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Importance of Progressive Web Apps for your e-commerce store

PWA Vue

As 2018 grows ever-more familiar, the argument for moving away from a traditional e-commerce store is growing rapidly. Statistics show conversion rates fall from around 6% in native mobile apps to 4% on desktop, and only 2% on the mobile web. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and the alternative options.

As customers web use continues to shift significantly from desktop to mobile, tradition e-commerce merchants face a growing challenge when looking to achieve significant growth into the future.

So I need a mobile app?
Looking at the conversion rates above, one solution might be to build a native mobile application. The cost of building and maintaining native apps, however, can prove significant and invalidates this option for a great number of merchants. Those who do manage to get this are unlikely to get an app with the same level of performance and behaviour as they would expect, and simply won’t be providing users with an experience they are used to in other applications. Alongside this, it is very difficult to encourage downloads of your mobile app to people who don’t already have some form of awareness of your brand (without putting in place some kind of incentive or advertising – which will add to the already mounting costs).

What if there were an option to achieve the performance and maintainability of a native application without the unattainable price tag? Enter Progressive Web Apps.

What is a PWA?
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are a collection of new web technologies which answer this question and provide an excellent solution for your e-commerce store. Built with the JavaScript, CSS and HTML, PWAs use browser APIs to allow some incredible behaviour and bridge the gap between the web and mobile app experience.

Speed
Using advanced caching and making use of local device storage, your website content is able to be served to users much quicker than with a traditional website and users are able to interact without having to put up with discouraging page/ content loading times.

Push notifications
A great way to encourage interaction from users is through push notifications. Progressive Web Apps allow websites to make fun use of native device features to draw customers back to complete purchases, find out about new offers and see whats new.

Works Offline
The offline capabilities of PWA mean that much like the native apps they are used to, users are able to visit the site, browse certain areas and even checkout whilst offline. When the device gets a connection, a push notification can be sent to inform the customer their order has been processed successfully.

Native Feel
Because Progressive Web Apps are able to interact with the backend of your e-commerce store through API calls, they are able to provide a much more sleek experience without the clunky and disruptive experience familiar in traditional websites. No waiting around for product pages to load or checkout.

Install app instantly
Another great feature of PWAs is that users are able to install them locally on their device. Just like a native app, they have an icon on their homepage which when tapped, instantly loads the app and gets them going without any waiting around or typing urls in a slow or unresponsive browser. Users can see a push notification and in one tap, be taken exactly where they need to be within the app.

No app-store publication
No delays or issues with publishing applications to the app store or play store. The app can be installed directly from their browser in one tap.

We have been contributing to an exciting project building a PWA storefront in Vue,js – Vue Storefront. This promises to provide all the functionality mentioned above and will be an excellent solution for all merchants looking to bring their store to the forefront of e-commerce and provide their users with a seamless and fluid experience they will all soon come to expect. The Vue Storefront is built to be easily integrated as the customer facing frontend of all major e-commerce platforms without having to overhaul any backend or logistical processes.

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