What PWAs Are and How They Can Benefit Your E-Commerce Business
In recent years the “mobile-first” trend grew big. Cross-device accessibility has been playing a great role in e-commerce businesses. With 40% of transactions in 2019 taking place on mobile devices, consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to shop online. In 2021, mobile e-commerce could rake in $3.5 trillion and makeup almost 73% of e-commerce sales.
The credit for this shift towards mobile could well be given to progressive web apps (PWAs) that provide the user experience of a native app.
In this post, we will delve into what PWAs are, illustrate its benefits for e-commerce businesses, and discuss how you can implement this technology for your website.
What is a PWA?
A progressive web app (PWA) is a technology that enables businesses to build web applications that have the look and feel of native mobile apps. This means that the customer can access information anytime, anywhere without having to download a mobile app. Simply put, a progressive web app is a mobile website that is capable of functioning as an app.
PWAs can be downloaded via any browser and installed on any device regardless of the technical characteristics. In general, websites are designed for informative purposes while progressive apps are meant to simplify tasks and solve problems. As purchasing can be considered the main task and goal for e-commerce websites, PWAs can be an awesome tool to accomplish it.
Benefits of PWAs
1. Reach a wider audience
A Progressive Web App is designed to work for every user, regardless of what platform and device they use. They can also be accessed instantly by a large audience and can be easily shared through a link which obviously takes less time than downloading an app.
2. Reduced costs
A native app requires not only development costs but also costs for app maintenance. In addition, to reach the same audience you have to create both Android and iOS apps. While PWAs demands no extra budget for developers and generate better ROI value at the same time.
Everyone wants to get a website’s content displayed with no delays and messages like ‘please wait, the page is loading’. The way PWAs deal with cache helps them avoid poor website performances by saving the structure of a website’s layout and reproducing it in a browser upon a user’s request. That’s how it saves vital seconds and makes a good pleasant impression of your website.
To access your online store, users don’t have to download the app from the App Store or Play Market. It’s a major benefit for users who do not always want to download apps because of additional time spent and lack of free space on mobile devices.
5. Better conversion
PWAs provide a better user experience which contributes to higher conversion rates. According to the case studies published in the TOP 30 PWAs report, for PWAs, the average conversion rate increase for mobile users was 36%.
6. Security of payments
When talking about online shopping, security is essential. With a PWA, it’s easy to integrate a payment API and provide instant and secure payments.
Challenges of PWAs for e-commerce
Despite all the advantages of PWAs, they are not flawless anyway. PWAs obviously has some limitations that should be taken into account.
- As PWAs refers to both apps and websites, they’re a bit more challenging to design and run.
- PWAs are not as popular as native applications and responsive websites, which means it may take more time to reach out to your end-users.
- Unlike native apps, PWAs usually don’t have access to users’ data.
- As PWAs are only half applications, their functionality is also limited.
When to develop a PWA for E-commerce?
As a business owner, you have to keep many factors in mind before deciding anything including implementing PWAs. Let’s consider the situations when introducing progressive web apps may be a better option.
- You’re on a tight budget and cannot afford to build a native application.
- You have a little time-to-market.
- Your e-commerce startup is at a nascent stage.
- The conversion rates on your website have decreased recently.
- You’d like to deliver a better experience for mobile users.
- You’re planning to redesign your e-commerce store, or you’ve already done this.
Tools to develop a PWA for your e-commerce site
Today there are many tools to build progressive web apps regardless of the framework you’ve chosen. Let’s look at some of them:
The lesson to take away
Progressive Web Apps promise a lot in the coming future. Benefits like the ease of use, lightweight functionality, and better browsing experience deter users from seeking alternative technologies. PWAs wouldn’t guarantee a 100% success rate, nor would any solution commit to it. However, with deep analysis of your users’ behaviour, traffic, and their referring sources, it will be easier for you to make a decision about introducing PWAs to your e-commerce business or not.
Android vs iOS: Which Platform Will Be Right for Your First Business App?
