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Benefits of progressive web apps
There are numerous benefits of progressive web apps. They are fast, engaging, and reliable, but what exactly does it mean for users, businesses, and developers? Which PWA advantages are the most important for each of these groups, and why are they called the solution most suitable for the mobile-first era? We’ll clear that up below.
PWA benefits for users
"Don't Make Me Think" is a book written by Steve Krug, a guru of usability, two decades ago. In terms of UX, that principle hasn’t changed a bit. Digital users hate when they’re forced to overcome obstacles in their path and will sooner give up than spend even a minute waiting on a page to fully load. Mobile users, since they often use smartphones on the run with a poor network connection or an expensive data plan, are the most impatient. But since their number is growing, especially in emerging markets like Asia and Africa, they have to have their expectations met.
Progressive web apps, a fusion between the features of web pages and mobile apps, are one of the best ways to do that. The most significant advantages of a PWA are its speed, the ability to work offline, and accessibility directly from the browser. People can add them to the home screen of their mobile device like a typical native app, skipping app marketplaces and saving valuable storage, especially on low-end devices. Users are now more likely to give a PWA a chance since, in the last few years, they have become quite reluctant to download new apps.
They treat their mobile devices like cameras, computers, notepads, assistants, and, most importantly, as a treasury of memories. If downloading an app means that they have to sacrifice precious photos or messages, they think three times before clicking "yes."
Progressive web apps don’t force users to make such difficult choices because they’re much lighter than native apps. Also, users don't see the typical installation process. They click on a dedicated button and a shortcut is created on their home screen. Of course, with downloaded content, PWAs also "steal" some space, but it’s still far less than a native app.
Long story short, progressive web apps have come about at just the right time. This is a time when mobile user behavior has become more demanding, and discovering, downloading, and using a PWA is as simple as it can be.
PWA benefits for businesses
- A progressive web app is easy to update. This process may take more time and effort on a traditional app marketplace.
- Thanks to these easy updates, home screen access, and notification features, having a PWA means that communication between a business and its customers will be smooth and effective.
- A PWA, by providing superb UX, increases visitors' engagement and conversion rates.
With fast loading times, a PWA reduces server load and minimizes the danger of a crash or slowdown during periods of intense traffic, like Black Friday. Convincing users to install a PWA locally is priceless because it can be used as a communication hub with clients. It can reduce both the financial effort of cooperation and the risk of consumer data leakage or cyber fraud by avoiding third parties.
The usual problem is that, as we mentioned before, customers might appreciate an app's UX but are no longer willing to download them in large numbers. By now, every smartphone user has probably established their favorite set of apps and, when it comes to downloading newer applications, is most likely very picky. This doesn't mean that the number of downloaded apps is decreasing. The number of quarterly app downloads has stayed more or less the same since early 2020, but the number of smartphone users keeps growing. So, the average user downloads fewer and fewer apps.
App abandonment is also a big problem for the market. According to Appsflyer’s data, only 22% of Android and 25% of iOS users return to a new app the next day after downloading it. One month after the download, those figures fall to a minuscule 2% for Android and 4% for iOS.
One of the advantages of a PWA is the fact that convincing clients to install a PWA directly from a browser seems to be much simpler than forcing them to go through the app store. Avoiding dependency on Apple and Google is a blessing for marketers who aren't aware of when, or even if, their app will be published or updated in app stores. They also don't have to pay any middleman for distribution, which makes the customer acquisition cost (CAC) much lower.
We can clearly spot a couple of benefits of progressive web apps for business. A progressive web app creates an opportunity to use a shopping-like impulse. When the user sees exciting content during their digital journey, they may be more open to making a snap decision and pinning the app to their home screen. This works in much the same way as the various chocolates and snacks placed near the checkout in the supermarket.
Another PWA advantage is how lean it is. With its small size and fast installation process, it gives marketers a bigger chance of successful user onboarding from the website to the app. In the end, this leads to increasing marketing ROI and decreasing the cost of development at the same time. This cost reduction is achieved because using a PWA means having only one website that is used as a regular website on desktop, a mobile website on smartphones and tablets, and as a multi-platform app. There’s no need to build, test, and deploy a desktop website with RWD, an Android app, and an iOS app all at the same time.
In the era of omnichannel, this is crucial. PWA technology enables brands to unify and streamline their clients' experience across all touchpoints with lower costs. Customers are willing to reward them with loyalty, especially since marketers can add native-app functionalities to PWAs like an "install the app" pop-up, a home screen icon for the app, and push notifications. A PWA's tools help to re-engage clients, make them more aware of the brand, and allow for analyzing their preferences just like native apps.
Benefits of PWAs for businesses:
- No middleman involved in the app download and installation.
- Independence in the app update process.
- An undisturbed digital journey even with weak or nonexistent connectivity.
- A short loading time even in traffic peaks.
- Higher user engagement and conversion rates.
- Support in search results thanks to the mobile-first approach.
- Seamless onboarding from social channels.
- Higher marketing ROI.
- Decreased CAC.
- Increased cross-platform conversion.
- All-in-one processes of development, updates, and product information.
PWA benefits for developers
However, in the case of more complicated sites, stores, or marketplaces, it could be tricky. When a company has plenty of different systems that are linked with one another very tightly, any changes, PWAs included, need to be made with extra caution. That’s the "dirty work" that rests on the shoulders of the techies. They must find a way to implement the marketers' idea about seamless UX and make sure everything works. It’s an issue in most eCommerce platforms often due to old, outdated technology stacks.
However, with microservices and headless architecture, it’s a breeze. The newest PWA frameworks and ready-to-use solutions enable developers to turn a site into a PWA to reap the benefits of progressive web apps without any interference with the eCommerce engine. They can separate the front end from the platform’s back end while supporting sales and marketing teams with a new, agile way of doing UX.
Benefits of PWAs for developers:
- A modern approach to development.
- A positive experience for developers.
- The possibility to work with headless architecture.
- No need for separate app development for iOS and Android OS.
- No need for paid developer accounts on App Store or Google Play.
- A short time to market.
- The independence of the back end with PWA platform-agnostic solutions.
We mentioned some of the most important progressive web app benefits. Now, let’s take a look at the solutions you can use to get them.