It was the 29th of July 2007, when the world stopped spinning and people held their breaths as they witnessed a sparsely haired man in a black turtleneck operating a mobile device…with his own hands on a so-called ‘touchscreen’. People lost their minds and went crazy, how on earth was it possible to handle an electronic device without physical buttons???
But little did we know that the introduction of the very first iPhone would create a whole new world of digitalization and continuous connection across the globe. Today the market is flooded with products complementing our mobile experience from useful accessories like beautiful phone cases that keep your bank cards safe and sound to more questionable additions like fidget-spinner-pop-sockets.
Not only are there thousands of thousands of physical complements but even more digital add-ons, also known as apps. In this great time we live in, everyone can utilize online software and create their own app, publish it on one of the app stores and potentially make money off of it.
A lot of companies jumped on that trend train when it first emerged in the 2010s and had software engineers build them incredible applications for their customers. And the utility of business-owned apps is not limited to certain industries like for example online stores such as Amazon, but rather useful for seemingly every business that is out there.
With that mind, it was to no one’s surprise that suddenly a lot of companies came out with their own apps. And before you know it, you have an extra app for that little Moroccan grocery store you went to five months ago but sworn to never return because it is a 45-minute car ride from your place and it smelled a little funky…
…but they offer loyalty points, so now you are also a proud owner of a collection of unnecessary apps, welcome to the club. Take a seat, grab yourself a drink, we’ve all been there.
But with new digital discoveries come new opportunities and new ways for businesses to sustain their customers.
Let’s have a look at the three different forms businesses can utilize their mobile presence to provide their customers with all their products and complementary benefits.
A native app is the usual application you’ve known for years and probably the most prominent one on your phone. It can only be used on mobile devices since it is only compatible with operating systems like Apple’s iOS or Android.
This is the track the majority of companies went down and it is also the safest way to provide your customers with a business-affiliated service.
Native apps have flooded the market and populated smartphones all around the world, not only with McDonalds and H&M apps for a quick drop-in at your local shopping centre but also plenty of games and entertainment apps have found their way onto consumers phones.
We see why so many companies take the safe route.
Native apps are well established and have gained the trust of consumers all over the world. It also creates a sense of data safety to have the application ON your phone rather than simply managing personal input on a website.
But with the pros also come the cons.
There are also hidden downsides that lower the value of this well-established product.
Native apps are much slower in comparison to their alternative, which we will talk about in a minute. It requires also high maintenance efforts to sustain the performance and keep customers happy. Depending on the functionality of the app, this can require full teams of software engineers and, boy, they surely don’t work for free.
Conventional apps also take up a lot of storage space on the customers phone and, as we all know, storage space is a scarce product in the digital world and most of us struggle to have enough of with our videos from that trip to Rome in 2014 and cute images of ‘snazzy’ dogs that our moms send us almost daily.
But enough said about the outdated applications. Let’s have a look at their younger brother that is taking over the world at the moment.
Progressive Web Apps, also known as PWAs, basically offer the same features as native apps but without the downsides.
A PWA is a hybrid technology that combines the features of native apps such as push notifications, GPS tracking, and Bluetooth usability, to name only a few.
The recent trend towards PWA is pretty clear once you take a look at all the benefits this format provides compared to native apps.
Not only it is super easily accessible through a URL, but it can also quickly be shared among friends and family, helping to spread the word in no time.
Since all you need to fully enjoy all the features of a PWA is a simple link, there also is absolutely no need to clear some space and download any heavy data. Awesome!
You can basically turn your website into a PWA. You might be wondering; how does this benefit your website?
Well, PWA is significantly faster than your usual website.
Just take a look at how Forbes utilizes PWA to improve their online performance. Before changing their website format, it took 6,4 seconds to fully load the page. Now, with their established PWA it only takes 2,5 seconds!
It has also been shown to drive more traffic to your website because your PWA is SEO indexed and therefore ranked in Google search results. Additionally, it elongates each user’s session time as consumer satisfaction is quite high. In the case of Forbes, the transition to a PWA left astonishing results. On average, each user spends double the amount of time on the brand new PWA.
Nowadays, there are also different providers of smartphone and they come with different operating systems. To make a native app work on each device you have to adjust the technical feature of your native app. With a PWA, you don’t need to tweak the software and you certainly do not need to submit your app to any of the stores, you are your own app store!
And the best part is all those features are not only available on your phone, but on any other media you can think off! Do you want to check how many more drinks you must buy at Starbucks to get your free drink? No problem! Log in via your desktop computer or tablet and benefit from the wonderful progressive web app features.
PWA obviously brings a whole lot of benefits to the table, but there is one more format we have to discuss.
Let’s take a step back and see what features a responsive website has to offer.
But first things first. What is a responsive website and how does it differ from other websites?
A responsive website is often used for e-commerce purposes with an integrated gateway like Paypal to complete transactions and finalise purchases.
Nowadays, it is easier than ever to build your own responsive sites with many providers and tools available such as WordPress, Wix and Shopify. Coding a webpage from scratch is no longer necessary and can easily be done by software newbies alike.
Now, this seems all fun and games until you open the website on your smartphone.
Graphics are distorted, text blocks suddenly switch lines and the aesthetical design you’ve invested so much time on went down the drain.
The biggest limitations for a responsive website are its incompatibility with mobile formats which leaves the website seems static and uninteresting to the public eye.
While it may have been enough for the most basic features in the past, in today’s age of digitalization, you need more to impress your customers and to drive traffic and attention to your website.
Whether you are simply a small supermarket trying to bring more customers to your store or a big franchise with hundreds of outlets across the globe, Progressive Web Apps replace old and outdated native apps and are slowly taking over the market. It is quite obvious why more and more companies jump on the train and reap all the benefits and perks this new technology has to offer!
If you are interested in seeing what opportunities a PWA has to offer for your company, leave us a quick message and we will show you how this will be a gamechanger to your business.
MyTeamConnector is an experienced software company that is specialised in the implementation of Progressive Web Apps. We’ve successfully deployed multiple PWAs across Singapore and are proud of the amazing feedback we receive from our customers. If you would like to find out more, have a look at our case studies!
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