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Progressive Web App (PWA): an alternative to Android/iOS App? – Business Perspective

Shova Acharya
April 8, 2019 - 8 min read

Internet connectivity takes new shapes with the inception of Progressive Web App (PWA). It is not news that it offers better solutions than traditional mobile applications. In addition, many businesses and budding startups are already making use of the framework. Hence, it does not come as a surprise that platforms such as Uber and Starbucks are using PWA to facilitate their services.

1. What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
2. What is wrong with Mobile Apps?
3. Is PWA the best for a Business?
4. Who will benefit from Progressive Web Apps?
5. The Correlation between Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Native Apps
6. Conclusion: Progress with PWA

What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web-based application that works like native apps. It makes use of the flexibility of the internet with the sleek user experience of mobile applications. This approach allows users to enjoy other features such as working offline and push notifications.
The framework took the world by storm. And the popularity has been growing over the years and the trend still continues. Note that PWA is here to contend with the functionality of traditional mobile apps and web-based platforms. To this end, it is a messiah of sorts that will change the phase of client-to-business interactions.


What is wrong with Mobile Apps?


What is wrong with mobile apps?
What is wrong with mobile apps?

It is worth noting that traditional applications on mobile devices are fraught with problems. And it is true that the introduction of mobile apps aims to bring down the hurdles of online surfing. It also enhances user experience. Yet, it has not been living up to expectations.

It is on record that distribution platforms such as Google’s Play Store and the Apple Store lead the pack in the dissemination of apps. Businesses are keen on attracting more prospects to patronize their services. How can that be possible when mobile applications do not give the expected output? Also, users have to deal with bugs and other downsides that reduce the user experience.

To this end, the invention and use of Progressive Web Apps is the pathway to enshrine positivity between a business and the client. From the positioning, businesses that use this app will create trust and seamless interactions between clients (consumers) and their services.


Is PWA the best for a Business?


Is PWA the best for a Business?
Is Progressive Web App the best for a Business?

Many startups and established businesses are looking for ways to drive up conversions. The prospect presented by Progressive Web App (PWA) is the best tool to increase conversions, keep users engaged in your business, and facilitate seamless interactions with your business.

Now, many businesses are already keen on using PWA for their services. However, it is true that many people are skeptical about it. Yet, the adoption of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) by popular platforms made them see reasons.

Forbes, one of the beneficiaries, is optimistic that PWA will replace native apps.

We have some experience with Progressive web app and saw impressive results from it. We built a user-friendly and simple solution for the iCARE tracking project. Further, the PWA also assisted us to develop a real-time GPS Tracking which showed alerts when the trackers entered or exited the geofences with ease.

Similarly, Pinterest switched to Progressive web app when it noticed that its website was slow and resulting in the conversion of only 1% into sign-ups or mobile app installs, out of all the visitors.

(Drastically after usage of PWA, Pinterest saw 50% increase in ad click-throughs.)

There are other characteristics that make Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) the best pick for the growth of your business.

  • Security:
    While users expect your app to be fast, they also look out for security. The fact that PWA is web-based makes users susceptible to cyber attacks. Thus, the use of HTTPS makes the app a safe bet. Hence, users can surf the app, and fill their details to complete the transaction. The security of the platform with HTTPS is a great improvement from HTTP that is prone to cyber attacks.
  • Bypass of Distribution Platforms:
    Google’s Play Store and the App Store dominate the app distribution industry. It is frustrating when users cannot use mobile apps because of low storage. In addition, downloading the app comes with extra issues. There are times when the app needs to be upgraded but due to low storage, it can’t quite happen.
    When you get a Progressive Web App (PWA) for your business, you save users the stress of downloading, installing, and updating an app. Instead, they can choose to add the icon to the home screen for faster surfing.
  • The use of Service Worker:
    Service Worker plays a vital role in the success of a Progressive Web App (PWA). The app continues to function in poor networks, and can also be used offline. This functionality was enacted on the premise of Service Worker. The latter creates cordiality between the web and the device to deliver the right content to the user.
    In addition, it caches important data and presents to the users. This reduces the need to download the app before exploring the contents.
  • Manifest:
    The manifest is the framework that developers use to set up features that will help the app run smoothly. On successful application, users can change the screen orientation. Likewise, it also released a functional URL that will open the web-based application and allows users to add the PWA to the home screen.
  • Indexed Database (IDB)
    The Progressive Web App (PWA) is not like traditional mobile apps. Hence, it relies on cached data. This allows it to present the right URL resources for storage. The use of Indexed Database (IDB) allows the app to cache data from the browser and present it as a high-performance API.

Who will benefit from Progressive Web App?


Who will benefit from Progressive Web Apps?
Who will benefit from Progressive Web App?

