Thankfully, there is a new kid in town, “Progressive Web App” (PWA). It’s an app that is accessed through a browser and offers app-like experiences to your users on any device or platform.
Rightfully, many retailers are questioning the value of a native app for their business. They are expensive to develop and are a pain to discover and download. The only way to distribute them is via app stores. Users then have to follow 4 to 6 steps to download a single app. This is just too much asked for and inconvenient. PWAs overcome the issues with native apps while bringing in the best features of browsers on top.
With a PWA you can maintain stickiness by utilizing push notifications, and have easy access to your clients via your app icon on their home screen. Along with the easy discovery, increased security and speedy download times that only browsers can offer, they substitute the need for a native app and allow for a single point of access to your customers, instead of both a mobile website and a dedicated app.
- Costs. PWAs don’t need to be built several times to work on different platforms or devices, and any maintenance or feature updates don’t need to be performed three times – build once, deploy instantly, everywhere.
- Discoverability. A great advantage lies in the fact that the app is shared with you by a link and can be called up with a browser. Search engines can also index these links. PWAs can be found in Google search because they are completely indexable.
- Brand engagement. Users will access a PWA from your mobile website. Since PWAs require a URL to discover, it is increasingly likely that a user will be already engaged with your brand. PWA’s allow for push notifications, a powerful feature for targeted marketing.
- Easy access. No app store is required for the operation of the app, and the user doesn’t have to install anything because the app functions with the browser. Also, you get rid of the updates required through an app store from time to time, and PWAs run offline as well.
- Speed. PWAs load immediately, no need to look for it in an app store, no need to register or wait for it to download. You can engage with a PWA instantly, it requires a significantly shorter loading time than native apps, and users can easily switch between apps and share the contents of the PWA.
- Security. Connections with PWAs are SSL encrypted and are thus more secure than web connections from traditional native apps.
- Time-to-Market. Businesses can get their apps to market much faster because they are not awaiting approval from store platforms, and they can be made available instantly. This also goes for continuous delivery of maintenance updates: There are no application store approval periods, and no need for the user to wait to get their hands on the app, since PWAs are installed on their device by simply adding the icon to the home page.