Today’s customers have high expectations surrounding user experience, especially when it comes to digital encounters with brands. In fact, according to Forbes 73% of customers say that a positive user experience heavily influences their brand loyalty. Furthermore, due to the rise of mobile commerce, there has been a steep increase in the demand for brands to provide user-friendly mobile apps. This is where progressive web apps (PWAs) come in.

PWAs strike the perfect balance between native apps and online sites. They include a host of benefits for both businesses and consumers and present a golden opportunity for brands who want to enrich their UX and build consumer trust. But what exactly are progressive web apps? What advantages do they offer and who uses them? We have all the answers below.

Read more: A Beginners Guide To Mobile Marketing

What’s so progressive about progressive web apps?

Progressive web apps are websites that allow users to have an app-like experience without the hassle of installation. The word progressive refers to the technological innovations that have gone into developing PWAs. Since PWAs are still websites, they are written in web languages such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and are supported across all platforms.

Why PWAs are a key tool for marketers

With so many different apps available today, it’s taken for granted that businesses will provide apps that are both easy to install and to use. As mentioned above, digital encounters have a major impact on brand loyalty and sales. Forbes reported that “Customers are likely to spend 140% more after a positive experience than customers who report negative experiences.”

Source: via GIPHY

Due to their many technological innovations, PWAs can provide several benefits to marketers.

Take a look at how PWAs can increase customer retention and engagement through the following characteristics:

1.    Offline Capabilities

PWAs offer an offline mode enabling users to browse the app without a stable internet connection or with low bandwidth. They’re also able to present custom offline pages, improving customer retention, by using a declarative fetch that allows the browser to intermittently cache resources.

2.    Decreased Loading Time

In addition, PWAs have a faster loading time than native apps which means a lowered bounce rate. PWAs’ bounce rates are over 10% lower. Let’s face it, there’s no quicker way to lose visitors than long page-loading times. The reason why PWAs are faster is the underlying technology that they use. Not to mention they also use less data than native apps, adding to the increased customer retention they offer. An interesting statistic by Forbes states that “A 2% increase in customer retention is the same to profits as cutting costs by 10%.”

What’s more is that PWAs are easy to install and like native apps, can be added directly to the user’s home screen. This cuts out the time taken to visit an app store and download the app. It also means that brands and companies don’t need to publish their apps on app stores, drastically reducing development time. Furthermore, updates can be made without having to wait for approval and with added ease as compared to native apps. Users also don’t have to spend time installing these updates as they will be automatically added when the app is reopened. It’s clear from this that PWAs add a lot of convenience to the consumer experience which is vital in this digital age.

3.    Push Notification Enabled

Another feature PWAs have in common with native apps is their capability to send push notifications. Push notifications are often utilised by marketers to re-engage users. They have also been used to increase app usage and up conversion rates.


Pinterest PWA


4.    Enhanced UI

In the past native apps surpassed websites in terms of user engagement, however, PWAs are changing that. As mentioned above, PWAs give users the same experience as they would have when using a native app. Not only are they visually appealing, but they can also be designed with UX as their top priority. Plus, PWAs are compatible across many devices and work with any screen size.

5.    Discoverable on Search Engines

Unlike native apps, PWAs are discoverable on search engines which means they provide brands with the opportunity to drive organic traffic through SERPs. The reason for this is that PWAs are made up of web coding and can therefore be crawled and indexed by search bots. This is expected to boost engagement as consumers are more likely to search for a brand they’re interested in on the web than on an app store.

Examples of companies using PWAs

PWAs are considerably cheaper to develop than native apps due to the reduced time needed by developers, meaning they’re a great opportunity for small businesses to launch an app and start increasing their conversion rates. However, it’s not just small businesses that have switched to PWAs, so we’re looking at some of the biggest and best examples of progressive web apps:

Pinterest – Pinterest shifted to a PWA to service users in low bandwidth environments in 2017. After doing this their site engagement rose by 60%.

Lancôme – Global luxury cosmetics brand, Lancôme launched its PWA to increase app speed and consumer engagement, this change led to a 17% rise in conversation rates and a 12% open rate for their push notifications.

Forbes – Forbes developed a PWA which offers faster loading times as well as personalised push notifications. Since implementing this change, they’ve seen a 43% increase in sessions and a 100% increase in engagement.

OLX – In 2018, online marketplace, OLX launched a PWA to offer a great new user interface with intuitive listings. The app is also more secure than the brand’s previous online versions and native app, ensuring quality ads for users. The PWA also resulted in an 80% lower bounce rate.

Final thoughts

In the digital age, retaining customers and keeping them engaged can be a challenge. As discussed in this blog, PWAs offer a myriad of benefits to both big and small companies who want to optimise their mobile UX and improve performance. It’s not clear whether PWAs will completely replace native apps, but it is clear that marketers who are brave enough to make the switch are tapping into unlimited potential.

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