Progressive Web App What Is It And Its Benefits?

what is pwa

Have you ever heard of “Progressive Web App”? What exactly does it mean for an online business? After this post, you’ll have basic knowledge about Progressive Web App.

Progressive Web App What Is It?

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is an application software developed using specific web technologies and patterns. It is, basically, still a website but can deliver an experience like when you’re using a native app.

After accessing a PWA the first time and installing it, the next time, you can access it by clicking/ touching the icon on the screen – just like a native app.

Progressive Web App What Are The Benefits?

Benefits for merchants

If you are an owner store, here are some advantages that a PWA may bring to you:

Save costs 

Surely any business would want to find an economical and effective solution to build their website. Luckily, PWA can meet both requirements. A PWA allows you to save costs spent on marketing, app development, and maintenance as well as app distribution platforms.

Marketing
what is progressive web app

PWA adds more value to your marketing effort as it’s now easier to reach out and engage your customers.

A PWA provides a feature called “add to home screen”. The customers will see the symbol of your business right there on their mobile devices’ screens.

This also allows you to send push notifications to your customers about new deals. And people are more likely to open these notifications than SMS or emails. The open rate of marketing emails is around 2%, while this figure for push notifications is nearly 20%.

Development and maintenance

The cost you have to pay for native app development is much higher. If you want your native app to run on Android and iOS, you’ll need to build two separate versions. Thus, the development cost for an app usually starts at $20,000.

In contrast, a single PWA can be used on multiple operating systems, browsers, and devices with a single codebase. Depending on the approach, building a PWA can be from $100 to $12,000.

App distribution platforms

To submit and maintain a native app on an app distribution platform, you have to pay server fees, push notification fees, or annual fees.

However, if you convert your web into a PWA, you can get rid of these costs. Because you do not need an app distribution platform to help you promote your PWA. It can be shared as simply as with a regular website.

Reduce time on developing/releasing/updating

For a native app, the developer has to write code integrated with each operating system. You also need approvals from the app stores when releasing a new app or updating an existing one.

For a PWA, a single codebase can be used for all the operating systems. Furthermore, you can release the web right after you update the code. There’s no need to wait.

Retain customers

Using a PWA, you can send push notifications to customers about good deals, awaiting carts, wishlists, etc. This way, you can attract customers, make them visit again, and finish their purchase (if they abandoned it before).

PWA provides a much more effortless way to retain and keep people interested in what you send out to them.

Increase customer shopping demand

pwa benefits

Notifications about attractive promotions and events can make customers want to buy more of your products. In addition, surfing the PWA web through a like-a-app way avoids them from being distracted by other web pages.

With a regular website, you need to reach out to them via email or SMS, which has been approved as less effective than push notifications. Or else, the buyers have to access the link and regularly check to not miss any new product or good discount.

Enhance site rankings

A native app does not support SEO, while a PWA can be indexed like a regular web. In other words, a PWA is more discoverable compared to a native app.

You can optimize the content for a PWA to help it ranks better. Not only that, PWA’s lightning speed and mobile friendliness help it rank better by search engines like Google.

Increase brand awareness

With an ordinary e-commerce site, customers may forget to visit it after some time. You can only engage them when they decide to access your site again.

But if you have a PWA, the symbol of your store on the customer’s screen, the notifications you send are ways to remind them about your brand. Not only that, with the enhanced experience a PWA offers, customers will feel that your business is professional and more trustworthy.

Take the lead in adopting new technologies

Adopting new technology early is challenging but beneficial to businesses.

On the other hand, early adoption of PWA has many benefits:

  • Making your business stand out in the market
  • Boosting their growth with future technologies
  • Keeping highly qualified employees and the most advanced technologies

Benefits for users

PWA is developed to enhance a user’s experience, especially on mobile devices so that no doubt they will be benefitted from this technology:

Install quickly and easily

To install a native app, you go to your app store, find it, click install, confirm, then wait for it to download.

To install a PWA, you simply click the “Add to home screen” button, and the PWA’s icon immediately appears on your device’s screen.

progressive web apps pros and cons

Perform well on a mobile device

PWA is responsive, thus it can fit any screen size, which is a plus point for mobile users. Furthermore, it looks like a native app with a bottom navigation menu.

It applies modern technology to ensure that regardless of the device one uses, the experience is smooth and there’d be no delay when a user interacts with the PWA.

Access the web faster

If you access a PWA for the first time, it may not make a significant difference in the loading speed. However, from the second time onwards, it allows you to read the contents immediately without any delay.

The 3-second loading is a rule of thumb that any customer expects a website to follow today, or else they’d leave immediately.

Read the page offline

If you load the pages before you go offline, you can still read them when you do not have the internet. Because the PWA has already stored data in a cache.

This benefits anyone who is constantly on the move or works in poor/ no internet connection conditions.

Update with only one click

Updating a PWA is a piece of cake for your customers. They only have to refresh the page or press agree on the pop-up notification to get the latest version of the PWA.

