Magento Commerce in April 2018 debuted an innovative new feature that enables online retailers to develop desktop shopping experiences that resemble native mobile apps. The web app, called Progressive Web Applications Studio, is available to both Magento solutions partners and user experience developers.
Why would ecommerce companies want to devote resources to implementing and leveraging a solution of this kind? Many technologists believe the progressive web app will become the front-end standard over the coming years, replacing both the responsive website and the native mobile app as the dominant multifunctional online channel of choice. Numerous businesses have already embraced the PWA, including major international retailers such as Flipkart, which managed to triple the average session time post deployment, per PWA Stats, and Alibaba, which experienced an impressive 76 percent surge in mobile conversions after it launched its proprietary PWA.
With these prominent success stories in play, ecommerce brands would be wise to learn more about the PWA and Magento’s most recent contribution to this burgeoning web product.
Most online retailers are generally aware of responsive web design, which entails developing an online space that can scale to fit multiple devices. PWAs build off this idea but are constructed to look and behave like the entirely self-contained native apps available on any app store. These assets take up real estate on smartphone homescreens, boast push notification functionality and tap into location services and other common mobile features. This approach, which analysts for Deloitte claim rose to prominence in 2015, comes with several different advantages.
One, users are not required to download a new native app, something a surprisingly large number are loath to do, according to a report from Comscore. In fact, more than half of smartphone owners in the U.S. download zero apps per month on average, the media analytics firm found. Secondly, PWAs allow users to interact with web content via mobile-centric UX components, which most prefer to clunky desktop features. This is part of the reason smartphones and other on-the-go assets drive 63 percent of total internet traffic, researchers for Stone Temple found. Together, these benefits make the PWA a powerful tool for businesses across numerous industries, including the online retail arena, where mobile transactions are expected to account for more than 67 percent of all sales in 2019, per data analysis from Statista.
Modern shoppers want richer, more cohesive online experiences.
Grappling with the impact
Apart from attracting the growing number of mobile customers, why else might online sellers want to embrace the PWA? These unique web tools ameliorate the disconnected feel of most multi-channel experiences. While a good number of retailers manage to roll out fairly cohesive and efficient desktop and mobile infrastructure, the vast majority of users still encounter small yet impactful obstructions – intermittent wireless connections that disrupt browsing and shopping carts that do not carry over from desktop to mobile device, for example. Digital roadblocks of this kind drag down conversion rates and ultimately depress sales.
Luckily, PWAs mitigate such issues by bringing the reliability of the native app to the web, according to the International Data Group. With these online assets, sellers can facilitate truly seamless customer experiences and develop fresh, bleeding-edge features that connect with modern consumers in a manner that traditional desktop components simply cannot.
That said, there are some downsides to PWA adoption – most notably, the development process. The digital architecture that underlies these assets is relatively new, meaning many developers struggle to work through an entirely new production process centered on unfamiliar programming objects, according to Deloitte. Additionally, the cross-browser testing required to make a PWA available to all users can be time-consuming. However, for ecommerce companies leveraging the power of the Magento platform, these are essentially non-issues due to the PWA Studio.
Streamlining PWA production
The Magento PWA Studio lends solutions partners and developers the power to develop and deploy PWAs in an organized, streamlined manner via an impressive collection of features, which include:
- Content personalization: Ecommerce development teams can personalize PWA content based on customer location and other variables.
- Channel construction and management: UX developers are able to create and manage multiple channels and experiences through a single code base, app and deployment.
- Modular architecture: Development teams can take advantage of easy-to-manage modular PWA components that speed up PWA creation.
- Developer tools: UX stakeholders have access to robust prototyping and debugging tools meant to streamline development.
- UX customization: Retailers have the opportunity to roll out engaging UX features via commerce and CMS theming.
Together, these features make the Magento PWA Studio an immensely valuable tool for online retail organizations intent on improving their customer experiences, boosting sales and solidifying their places within today’s competitive marketplace.
Is your ecommerce company interested in embracing the future of online retail by adopting the Magento PWA Studio? Consider connecting with Pixafy. We collaborate with retail organizations of all sizes, leveraging our award-winning development team to produce online shopping experiences that engage customers and boost the bottom line. Contact us today to learn more about our work and how we can help your business get the most out of Magento’s PWA Studio and see real return on investment.