Mobile commerce is expected to make up the majority of eCommerce sales within the next few years, so now is the time for retailers to begin planning for the future of their online stores. With millions of users already using mobile devices to search for and purchase items, you could end up facing increased bounce rates and lower conversions if your site still isn’t mobile-friendly.
If you’re thinking about creating a mobile app to solve this issue, you have two main options to choose from: native apps or progressive web apps (PWAs). Although creating a native app may seem more familiar to some, PWAs are quickly becoming more popular for customers and retailers alike.
What are PWAs?
When you create a native app, customers have to download it before they’re able to access the handy features and functions. Being forced to download something can discourage many potential customers who were expecting a mobile-friendly site, and it’s frustrating for those who don’t want an app taking up storage on their phone.
PWAs, on the other hand, perform just like native apps without requiring users to download anything. The head of business development at JustCoded, Nadya Vasylieva, writes that, “A PWA, in simple terms, is a website built with all the traditional achievements in web development, yet capable of functioning as an app.” They are designed with three core principles in mind:
- Reliability for users, regardless of the quality of their network connection or the type of device they’re using.
- Fast performance through features like compression, pre-caching, and progressive rendering.
- Highly engaging for users.
PWAs vs. Native Apps
If you’re debating between creating a native app or a PWA for your site, you first have to consider the primary functions the app will serve. For example, if you want to create an app that is able to sync with certain features of a user’s device, like their camera or GPS, a native app may be a better choice for your site. Just keep in mind that a native app will likely take longer to launch, and you’ll have to choose whether the app will be compatible with iOS or Android devices—or both, if you’re willing to create two different apps.
When compared to native apps, PWAs are faster and less expensive for developers to set up. PWAs are fully functional on all modern browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and they’re optimized for fast performance and security through HTTPS connections. These sites are able to cache content to let users browse when they’re offline, and they provide shoppers with the option to add the site directly to their home screens.
How to Develop a PWA
The Magento PWA Studio is one possible option for developers. With an entire suite of tools for creating, launching, and updating your PWA, you can develop a stellar mobile platform on top of your Magento 2 store.
If you’re looking for more guidance and in-depth explanations of PWAs, you can check out Google’s step-by-step tutorial by visiting this link!