For a native app, a user needs to go to the app store, find the app, click update, and wait for the data to load. It can be a bit complicated, especially for those who aren’t very familiar with this process.

pwa updates

Take up less space on the phone

Compared to a native app, PWA doesn’t take up much storage on your mobile device or PC.

Compared to a native app that usually requires about 20MB to 150MB, a PWA only needs about 100KB to 200KB of your data storage. Heavy apps make your phone run slowly and take up spare space for other apps.

Update the latest deals

A PWA allows you to receive push notifications. So that you will never miss any great deals, brand campaigns, events, or any other promotion.

Meanwhile, you have to check the website to see if there are new arrivals or discount programs. If you forget, you may let a good chance to buy good items at good prices slip, or the pieces you like may be sold out.

The Purpose Of PWA Development

Neither Google nor Apple came up with the idea of a PWA; instead, it was Steve Jobs who first introduced it to the public in 2007 during the launch of the iPhone. At that time, it appeared certain that third-party apps would contribute to the device’s increased popularity, and Jobs wished for developers to create apps utilizing common web technology. 

PWAs are web applications that function as both apps and web pages together, giving users a mobile experience similar to that of a native app. Customers increasingly prefer to use their smartphones and tablets than traditional TV. The online giants, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google above all else, cannot afford to overlook this truth. They make great efforts to capture users’ attention. Thus, progressive web apps are becoming one of the most crucial tools for achieving this.

Progressive Web Apps’ fundamental concept is simple to convey. They are web-based applications (JavaScript, CSS, and HTML) that function and appear just like standard web pages. They have similar features to native mobile apps, such as working offline, sending push notifications, and utilizing device hardware, but are linkable and accessible on search engine results pages.

Progressive Web Apps Vs Native Apps: What are the differences?

Our lives are significantly impacted by mobile usage. For the majority of us, checking our smartphones at least several times a day has become a habit.

For many years, developing a native (or hybrid) mobile app was the only method for businesses to reach out to mobile users. But today, PWA technology has emerged as a substitute approach for companies of all sizes to interact with active mobile users.

Below, Tigren will help you discover the differences between progressive web apps and native apps.

1. Different coding languages for different purposes

Native apps are designed to operate on mobile devices. In contrast, PWAs are built to run inside a web browser. PWAs use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. On the other hand, native apps are produced using platform-specific programming languages (Java for Android, Objective-C, and Swift for iOS).

2. Cost of development

It is cheaper to build a progressive web app than to build a native app. You will need to learn the language and create a version for each platform if you use a native app. Hence, you need to have at least two iOS and Android versions, as well as the resources necessary to maintain and upgrade each version. Thus, it takes a lot of time and money depending on the function and complexity of the program.

It takes less time to create and update a progressive web app. You can use a single codebase for several platforms in addition to the two most widely used ones. With the aid of tools like Google Lighthouse, you can customize your present website rather than create an app from scratch. You only need one version when using responsive design.

3. Distribution

With a native app, you will need to submit them to several App Stores in addition to creating unique versions for various devices. The most well-known app stores are Apple’s App Store and Android’s Play Store, but there are others including Amazon’s Appstore, Windows Store, and more. You must meet specific requirements with each of these app stores to be published. Even the registration of a developer account sometimes requires payment.

4. Discoverability

Because a PWA is a part of the web and has a URL, it has a higher chance of being found than a native app. With a native app, you will need to submit them to several App Stores in addition to creating unique versions for various devices. The most well-known app stores are Apple’s App Store and Android’s Play Store, but there are others including Amazon’s Appstore, Windows Store, and more. You must meet specific requirements with each of these app stores to be published. Even the registration of a developer account sometimes requires payment.

PWA, however, eliminates the strict App Store restrictions. Users only require a web browser and a URL. Popular browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge support many PWA functionalities. This makes it simpler for your app to quickly reach a large audience. Deploying updates is simple and doesn’t require waiting for approval. PWA is now much more practical for both businesses and your users.

Web stores, however, play a significant role. The standards stop low-quality apps from being released. By making your app available, you can boost your credibility and inspire customers to utilize your app rather than a URL link to access it. Web stores can also help you market your company. For example, having a product listed in an app store can increase your brand recognition and sales right away.

5. Security

The search engine cannot index or rank native app pages. Users can access the app store or the app store’s website to find your software. App Store Optimization can help consumers reach your app more quickly and also help with many other aspects that affect app discoverability (ASO).

The goal of ASO is to improve your visibility in in-store search results. It includes conducting keyword research, creating a compelling title and meta description, collecting quality screenshots, classifying content appropriately, or approaching third parties for download and reviews, to name a few. All of these, however, increase the time and money required to release your program to the market.

PWAs function like standard websites and may therefore be indexed by search engines, unlike native apps. PWA has greater performance and engagement than regular/responsive web pages, which helps your website perform better in search engine results.

Hence, make sure your website is SEO-friendly with different tools.

