Why PWAs are Taking Over Mobile Commerce

Michelle Lawrence Picture

by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Feb 5, 2020

When it comes to mobile commerce, we’ve already witnessed the success it’s had this past year as smartphones contributed to 84 percent of eCommerce growth during the holiday season. Retailers recognize that mobile commerce isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why half of them are focused on developing a mobile app. But between native mobile apps, mobile websites, and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), how do retailers know which platform to choose? PWAs offer a unique solution to some of the issues retailers face (customer retention, conversions on websites, etc.), so let’s take a closer look at how PWAs are taking the retail industry by storm. 🌩 What Is a PWA? Will PWAs Replace Native Mobile Apps? If you’re new here, you might be wondering what a PWA is, we’ll temporarily pause for a quick overview. A PWA is essentially the best of both worlds when it comes to a native mobile app vs web app. PWAs have the same feel as a native mobile app with the functionality that we all know and love, including: However, a PWA is different than a native mobile app because you don’t have to go through the app store to install it and takes up almost no storage on your device! App downloads are on the decline related to these two issues, which is why retailers need to seriously consider PWAs in their mobile strategies. PWAs & Retail: The Perfect Match Retailers are constantly thinking of ways to reach consumers, but 52 percent claim they often feel ill-prepared in adopting new technology. As mobile commerce continues to take off, retailers will need to do something to remain competitive. Enter PWAs. 20 percent of retailers already have a PWA...so how do we get the other 80 percent on the bandwagon? Think back to a time where you were searching for something on your phone and it took longer than three seconds to load. Did you abandon the page? If you were like 53 percent of people then you probably did. No matter if consumers are shopping online or in-store, a fast and engaging mobile experience is the key to them returning to your mobile website or app.  Pinterest increased search engine traffic by 15 percent when they decreased their perceived wait time by 40 percent. Imagine what investing in a PWA could do for your brand! Quick, accessible pages on websites aren’t the only thing on shoppers’ minds; shoppers want to have engaging experiences on mobile too! Augmented Reality (AR) has made some big waves with consumers. 50 percent of consumers are more likely to shop at a store that has virtual reality (VR) or AR capabilities. Take the beauty industry for example. Stores like Sally Hansen and Sephora have seen a lot of traction with consumers with AR (and as someone who has personally used Sephora’s capabilities, it can truly be the deciding factor in whether or not you purchase). The Proof Is in the PWA  What do Alibaba, Lancome, and West Elm all have in common? They all have PWAs! Let’s walk through these three examples of retailers seeing success with their PWA: “Delivering a mobile-first, user-centric mobile site that harnesses the best of the native app, with all the accessibility and versatility of the mobile web, is key to maintaining our competitive edge and the path to better conversions.”  - Zou Yu, director of mobile team, Alibaba.com Ready to Test the Water? Even creating a PWA might not be enough to keep shoppers engaged with your brand on mobile...so why not make the shopping experience more fun? Here are some mobile moments that you could incorporate in your PWA to increase customer engagement on your website! Want to learn more about PWAs? Listen to our Mobile Matters podcast episode where our very own Stephanie Cox discusses the Future of Mobile Web with Google’s Alex Russel!

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