THERE REALLY IS "AN APP FOR THAT" - IT'S YOUR WEBSITE, NOW!
"If you have a website on the WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Vue, or Rail Content Management Systems (“CMS”), or one of a dozen others, your website can be a functional mobile App – NOW & FREE!"
Do you own a small business? Would you like to push notifications to your customer’s mobile devices just like popular Apps reminding them to pick something up, schedule a service, buy a new product, or grab the last remaining of your daily stock? Or, do you have a non-profit that needs to sound the alarm bells frequently? You need a PWA!
Progressive Web Apps (“PWA[s]”) are nothing more than standard webpages, that meet requirements set forth by Google to be “progressive” and served over HTTPS, that people can save to their device’s home screen just like a traditional (“native”) app, and in less than a 1/3rd of the time it takes to install a native app.
PWAs have the same favicon layout, your website can push notifications (when you see the little number in the right corner of your App notifying you of something to read, comment on, or buy), users can interact with your site (forms, purchases, comments, share to social media, etc.), and more importantly, there’s absolute portability of user “controls and features” device-to-device; e.g. phone, to tablet, to laptop/desktop.
“Are PWAs new?” No. They were conceptualized in 2005, and became ‘real’ in 2009 as hybrid-apps. And in 2015, Google developers coined the phrase PWA, and Google set forth standards for their deployment. If you’re using twitter on any google device, it’s actually “google light”, which is a PWA. As of right now, PWAs are supported by Chrome and Firefox on Chrome devices, the next version of iOS will support them on Apple devices, and by June 1, Microsoft will support them on Windows devices.
But, if you have a site deployed on many of the open source frameworks like WordPress, your website can be a functional mobile App – TODAY & FREE!"
“How do PWAs differ from just adding a website to my home screen?” As stated above, the push is the really attractive part. You can “push” notifications to the PWA user just like a native app. You don’t need to send an email, or rely on social media to notify them outside the app push. Simply adding to a user’s screen only provides an at-fingertip link to your web page.
“But I like using social media to notify my customers of things!” We get that, and there’s nothing wrong with connecting with potential and dedicated customers via their social channels. But you are losing critical data, and likely time and money, by relying upon Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, to get out the word about your product or service.
Let me explain that better. Even if you use a service/app/plugin/element that updates all of your social media at one time, the goal should always be to get users to visit your website to take a look at your new blog post, product or service offering, or to buy from the smart commerce channel/vehicle you’ve set up on your site.
One reason you want all channels to lead to YOUR website is data. The data generated by analytics tools monitoring user interface with your website helps you understand your customer’s motivations, or what failed to motivate them. You lose most of that valuable data to the social media monsters if your user-interface is controlled by them.
“Ok, I have a WordPress site, and I want it to function as a PWA today. Now what? Easy, go to your dashboard, then plugins, add plugins, and key word search “PWA”. You’ll see several options to add a PWA plugin to your WP site. Choose one of the plugins that aid in making your website a PWA, install it, and test it for conflicts. Now save, clear your cache and your device’s cookies, and visit your site. You’ll be prompted with a pop up asking you to add your site to your home screen. Now push a notification. You have a functioning mobile App; congratulations! Other popular CMS work about the same, substitute plugin for element, or module, etc., and follow the steps you already know. Just that easy!
They are a flower shop, and are using push notifications to inform their customers of daily “deals”, and have seen their disposable/perishable stock rate cut by 2/3rds and their profits double. At about 2:00 p.m. each day, they look at the flowers they have left that may not be usable the next day, and push a notification enticing buyers to pop buy or order online at a reduced cost.
She makes amazing baked products, and we coded her mobile-facing website with the templates from WP Mobile pack, deployed it in one day, and three days after that half of her 600 FB followers had uploaded her PWA to their devices. She very quickly went to work pushing announcements about her latest creations, and she was able to measure a 100% increase in sales that could only be explained by the strategic use of her shiny new PWA.
“I hear Instagram has a new business feature allowing my followers to buy my products directly from their IG app. Why would I need an App?” Well, first it’s not new. The Beta deployed in 2015, and the sales channel deployed with a vendor support gateway (user pays with credit card or from a payment platform integration) in 2016. And again, it’s partially about the data mentioned above. But also, and this is important, it’s about preventing numerous points-of-sale (POS) that cost you revenues.
You can, for instance, set up a commerce store on FB, and use integrations to collect monies from purchases made right there on FB. It’s not new. The same with Buyable Pins, Pinterest Pins, and on and on. But the more POS you have, and the fewer transactions made per POS, the less flexibility you have in choosing a merchant system (Stripe, Square, etc.) that benefits your sales structure, volume, and pricing.
The florist we mention above was selling on FB, IG, two Pins, and a few wire services (like FTD), and of course her website. By pushing everyone she could to purchase via her PWA (her site’s App), she was able to increase her margins by streamlining sales channels, which increased volume per channel, and lowered fees paid to the two (down from six) merchant services companies she uses for processing.
“So, can any business use a PWA?” Yes! Sort of! While any business can deploy a PWA, push notifications, and operate MOST commerce platforms, there are limitations. Currently, you’re not going to successfully deploy a game, or banking interface platform, or healthcare platform, or a complex social media channel (although Twitter did) with a PWA. But that will change!
“My site is Wix. Can I use it as a PWA?” No. WIX and sites like it are closed or proprietary frameworks, and it’s unlikely they will open up their code as would be required by Google, Apple, or Microsoft to go in the direction of PWAs.
“I don’t know what my site is. How can I take advantage of PWA?” I assume of you do not know, that it’s either a WIX type site, or it’s one you had coded and have managed by a designer/developer. If it’s WIX-like; bummer (see above). If it was created by a designer/developer and managed by someone other than you, just shoot them an email and ask what your PWA options are. There MOST likely are options!
If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, get in touch with us; we’ll have your PWA deployed quickly!
Mobile use increases year after year, and on an order of magnitude that can’t be ignored. And, PWAs are the current future of mobile, and they shouldn’t be ignored either.