6. Download & Installation

No apps are typically installed by mobile users each month. Because using the app after installation requires a certain level of dedication. Users must first discover the app in the store and declare their desire to install it. They must then wait for the download and installation to complete. After giving the app-specific access, they eventually utilize it maybe once or twice before removing it. Users often make a final decision when they remove an app, and they might not use it again.

A progressive web app does not need to be downloaded or installed. Visitors can bookmark and add the app to their home screen from the browser with only a few clicks. The PWA will integrate into the system settings, appear on the home screen, and appear in their app directory.

A progressive web app also uses less storage space than an app. Moreover, there is no need to upgrade the app because it always launches with the most recent version available.

7. Performance

PWA loads a lot quicker than a responsive or mobile site. Service workers, scripts that run in the background and are independent of the web page, are the foundation of any PWA. You may manage offline requests, prefetch and cache specific resources, sync data with a distant server, and more with service workers. This indicates that, after adding your app to the home screen, you can use it without waiting for it to load and even when there is a weak network connection.

Furthermore, because PWAs are browser-based, they will use more battery life and have latency than native apps. An operating system can be integrated into a native app. To perform additional computations and give your clients a better experience, they can access the hardware of the device. A native app is more potent and native code is quicker.

8. Functions

PWA has fewer features than native apps:

  • Push notifications help improve the likelihood that users will interact with and revisit your business. With a native app, you can either create the feature from scratch or integrate it from third-party providers. Push notifications are also available in PWA based on API. is not equivalent between platforms, though.
  • Geofencing enables programmers to create digital boundaries in actual space. The app can launch phone activities when a user enters this zone. Geo-fencing is a fantastic tool for connecting with and interacting with your users when used in conjunction with push notifications. Only native apps currently offer this capability.
  • In the case of PWA, the way that an NFC chip or other piece of digital payment hardware interacts varies depending on the platform.
  • Native apps can make calls, login, add events to the calendar, checkout, and other calls to other apps.
  • PWA is unable to access your phone’s proximity sensor, ambient light detector, or smart lock.

Successful Progressive Web App Examples

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most famous social networks in the world. Seeing their mobile users having trouble with the heavy app, Twitter decided to find a new approach.

Twitter started using PWA in 2017. Compared to 600KB of this new version (Twitter Lite), 158.1MB of the iOS native app is too heavy.

After adopting the new technology, Twitter reported a significant increased in session duration (65%), Tweets sent (75%), and a decrease in bounce rate (20%).

Starbucks

Before PWA, Starbucks has both a website and a native app for customers to create an order. Since they got this new technology in 2017, it doubles the number of their daily active users.

Their PWA takes up only 233KB while their iOS native app takes up 22.5MB of data storage. And of course, the PWA functions smoothly just like the app does.

Pinterest

2017 is the year of the first successful PWA examples since Pinterest also introduced its PWA this year. The reason was that their regular website was too slow, and it was driving users away.

After PWA was launched, users spent more time on PWA than on their traditional web. Their revenue comes from ads and also increased by 44%.

The PWA requires 150KB, while the IOS native app needs 153.4MB of data.

[More PWA examples]

Which Business Should Utilize Progressive Web Apps?

We are unable to say which, progressive web apps or native apps, is superior. Which one is best for your business is the question that you need to solve. I believe that many native multi-platform apps might have easily been converted into PWAs.

After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of PWAs, it is evident that they provide superior long-term advantages over native apps. The solution of PWA development becomes more compelling as web APIs introduce new functionality, increase compatibility with legacy devices, improve performance, and bring tools that simplify the process of generating new native plugins. The advantages of PWA development outweigh those of native and hybrid development unless your app requires features like device formats, such as wearables, home automation appliances, or optimal performance, such as in a video game or a GPU-heavy app.

In short, PWAs are a great choice for many companies who just need a stronger mobile presence but don’t want to spend the money and effort necessary to develop a native app.

Is It Expensive to Build A Progressive Web App?

Definitely NOT.

A PWA has more robust features than a regular website. It is more mobile-friendly and loads faster. It also allows the owners to send push notifications to the users and even function when there’s no Internet connection.

Yet, it’s unlikely that you can convert your web into a PWA yourself. To get the most out of this technology, it is better to find an experienced developer to help you. But hiring a service like this doesn’t mean it’ll cost a fortune. You can get a PWA at a reasonable price if you find the right company for this, like Tigren.

We have experience working with PWA since 2015. Our developers have worked on many projects to deliver the best PWAs to e-commerce businesses. We ensure our clients are happy with our service, whether they choose to integrate our ready-made TigrenPWA theme or develop a PWA from scratch.

Tigren helps you develop the best PWA website at the most reasonable price. Let’s focus on the cost-effectiveness this investment brings to your business.

pwa development

Read More:

Progressive Web App Builder Vs Progressive Web App Theme

7 Steps To Convert A Website To A Progressive Web App

Current Progressive Web App Limitations To iOS Users

Progressive Web App Features: Pros & Cons You Should Know

Progressive Web App Vs Responsive Web: Which Provides A Better UX?

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