Progressive Web Apps (PWA) for Ecommerce

Surya SK
January 3, 2022

'Progressive Web apps' you have probably heard this term somewhere, or you might have a mild idea about it if you're in the eCommerce domain. PWAs are happening right now, and various companies have started to adopt this tech to give their customers the best user experience at an instant rate. PWA services are also looked at as a popular choice to network and link with their target audience effortlessly. 

The eCommerce industry has learned to take advantage of the PWA tech, and it's only an uphill climb from here. Mobile-based businesses are it right now, and PWAs are an extension of mobile development. So let's look more into how they are used? And why does your business need it?

Table of contents

What is a progressive web app used for?

What is a progressive web app used for?

The graph above shows you how PWA has been a solid reason for the growth of mobile businesses. To give you a one-line statement, PWA is a product that consists of integrated features of both a website and a mobile app. It's a website that depicts and functions like a native app. It has the ability to send push notifications to work offline, and you can even add PWAs to the home screen of your mobile phone. 

But this is where PWA differentiates. Contrary to native applications, PWA possesses the ability to create a platform that functions as a combined version of both a website and an app. Although one can't download PWA from an app store, they are an excellent choice for eCommerce stores to take advantage of and make more sales since mobile traffic contributes more than half of the traffic.

Why does your eCommerce business need a PWA?

PWA has so much to give and the reasons why it adds value to your business are not to be missed out on. Here are some reasons as to why your business needs PWA and how it can add value to your business:

1. Better user adoption

By installing Progressive Web Apps on the home screen will benefit the users and give them a content experience with a tangible interface with similar abilities to a native application. Installing Progressive Web Apps on the home screen makes them relatively easy to access and make use of. 

When aggregating on a monthly basis, People don't really download new apps every month. With the help of PWA, downloading is made simple as you have to click on a link and accept the prompt displayed. Once the PWA is installed on the home screen, no further upgrades will be required to run it. Furthermore, the progressive web app has the ability to update on its own in the background. Thus, making sure that the customers receive fresh and brand new content at all times. Isn't that cooler than a native application?

2. Boosting user engagement with push notifications

Boosting user engagement with push notifications

Native applications hold the capability to send Push Notifications to mobile devices. Likewise, the Progressive web app also possesses the ability to send out push notifications. Mobile devices are where people spend most of their time. If you tap into it and reach them wherever they are, it's going to give you the ability to engage with your audience and create a fantastic user experience for your customers. 

Notifications aren't supposed to be seen as random pop-ups; these short messages make a significant impact. Creative notifications help you grab the user's attention and make them think about your product/service for a second to the least. Traditional marketing tactics do not have this kind of impact on users. With the help of Push Notifications, you score the ability to reach an individual directly without any other median. More than any other factor, the effort one would put in into traditional marketing isn't really required to function push notifications. 

3. Reduced development costs and faster innovation

Businesses that cater to an omnichannel set-up mostly towards 2-3 systems, their website, Android, and iOS. While building a website from scratch, developing and maintaining one itself is a tedious process and can be monotonous; developing a native application can easily add-on more to that investment and commitment. To ease this unnecessary hardship, one can make use of PWA to put an end to the maintenance, marketing, and development of any platform other than the PWA site. This gives businesses the ability to manage all channels from one platform, which is also developed, maintained, and managed by a single team. This gives you the chance to cut down on costs while still being able to give out top-tier user experience and functionalities to your customers while still maintaining an omnichannel presence. 

4. Excellent instant performance

The basic idea behind Progressive Web Apps is to give the user a smooth and seamless browsing experience. PWA clearly outperforms both the web and native app on caching and on-page loads. PWAs aim to engage with the user from the beginning by loading pages within a second. PWA also occupies less disk space on the business side server and the user's side. This allows the user to reap benefits like a faster loading period, less use of data, and minimum storage space.

