3 Industries Poised for PWA Disruption in 2019

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Jan 8, 2019

I recently compiled a list of every major brand that had created a Progressive Web App in the last year. Aside from being astonished at how far we’ve come with PWA adoption, it also gave me the chance to break down which industries are really taking PWAs in stride. I’ve mentioned it before–Progressive Web Apps are the new standard for the mobile web, and thanks to some cool native features (like the ability to send push notifications, integrate the camera, etc.), they can be made to almost exactly mirror native mobile apps. So, think: all of the cool, made-for-mobile features you know and love about native apps, but without the annoying app store download. It’s the best of every world for consumers in every industry, which is why we’re happy to see the following industries taking this mobile tech and running with it.

Industry: Retail Brands with PWAs: Alibaba, West Elm, Flipkart, Walmart, 1-800-Flowers, PureFormulas, Payless Shoes, Lily Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, and more Why PWAs Fit the Bill: With m-commerce continuing to dominate, online retailers are laser-focused on their mobile sites. Just a five second lag can lead to page abandonment for mobile commerce sites, and shoppers just aren’t downloading retail apps like they used to. Enter: PWAs. They’re lightning fast to load by nature, which means online retailers never lose sales due to slow-load times (even during the busiest of shopping seasons), and–thanks to that speed plus other mobile web best practices that are required for PWA perfection–they rank incredibly well for SEO.

Industry: Travel Brands with PWAs: Trivago, Uber, Virgin America, Lyft, Carnival Cruise Lines, Airbnb, Best Western, and more Why PWAs Fit the Bill: From ride sharing to booking flights, the travel industry has a few reasons to make PWAs their mobile method of choice. First of all, connectivity. PWAs have the unique ability to function in low-to-no service situations (thanks to the backends service worker). For on-the-go travelers that encounter spotty service and crowded places with maxed-out Wi-Fi, this PWA feature is a huge bonus. Second, speed. Like I mentioned before, PWAs are lighting fast, which means less booking trouble like double-clicks on laggy pages that lead to double-charges that lead to angry customers. And I’ll even throw in a bonus “plus” for the travel category–you can send push notifications with PWAs, which is perfect for travel reminders and updates. It’s all the seamless user experience that comes with a native app, but none of the app store hassle for fast-paced travelers.

Industry: Food & Beverage Brands with PWAs: Starbucks Why PWAs Fit the Bill: Ok, this one is a bit of a prediction on our end, since our favorite coffee giant is the only major industry leader who’s taken on PWAs. But their success should have other food & beverage companies sprinting toward the new mobile tech. When Starbucks rebuilt their native app as a Progressive Web App (even working in their payment and ordering methods), mobile orders soared and the overall user experience noticeably improved. But the real reason PWAs are perfect for this industry? Rewards and loyalty programs. Starbucks saw a 65% increase in their rewards membership sign-ups via the web, because while the Starbucks native app requires a membership sign-in in order to place an order for pickup, the PWA allowed non-rewards members to access this feature, no sign-in required. This allowed those customers who weren’t loyal enough to sign up for the app to experience the perks of a rewards membership on almost a “trial” basis, and when they found out how much they loved the convenience, they made the leap and signed up for rewards.

We’re in an exciting time in Progressive Web App history–the tech has been around for a few years and the benefits have been proven, and brands are starting to latch on. I know there are a lot of 2019 predictions floating around right now, but we’ll confidently throw out hat in the ring: 2019 will be a banner year for PWAs in retail, travel, and food & beverage. 

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