Considering the saturation of the mobile app market and the fact that 65% of smartphone users download zero apps per month, it is not a surprise that progressive web apps are slowly but surely gaining prominence in the app industry. They are fast, light, responsive, and can be shared with a single URL without having to pass through the App store. However, while some of the basics about PWAs are somewhat known among app users, there are a lot of PWA features that people aren’t aware of – but which can be a golden mine for many businesses.
For this reason, today we will see the top PWA features that companies can take an advantage of for improved development and business performance.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
A progressive web application, commonly abbreviated as PWA, is a software delivered through the web, and it is intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser. The concept was first pioneered by Google in 2015, and it has been steadily increasing in popularity over the past few years due to its multiple benefits compared to native mobile apps.
In other words, a PWA is essentially a website that maintains the look and feel of native mobile apps, but without the complications that come with them. Such as obligatory installation, taking up a lot of space on the user’s phone, or not being able to work offline. Progressive web apps combine the rich functionality of native apps with the smooth user experience of desktop.
And, as we already mentioned, they offer a lot of features that businesses can use to increase user engagement, conversion rates, traffic, and most importantly, customer satisfaction. Of course, keep in mind that not all features are offered by all progressive web app providers, so you will have to take this into account when looking for one.
And, without further ado, let’s jump right into some of the most important PWA features!
1. Responsiveness & Browser Compatibility
Progressive web apps are built according to progressive enhancement principles. This is a web design strategy that puts emphasis on core webpage content first, meaning that it will provide the basic content and functionality to everyone, regardless of their browser or connection quality.
In other words, no one will have to remain without access to this core content. On another hand, users with the most advanced browser software or with bigger bandwidth will be able to receive the enhanced version of the page.
To sum it up, one of the most awesome PWA features is that these apps are compatible with any device, independent of the browser, screen size, connection quality, and any other specifications.
How can businesses take advantage of it? For this particular feature, there is no need for any additional instalment or configuration. It comes directly with the creation of the progressive web app. However, one way businesses can take advantage of it is by incorporating this compatibility in their PWA marketing message.
This way, users will be aware that they can freely use the app without worrying about their network connectivity or the device they are using. This, in turn, will improve their user experience, and increase your overall engagement rates.
2. Live Real-time Updates
Next on our list of awesome PWA features are live real time updates. As we already mentioned, not all progressive web app providers offer all features. However, Beezer does offer this feature, so you will definitely want to check it out if you haven’t created your first app yet.
The explanation behind this feature is pretty straightforward. You make and publish your changes, and they apply automatically to your web app without any delay. This is definitely not as easy when it comes to native mobile apps, in which you will have to request a review after each change, and wait until it gets approved.
How can businesses take advantage of it? This feature gives you a great flexibility when it comes to modifications, which means that you can continuously optimise your app on the go. If you consistently monitor your ongoing app performance, you will be able to enhance your metrics over time by applying the changes as soon as you detect opportunities for improvement. And you can do it without having to wait until you receive the next App store approval.
3. Push notifications
Our list of brilliant PWA features continues with Push notifications. Push notifications, although not exclusive to progressive web apps, are incredible for reaching your customers with a direct message. They pop up on the device of the user and are difficult to ignore, as opposed to other ways of reaching your target audience, such as Display or Youtube ads, which have oversaturated the digital world at this point.
How can your business take advantage of it? Use Push notifications to reach and instantly engage your customers. You can send them tempting offers and discounts, relevant content and insights, announce a new feature, or simply send a reminder. The opportunities are endless! With Beezer, you can also schedule automated push notifications ahead of time.
4. Member Login
Progressive web apps are easily shareable in a variety of ways – single URL, QR code, or simply via email or SMS. However, not having to download the app and register with your credentials doesn’t mean that the app owner will not be able to monitor who is visiting their app.
With the Member Login feature, you will be able to choose who can access your app, and which pages they can actually see. This will not only enhance privacy for the user, but will also add an additional layer of security for the progressive web app owner who is in control of their app. On top of that, there is no need for further approval – the user can register with their email address, and access the app instantly.
How can your business take advantage of it? With this feature, you will be able to have a better control over your app’s reach, and the way your audience is using the app. It will allow you to treat different members of your audience differently – for example, by restricting access to certain parts of your app for view only by selected members, whether for security and privacy reasons or to put up a paywall to some of your content. Having such visibility over your app users will also give you insights that will further improve your performance. Additionally, privacy is always a great addition for you and your users who will feel more secure when using your app.
