Considering a Progressive Web App? Five reasons you’re on the right track
Only a few years ago the only place you could go to download an app was the App Store or Google Play. Native apps, like the ones that populate these app exchanges, continue to have a lot of benefits and make perfect sense in certain scenarios, such as when the app needs access to sensors in the phone, like biometrics or proximity sensors. However, for many, the promise of a Progressive Web App (PWA) will be too great to ignore.
While there’s no single litmus test for when to develop a PWA app, we can provide some guidance as you consider them on your digital transformation journey. Below are five reasons why PWA may be right for you.
Growing popularity of PWA
Like many moms, mine frequently used the old saying, “if [insert friend’s name] jumped off a bridge, does that mean you should too?” Developing PWAs may be one of the few times where following your friend off a bridge is a good thing.
As developers of e-commerce platforms increasingly use PWA, many leaders in the space are providing accelerators and toolkits as part of their platforms. As of this year, PWA is on pace to make up over half of all consumer apps. Based on these trends, if you don’t adopt PWA, your app risks not being part of the popular crowd and could fall behind against competitors.
Intricately tied to its popularity among developers is the widespread user adoption of PWA. Why do users prefer a progressive web app? Simply put, the barriers to download are low. An intuitive prompt or push notification allows the user to add the app to their device, as opposed to having to navigate away to an app store. PWA apps also give users little reason to delete the apps. No need to worry about frustrating updates and space issues, PWA apps have minimal storage and fast load times with software updates that occur auto-magically.
It’s clear across major brands that PWA apps have accelerated user adoption and improved customer retention. Alibaba was able to increase conversions by 76% thanks to its PWA app. Because Uber’s PWA app takes up so little space (50kb to be exact), the app loads incredibly fast, getting into the customer’s hands before their competitors. Twitter’s PWA app saw a 75% increase in Tweets sent. For these companies, PWA apps are resulting in more customers with reduced app abandonment rates.
Simplicity translates into business outcomes
Since a progressive web app utilizes one code base, its simplicity streamlines testing and content and asset management. It’s also easy to maintain from a release perspective. This reduces the amount of effort, therefore cost, that goes into both developing the app and updating it.
PWA apps have the added benefit of also being a website. That means search engines can crawl and rank your app, and you can leverage SEO to promote your PWA, helping to make it discoverable to customers. The simplicity of your app also being a website means it’s easier for existing app users to become brand advocates. They can quickly share links to the app, helping to drive traffic, conversion and ultimately revenue.
Heightened customer experience
Having the latest release can be the difference between a stale customer experience and a cutting-edge one. For PWA apps, updates occur without any reliance on the customer or their device to make it happen. That means the customer gets to experience the latest and greatest every time they open the app.
Mobile-first design thinking is critical when considering the modern customer experience. By 2022, smartphones will play a role in about 90% of all digitally influenced sales. PWA was developed with mobile in mind, leveraging web standards and technology to provide an app-like experience. Another advantage of PWA is its ability to handle older devices and browsers by serving up a responsive website. This ensures users have the best user experience regardless of their device.
Monetize better with PWA
PWA apps don’t need to be hosted on an app exchange, like the App Store or Google play, which can take a portion of your sales. All the profits remain with you. Along with the lower cost of development, the reduced total cost of ownership means you can invest those savings in improvements in UX/UI instead.
Whether you’re looking to stay competitive or want to deliver a more seamless app experience to your customers, PWA apps have a lot to offer. What we don’t recommend is making your decision based on a single article. The assessment and strategy that leads to a determination of whether a progressive web app is right for your business requires more due diligence.