Progressive Web Application And The Future In Ecommerce


The e-commerce industry is constantly evolving and adapting to the changing needs and preferences of customers. With the rapid growth of mobile commerce, online retailers face many challenges and opportunities to provide a seamless and engaging shopping experience across different devices and platforms. One of the emerging technologies that can help ecommerce businesses to achieve this goal is progressive web application (PWA).


A progressive web application (PWA) is a web application that combines the best features of a website and a native app. It can run on any device and browser, provide a fast and smooth user experience, work offline and in the background, send push notifications, access device features, and be installed on the home screen. PWA is a modern web technology that can help ecommerce businesses to improve their performance, engagement, and conversion.

progressive web application

Why do eCommerce businesses need PWA?

The challenges and opportunities of e-commerce

E-commerce businesses face many challenges in today’s competitive and dynamic market. Some of the common challenges are:

  • Low conversion rates: According to Statista, the global average conversion rate of e-commerce websites was only 2.86% in the second quarter of 2020. This means that most visitors leave without making a purchase, resulting in lost revenue and customer loyalty.
  • High bounce rates: Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate indicates that the website failed to capture the interest or attention of the visitors, or that the website was too slow or difficult to use. According to Google, 53% of mobile users abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Poor user experience: User experience (UX) is the overall impression and satisfaction that a user has when interacting with a website or an app. A poor UX can lead to frustration, confusion, dissatisfaction, and abandonment. Some of the factors that affect UX are design, usability, functionality, performance, content, and personalization.
  • Fragmented customer journey: Customers today use multiple devices and platforms to browse, research, compare, and purchase products online. This creates a fragmented customer journey that requires e-commerce businesses to deliver a consistent and seamless experience across different touchpoints.

On the other hand, e-commerce businesses also have many opportunities to leverage the power of mobile commerce and reach new customers. Some of the opportunities are:

  • Growing mobile traffic: According to Statista, mobile devices accounted for 52.6% of global web traffic in 2019, up from 50.3% in 2018. This shows that more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet and shop online.
  • Increasing mobile conversion: According to Adobe, mobile conversion rates increased by 15% year-over-year in 2019, while desktop conversion rates decreased by 4%. This suggests that mobile users are becoming more comfortable and confident in making purchases on their devices.
  • Enhancing customer loyalty: According to Criteo, mobile app users are twice as likely to return within 30 days than mobile web users. This implies that mobile apps can help e-commerce businesses to retain their customers and increase their lifetime value.

The benefits and value of PWA for e-commerce

PWA is a technology that can help e-commerce businesses to overcome their challenges and seize their opportunities in mobile commerce. PWA can offer many benefits and value for e-commerce businesses, such as:

  • Faster loading speed: PWA uses service workers to cache data and assets on the device, which enables faster loading speed even on slow or unreliable networks. PWA can load up to four times faster than traditional websites.
  • Better user adoption: PWA does not require users to download or install anything from an app store. Users can simply access PWA through their web browser and add it to their home screen with one click. This reduces the friction and cognitive load for users who want to use an app-like experience without taking up storage space on their device.
  • Higher user engagement: PWA can send push notifications to users even when they are not using the app or browsing the website. Push notifications can help e-commerce businesses to communicate with their customers, remind them of abandoned carts, inform them of new offers or products, or encourage them to take action.
  • Improved user experience: PWA can provide a native app-like user experience with features such as offline access, background sync, full-screen mode, splash screen, app icon, etc. These features can enhance the usability, functionality, performance, content, and personalization of the app.
  • Higher conversion rate: PWA can improve the conversion rate of e-commerce businesses by providing a faster, smoother, easier, and more engaging shopping experience for customers. According to Adobe, PWA can increase conversion rates for mobile users by up to 36%.

The key components and technologies of PWA

PWA is composed of three key components: web app manifest, service workers, and app shell. These components work together to enable the features and functionalities of PWA.

