Grzegorz Ścisło

e-point International CEO

When is a website better than an app? When it’s a progressive web app of course!

PWA

Mobile is in pole-position as the go-to sales and marketing channel. According to Statista, 62% of global users access the internet by mobile phone. By 2020 the number of smartphone users is projected to reach 2.87 billion globally.

The strength of the mobile channel stems from the high, sometimes extreme, engagement level of users. The average smartphone user spends more than 4 hours a day using their device, meaning that there are at least 11.5 billion hours of human-smartphone interaction each and every day.

Source: Statista Research Department

Ignoring this potential, for whatever reason, is the first step towards catastrophe. The key to harvesting this enormous potential is to understand the differences between channels and the unique value users seek when using their mobile devices.

A question of access

The challenge is in accessing mobile users. The Internet has transformed significantly since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. Yet the online world is far from being mobile-optimized. According to Google data, 96% of users have browsed a webpage that wasn’t mobile - friendly. Users expect to get the information they need fast; often within two taps of their screen at most.

On the other hand, whilst the mobile channel is currently divided into native apps and mobile websites, neither is considered to be ideal. A mobile webpage, be that a traditional one, or the Responsive Web Design (RWD) page, deliver a reduced experience when compared to a dedicated app. On the other hand the average app is rarely used. Despite the fact that the average user has up to 80 apps installed on his or her smartphone, he or she rarely uses even half of them, in fact 77% of users abandon an app within 72 hours of installing it.

Source: @andrewchen

Enter Progressive Web Apps (PWA). PWAs provide an excellent and reliable solution for these challenges; combining all the mobile trends that users expect to see when accessing the mobile channel. Let’s run through the key trends which underline the significance of PWA technology.

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Omnichannel

The smartphone combines all the functions of a telephone and a fully functional computer in a hand-held, pocket sized device which is constantly on standby - and more often than not - in use. This statement is obvious, yet the consequences are usually underestimated. In fact, this device combines multiple channels which are generally seen as being quite separate from one another. It’s natural for the user to jump from a website to the call center, and then move on to Facebook, because - why not? The average consumer tends to shop or research on 6 different channels before making an actual purchasing decision. So the typical way of calculating a conversion rate is misleading -and what is the actual role of the last click channel? Is it really the best one?

Brands that embrace omnichannel witness up to 18.96% of engagement. Impressive, when you consider that the figure is only 5.4% for a single channel strategy.

Source: ClickZ

If a buyer is used to an omnichannel experience, he or she will leave when they discover there isn’t one. If the numerous channels are not interconnected, and the user is seen separately in each, business performance will suffer.

The latest tech in the web space is the Progressive Web App, which delivers a true omnichannel experience - in fact, PWAs merge all the mobile channels into one entity.

Consistency

The principle of omnichannel is brand and experience consistency across all channels. This continuity touches every aspect of the business. In the traditional sense of doing business, customers had different offers in various channels - a common situation in telecoms or banks.

From a business point of view, providing different offers and separating the channels seems attractive - it is a natural way to boost internal competition for a customer, and set or evaluate goals. On the other hand, the customer considers the company as a monolithic entity and any changes in the offer are confusing.

Moreover, this internal competition hurts profits. In fact, 88% of consumers perform some form of research before buying a product online. Offering a lower price in any given channel results in a cut in profit margin - after all, why on earth would the client choose a higher price?

Brand experience is also crucial - if the offline store focuses on tech-savvy millennials, there is no point in preparing a contact center for baby-boomers. The same goes for mobile devices. The standard approach to delivering a consistent experience -based on building a shiny app and a decent mobile service- is now outdated, as progressive web apps are designed to deliver a seamless experience.

It’s also worth noting that in delivering a single PIM and product database across all channels you can also ensure a very high level of continuity and efficiency.

Better UX

User experience is currently one of the most effective means of building a competitive advantage. Every $1 invested in the UX returns up to $100. Users expect the app to be convenient and intuitive, providing all the information required in an elegant fashion.

Progressive Web Apps enhance the experience provided by typical websites by enabling the website to harvest the options granted by the hardware. Thus the website can access the camera, the microphone or an accelerometer, harvest more data and therefore provide an even better experience.

Progressive web apps are essentially streets ahead of standard websites and responsive web pages.

Speed

When it comes to websites, every second counts. For every extra second it takes to load a website the number of page views falls by an additional 11%, customer satisfaction by 16% and conversion rate by 7%. If the online store generates $100,000 each day, this “one second” stacks up to $2.5 mln annually.

 

The most remarkable 1-second stats

  • 1 second delay reduces page views by 11%
  • 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
  • 1 second delay eats away 7% of the coveted conversion rate
  • 1On annual basis, 1 second delay can lead to $2.5 million in missed revenue if your shop generates $100,000 per day

Counterintuitively, despite being more sophisticated and tech-packed, Progressive Web Apps load faster when compared to mobile websites or Responsive Web Design. Every PWA is powered by service workers that manage offline requests and cache or sync remote data. So when a PWA is added to the home screen, it loads instantly - exactly as a native app would.

Summary

Progressive Web Apps are an excellent response to many of the challenges faced in today’s mobile landscape; delivering the power of a native app whist leveraging all the advantages associated with browser-based simplicity.