Well, choosing the right platform between Android and iOS for your first mobile app is a daunting task. In this highly competitive marketplace developing an app might be the right solution for your business problem.
Before you get started with the development process, it is crucial to decide your technical requirements. It would be best if you decided on which platform you want to develop your business app beforehand.
At present Android and iOS applications own more than 96% of the global mobile market share. Thus an ideal move toward mobile app development is to craft and launch the application for both platforms.
Though developing an app for both the platforms is quite tough for a startup business – constraints like budget, time, and resources can stop you from developing for both operating systems at once. As an alternative, you may want to launch your business app on one platform first and then set up a second one on a later date.
However, your aim may be to start your business on both platforms sooner or later, but it is dicey and costly to build an app for both iOS and Android at the same time. Even most of the mobile app developers choose to develop an app for one platform to kick start their business on one platform and launch an app for another platform later – once the initial version of the app is recognised and successful.
Before choosing a platform for your app, here we would like to show some stats and facts that help you analyse the marketplace.
According to recent reports, the number of smartphone users is estimated to cross the 5 billion by this year. Android has a massive market share of 74.13%, whereas Apple devices of iOS have 24.79% market share.
There are several things you need to keep in mind to decide whether to launch your app on Android or iOS first. There are various advantages and disadvantages of both platforms. The following points will help you make the right decision.
Let’s discuss each point one by one-
1. Target Audience
At present, the differences between iOS and Android users are quite clear. To choose between these operating systems, you need to think about what end goal your app aims to attain and which operating system audience is significant to your business form. Android has the maximum global market share and gets more app downloads than the iOS operating system.
The android app store has gained about 75.7 billion first-time app installs globally in 2018. On the other hand, the Apple Store has got approximately 29.6 billion app installs in 2018. Android has more popularity in developing countries, at the same time iOS users are typically younger with higher incomes.
2. Revenue model
Your Revenue model strategy plays an essential role in determining which operating system to choose for your first app development project. Each platform has its own set of benefits that lends itself well to conflicting monetisation strategies. From a revenue point of view, it is quite clear that iOS apps make more money than Android.
Even the iOS system has fewer users and generates fewer app downloads, but still brings much more revenues. At the end of last year, it was estimated that Apple’s App Store generated much more revenue than the Android app installs. Even though iOS’s noteworthy lead in profits, the Google Play Store still did see a boost of 27% in consumer’s every year.
3. Project completion time
It is one of the main points that you need to consider while selecting a mobile app platform. The operating system plays a massive fraction in determining what platform is best to develop for first. If you are planning to develop your business application for the android platform then it will generally take more time to release in the marketplace due to device disintegration.
Building a business app that is compatible with multiple Android devices generally takes more time, because there are thousands of android devices and that too with different specifications and screen size. On the contrary, developing an app for iOS takes less time compared to Android as there are fewer iOS devices than Android devices.
However, when it comes to approval of your app; the App Store takes a long time to approve your product with the strict system and quality expectations in place. On the contrary, Android apps get approved in just a day or two.
The cost of mobile app development depends on the scope and intricacy of the project; the larger the size of the app is, the more it is going to cost. If you are planning to cover a large number of devices and operating system versions, then the app development requires more time and resources, and thus need higher costs. When comparing Android and iOS app development on the basis of cost, the charges will be almost similar.
5. Making the decision
The last step is to make a decision that suits your business needs. In the end, your decision to build for iOS or Android is something that is important for your business. In case your target audience is North American then you can go with iOS first. If you’re aiming for a broader, global marketplace and plan to generate revenue through advertising, then Android is the better option.
There are several things that you need to take into consideration like where your target audience lives, the features they want, the devices they use, development timeline, and financial plan to conclude whether you should build an Android or iOS app for your business.
If you need to build an ecommerce app, then choose iOS. On the other hand, if your main target audience is global or emerging markets, then especially Android is your best bet.
