2018 is now well known as the year of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)s. And why not? They are everywhere. With the massive potential for user-engagement to websites with push notifications and A2HS functionality, offline access, and a seamless experience across browsers and devices, PWAs might well be the best thing since sliced bread.
But perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the rapid adoption of PWAs is their potential to increase conversion rates.
PWAs and conversion rate
Website speed and performance is a huge factor in getting visitors to convert. You may have great content, products, and services, but if a visitor finds that the website takes too long to load, he/she will lose interest quickly.
How long is too long?
There are a host of studies and algorithm analyses that show that anywhere between 2-4 second is considered a reasonable speed. Anything longer than 4 seconds is hit or miss.
Performance matters, and it impacts user retention and conversion as Google has noted. You can use Google’s Impact Calculator tool right now to see how your site performs on mobile. It also offers a report with custom suggestions to improve your site’s performance.
And if you want to understand the impact on businesses of all sizes, then behemoths like Amazon and Google can lose up to billions of dollars because of a single second of lag time.
Judging by the same standard, if an e-commerce site makes $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay means a loss of $2.5 million in a year.
But if speed, performance, and conversion are related, why is it so difficult for websites to implement speed?
Part of the problem lies with the proliferation of mobile devices and mobile browsing habits of users.
There is a prevalent myth that users download apps very eagerly of every website they visit frequently.
The Comscore Mobile App report states that over 50% of the US”s smartphone users don’t download a single app within a month. Users dislike the process of visiting app stores, downloading, and installing apps.
While mobile may be edging out other devices where traffic is concerned, it poses a major challenge for retailers when it comes to conversion rates.
- Mobile is great for traffic but poor for conversion
- Desktop still rules the roost when it comes to conversion.
This is why PWAs are immensely popular. They bridge this gap between desktop and mobile and provide the user with the best of both worlds.
PWAs have a wider reach - because they are the cross channel and work on all devices.
Discoverability is not a problem. The user acquisition over the web is 10x times cheaper than native apps. PWAs eliminate friction and provide a seamless, end-to-end experience.
And this flawless user experience works over flaky internet networks or no internet at all, resulting in blazing fast experiences and successful conversion.
Using PWAs retailers can offer better and faster ways to deliver customer experiences. Since PWAs load just like regular web pages but also provide native device functionality like offline access, push notifications, launching a camera, etc. it is a win-win.
The number one advantage of PWA over non-PWA sites is speed. This is because PWAs use technology that reduces the time it takes a user to complete important tasks like searching for a product, adding to cart or purchasing it.
Research shows that the faster a shopper can accomplish these tasks, the more likely she/he is to buy.
How does this impact SEO?
One question that many retailers who are exploring PWAs tend to ask is if Google’s algorithm takes PWA as a ranking factor when ranking indexed sites. The answer is that simply having a PWA won’t help you rank better.
However, Google is pushing PWAs within the ecosystem because PWAs do provide websites with many valuable benefits that indirectly help their search rankings or SEO.
For instance, the lightning fast speed and responsiveness provided by PWA after the initial page load is a massive benefit to websites that want to improve their SEO - because they are improving the overall user experience.
Better user experience and engagement are directly related to more people staying on the website, browsing more and shopping more.
How PWAs have helped these companies convert
Treebo built a PWA and saw a 4x increase in conversions year-on-year. For repeat users, the number was 3x and the median interactive time on mobile dropped to 1.5 seconds.
The Best Western River North Hotel saw an astounding increase in revenue with their PWA - that of 300%.
For Trivago, a 150% rise in the number of people that added its new PWA to their home screen.
Petlove saw a 2.8x increase in conversion and a 2.8x increase in time spent on the website.
But perhaps one of the most quote examples is that of Pinterest. They rebuilt their mobile site as PWA, and their engagements went up by 60%. With a 44% increase in user-generated revenue and an increase in time spent on the website by 40%, it truly inspired many other brands to get on board with PWA.
For more PWA stories and stats, you can check out pwastats.com.
But it is not just eCommerce giants and retailers who are cashing in on these conversions. Want more visitors to your blog? Or want more readers on your news portal. Whatever be your requirement, PWAs can get those numbers up.
Earlier this year Magento announced the availability of PWA Studio. It is basically a set of tools that enable retailers to build online stores with app-like experiences. Thereby solving the mobile conversion dilemma and deliver highly personalized shopping experiences across devices and channels.
Recently Apple has shipped iOS version with service workers support.
This is why everyone from Apple to Microsoft, to Magento, is finding ways to be more PWA friendly and make the most of its performance and engagement benefits.
In a nutshell
PWAs have immense potential to increase conversion rates because they use technology that brings the website to every device at a lightning fast speed, at a low cost and work flawlessly across channels. They solve the mobile conversion dilemma and the desktop responsiveness challenge by bridging the divide.