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magento & ecommerce

Magento and Progressive Web Apps

The users of the Magento eCommerce platform need to think about mobile. To cater to mobile users, a company will create a native, a hybrid, or a progressive web app. There is a reason why using a progressive web app in the innovative Magento 2 is becoming a trend.

It is clear that Magento works with progressive web apps, but is it the best solution out there? Does it pay off?

Progressive Web Apps

A Progressive Web App is essentially a web app with web capabilities. A PWA uses these capabilities (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to mimic native apps for better user experience. Even more importantly, a PWA can function exactly like a native app. It can feature an icon on your smartphone’s home screen, have a full-screen display, use push notifications, have a splash page, etc.

To make sense, PWAs have to meet three main criteria. For one, they have to be fast. If a PWA doesn’t respond to user interaction immediately, it isn’t good enough. Next, they have to be reliable – poor internet connections shouldn’t influence the PWA’s functionality. Finally, a PWA has to be engaging. That means that it should deliver an experience that is as close as possible to that of an actual native app.

But what are the benefits of a PWA? Why not just make a native app and be done with it?

Well, for one, a native app is OS-exclusive. For instance, it can either run on Android or iOS. A PWA, on the other hand, is mobile browser-based and can run on both iOS and Android. Of course, most native apps come in iOS and Android versions, but this isn’t always the case.

A PWA is easy and quick to install. All you need to do is add it to the home screen. A native app, on the other hand, needs to be installed using an app store.

With native apps, you have to wait for the store to update it automatically or visit the store to do so manually. With PWAs, you don’t have to think about it. All updates are server-based and applied the moment the developer uploads them.

PWAs are run directly inside the web browser. That means easier promotion than the case is with native apps. Finally, PWAs don’t take up any memory on the device.

Magento 2 PWA Application

If you are a Magento user, you’ll want to have a mobile app. After all, a lot of online shopping is done via mobile these days. But why should you develop yours as a progressive web app rather than a native app? Well, if the reasons mentioned above aren’t enough, here are some more.

First of all, Magento 2 PWA offers an enhanced mobile user experience. In addition to not having to download it, the user gets a variety of other useful functions. The PWA has an integrated offline mode, meaning that it will keep on working even without an internet connection. Additionally, it offers background sync, which enables you to postpone your actions until you get a stable connection.

When compared to developing a native app, Magento 2 PWA is cheaper to develop and maintain. Again, for a native app, you’d have to come up with an Android and an iOS app. You don’t have to do this with the PWA.

Finally, PWAs aren’t just some trend. They are becoming the future of apps in general. Upon adopting the PWA technology, a large number of Magento stores have reported increased user satisfaction.

Converting a Magento Website to PWA

The easiest way to use the Progressive Web App feature on your Magento website would be to install Magento PWA extensions. That said, there are different providers to choose from.

The Magento PWA modules aren’t expensive and don’t take too long to install. However, the majority of PWA extensions won’t be able to deliver all the PWA features for your app. They can be added to the home screen and send push notifications. Other features aren’t included.

A far more advanced solution would be using the Magento 2.3 PWA Studio to deploy and maintain your PWA storefront. That’s a comprehensive solution that allows you to replace your current Magento storefront, using API. After all, Magento 2.3 PWA Studio isn’t much more than a set of tools to support your PWA development. It is a great way to start, but you’ll still have much more to do down the line.

The most advanced solution for Magento PWA integration would be using the Magento 2 PWA Theme. This theme is based on Magento 2.3 PWA Studio, GraphiQL, and React.JS. It uses the PWA storefront and an API to connect to the backend.

That’s by far the best and the most comprehensive solution for converting a Magento website to a PWA. It will give you access to full-blown PWA features mentioned earlier. It will take some work to achieve, though.

The Cost of Implementing PWA in Magento

The most important factor in making an app is making sure that it pays off. Coming up with a native app will set you back more than implementing a PWA. Here are the costs associated with going with PWA.

First of all, you’re going to have to buy the module, which is affordable. It may set you back $150 tops, and you’ll have to pay for the installation service. In the grand scheme of things, this is cheap.

One of the higher costs regarding PWA implementation is that you’ll have to hire PWA developers with experience in both building PWAs and Magento itself. Keep in mind that it may take as much as six months for PWA storefront development. This integration will cost you.

The overall cost will depend on the customization level. That depends on your app type and your user base, which are subjects for another article.

Magento PWA Integration

If the question is whether to go with a native app or a PWA with your Magento storefront, you should take the latter route. It is a much better solution.

PWAs, in general, are most likely the way the apps are going to be developed in the future. They are a cheaper, more functional, more customizable, browser-based solution that also looks great.

By interactivated • on January 30, 2020

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