  • Web app manifest: A web app manifest is a JSON file that provides metadata and configuration information for the web app, such as name, description, icons, theme color, display mode, orientation, start URL, etc. The web app manifest tells the browser how the web app should behave and look like when installed on the home screen or launched from the app launcher.
  • Service workers: A service worker is a JavaScript file that runs in the background, separate from the main web page. It acts as a proxy between the web app and the network, intercepting requests and responses, and caching data and assets on the device. Service workers enable features such as offline access, push notifications, background sync, etc.
  • App shell: An app shell is the minimal HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that provides the basic structure and layout of the web app. It is cached on the device by the service worker and loaded instantly when the web app is launched. The app shell improves the performance and user experience of the web app by rendering the UI quickly while fetching dynamic content from the network.

The best practices and tips for creating a PWA for e-commerce

Creating a PWA for e-commerce requires following some best practices and tips to ensure a high-quality and successful outcome. Some of the best practices and tips are:

  • Use responsive design: Responsive design is a design approach that adapts the layout and content of the web app to different screen sizes and orientations. Responsive design ensures that the web app looks good and works well on any device and platform.
  • Optimize images: Images are often the largest and most impactful assets on a web app. Optimizing images can reduce their file size and loading time, which can improve the performance and user experience of the web app. Some of the ways to optimize images are using compression tools, choosing appropriate formats, using responsive images, using lazy loading, etc.
  • Implement progressive enhancement: Progressive enhancement is a development strategy that starts with a basic and functional version of the web app that works on any browser and device, and then adds more features and enhancements for browsers and devices that support them. Progressive enhancement ensures that the web app is accessible and usable for everyone, while providing a better experience for those who can enjoy it.
  • Test and debug: Testing and debugging are essential steps in creating a PWA for e-commerce. Testing ensures that the web app meets the functional and non-functional requirements, such as usability, performance, security, compatibility, etc. Debugging identifies and fixes any errors or bugs that may affect the quality or functionality of the web app. Some of the tools that can help with testing and debugging are Lighthouse, Chrome DevTools, Workbox, etc.

What are some examples of successful PWA for e-commerce?

Many e-commerce businesses have adopted PWA technology to improve their mobile presence and results. Some of the examples of successful PWA for e-commerce are:


Alibaba is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, serving millions of buyers and sellers in over 200 countries. Alibaba launched its PWA in 2016 to provide a faster and more engaging shopping experience for its mobile users.

As a result, Alibaba saw a 76% increase in total conversions across browsers, a 14% increase in monthly active users on iOS, a 30% increase in monthly active users on Android, and a four times higher interaction rate from add-to-home-screen users.


Flipkart is India’s leading e-commerce platform, offering over 80 million products across various categories. Flipkart created its PWA called Flipkart Lite in 2015 to reach more customers who have low-end devices or slow internet connections.

Flipkart Lite achieved a 70% increase in conversions, a 40% lower bounce rate, a three times lower data usage, and an 80% lower page load time compared to its previous mobile website.


Lancôme is a French luxury cosmetics brand that sells its products online in over 130 countries. Lancôme built its PWA in 2017 to improve its mobile user experience and conversion rate.

Lancôme’s PWA resulted in a 17% increase in conversions, a 51% increase in mobile sessions, an eight times improvement in load time performance, a 15% decrease in bounce rate, and an 84% increase in push notification open rate.

 =>Related Post: Crafting the Digital Experience: Web Application Development


Progressive web application is a powerful technology that can help e-commerce businesses to create a fast, smooth, easy, and engaging shopping experience for their mobile customers.

PWA can offer many benefits and value for e-commerce businesses, such as faster loading speed, better user adoption, higher user engagement, improved user experience, and higher conversion rate. PWA can also help e-commerce businesses to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities of mobile commerce, such as low conversion rates, high bounce rates, poor user experience, and fragmented customer journey.

If you are interested in creating a PWA for your e-commerce business, you can contact us at SmartOSC. SmartOSC is a leading e-commerce agency that specializes in PWA development. We have a team of experts who can help you design, develop, and deploy a PWA that suits your needs and goals. We have worked with many clients from different industries and regions in web app development, such as Lancôme, Nestlé, Unilever, etc. We can help you create a PWA that can boost your online sales and customer loyalty.