Why PWAs? by Brian Smillie Founder & CEO

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are fast and reliable web Apps that work on any browser. Based on a Google initiative, they are the future of web Apps. PWA’s provide an installable, App-like experience on desktop whilst taking a mobile-first Approach.

  • Fast And Reliable: 

While the process of loading a native App for the first time can be somewhat frustrating, having to download it first, it becomes worth it once you’re able to immediately start it every time you use it. App users have come to expect this reliability, which is why a PWA must deliver a performance that is just as fast. PWA’s load immediately, providing meaningful content and an interactive web experience in less that 5 seconds. 

  • Installable: 

Since they’re also installable, PWA’s look and behave like any other Native App. Instead of having to bookmark a browser tab, a PWA launches as a Native App and runs like it, in a window without an address bar and with its own launching experience details such as a customised splash screen, icons, etc. It is also a top-level App in the task switcher, just as all other installed Apps, and the highest quality can be expected when the PWA has the guarantee of being built by Beezer. 

  • Mobile & Desktop: 

Another advantage of choosing a PWA over a Native App, is that thanks to responsive design techniques, they work on both mobile and desktop. This becomes possible thanks to the use of a single code between platforms.  “These Apps aren’t packaged and deployed through stores, they’re websites that took all the right vitamins… They progressively become Apps.” – Alex Russell, Google Chrome.    PWA Advantages Over Native Apps

  • App Stores Issues: 

The disadvantages of having to be found and bought through an App Store go from the high number of competitors, the difficulty of being well positioned on that long list, and the cost it means for your company. There is no wonder why 8 out of 10 Apps never make it out of the Apple Store and a 60% of Google Play Apps have never even been downloaded.  It is important to note as well that there are more challenges to overcome when dealing with App Stores, such as: a 30% Purchase Tax; limited communication with users that pay outside the App Store; Application updates being routinely blocked; Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch competitors being locked out; and Apple customers not having a payment choice.  The store model is clearly not favourable to all those businesses developing Native Apps, which is why many are getting rid of Apps and migrating their client strategies to Progressive Web Applications.

  • Beezer’s Solution:

Beezer is the only platform in the world where you can launch and distribute a PWA on the same day, without needing an App Store. More importantly, there are no hidden fees along with the subscription you sign up for and the App is entirely in your hands, meaning you can update and publish changes as and when you need it, avoiding any long Approval process.   

  • Installing Issues: 

The on-boarding process for a Consumer Mobile Native App is a journey with too many steps, which means you can lose an average of 20% of potential users in each one of them. As an example, this is what could happen to a Native App with a potential of 1000 downloads:        • Beezer’s Solution: We provide a quick and unobtrusive on-boarding process that has already been proven to increase our clients’ Apps likelihood of success. Your PWA goes direct to customer distribution via: SMS, email, a downloadable website widget, QR code for print and TV, and a social media short code that is great for print, radio and TV campaigns.   

  • App Store Sales Fee: 

The high revenue amounts Apple and Google count on are undeniable and they come from somewhere. These two giants make billions through their mobile App stores, charging a fee of around 30% of all sales to their collaborators, in exchange for providing a safe, trusted environment. Why would any business be hAppy with a third party taking a 30% cut of their pre-tax revenues? Considering this high cost, it is easy to wonder if they offer that much value or if there is another way to succeed.

  • Beezer’s Solution:

The web is a safe place. In fact, one of the reasons why web standards take long to implement is their secure implementations. This means there is, indeed, an alternative to Google and Apple App Stores for customers and that is to take advantage of the recent PWA movement. Since there is no real security advantages offered by Native Apps, especially considering HTTPs is a requirement in any Beezer PWAs, these ones do not have the monopoly on monetisation. ApplePay is just another payment provider. The web has been monetised for over 25 years and the ability to receive money online is now easier than ever, especially within PWAs.  There are options for a third party payment gateway integrations such as real-time credit card methods, ACH, PayPal, and many others. Taking advantage of this costs less than a 3% of your sales, which is evidently much lower than the 30% Apple takes.   

  • SEO: 

Until now, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Apps was limited to a good listing in the App store. Since Google introduced the App indexing, now it’s also possible for users to receive link recommendations that directly refer to the contents of the installed App using the Google search App. But for the user to benefit from this, certain requirements have to be met. Thus, a user must actually have installed the App in order to click on the target site in it. Also, the source code of the website must be edited. There, deep links are inserted. These deep links must be created for iOS and Android separately. Moreover, they also need to be integrated into the XML site map, so that the Google-bot can be made aware of them. Quite the complicated process. 