It is no secret that millions of smartphones are out there. It is also a fact that the users are increasing in number.

The figures of smartphone users are predicted to grow by 2.7 billion people within the year (2019) seeing the growth of smartphone users from 1.57 billion (in 2014) to 2.53 billion in 2018.

With the increment of smartphone users, the demand and requirement of a mobile application are also increasing. It’s a no secret that Play Store and Apple store are the major distribution platform. However, the Android Operating System (OS) controls a larger part of the mobile app market.
Statista, the platform that accesses and rates different niches, has something to say about the use of mobile apps. According to the platform, there are higher uses of mobile applications than web services. Here is the excerpt:

Many of the most popular mobile properties are mainly accessed via mobile apps instead of mobile browsers. Popular examples are mobile social networking apps, led by Facebook with over 1.1 billion monthly active mobile-only users.

It is worthy to note that many of these apps are developed by businesses. To this end, it is clear that the core beneficiaries of PWA are businesses and startups that want to extend the reach of their services.

Would you want your business to continue with the traditional setting or port to the impressive tides that come with PWA? Imagine the bliss on customers’ faces when the page loads faster and they get real-time alerts on the latest products. Can you beat your chest that the current crop of mobile apps favors your business? If the answers are more negative than positive, it is time for you to harness PWA for your business.

Note that technology changes every day. For now, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the standard for every business that wants to have a stake in the mobile-driven market. It is important to note that mobile apps users who are also potential clients are not thrilled by the discounts on your products. The quality of the item won’t be enough compensation for the frustrating effects of an app that is not easy to use. It will do the business a whole world of good if the app takes premise on PWA.

If you have a business or about to float a startup, do well to integrate Progressive Web Apps into your platform. With Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as an integral part of your business, clients will have a seamless experience surfing through your services on the web.


The Correlation between Progressive Web App (PWA) and Native App


Correlation between Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Native Apps

Correlation between Progressive Web App (PWA) and Native App

PWA is in the fourth year but has made remarkable inputs to the mobile app market. It was in the year 2015 that Ale Russel, a Google Chrome engineer partnered Francis Berriman, a designer. The aim of the collaboration is to make native apps faster by integrating the features of the web. This perspective is what we have today as the “Progressive Web App”.

There have been many questions on the importance and what the future holds for native apps. Both have remarkable benefits for businesses. However, there are some differences that set the two apart. In the coming years, users can choose to continue with both or give up one for another.

The similarity lies in the fact that the Progressive Web App is a “web version’ of traditional applications. It also offers users a great experience when interacting with it. Yet, there are factors that make it a good pick over native applications. Let’s go through these exciting prospects and see what your business stands to benefit.

  • Fast
    Without a doubt, the web provides many benefits to businesses. The inception of the online shopping era brought revolutions to traditional transactions. In recent times, businesses have been having bouts of shopping cart abandonment. Have you paused for a moment and thought of the reasons behind this? Do you know why users fail to complete an order from a mobile app?
    It is because of the flawed user experience. Apart from ad banners that obstruct the view, call-to-action buttons might also be missing. There is a need to have an app that is scalable. This keeps users focused till completion of a transaction. This is exactly what PWA offers your business.
  • Reliable
    Remember that there are many apps that can offer the same service that yours do. Users will not be pleased when a page is slow to load. Progressive Web Apps are reliable because they offer scalability both in pages and other surfing. The reliability makes it possible for users to continue surfing the site, even when the network is unstable.
    There is no doubt that this is exactly what your business needs at the moment, especially, when clients find it hard to navigate your site. Technology is making things easier for everyone, and with a framework as Progressive Web App (PWA), customers will not be frustrated when the page loading is slow.
  • Engaging
    It is true that many use mobile app nowadays. However, they only log in when they want to make a purchase, or when they want to check the latest offers from your business. Most times, work-related activities might keep them busy. In the end, they won’t have the time to surf your app for the latest deals.
    The engaging aspect to PWA lies in the fact that push notifications are there to notify users. The approach drives engagement and keeps clients focused on your business and its services. This approach makes it less hassling when trying to check-up on your business.
    In addition, the formulation lets PWA take the traditional outlook of native applications. The web app manifest file allows users to install the app on the home screen. This is clearly a bypass of the traditional download and installation of mobile apps. Rather, users can interact with your business at the click of the app’s icon on the home screen.

Conclusion: Progress with PWA

The world is changing every day, and technology is behind the move. The Progressive Web App (PWA) is of more benefit to e-commerce platforms. As with the integration/migration of your business’ native app to PWA, e-commerce platforms will be setting the pace for better user engagement.

Above all, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are disrupting the current crop of native apps. It is only a matter of time before it takes the center stage. It charts a better course for modern businesses, and the best time to start is now.

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