What is a Progressive Web App & How to Use One to Grow Your Business

What is a Progressive Web App & How to Use One to Grow Your Business

What is a Progressive Web App or PWA?

I'm going to cover that and much more in this article because I think PWA's have the potential to be fantastic customer retention and engagement tools for many small businesses.

Let's jump into it.

What is a Progressive Web App?

Think of PWA's as websites that look, feel, and work like mobile applications.

They combine the best of websites and native apps and provide users a fast, reliable, and engaging experience.

There are a number of companies taking advantage of PWA's...

Excellent Examples of Progressive Web Apps

Companies large and small are using PWA's to improve the user experience. Check out these great examples of PWA's in action and their amazing results.

1. Forbes

Forbes PWA

Forbes saw a 43% increase in sessions per user along with a 100% increase in engagement with their PWA.

Have a look at the Forbes PWA.

2. The Weather Channel

Weather Channel PWA

The Weather Channel saw the following improvements when implementing their PWA:

  • 80% improvement in load time.
  • Much easier to deploy the PWA in 62 languages and 178 countries.

Check out the Weather Channel PWA.

These are just a few of the many examples of how companies are benefiting from the use of PWA's. Here are some additional examples of companies using PWA's if you'd like to see more.

So what are the benefits of PWAs? Let's take a look.

Benefits of a Progressive Web App

1. They can work offline

PWA's are perfect for people who can't be online all the time or may have intermittent connections. Users can still browse saved data from the last online activity with PWA's. This increases engagement and availability.

How does this benefit small businesses?
An offline PWA page can populate brand logos, business information and there can even be some advanced features available. This allows people to view company information in the offline mode anytime they want. As a result, an increase in customer retention & engagement rates is achieved.

2. They behave like native apps

We all love mobile applications. We use them for personal and professional stuff like gaming, social media, calendars, photo editing, etc. Being able to open the app with the click of an app icon is so convenient.

Since PWA's can be saved directly to a device's home screen, consumers can access them immediately the same way they do a native app. In a number of cases, PWA's can replace apps because of how they work and behave.

Another side benefit is most PWA's are much smaller file sizes than their app counterparts, which can save valuable storage space for users.

How does this benefit small businesses?
You can get the customer loyalty and engagement benefits of a mobile app without having to maintain a mobile app and deal with the hassle of app store listings.

3. Improved performance

PWA's are faster than websites. Remember, the Weather Channel saw an 80% improvement in load time!

This is huge for retaining site visitors.

How does this benefit small businesses?
The improved performance of PWA's will keep site visitors on your site instead of bouncing to another site if you currently have poor website loading times. With faster load times, PWA's can improve and even sustain website traffic.



4. Easy to access

To use your PWA all a user has to do is visit your PWA url...no app store required!

There's absolutely no need to open Google Play or Apple Store to install PWA's. Once the PWA is open, all you need to do is select "Add to Homescreen" from your phone and viola, the PWA icon is available anytime right from the home screen just as if it were a mobile app.

How does this benefit small businesses?
PWA's provide users a faster and easier way to access company information. The hassle of getting install errors is eliminated. Having a PWA will improve the customer experience which can lead to an increase in conversions and sales.

5. Push notifications

Push Messages or Push Notifications are notifications from mobile apps or websites that display while the device is not in use. They typically appear as pop-up dialogs, banners or small badges on the app or website's icon.

Push notifications are a great way to promote engagement, brand awareness, and market your business. Progressive web apps support push notification features.

Note: As of this writing, Safari for Apple users does not support push notifications. I think this will happen in the future, but when is anyone's best guess.

How does this benefit small businesses?
Small businesses can benefit tremendously from the re-engagement that PWA's offer. Customers can easily be reached with push messages to promote news, events, and promotions for your business.

6. No app store submission needed

Progressive web apps don't need to be downloaded from app stores,  therefore, developers don't need to undergo the process of app submission.

Submitting apps to Google Play and Apple Store takes a certain amount of skill to perfect (with Apple this is especially the case). It requires a certain level of expertise to ensure the app doesn't violate any app store rules and regulations.

Apps also need to be updated, which is not an easy process in many cases. PWA's are easily updated and don't require an action from the user to do so...this is a huge advantage for PWA's vs mobile apps.

How does this benefit small businesses?
Any tool that can benefit your business like a PWA, that is easy to manage and maintain is a huge win. The less time it takes to manage the tools you use to grow your business the better.

Now that we have outlined the benefits of a progressive web app, you might be wondering how you can use one to grow your business...

How to Use a PWA to Grow Your Business

I see PWA's as a great customer engagement, retention, and loyalty tool. Here are some of the ways you can use a PWA to help grow your business.

1. Add value to customers via push messaging

Push messaging offers you another channel to reach your customers and they have very high open rates. Use push messaging to offer incentives to customers, announce upcoming events, and break the latest company news.

2. Make your most important content relevant and super easy to access

What company information do your customers find the most important? Whatever it is, make it easy to access via your PWA. 

It's also really important to make sure your content is current and consistently updated. The easier you can make it for customers to get what they want, the higher likelihood they will continue to do business with you.

3. Offer a loyalty program via your PWA

This may not be applicable to every business, but loyalty programs can be a great driver for repeat business.

Can you implement a loyalty program in your PWA so customers can easily access and use the program to benefit from their support of your business?

4. Allow customers to easily review your business

Online reviews are the next generation of word of mouth marketing. If you aren't proactively trying to get more online reviews I guarantee your business will benefit by doing so.

Use your PWA as a tool to allow customers to easily access your important review sites so they can leave reviews for your business.

I hope this article gave you some insight into what a progressive web app is and how you can use one to grow your business.

Are you ready to get a PWA for your business?

Here are a couple of articles that can help you start that journey (or you can always reach out to us):

  1. A Beginner's Guide To Progressive Web Apps
  2. Your First Progressive Web App

Did this article help you? Let's discuss in the comments section and don't forget to SHARE.

Header image courtesy of Pexels.com.

About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.

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