5. Offline work mode
This service worker allows for caching an application shell (or in other words, the interface), which means that it will load on the instant on repeat visits. The dynamic content of your web app is refreshed every time the connection is back, enriching the content available offline in the meantime.
The end result is that the user will not see an actual difference between the online and offline mode when it comes to the interface and historical data. And the message history will still be available as well.
How can your business take advantage of it? Having a progressive web app that is able to work offline is a huge plus for your audience. And definitely something that you could add to your Marketing message when promoting the app. It is also one of the PWA features that allows you to pack your app with great content that users will be able to consume at any time.
For example, connection is almost always lost when flying in an airplane, so why not include content from your blog or another insights so that users can still consume your app?
6. Form Submission & Live Chat
Next on our list of valuable PWA features that native mobile apps might not have is the possibility to incorporate ways, like form submissions and live chat, for your users to interact directly with you and with each other within your web app. This can be a great engagement tool between your business and your audience.
Just think about it. In many cases, a user who arrives on your website doesn’t really want to read through your whole website content to answer his question. Sometimes, users just want to be able to reach you directly, without waiting for your email or looking up the information themselves. For this reason, adding a feedback form or a chat option to your progressive web app is another communication channel. This way, if users want to contact you directly and on the instant, they have the channel to do it.
How can your business take advantage of it? Use prompts and popups to offer additional help to your users, and ease their navigation through your web app. Route them to a feedback form to let them know that they have this channel to communicate with you directly. Even if they do not end up using it, they will know that they have this option.
Depending on the nature of your business and your use for the app, it can also be a huge boost for user engagement to enable your users to chat with each other. With such peer-to-peer live chat feature, community members or sports teams can connect directly within your app to chat one-to-one or in groups about the issues relevant to them; or event attendees can search for and find other attendees that they met and re-connect with them after the event. Beezer’s live chat option allows for all these scenarios, by letting logged in members to search for other members, and reach out to them to begin a conversation.
Our list of exciting PWA features continues with another great tool – Analytics. Having an Analytics tool to monitor your ongoing performance and understand user behaviour is always a great way to continue improving your web app. Nowadays, businesses are increasingly under competitive pressure, and those who are able to understand the needs of their customers will manage to stand out from the crowd.
How can businesses take advantage of it? Analytics is undoubtedly among the most important PWA features an app could have. Use it to detect trends and insights that can help you improve the content that you are currently offering to your audience. Analysing your data is also a great way to mitigate risk and fraud, and deliver more relevant products through enhanced personalisation.
For example, you can see who is downloading your app, what pages are they visiting, and how long are they staying on them. This valuable data will continously help you improve your progressive web app over time.
8. eCommerce Integration
If you thought that we might be running out of awesome PWA features, we definitely aren’t! Advanced progressive web app builders like Beezer offer eCommerce solutions so that you can integrate the most popular shops, such as Shopify and Woocommerce, right onto your web app.
How can businesses take advantage of it? For many retailers and ecommerce companies, developing a mobile app on which they are able to sell their products can be particularly costly. Native mobile apps usually require a separate development that can be very expensive, especially if the app is more complex.
However, this powerful feature allows you to integrate your ecommerce business directly into your app, saving you not only a significant amount of money, but also a lot of time. And this is also great news for the users who will be able to continue shopping on your app!
9. Appointment Scheduling
Appointment scheduling is one of the PWA features that not all PWA builders provide. However, those that do know that it can be extremely valuable for many businesses who want to use their web app to organize and coordinate appointments. Hairdresser salons, dentist clinics, real estate agencies and government held services are just a few of the many examples that can make use of this feature.
How can businesses take advantage of it? Use this feature in your web app to make it easy for customers to book appointments with you. Also, make sure to include it in your Marketing communication strategy as well. After all, people can’t really use your awesome PWA features if they don’t know they exist. You can even create a specific campaign to promote your app as an easy and intuitive tool for appointments.
10. Review & Vote Building
And last but not least, one of the many PWA features that Beezer offers, and many companies can make use of, are the review & vote building tools. These components are great for increasing the interaction of your audience with your app.
How can business take advantage of these PWA features? Use the vote component when user preferences are required, for example voting on their favourite product, or their preferred speaker at an event. On another hand, the ratings component is great when you want to collect more general feedback from your audience. Keep them engaged and excited by showing the ratings they have given, the winners of the votes, and their verbatim feedback straight on your app.
And that was all from us for today! We hope you liked our content on the best PWA features that companies can take advantage of. Stay tuned for more!