Progressive Web Apps (PWA) in E-Commerce

Daniel Kolb
Daniel Kolb
March 18 · 4 min read
progressive web apps pwa in ecommerce

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are one of the most important topics when it comes to creating a mobile App and building some form of representation for yourself in the world of mobile E-Commerce.

These are websites that can be accessed through a responsive design via the mobile browser, yet they can also be installed directly on the home screen of the smartphone/tablet like a native app.

On top of this, PWA’s can often improve the capabilities and functionality of native features, like being able to send Push Notifications or allow for access to system-related systems/hardware and frameworks.

How exactly is PWA used?

If we look at real time and a real life example, how is PWA used?

Well, what will happen is that users of Android phones will receive a pop-up message on their screen when they visit a website with PWA functionality. They are then asked whether the website should be installed directly as an App on their home screen – without visiting the Google Play Store.

On iOS, it’s a bit of a different story. Attempting to save the App on the home screen is a bit more tricky due to the strict nature of iOS, and so it’s something that needs to be done manually via Safari. In general, when it comes to PWA on iOS, the features there are more limited than with Android.

Once installation is complete, the PWA can then be accessed just like any other App on the online user's home screen, so goodbye ‘Middleman Browser’.

What are the benefits of PWA in E-Commerce?

One of the most important benefits to mention is that a PWA offers the opportunity to install your Website as an App directly on the smartphone home screen for your recurring customers, without them needing to make an additional step of going through the app store.

The easier it is for your customers to access your store, the better. Logically, the implementation of PWA’s and the above-mentioned benefit make the installation of the App easier, which in turn will lead to more of your customers downloading your App. Having an easy to install App will put you ahead of your competitors in the eyes of your customers, too, as ease of use is often what they are looking for.

As if that wasn’t enough, PWA also supports a native system functions – e.g., instead of sending your clients a newsletter, you can easily send them push notifications to their phones which have significantly higher conversion rates than newsletters. Winning!

It’s also in the interest of your future self to incorporate PWA’s, as advanced ideas like augmented reality apps are much easier to implement with a PWA than with a mobile browser. Did we mention that website speeds are also phenomenal with a native app? That, of course, also helps with your conversion rate.

How complex is the implementation of a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

It really depends on the solution that is used. In general, a PWA can be implemented relatively quickly. There are a lot of shop systems, like Shopify for example, that already have apps available that you can access inexpensively and that will automatically convert your website into a PWA. For other systems, especially for custom solutions, the complexity will really depend on the (native) features that are needed on the PWA for a user’s mobile device.

Where to experience a live Progressive Web App (PWA) live in E-Commerce?

A good reference is AliExpress. The new technology (typically Alibaba) was implemented very quickly a few years back, with the technology that was available at that time. Despite the limited range of functionality, Aliexpress was able to increase its conversion rate by an astounding 104%. They also managed to increase the online user’s length of stay by 74%. If you’d like to know more about this, see the case study offered on Google here. Incidentally, can you take a guess at who is driving PWA development the most? Why, Google, of course!

Any more questions when it comes to PWA in E-Commerce?

It’s a fascinating topic and one that you may have questions about. If you would like to know more, why not pop us an email on or contact us here on our website.

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Daniel Kolb
Written by

Daniel Kolb

Product Development @ Especial

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