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Why A PWA Is Not Enough For Your Shopify eCommerce Store

Shopify ecommerce store needs an app

In the recent years, the number of Shopify eCommerce store mobile shoppers has been on a rise. According to statistics published on OuterBox, 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their mobile device in the last 6 months. A whopping 80% of these smartphone users use their phones inside a physical store to look up reviews, better deals and other options available to them. The mobile usage is so much so, that the average smartphone conversion rates are up by 64% as compared to the average desktop conversion rates.

Moreover, consumers of today are more likely to recommend and buy from a business that offers a better mobile experience.

Google introduced the Progressive Web App (PWA) technology in 2015 with an aim to make the experience on mobile more pleasant than a mobile-optimized website. What a PWA does is, it eliminates the hassle of searching for an app in the store and downloading it for use.

This technology offers the following benefits to mobile shoppers:

  • A better loading experience; a PWA fills the screen with what it can immediately, and then gradually loads all content
  • Sends a push notification on the device even when the PWA is not open in the browser
  • Offers an offline functionality to enable the use of the web app, irrespective of the internet status
  • Is easily discoverable by search engines and can be shared via URL (Google drives 90% of mobile search traffic)
  • Incorporates an app-shell model to provide app-style navigations and interactions

Since its inception, brands across different industries have configured their websites for adaptive PWA status.

Implementing PWA tech with great success

Starbucks (retail), Flipboard (social networking), Alibaba (eCommerce), Medium and The Financial Times (publishing), Uber and Trivago (travel) are just some of the known brands that have launched PWA-enabled websites.

Lancome, a global luxury beauty brand, has a web app featuring a notable form submission process and subtle interaction animation to enthrall its customers.

lancome pwa mobile app

Another example is that of West Elm. The site grabs the shopper’s focus by using large product imagery and a smart footer to keep all the key actions in front of them at all times.

Westelm mobile app


The use of progressive web apps has proven to get eCommerce stores more conversions and has vastly improved the consumer experience on the mobile web. But is it right for eCommerce stores to completely negate the existence of native apps when the competition is rising by the day and every shopper counts?


Surprisingly enough, native apps are still very much relevant and each of the stores above – no matter how big the brand, have one.

Native apps ensure higher customer engagement

Did you know consumers spend 86% and 14% of their time on mobile apps and mobile sites respectively? Even though majority of that time is spent on social media and gaming, there is a huge scope for eCommerce brands to engage with their target marketing through a mobile app.

time spent on apps


Read More: Why brands like Shein, Nike, and Zara have a mobile app

Here’s how they can do that on the following fronts:

1) Personalization

Mobile apps allow consumers set up preferences on the app in the beginning so that they are served with customized content as they browse through. Apps can also track user engagement and use that data to make product recommendations and to give updates.

2) Geo-targeting

34% of mobile users respond to special offers based on their location. Unlike PWAs, mobile apps can identify the location of consumers and provide geography-specific content to them. Brands such as Sephora, Mr. button and Zomato do it.

gift coupon web push notification


eCommerce brands can engage with their customers by sending a localized offer (such as an e-gift voucher that can be redeemed only at a physical outlet) via a mobile app push notification.

3) Smartphone features

A web app can’t access in-built features of a mobile phone such as calendar, alarms, contact lists. It also can’t send an SMS, read voicemails or make phone calls. Device features, when used within a mobile app, can make the user experience more interactive, and reduce the time taken to complete a task – basically, shorten the purchase process.

For example: while completing a form in a banking app, the user can easily take a photo from the mobile phone and submit it. This can’t happen on a PWA.

4) Design

A mobile app can be designed with advanced functions such as ‘drag’, ‘swipe’ and ‘pinch’. PWAs can’t integrate such gestures and that results in limited customer engagement.

5) Branding

Since a mobile app is slightly different from the company website, there is a scope of experimenting with fresh branding. Also users spend a lot of time on apps, therefore they are constantly reminded of the brand associated with the app. This reaffirms the brand presence.

The biggest challenge? Creating a native app

Building a mobile app from scratch is not as easy as it seems. According to tech company NineHertz, it takes almost 18 weeks to develop and publish a standard native app – 10 weeks to build the back-end and 8 weeks to create the front-end. That’s hard work of almost 5 months!

Here’s a break-down of the same in number of hours:

mobile app development process


Moreover, average charge per hour to develop a mobile app for iOS and Android in India is $30 and $26 respectively. Of course – the cost varies according to features, expertise, changes and more. Nevertheless mobile development is costly and time-taking. This results in half the Shopify eCommerce stores shying away from developing their mobile apps and relying on their website for all their sales.

Building a Shopify eCommerce store app can be easy

That’s right!

Just like Shopify makes it easy for you to establish your online store and take your business digital, there are Shopify Apps that enable you to create a native app almost instantly. Plobal Apps for instance takes just 10 minutes to create a native app for your online store, giving it the same look and feel.

baileys blossoms study plobal apps

But that’s not it!

The Shopify App also helps you integrate your social profiles with the app. This helps you reach out to your customers with contextual campaigns based on their previous purchases and at the same time, amplifies your brand reach. Getting more smartphone users to know about your app, it boosts your store’s sales by introducing an optimized source of revenue, that is based on the purchasing habits of millennials.

With a plethora of app design options, you can ensure a friendly user experience that also works best for your business. Oh, and let us not forget the 24×7 support that our users vouch for!

Ready to experience the power of a native mobile app for your brand?

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