Time spent on mobile devices is growing by leaps and bounds, but for businesses, it is crucial to get a closer look at how we use them. Mobile users' behavior and demands change constantly, and there is always a need for optimizing and improving their experiences. Progressive Web Apps, with their mobile-friendly nature, can be a way to do that.
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For over a decade, mobile apps were considered the best solution for mobile users. Smooth in usage, personalized when it comes to content, and reliable to boot, they left traditional websites far behind and built the power of both the App and Google Stores. According to eMarketer, apps account for over 90% of internet time on smartphones and 77% of internet time on tablets.
However, in time, the app markets became more and more competitive. Now, nearly half of app time occurs in an individual’s top app, and 90% in the top five. The high level of app abandonment and the massive amount of apps popping up every day make it clear that breaking through the clutter is very difficult, to say nothing of engaging users and convincing them to purchase.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) aren't the answer to all these challenges. However, they seem to be the answer to at least some of the issues connected with gaining mobile users' attention, improving the quality of their experiences and - at last - narrowing the mobile gap.
All the available data shows mobile conversion rates much lower compared to desktop.
Of course, mobile users might not yet be in the decision stage. They are often looking for inspiration or doing some research, but some of them - even if they are ready to buy - never finish their purchase path. Why? There can be multiple reasons for abandoning the purchase path on mobile devices. There are also various ways to optimize mobile conversion rates..
Bypassing the app stores means saving users’ valuable time and increasing the chance that they will not change their minds before purchasing.
This is crucial, especially since, according to the Page Speed Report, nearly 70% of consumers admit that pagespeed influences their likelihood of buying. Moreover, 53% of users leave if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load.
PWAs, as they can be discovered via the internet browser, can also take advantage of the growing popularity of voice search to shorten the path to the user. Smart speakers like Alexa or Google Home seem to be great for kicking off an order placement that can be finalized in a mobile app or via the browser. They allow developing long-tail phrases in search campaigns. Questions beginning with "who", "what", "how", "when", "where" will create an ocean of new possibilities, especially for local businesses.
Mobile experience, in general, should be perceived as a part of the bigger picture, including every single touchpoint, both offline and online. It raises the need to take care of consistent UX during users’ online journey. If it is not managed properly, users need to learn a new interface every time they change device or channel. With Progressive Web Apps, maintaining consistent UX is more comfortable and cheaper than with separate mobile apps.
The small screens of mobile devices imply some restrictions when it comes to UX. However, by using phone features, it is also possible to enrich it. The camera, microphone, geolocalization, or device vibration are at developers' disposal, and only business requirements limit their usage.
Barcode scanning is another example of native phone features that can improve the shopping experience. (source)
The multiple column view and long product description don’t work on mobile, which forces businesses to simplify the presented content. The safest and the most common idea for mobile product listing is a single column view. It is, however, not a universal solution. But with Progressive Web Apps, it is relatively easy to experiment with content customization.
Push notifications can be a double-edged sword but - if done right - may be a great way to remind users about yourself. With PWA's consistent UX and secure environment (HTTPS), it may be easier to win users' trust and convince them to sign up for a subscription.
A PWA - thanks to the usage of data from GPS - allows to make content more local and so offer, e.g. discounts for some specific localizations or mix and change the sort order according to the users' location. Thanks to this, the app can become more personal.
One of the most significant issues in the mobile channel is payments. To persuade the user to finalize a transaction on mobile, they must be provided with methods that are simple, safe, and secure, and the whole process must be smooth and quick. Progressive Web Apps, with their implemented mobile-first approach, help businesses to match users’ expectations in that field.
Once the user downloads a PWA, he or she can use it without an internet connection. A PWA's capacity for offline support is most crucial for mobile users. They use their smartphones on the run; the quality of the internet connection may vary depending on the circumstances, and mobile data, especially during travel time, need to be used wisely.
With PWA offline mode, it is possible to continue browsing or shopping without any interruption. It gains particular business importance in areas with poor internet infrastructures, which is typical to countries in Asia and Africa, since these markets are seen as the newest and most promising source of growth by many tech-companies from the US and Western Europe.
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