Progressive Web Apps Could Be the Future of Mobile

Progressive Web Apps CEO Andrew Gazdecki

 

I started Bizness Apps as a way for small businesses to truly connect with their customers. The best possible experience available at the time was delivered through a native mobile app. These (at the time) revolutionary pieces of mobile technology allowed customers to instantly access information with the tap of an icon, as it was saved and stored on the phone. It was having that direct line of communication between the business and their customers that really made the difference. In my opinion, this constituted a paradigm shift in how businesses connected with consumers.

Over time mobile evolved, as technology tends to do. There were mobile websites, but those really didn’t do much besides have a “call us” button. Then came responsive web design, which basically takes a website and makes it viewable on a mobile device without needing two separate sites. Even though these are an advanced form of mobile web, they still lack functionality – and that is what I have always loved most about mobile apps.

When apps first came out, people went crazy for them. They were downloading them left and right, and now there are just so many different types of apps that come pre-installed on your phone. But more recent trends show that people are turning away from apps, because not all app experiences are equally satisfying or worthwhile. Some people simply don’t want any more apps on their phone, slowing everything down. So in order for an app to be successful these days it has to be exceptional.

The biggest thing holding back mobile apps right now is friction. Click To Tweet

For example, if you go to a restaurant you’ve never been to – not knowing the quality of food or service – and they mention their mobile loyalty program, you might not feel compelled to download their app. You would have to wait two minutes to download the app, open it up, accept permissions, and figure out how it works, before you can actually use it for their loyalty program. There is a lot of friction standing in between you and the restaurant’s app. With all this friction surrounding native apps, the tech industry set out to find a better alternative. Enter Progressive Web Apps.

Not sure what Progressive Web Apps are? Find out all the specifics here: https://www.biznessapps.com/blog/progressive-web-apps/

In the past year, this new technology has essentially taken everything that is great about a native app – the functionality, touch gestures, amazing user experience, power behind the application, push notifications – and transferred it into a web browser. I think Progressive Web Apps are the future of mobile apps. With the evolution to progressive apps users still get that app-like experience, but the friction is removed. Now if I am hesitant or indifferent about the business, I can still access their app with no commitment.

The same app-like experience is essentially being delivered through a URL, allowing you to click on it and instantly have access to the app. The functions, benefits and value of the app is entirely the same, it is simply delivered in a frictionless way.

To put it simply, it’s like the App Store search bar is turning into the Google search bar. Click To Tweet

So let’s go back to you in that restaurant: they have a loyalty program and now all you have to do is type in the business into Google and you instantly have full access to their app. Or they might even have a QR code at the counter, which will launch you straight into their loyalty program. A marketing best practice is to give people a trial of the product before they have to commit to it. In this case, you don’t have to commit to downloading the restaurant’s app, and having it stored on my phone’s home screen just to test it out. While with a native app you might think twice about downloading it, the Progressive Web App doesn’t require customers to make this decision. And of course, the less friction, the better.

Progressive web apps combine everything that is great about a native mobile application with everything that is great about a mobile website.

Mobile websites are good for customer discovery, as they are indexable by Google and users have instant access to them. Combine that with the functionality of a native app, including loyalty programs, food orders and push notifications, and you’ve got yourself the perfect hybrid. In my eyes, the only thing that is really changing is the way in which the mobile experience is being delivered to the customer.

Aside from the customer benefits, it’s much easier for the small business owner or app developer as well. They don’t have to register for a Google and Apple developer account. They don’t have to deal with approval from the app stores. A PWA can be created and delivered as soon as it’s ready. It’s almost about freeing the app from the app stores and going beyond those boundaries.

So when you look at the evolution of mobile, progressive apps feel like the next paradigm shift in branded mobile experiences. PWAs combine the linkability and accessibility of the web with the power and functionality of a native app. Without the friction and adoption barriers, customers will be more likely to engage with the app on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. I have a front row seat to these exciting mobile developments, and I am excited to share this with you.

Comments (13)

  • Gee Sep 05, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    When will PWA be available for BiznessApps resellers to build?

    • Andrew Gazdecki Sep 05, 2017 at 16:09 PM

      Hey Gee!

      PWAs are already available in the app builder. They’re built using the same framework as native apps. If you need some help with PWAs you can contact support@biznessapps.com and they can assist you.

      • Ryan Sep 05, 2017 at 19:09 PM

        Is that the HTML5 app option? Because that has issues working on many devices.

        • Kevin Schrage Sep 06, 2017 at 08:09 AM

          Hey Ryan, the HTML5 option is now called Web App. We’ve made a lot of improvements and are continuing to improve on this technology. If you haven’t checked it out in awhile I’d encourage you to see what’s changed.

  • Eugene Harnett Sep 05, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    this sounds transformational at the core for most if not all of our apps on Bizapps platform.

  • thomas Deuling Sep 05, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    So are these apps available thru our store? If not when will they be done? Great idea to promote to small businesses. Maybe this will curb their reluctance to deal with us. Thank you.

  • ANgela Sep 05, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    HI, why don’t you create a link between safari and the App Store so when a customer goes to the mobile web app it simply asks the person would you like to download the App to your phone for future convenience, the App Store then in the background downloads the App to the phone whilst the user can still join the loyalty programme etc during there first experience with the loyalty programme on the mobile app. Also why don’t you remove the friction of the Space issue on the phones so everyone has unlimited content allowed on their phone or each day ask the user do you want to keep the App you downloaded today from App Store. If the customer had a good experience, they say yes, if they had bad experience they might say no, this makes the App very accountable and enables the business to analyse what they could have done better or would have liked to experience with the App so the next user is more likely to keep the App on their phone and thus more brand recognition, advertising messsages, brand recall is achieved with that user for that brand and the user has the convenience of going straight to the App with the icon on their phone v’s having to go to Safari and typing in url.

    • Andrew Gazdecki Sep 05, 2017 at 16:09 PM

      Hey Angela,

      With progressive web apps you won’t need to do any of those steps. The user simply clicks on the URL and they’re taken into the PWA. If they want to save it to their homescreen they will be able to save it onto their homescreen just like a native app. The steps to ask to download and space issues are no longer an issue with PWAs.

  • Daniel Islas Sep 05, 2017 at 18:09 PM

    Great news. But how could i get push notifications for example.
    The loyalty function it´s now working ?
    Could you give us a video with more details please?

  • PatB Sep 06, 2017 at 09:09 AM

    I love the sound of PWAs. Will a PWA support the membership feature and/or push note subscriptions? Thanks.

    • Kevin Schrage Sep 06, 2017 at 13:09 PM

      Hey, we’re currently working to add all features to PWAs. Many features already work with our PWAs with many coming in the near future.

  • Rob Carlisle Oct 28, 2017 at 07:10 AM

    You mention that PWAs are essentially indexable mobile websites, with the added benefit of rich native features. SEO is an extremely important factor in terms of elevating a local business’ mobile presence to prominence in relation to their money keywords. Does BiznessApps give us any granular control over on-site SEO elements within our PWA builds (keywords, metadata, titles, descriptions, schema markup, etc)?

    • Kevin Schrage Oct 31, 2017 at 08:10 AM

      Hey Rob,

      We agree that SEO is an extremely important factor. So we’re currently building out the SEO elements in our PWAs. Expect it to be out before the end of the year!

      Best,
      Kevin

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