Progressive Web Apps
What makes PWA a better option for a start up business
Start ups always work with great uncertainty and need tools to efficiently turn ideas into life. To move the initial audience from attention to loyal customers, frictionless.

How can this be possible with the limited resources? The answer - PWA.
We live in the era of start ups. At least, thats how it feels like with all the media attention. Entrepreneurs or groups of enthusiasts are come up with new ideas daily. The opportunities are everywhere. Dis-intermediation works. Technology provides direct access to audiences. Grabbing attention through proper mobile channels is super important from the start. Your viewers are your judges, they're your future, so you must deliver a first-class service, at all costs.

How this can be possible with start up's limited resources? The promised land is the Progressive Web App (PWA) approach to mobility with the 3 key benefits for any new project – fast & low cost, high performance, easy-to-grow customer base.
Building a PWA is faster & cheaper than a native app
PWA in it's core is a web page that can function like an app, and it is changing the way people interact with the online world. The old computing model kept a hard separation between desktop software, mobile apps, and websites. PWA blur that line with a solution that blends HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and works seamlessly across platforms which drives the significant cost savings on development and maintenance.

With a native app, you will have to learn the language and build a version for each platform. This means you need at least two versions for iOS and Android, and the resources to maintain and update each version. Each platform requires a skill set of it's own, it is nearly impossible for a single developer to make a good application for each platform. Normally, you will need to recruit a professional for each platform to make a fine application. This, obviously, demands a lot of work (and money).

Here comes PWA, where not only developer but also marketer, content manager, designer, and product manager also only have to develop and maintain one application, the PWA, and get all the advantages and possibilities of both the web and native apps. Looks like some money saved here already, right?

PWA is easier to build and update

What if your development resources are VERY limited? You can configure your PWA without any knowledge of coding at all and at no cost at all. How? There are many DIY tools for PWA now, like, for example, Mobsted where you can visually build your PWA yourself within a few hours and use this service for free until you get a solid number of clients with a stable revenue. This platform works on SaaS basis and contains all it takes to cut both resources and time to market - visual front-end tools to create and modify functions & app design, automatic back-end data structuring & codeless tools.
With PWA, there are no specific installation or app updates required and development effort is low, which is a critical factor for start-ups
Now comes the next question – given the costs can be significantly cut will this app perform at all? Meaning, is it possible to have both low cost and effective at the same time? Well, with PWA you can have both. With the offline mode availability & light weigh combined with native app user experience these apps show great performance and higher user engagement.
PWA offers reliable and fast experience without a great network connection
While the whole world is becoming dependent on the internet, 60 percent of the population is still using 2G internet. Moreover, even though a majority of internet users are using smartphones and mobile devices, they are prone to facing innumerable network issues.

According to Ericsson Mobility Report (January 2019), in 2024, despite a strong growth, 420 million people are still expected to have 2G only and 230 million will still have no coverage at all. Altogether 1.9 billion people are forecasted not to have a mobile broadband connection.

PWA helps to cope with that very well. It's initial ideal basically was to enable the developers in creating a lighter version of an app for users who either have a weak internet bandwidth or don't have enough space on their mobile phones. Regardless of the network quality, the page opens quickly and an added advantage is that it works even offline which uses cached data from online activity and provides a unified customer experience. Since then, many tech giants like Twitter, Flipkart, Facebook, BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip have joined the club in rolling out lightweight versions of their services to give users an app-like experience on the website by using lesser data and faster speed.

Just a couple of examples from the above-mentioned services to illustrate this with the numbers:

Flipkart 's PWA currently provides 50 percent more customer acquisition, in areas with internet connection issues. The conversion rate increased by 300 percent and in addition, almost 60 percent of the visitors, who had previously removed the Flipkart native app, has added the PWA to their home screen.

Twitter developed their PWA in April of 2017. Twitter Lite uses nearly 70% less data and allows the user to pick what content is loaded. This helps navigating Twitter with low Internet connectivity.

Suddenly things are getting much easier, right?

More PWA features to grow customer base
Now, let's assume you being convinced by the technology side have built your PWA and got your first users onboarded; it's time to grow and keep your customers, of course, preferably with the lowest costs possible. Again, PWA technology has some benefits here.
PWAs are completely indexable
Unlike a native app, a PWA is identifiable by search engines which means your app-like experience could appear in search results.
More to that, Google also endorses PWAs with mobile-first indexing approach. Mobile content will be prioritized in indexing, i.e. a website has desktop content and mobile content, then Google will index mobile content first.
Of course, this does not cancel a well thought through SEO strategy to get the app ready for users and crawl bots, but helps a lot in your marketing.

Easy distribution
The hyperlink has proven time and time again to be the most powerful model of distribution and PWA with its option to be shared via simple URL opens up lots of channels for promotion at no costs. Loyal customers which can share your app with recommendations, social media channels, even your email signature with link to your PWA is a space to get the world to know about your product or service.

QR code is another way for simple PWA distribution. Create a QR for free, place that anywhere to give users instant access to your PWA – on another website, on business cards, on ads, in any other source applicable to your business and get new customers.

PUSH notifications
Push messaging provides a simple and effective way to re-engage with your users and this is also one of the PWA's important features. Whether you lead a new customer back to some incomplete processes or remind about yourself with news or special offers, with PUSH notifications in PWA you have a natural way for users to return and stay.

So, what makes PWA a better option for a start up business?
They're fast, easy to use, and provide an excellent opportunity for increasing engagement with visitors and all that is can be set up at very low costs – isn't that a super tool to start the business with? We definitely believe it is. And the above mentioned are just a brief outlook to the PWA technology features (we think the most important for the start), there is much more to that to discover and try on your business depending on your business area and needs.

Originally published in July of 2018 in the Dutch language at Marketingfacts. nl, this article is a good overall take on a case of PWA technology for e-commerce and mobile shopping. It is easy to understand and does not bore a reader with tech details. Still, it is more of baseline education about the PWA, rather than of specific e-commerce pros and cons.

We will share a special pros-cons article for the e-commerce use case of Mobsted m-PWA 2.0 app maker, right after we deeper analyze a current project — a mobile shop with 17 000 SKU entirely on Mobsted PWA making platform.

Alex Burlitsky
Chief Editor, CEO, Founder