Progressive Web Apps: how can PWAs boost your customer experience?

In this second installment of our four-part PWA series, we hear from some more all-star partners about the benefits of moving to a PWA and how you can use them for far more than just your ecommerce store.

Why do brands need a PWA? 

The majority of webshops are currently being developed for mobile-first. With so many rich features supported on smartphones, it’d be a shame if a shop wasn’t leveraging them on their mobile sites. Features such as push notifications, camera activation, location detection, or the use of facial or fingerprint ID authentication methods can significantly improve the customer experience.  

With a PWA you combine the features of a native app with those of your webshop. Thanks to this combination merchants can create a distinctive and future-proof user experience. 

PWAs in action 

Fashion brand Rico Moda was looking for ways to take its unique in-store experience online. The introduction of a PWA-based ‘My account’ environment helped them to build closer relationships with their customers online. 

Thanks to the PWA, Rico Moda’s capable of adjusting their webshop to the customer’s preferences. It can prioritize the customer’s favorite brands throughout the shop. Similarly, Rico Moda can personalize a shopper’s experience by showing suggestions based on their past purchases or in-cart items. 

The tailored experience encourages customers to log in to their accounts earlier within their customer journey and by offering facial and fingerprint recognition, the customer experience is optimized even further. 

PWA example Rico Moda

Things to consider when moving to a PWA 

While a PWA offers multiple advantages, it’s worth having a good think about the actual value it will add to your store. In other words, what is the main motive for your store to move to a PWA? Is it for example to increase the speed of your website, or a faster checkout? Or are you operating in countries with poor internet reach which means being able to shop offline will add value? 

As a rule of thumb, it’s good to take the costs into consideration. Developing a PWA takes 50% more time than a regular frontend, and so having clear objectives before getting started is key. 

A consideration in favor of PWA is the fact that it was developed by Google meaning that not having a PWA is going to impact your search ranking in the mid to long term. 

PWA offers a lot of opportunities but it can be daunting to get started. Having a partner who’s capable of translating your objectives to value-added applications will save merchants a lot of valuable time. 

About Itonomy

Itonomy is always looking for the next step in e-commerce. We are Adobe Magento professionals with the highest technical standard in ecommerce. It is our mission to create, build and maintain super strong and innovative e-commerce solutions for the fashion and retail industries. We are specialized in PWA solutions and we take the lead in the Netherlands regarding PWAs. Learn more about Itonomy.

Are PWAs right for you? 

Progressive Web Apps combine the best of the web and the best of native apps. They are an excellent tool for brands to massively improve their online presence. PWA’s allow you to create highly engaging, on-brand websites that have ultra-fast performance but also manage to get way better SEO scores in comparison to traditional websites. All benefits ultimately increase traffic and conversion rates. 

Considerations before moving to a PWA 

There’s a big difference between simply adding some PWA functionality to your website (such as push notifications) or going the complete “headless PWA” route. In the former, most of the time you can use your current frontend, and simply add a couple of scripts to add certain PWA functionalities. This can be completely fine depending on your needs. But by doing so you’ll be limited to just the tip of the iceberg of what a complete headless PWA approach can do for you.  

When going the headless PWA route, you’ll replace your current frontend with a completely new one. This comes with the drawback that some platform-specific plugins might not work anymore out-of-the-box, in case you weren’t already using a decoupled system. It’s always wise to evaluate this with a technical person. Most headless PWA solutions in the market only provide just that PWA frontend. At DEITY we take it even a step further, by adding a Middleware service between the PWA frontend and the backend platform(s). It enables you to compose and control your complete ecommerce stack, thus allowing you to use exactly the services your business requires, without limitations. 

About DEITY

DEITY helps fast-growing online businesses and their agency partners by combining the power of modularity, composable building blocks, and API-first architecture into a Middleware and Headless PWA platform. Bringing the online business what they truly need: the flexibility to innovate fast, the possibility to extend without adding complexity, and unlimited scalability for top-of-the-line performance. Learn more about DEITY.

Not just for ecommerce: other ways to use PWAs 

The e-learning space has seen enormous expansion, not just due to the impact of the pandemic, but as online learning has grown and streaming media has increased over the last decade. Evolving with technology for over the last 30 years, The Great Courses has provided leisure-based learning through various forms. In its most recent release, The Great Courses now offers users the ability to stream directly through their PWA (Progressive Web App), downloadable content, and even through direct mail hard copies of the courses. 

As Magento was sunsetting its M1 version, The Great Courses needed to re-platform Magento 2 to ensure security and update continuity. It was searching for a solution that would scale with the breadth of content in its library and its growing customer base. The solution is a headless Magento PWA. By decoupling its website’s front and backend systems, headless allows The Great Courses to continually evaluate new customer experiences across every channel and deploy new experiences seamlessly. 

As a subscription-based video streaming service, speed and scale are paramount to the user experience. As such, Guidance helped migrate The Great Course’s Magento 1 instance to a Magento 2 PWA which delivers app-like experiences via mobile and desktop devices.

The new PWA solution has increased user engagement and boosted conversion rates. Magento Commerce delivers a fully unified front-end PWA supported by an expansive back-end technology suite. In fact, Guidance developed one of the first and largest PWA architectures on the Magento 2 platform. The result is an integrated ecommerce solution for The Great Courses that has cemented its brand amongst today’s most innovative digital commerce solutions. 

About Guidance

Guidance builds highly customized ecommerce websites and applications for brands, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors in both B2C and B2B. With industry-leading practices in commerce strategy, mobile optimization, CX, website development, systems integration and analytics, flagship companies have relied on Guidance’s expertise to facilitate more than $50 billion in GMV. For over 25 years, brands such as Foot Locker, Hoonigan, Scuf Gaming, Benefit Cosmetics, K-Swiss, Smile Direct Club and many others have engaged Guidance to build hundreds of world-class omnichannel websites and applications that accelerate growth and provide differentiated digital customer experiences. Learn more about Guidance.

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