We are happy to share some of these experiences and the lessons learned with the community and for any merchants considering a PWA implementation in 2021.  Over the course of January and February we will be releasing a detailed article each week.  We encourage you to follow along, comment, and let us know of your own experiences.  We are here to help.

ITG PWA Blog Series Topics:

  1. PWA Overview (Today)
  2. From Luma to PWA Studio – the future of Magento 2 frontend
  3. Leveraging Caching & Elasticsearch
  4. Fighting the SEO battle with PWA 
  5. How to Boost Marketplaces with PWAs
  6. How to Accelerate your PWA project
  7. PWA Project Case Study

Why PWA?

Seamless user experience, easy administration, central application management on all operating systems?  The answer is PWA – progressive web applications, a technology for merchants to enhance their e-commerce offering on any mobile operating system – delivering information fast to end-users.

What is PWA?

A Progressive Web Application (PWA) is a single page application for the web built with Javascript programming language on top of HTML and CSS. It is designed to work on any mobile or desktop operating system on a standard-compliant browser.

PWA closes the gap between web pages and native applications and creates a similar user experience. Some of its key features and their benefits:

  • Work offline: when users save the website as an app on their phone, they can browse the content offline, just like on any native app, starting with a tap on the icon from the mobile’s home screen.
  • High performance: PWA sites don’t reload the whole page on every click to a new content on a conventional site. Once a component is loaded, it doesn’t have to be built a 2nd time during a browsing session, only data such as product data or product images and are pulled in the background, providing a faster, smoother user experience.
  • Better conversion rates: users nowadays are less patient, especially on mobile devices. A swifter, more responsive browsing experience naturally results in better conversation rates.
  • The Service Worker architecture makes caching and offline mode easy.
  • Access to the phone’s sensors: PWA provides app-like possibilities to access features on the phone, like GPS data or the camera. This creates endless possibilities for the site owner, for example using augmented reality to “try on” apparel, sunglasses, hats or see the furniture in your room.
  • Push notifications: through PWA, merchants can communicate to the mobile users via push notifications, boosting sales and marketing activities.

What is the difference between PWAs vs. native apps?

First and foremost, PWA lives in the browser while native apps need to be developed separately for each platform, added to the app stores and refreshed by the customer at every feature update. With PWA, merchants need only to update and maintain one platform – the website, because this will translate into the PWA app on customers phone. No further development to different mobile operating systems is needed. When the site is refreshed, the app is up to date as soon as the user opens it and has an internet connection.

Who can benefit from PWA?

  1. Any merchant who wants to provide a state of the art, fast and seamless browsing and shopping experience to its customers.
  2. Those whose visitors are coming mostly from mobile.
  3. Anyone who wants to keep up with the latest technologies and doesn’t want to fall behind the competition.

How does PWA and Magento work together?

In Magento, the backend is used as the admin interface for PWA, where admin users can manipulate all content and configure how the store should work. The PWA application communicates with the backend through a well-designed and extendable GraphQL or REST API. There are a number of different PWA solutions for Magento, including Magento’s own native product – PWA Studio.

Introducing PWA Studio

Magento’s PWA Studio is a toolset to allow development, deployment, and maintenance of a React PWA storefront application on top of Magento 2. It uses components and libraries to create a build system and framework that adheres to the Magento principle of extensibility.  A deep dive into PWA Studio will be the first topic covered in our blog series.

Considering PWA for your business?

If you’re already excited about progressive web apps, you can get started with us right away.

In case you are keen to explore PWA further, we welcome you to talk with one of our professional PWA and Magento eCommerce specialists to answer your questions now.