A Progressive Web App is effectively an app that streams to your customer’s device and is fully indexed by search—and the customer doesn’t have to download it.

In the accelerating shift to mobile, one technology could fundamentally change the mobile web, and in the process, lay the foundation for a better way for retailers to reach and engage with their customers. This new development is called Progressive Web Apps, it’s championed by Google, and some say it is what finally adapts the web to mobile and creates an environment for a future of streaming apps on the web.

What Is A Progressive Web App?

It isn’t just a single technology. Progressive Web Apps are an approach to building for the web. It combines an app-like design philosophy with a suite of modern browser technologies, including offline mode, sensor and camera access, beacons, web push notifications, splash screens, and instant or animated page transitions. Some of the technology used in Progressive Web Apps has been in browsers since HTML5, while some has just recently been launched. One of the reasons I’m so excited about Progressive is that the web is stepping out of pure experience technologies and into customer engagement. Building a complete Progressive Web App also means building a personal relationship and communication channel with your customer. Progressive Web Apps, when connected to the right engagement technology platform, let you deliver relevant, personalized notifications and content that drives action.

The Progressive Web App Experience

The Progressive Web App experience is also unquestionably better than a website built with previous generation web technologies. One of the most frequently cited reasons that apps convert higher than mobile websites is performance. Progressive Web Apps load instantly, and through the use of background processing technology called Service Workers, can pre-load page layouts to provide near instantaneous transitions, send push notifications, and provide branded experiences through custom splash screens and icons. No install is required and they work everywhere – desktop, mobile, or tablet.

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One cause for the latest buzz about Progressive Web Apps is because users will not have to install them on their devices. All of the process and procedure issues of getting an app published go out the window. A Progressive Web App is effectively an app that streams to your customer’s device and is fully indexed by search.

You should start thinking about building out a Progressive Web App if:

  • Mobile web conversion rates are less than desktop or less than your app store app
  • Your mobile web traffic is more than half of the web visits to your store
  • Your relationship with your customer is a competitive advantage
  • Performance is an important business goal
  • Customer engagement and driving customer lifetime are marketing goals.

Mobify provides mobile commerce services to 14 of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, according to Top500Guide.com.

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