Before we dive in, let’s first define Progressive Web Apps (PWA):

A Progressive Web App, or PWA, is a web application that uses modern web technologies and design patterns to provide a reliable, fast, and engaging user experience.
PWA websites are fast, secure, responsive, and cross-browser compatible. They are able to work offline and act like a native app on mobile.

(Definition from Magento Dev Docs)

In other words, PWAs are kind of like a hybrid mix of mobile-centric web and app in one app-like experience made for your phone. From a business perspective Progressive Web Apps are another important tool in your arsenal that you can use to improve customer experience and increase conversion.

For many merchants, 2019 was the first year that mobile user sessions surpassed desktop sessions on e-commerce sites. It’s natural for merchants to extend the mobile website and/or “responsive” UX to PWAs and this post provides a few reasons and practical applications for why it should be considered.

1. Further Improve Customer Experience and Conversion Opportunities

Both B2B and B2C merchants have use cases where PWAs can enhance the experience and extend conversion opportunities.

Think about the following examples:

  • A shopper checks a shopping list prior to entering a retail store
  • An athlete checks their workout routine and post-workout nutrition regimen
  • A construction procurement supervisor/purchasing agent is on a job site without internet and needs to check off on volume of supplies prior to delivery.

In any of these examples, a PWA may very well keep the buyer connected and purchasing even if they don’t have an active network connection. For certain use cases where buyers are “in the field” the PWA could actually become the primary purchasing channel.

2. PWAs Connect the Dots Where Channel Attribution Fails

As most e-commerce merchants know, attribution is not always as easy as it looks. But since PWAs can work and synchronize offline and online there’s a good chance there are a number of buying patterns and conversion paths can be followed instead of being lost if a merchant has one in place.

3. Mobile Apps

PWAs Allow a Merchant to Develop an “App” and get on buyer’s phone screen easily. Using Magento 2’s PWA studio designing and developing a PWA to support your overall e-commerce experience may be the easiest and fastest way to get some of that coveted real estate on your buyer’s screens – and you might want to consider doing it before one of your competitors does. Mobile apps also provide additional marketing opportunities through push notifications and account sign ups.

4. Speed

PWAs can dramatically increase the speed of your customers’ e-commerce experience shopping for your products. Because PWAs provide a bridge between native and app, and online and offline, you can design an experience that doesn’t get interrupted and that moves quickly. This is especially true for purchasing use cases where customers know what they are looking for. PWAs are much faster for users to install.

5. SEO

Use your search keywords in a PWA. App content won’t be searchable so if you’re looking to solve for some use cases that are a good fit for PWA, SEO is an important consideration. Content in PWAs can be easily found by search engines and are adjusted to Google’s mobile-first index, presenting a nice opportunity for content-centric native apps.

The Bottom Line

Since many e-commerce merchants are looking to improve performance of their sites by percentage points here and there, they should consider a PWA because it may help to boost conversion and overall mobile experiences satisfaction especially for use cases where conversion rates may currently be low.

Magento 2 now has their PWA Studio which, for Magento site merchants will accelerate the design and development of a PWA that will work with and integrate a Magento e-commerce site very nicely. Contact us to learn more.