  • Beezer’s solution:

For businesses to succeed online, they need to deliver engaging experiences in line with their needs. Your PWA has the best chance to success thanks to the latest web capabilities we provide within our platform, such as the App Discovery Optimisation.  PWAs are the only way to deliver user experiences on the web just as Native Apps do but without their costs & restrictions. With further development of Progressive Web Apps, there are many possibilities for SEO. A great advantage lies in the fact that a Beezer App is shared with you through a link, and it’s called up within a browser. Which means search engines can also index these links. In conclusion, PWAs don’t have the distribution or discovery challenges of Native Apps.  

  • Updates Cost: 

Different App versions must be simultaneously developed, published, and maintained for the various operating systems. Updates to the App have to be carried out through the Appropriate App Store for each operating system. A major disadvantage of Native Apps is the high cost factor. Costs don’t involve just App development, but also ongoing maintenance as operating updates hAppen. In addition to the actual CMS. 

  • Beezer’s solution:

A single code base for all browsers and platforms. Beezer’s Multi-Channel, Mobile First Approach means that PWAs function on all platforms so no separate versions are needed for different end devices. The result is that those development costs are significantly lower than with Native Apps. Also, updates don’t have to run through an App store. Instead, the web App is brought up to the newest standard with the help of service workers. This is done via the publish button from within the Beezer platform. Truly live updates at the push of a button!   Why choose a PWA over a Native App?  For the last decade Native Apps have been the platform of choice. After 2011, when users turned to mobile abandoning desktop almost completely, demands on user experience changed drastically. A Mobile First Approach has different requirements and priorities than the Desktop First Approach that had been cultivated during the Internet’s first two decades, so this tipping point meant a game changer for developers. By 2018, Mobile traffic was responsible for 52,2% of all Internet traffic.  But by now the excitement about Apps seems to have decreased rapidly, and even if overall store downloads count on large numbers, Native App usage has concentrated around basically 10 Apps, mainly social media, and almost all of them are owned by Facebook.  This means if you want to make it as a Native App, you have a tough way ahead of you. After analysing why App Stores don’t really work for businesses, we have come to the conclusion that unless your App helps sell iPhones or generate significant store revenue for Apple, a PWA is your way to go.  As you know now, the development and distribution costs are considerably lower, therefore more attractive for businesses, and just about every App scenario can also be done as a PWA. These and many other reasons make a PWA look like an amazing option for any business.   What are Native Apps? Why are they dying?  Native Apps are typically distributed through a controlled store, a platform with a high transaction fee that usually means from 15 to 30% of your pre-tax revenue. On top of the high cost this means for a company, App Stores are also notorious for rejecting Apps submissions and updates.  These are the two main reasons why Native Apps are increasingly being replaced with PWAs. More and more businesses are deciding to join Beezer due to these costs and restrictions, which leave many of them rejected or with updates blocked. These restrictions are sold as a way to keep Apps’ user experience quality high and secure, but Apple’s clauses are left ambiguous, so they have the option to reject any App.  How Native Apps are Used It’s a Mobile world, the web is just part of it. And depending on how you read usage statistics you might come to the conclusion that the web is dead. But that is not true.  Native Apps clearly dominate user screen time as they account for 87% of the time we spend on our devices. But a deeper analysis into that 87% Native App time is quite revealing. The majority of that time is spent in Facebook, or in Facebook owned Apps. According to comScore’s Mobile Metrix June 2015 report, 80% of App time is Facebook, being the top 6 Apps: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s Instagram, Facebook’s WhatsApp and a spread between Snap Chat, YouTube and Gmail.  We use less than 10% of the Apps we download more than once, and after 3 months most of those unused Apps are removed. The average adult downloads ZERO Apps in a given month. Most App downloads happen when a new phone is purchased, and the users need their daily Apps back.   Beezer’s Super Power: The Web To keep adding to the advantages, the web also counts on a super power Native Apps do not have, and that is the ability to send a link to a specific page in a site, having the browser downloading that content or being discovered in a search result.  While trying to do this with a Native App, it would require the receiver to download the App first to then find the content being shared. The only way to share such content would be on social media, where you’d be competing against thousands of friends’ posts.    PWAs and Native Have Feature Parity When discussing platform integrations, there is something we’d be happy to remind you: no matter which one you need, there is a web API for that. Newer APIs offer access to common platform features. Native Push Notifications, for example, are one of the most exciting platform features lately. But there are many others such as Bluetooth, USB, camera, geo-location, etc, APIs available. And there are others like battery levels or native file system access that are in the works. The security of these new APIs is also guaranteed behind HTTPS, and SSL encrypts data between the server and the user agent stopping potential attacks.   As platform integration continues developing for PWAs, the gap between Native Apps and the web seems to be vanishing. Both Android and Microsoft, for example, are taking PWAs to the next level. When Windows 8 was launched, websites could be added to the Windows Store as long as they were served using HTTPS and referenced a valid web manifest file. These were called Hosted Web Apps.  “Microsoft will be encouraging developers to make these Apps available in the Store and make them able to work with Windows 10 features, like Action Centre. Microsoft is planning to crawl and index Progressive Web Apps, convert them to APPX and make them searchable and browsable”. Mary Jo Foley – American freelance technology writer for Microsoft.  Soon enough, Microsoft saw Hosted Web Apps and Progressive Web Apps were essentially the same thing and rebranded them as PWAs. They’re also offering a path to make them full blown Native Apps with very little friction.  “PWAs should be able to progressively enhance to full-fledged Apps”. Jacob Rossi, Microsoft.  Along with Microsoft, the media has started to realise how important this movement is. Technical critic Paul Thurrott recently stated: “this Apps platform is a perfect storm of the right ideas at the right time, a spiritual combination of the cross-platform dreams for Java and the pervasive nature and openness of the web”. Now Edge offers the same add to desktop experience Chrome shipped, as well as FireFox, Samsung Internet and every other browser. Apple also offers service worker support. Since the early 90s the web has made the promise of cross-platform, and it keeps delivering.  What this means is PWAs unlock features to enhance your website, and even if the consumer’s browser doesn’t support PWAs’ features it will work, hence progressive. Unlocking brand new user experience features enables your site to engage with your customers at a much deeper level.   Time for your Business to take Action  By know you have already understood why Progressive Web Applications are your way to go on the path of growing your business and engage with customers. But if you are still doubting, ask yourself: do you have a website or an App? Right, you needed a website to sell your App. So, why force customers to leave your website, go to a third-party App Store, and then go through 8 more steps to load your App? Then they have to find the content they actually wanted in the first place.  Also, even if a website visitor doesn’t add your PWA to their home-screen, it is installed as soon as they visit any page on your site, since they’re all an entry point for it.  With Beezer, you will get access to all Native App features like a home-screen icon, a calendar integration, GPS mapping, eCommerce, Push Notifications, as well as many third-party platform integrations such as Shopify, Appointedd, YouTube and many more. All you need to do is add them via our simple drop & drop PWA builder.  Beezer has quickly positioned itself as an industry expert within the PWA movement, leading the way with ground-breaking development on not only Beezer but enterprise builds and industry leading integrations. We are determined to take advantage of the proliferation of PWAs as the industry scales rapidly, we are an award winning first to market and first to by-pass the App Store completely solution.  Beezer is the only platform in the world where you can launch and distribute a PWA on the same day without an App store. The Beezer SaaS platform empowers users to Build, Distribute, Engage, Analyse and Manage their PWA within one platform without technical or creative skills, and reduces the lifetime cost of an App by up to 94% as well as development time by up to 90%.  Now with the addition of User Authentication, meaningful data can start to be captured and built up. This is particularly exciting when we look at our next 3 strategic component additions: 