No matter which platform you choose, once you focus on the proper target audience for your business, then users will surely use your app. When this happens, it’s a sign that it’s time to build another version of your app for the other platform.
In nutshell, we can say that Android and iOS both present great potential for any business app. While each OS has its own set of pros and cons, both are highly special platforms when it comes to mobile app development. Thus, always select a platform that takes your company to the next level of success.
Anshul Sharma is the CEO of Fluper, a leading Android app development company. He is a versatile tech writer and loves writing about the latest technology trends, entrepreneurship and startups.
5 Principles of User-Friendly Mobile App Design
Use of mobile phones is continuously increasing. With the increasing demand, the need for mobile apps is growing as well. Mobile apps should be both useful and intuitive. An app should have a user-friendly design. How many times have you downloaded an app and got disappointed by its usability? Lost count, right?
The usability of a mobile app depends on some principles. These principles enhance user experience and lead the way to success for your app.
We will be discussing some of these mobile app UX principles here:
Clutter is one of the worst enemies of good design. An app shouldn’t overload users with too much information.
Clutter is terrible on the desktop, but it’s far worse on mobile. Anything that is not necessary should be cut off. Using too many buttons, images and texts make the app look complicated.
To avoid cluttering:
- Keep the design simple with minimum elements on the interface.
- Keep content minimum. Show only what the user needs to know.
- Use one primary action per screen. Every screen should focus on only one real action that has value for the user. This makes it easy for the users to understand how the app works.
2. Easy navigation
Users should be able to navigate an app with ease. It is a top priority. You may add a bunch of cool and compelling features. But they won’t matter if the users can’t find them. If it takes too much time to discover how to use your app, there is a chance you are going to lose users. Users should be able to explore the app intuitively and complete all primary tasks without asking for an explanation.
The followings steps may be followed to make the navigation simpler:
- Use standard navigation patterns. Such as the tab bar for iOS and the navigation drawer for android.
- Use correct visual metaphors so that the navigation doesn’t need any explanation and leads the way to the right destination.
- Navigation should be kept consistent throughout the app.
- The user should know the location he/she is in rather than getting lost.
- Create a “back” button that works properly in each and every screen.
3. Minimize User Input
Typing on a mobile screen isn’t one of the most comfortable things to do. It is slow and error-prone. If you build a mobile app that requires too many inputs from the users to operate, they will find it irksome. So, it is recommended to minimise the typing from the users. Here are some ways to do so:
- Forms should be kept short. Only relevant and necessary information should be asked from the users.
- Use smart features like autocomplete. Filling out problematic fields like addresses can be done by using geo-location and personalised data.
- Dynamically validate field values. It is frustrating to go back and correct mistakes after submitting data. It is better to check filled values immediately after entry so that they may be corrected right way.
- Customize the keyboard according to the type of query. For example, displaying a numeric keyboard while asking for a phone number is much more convenient.
4. Easily Identifiable Interface Elements
To ensure a great user experience, clear visibility of interface elements is a must. Concentrate on the colour and contrast for that. Use a consistent colour palette.
Some useful tips:
- Small text should have a contrast ratio of at least 4:5:1 against the background.
- Large text should have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against the background.
- For icons and other critical elements use a contrast ratio that is easy on the eyes.
5. Tap Targets and Hand Position
Tap targets need to be of convenient size. Generally, bigger ones are easy to hit than the smaller ones, and they also reduce the possibility of tapping the wrong one instead.
Tap targets of 7-10mm can be accurately hit with a finger. The edges of the target should be clearly visible.
Hand position is a fact you cannot ignore. Usually, people rely on their thumb to do things. It is important to place menu, frequently used controls and common actions in areas where they are comfortably reached and stretching is not needed. On the other hand, negative buttons like “delete” should be placed in hard to reach areas so that they don’t get pressed accidentally.
Mobile app UX design is actually a continuous process. The above ones are some important tips to get started with. They will provide a foundation but refinements must be made based on your app performance and user experience.