Progressive Web Apps (PWA) offer a mix of the best aspects of mobile websites and native apps. They are more economical to build and maintain and occupy less space than native mobile applications but can deliver all of the same desirable features. PWAs are evening the playing field and giving all businesses the opportunity to adopt a mobile-first approach to web development. To give you a taste of some of the great experiences that have been developed using this technology, we’ve picked out the top 10 PWAs that are paving the way for the progressive approach.
1. The Washington Post
The Washington Post was one of the earlier companies to embrace PWAs. Nearly 55% of its traffic comes from mobile and providing a great reading experience is critical to its success. The company is part of a group of publishers that launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. The platform enables companies to post huge volumes of articles and to drastically increase load speed. Since launching their PWA, The Washington Post has seen an 88% increase in load time compared to its traditional mobile website.
Twitter is a well-known platform for social news sharing and, with a massive 80% of its users on mobile devices, it was natural for the company to want to enhance its mobile experience. The company wanted mobile to be faster, more reliable and more engaging and using a PWA has allowed them to achieve this. Since its launch in 2017 as the default experience for all users, Twitter Lite has seen great success. Results have shown a 65% increase in pages per session, 75% increase in tweets sent and 20% decrease in bounce rate.
Starbucks is physically present in a huge number of countries, many of which have a poor communication infrastructure. A PWA was used as the solution to make the app universally accessible for both established and emerging markets. The ‘offline-first’ approach to the PWA makes it great for areas with less reliable internet connections and people who are on the go. It allows customers to browse the menu, customise their orders and add to their carts all while offline. Once online location specific pricing become available so they can place their order. The PWA has smooth animations to make the app feel native but, due to its small size, its ultra responsive and is, in fact, faster than the existing IOS app.
French cosmetics brand Lancôme has an international presence but found in 2016 that as its mobile traffic increased, its conversions were fading in comparison with desktop. As the company was yet to develop native apps and mobile e-commerce is a growing trend, they moved straight into a website redesign using PWA technology. This development made it one of the first retail companies to use use a PWA, and it has worked brilliantly to decrease bounce rates, increase conversions and drive engagement through push notifications. Over 18,000 shoppers have signed up for alerts since the site launched with 8% of those going on to make a purchase.
AliEpress is a popular e-commerce business selling everything from clothing to electronics. They found it difficult to build an engaging experience on the web. Their mobile app was far more successful, and they thought mobile web could help transition people to become app users. However, people weren’t always keen to download the app and getting users re-engaged proved difficult. Building a cross-browser PWA allowed them to incorporate the best features of their app with the broad reach of their website. AliExpress saw a massive 104% rise in conversion rates for new users and the investment also saw conversion rates on Safari soar.
Trivago is a leading hotel search engine which allows users to find the best prices around the world. Another company with a predominantly mobile-based audience, succeeding on the platform is paramount to its success. The company has turned to a PWA to try increase engagement and encourage more users to book accommodation via the app. Uptake has been impressive with an increase of 150% of people adding the app to their homescreen. Push notifications have been instrumental to re-engaging users and have led to increased conversion, with a 97% increase in clickthroughs to hotel offers by PWA users.
Flipkart is another e-commerce store – one of the largest in India. Flipkart was finding it difficult to create a web experience that was engaging as its mobile app experience. In part, this was due to the fact that over half their users were accessing the site via 2G networks. In 2015, Flipkart closed down its website to work on an app-only approach. They then re-considered their approach and were drawn back to the mobile web with the help of a PWA to allow the site to work offline and re-engage users. Results have been incredible with a 70% rise in conversion rates using Flipkart Lite.
Pinterest was aiming for international growth and realised that their existing web experience was too slow and not converting enough visitors. Their main aim was to increase their conversion rate which led them to use PWA technology. The PWA has helped them to achieve faster performance and higher user engagement on mobile web. The time spent on their mobile web has increased by 40% as a result of the PWA.
9. Paper Planes
PWA technology also has a lot to offer the gaming industry. Paper Planes was initially a game only available as a native Android app, but the aim was to make it available internationally across all devices. It updated to a PWA to make it compatible on any mobile device. The game allows you to throw your own plane to join thousands of others. People across the world can catch your plane and leave their stamp on it. PWA notifications keep you engaged and let you know when your plane has been caught. Paper Planes is a great example of a PWA game that works seamlessly.
Jumia is a leading African e-commerce website, which again struggled with the vast percentage of its mobile users only having 2G networks, low-quality phones and intermittent connectivity. Jumia built a PWA to ease these problems, they used an offline-first approach, and the app can be used without an email account or a credit card. Traffic to their PWA has completely outshone their native app and growth is still on the rise. They’ve achieved an incredible 33% increase in conversions so far.
PWAs have shown some impressive results for brands across industries, and the trend looks set to continue. With a vastly reduced cost to native apps but all of the same great features, as well as some unique benefits, they are a force to be reckoned with. The future will surely see the technology being supported across even more browsers and incorporating more features, such as GPS and fingerprint scanners. They may well be the future of mobile web development and certainly are opening the doors to mobile web development for more businesses than ever before.
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