  • Beezer Commerce
  • Beezer Loyalty
  • Beezer Booking

So, finally there’s a better way… Beezer – Build Something Brilliant.

Moving forward Beezer aims to offer a solution that can target the existing websites currently in market with the solution for them to convert into a Beezer PWA within a few clicks. They won’t need to create anything new, just add some capabilities. In fact, anyone with an existing website will soon be able to upgrade it into a PWA in as little as 5 minutes.    This is thanks to Beezer leveraging the Wix.com and Weebly.com channel partnerships to test an existing web convertor to PWA builder using AI. With a few clicks we have established we could implement all the PWA enhancements without affecting anything on an existing site. This removes the biggest barrier to signing up to a SaaS Website or App builder: the creation or transferring of content. This functionality unlocks the current existing 1 billion websites market. 

“The core concept of a PWA – building platform that enables non-techie content owners and marketing folks to build and manage a content focussed App is a strong idea, and the install process is smooth (as tested on my Windows phone).

Sharing the App via email is smooth on my device and I can see how an App that was specifically constructed to incentivise folks to share with others could become widely distributed rapidly.

The sharing over text via the in App share panel worked a treat and with your recent addition of WhatsApp is a real winner from my perspective. Finally an all encompassing platform that overcomes the challenges of having an App in the market place and affordable too, well done lad.” Angus Foreman, Microsoft Chief Architect.  

The Internet has shifted, and the Beezer SaaS platform is at the forefront of this seismic shift towards a new World Wide Web – The Progressive Web. We believe we are also the only platform in the world offering the right solution to address the current Native App shortfalls, associated general costs of building and running a Native App as well as the distribution challenges.   Good luck everyone. Brian Smillie – Founder & CEO  

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