PWA – How Shopify merchants can use it to boost their business
Shopify merchants are always on the lookout for innovative ways to improve their online stores, enhance user experience, and ultimately increase sales. One such solution is the implementation of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). In this blog post, we'll explore what PWAs are and how they can benefit Shopify merchants, and the potential limitations they may face. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether PWAs are right for your online store.
WHAT IS A PWA?
WHY DO PWAs MATTER?
The short answer is that mobile app users are more valuable than mobile web users. According to research, a shopper using a mobile app to browse a shopping site is three times as likely to convert as a shopper using the mobile website, views more products, adds to cart more often and buys more often.
Developing a mobile app can be time consuming taking several months to finalize the design and actually build the app. The development can be costly (often running in the tens of thousands of dollars) and it also requires a lot of maintenance and ongoing costs to keep the app up to date. Some of these advantages can be mitigated by using an app builder but these are also costly and come with limitations to building a truly native experience. Mobile apps have to be downloaded and installed from app stores such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store who act as gatekeepers and require you to be compliant with their constantly evolving terms and constraints. In addition, if you sell digital goods, the app stores take a hefty cut of your sale. PWAs solve all these issues.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A PWA?
We just read about how mobiles are better than websites, but what if we can bring the superior UX along with all the features of a mobile app to a merchant’s website? This is where PWAs come in. It enables web apps to load faster, syncs in the background and seamlessly does things while providing an app-like function or experience for the users.
PWAs offer numerous benefits to e-commerce businesses, but here are the main benefits hand-picked below:
Enhanced User Experience:
PWAs offer a more app-like experience for users, with features such as a home screen icon, full-screen display, and smooth page transitions. These elements contribute to a more immersive and engaging experience, which can help boost customer retention and encourage repeat visits to your Shopify store.
PWAs are designed to load quickly and run smoothly, even on slow or unreliable internet connections. By leveraging advanced caching strategies and pre-fetching resources, PWAs can significantly reduce page load times, resulting in a faster and more enjoyable user experience. This is particularly important for online retailers, as studies have shown that even a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions.
Increased Engagement through Push Notifications:
One of the key advantages of PWAs over traditional websites is their ability to send push notifications directly to users' devices. This feature allows Shopify merchants to keep customers informed about new products, promotions, or updates and also help recover abandoned carts, driving engagement and increasing the likelihood of purchases.
PWAs are a cost-effective solution for ecommerce businesses, especially those with a limited budget. PWAs cut the mobile app development cost sometimes by over 20 times in some cases. PWAs are updated automatically in the background, without the need for user intervention. This means that users are always using the latest version of the app and see the latest on your store, which reduces a merchant’s admin load while can improve user engagement and satisfaction.
Installable outside the app store:
PWAs can be installed from your store or from web browsers. Once you acquire a customer, there is no need to add friction and send them to an app store to download the app which adds friction. They can be installed or shared through URLs or QR codes and can be shown at different points in the customer journey which gives you much more control and the user more engagement. There’s no Apple or Google acting as a gatekeeper or charging commissions from you for sales (digital goods) on the app.
In a report by Google, it is stated that when a business switches to a PWA, they receive a revenue boost of almost 20 percent, in some cases, conversion rates double on mobile devices.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF A PWA?
A PWA is a web application that combines the best of both worlds - the reach and accessibility of the web and the user experience of a native app. While PWAs offer numerous benefits, they also have some limitations that one must be aware of.
Limited Support on iOS devices:
Although PWAs work well on Android devices, they may face limitations on iOS devices due to restrictions imposed by Apple. For example, some PWA features, such as push notifications, are not currently supported on most versions of iOS (iOS 16.4 released in March 2023 supports push notifications by PWAs).
On Shopify, PWAs have a limited capability of being customized. Most PWA base the app UX of the Shopify theme.
Compatibility with Third-Party Apps and Plugins:
While PWAs can generally integrate well with most Shopify features, there may be instances where certain third-party apps or plugins are not fully compatible with your PWA. This could potentially limit the functionality or performance of your online store. It is essential to thoroughly research and test any third-party solutions you plan to use alongside your PWA to ensure compatibility.
Listing on app stores :
Unlike mobile apps, PWAs are not listed on app stores by default, which reduces one avenue of discoverability. While you can list a PWA on the Google Play Store with some tradeoffs (for Shopify PWAs), Apple tends to reject most PWA listings on their App store.
The PWA App, has served thousands of Shopify merchants and has rating of 4.4 on Shopify app store. The below reasons are why you must choose us vs. the others are:
- Transform your store into an app in minutes with NO coding required. Users are more likely to convert while browsing a mobile app than a website.
- Most advanced push notification capability among PWA apps including abandoned cart functionality, scheduled campaigns and analytics.
- Multiple call-to-actions to get your users to install the app. Ability to customize when users should install depending on where they are in the purchase funnel.
- Our app is fast, cost effective, responsive and provides superior UX.
- Our app is easy to maintain and update. A merchant has to only maintain his Shopify store and PWA gets updated automatically.
PWAs are a powerful tool for ecommerce merchants looking to stay ahead of competition, offering improved user experience, increased engagement, improved performance, cost-effectiveness, and increased discoverability. As the world becomes more mobile-centric, PWAs are becoming increasingly popular among businesses looking to provide their customers with a better experience.