5. PWA's can improve SEO

PWA's can improve SEO


PWA is a web-dependent application; everything about PWA is discoverable with the help of a search engine. Any form of material within PWA can be linked to and ranked by search engines like Google and Bing. This is where native applications differ as they don't permit to be crawled by search engines. By eliminating the limitations held by web and native apps, users have direct access to advanced digital products, on any device, at any place and time of the year. 

One of the additional keys to rank higher is facilitating faster loading times, reducing bouncing rates, using limited data, and improving user experience. With these advantages being in hand, it's only fitting that people use PWA to climb up the SEO rankings. It is also noted that Google benefits well-designed PWA's as it ranks them higher than any other website.

Making of a progressive web-app

Making of a progressive web-app


There's an assembled set of attributes that web applications should comprise. These are the attributes that make up a PWA framework. Here they  are:

1. Progressiveness

PWA should be applicable for every user, inconsiderate of their choice of the browser as it is built with progressive enhancement in mind. 

2. Responsiveness

PWA should be able to function on any device: desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. 

3. Network independence

PWAs don't rely on the availability of any particular network. 

4. App-like

With respect to speed and user experience, the user will get a native application-like experience in total. 

5. Updated

Progressive web app is constantly being updated in the background, with no updates being required from time to time. 

6. Security

PWA is always served through HTTPS protocol. 

7. Discoverable

PWA is always searchable and identifiable by search engines as an "application" and allows search engines to find and index it.

8. Engageable

PWA gives marketers the ability to tap into visitors by allowing them to re-engage with them by sending out push notifications. 

9. Installable

PWA adds applications to the home screen seamlessly without having to go through an app store. 

10. Linkable

PWA contains an URL structure, making it easy to link and share the app. 

How do native apps, PWA, and websites compare against each other?

'Capability' is possibly the most significant difference between native applications, PWA, and primary sites. 

Compared to basic websites, native mobile applications load instantly and tend to load even with limited network connectivity. Native apps and PWA applications can send out push notifications, share locations, etc. These are some of the benefits that websites aren't capable of. PWAs possess similar abilities as mobile apps, which gives users the chance to use PWA easily. 

Primary mobile sites hold ownership to a bad reputation when it comes to aspects related to performance. They tend to have a laidback loading phase and lag at times. A study showed that if loading a webpage takes more than 3 seconds, around 53% of users will abandon the page. As years go by, users develop a shorter attention span and expect web pages to be highly responsive fast. Therefore, making sure that your web pages load instantly is essential to make sure that you don't cause havoc to your business. 

Primary challenges of PWA for eCommerce

Although PWAs hold its set of benefits for eCommerce, they have a fair set of limitations that one must stay aware of before adopting one:

  • PWAs aren't as acclaimed as traditional websites and native apps. So, the period for you to connect with your end-users is going to be a while.
  • PWA is an integration of both websites and native apps. So, their design and operations are pretty complicated to develop. You will need solid app development, coding, and web design expertise.
  • Caching is necessary for PWA, but it brings its fair share of issues. 
  • PWAs do not have access to data related to social profiles, contacts, media, etc. 

What is the future of PWA?

A single-page application is a portal to the future of Progressive web applications. eCommerce domains and organizations need to build a SPA before progressing to a Progressive web app. 

SPAs are applications that function within browsers. As of today, SPAs are more common than Progressive web apps. A few examples of big-time companies that make use of Single-page-application are Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc 

SPAs are at times falsely marketed as PWAs. With that being said, the one capability where Single-page applications lack is that they do not possess offline abilities like PWA applications.  


If you're looking to reach out to every individual and want to tap into the mobile conversions, then going with a PWA is an excellent option. Big-time online businesses have learned to adapt to PWAs, and it has made it essential for every mobile-dominant business to shift to PWAs to dominate in this industry too. This again is great news for eCommerce businesses to take leverage of. PWA is a developing force with respect to eCommerce website optimization. If you intend to set up a PWA-enabled eCommerce store, try getting into contact with a company that supports PWA development and explains your needs and requirements that they can cater to it.