business. So, start building this future-proof solution with the help of a right technology partner.