In the Magento community discussion, you must have heard a lot about an emerging term – Progressive Web Applications (PWA).
As you can imagine, PWA are fast becoming standardized and Magento merchants can quickly start benefiting from this great new channel.
Magento Progressive Web Application (or Magento PWA for short) is a recent terminology created by Magento themselves. What this fundamentally means is that Magento PWA refers to stores that are built using Magento PWA Studio which utilizes the latest benefits from the progressive web app technology.
Ok, so what is Progressive Web App?
Well, think of it as a way to bring the native application appearance — along with many of the built-in features from native application such as push notifications and offline capabilities to the web, which in turn can increase conversion rates for stores that rely on the omnichannel shopping experience prefered by online users.
Benecos is a Magento PWA developed by SimiCart
Realizing the need for a multi-device shopping experience that requires the appearance and functionalities of a native mobile application for a seamless experience, Magento (and many other ecommerce platforms) is making it progressively easier for store owners to embrace the PWA movement with their release of PWA Studio. As a result, you might see these apps becoming an essential integration for every ecommerce store.
Diving into the Magento
Magento PWA Studio is a new and emerging open-source platform for Magento developers and merchants to build and maintain PWA versions of their online stores.
The platform is easy, effortless and guaranteed to increase your PWA-building productivity, thanks to the community of Magento PWA enthusiasts to help you out.
“PWA Studio will provide developers and merchants with the tools they need to compete and deliver the convenience and utility of a mobile app combined with the searchability and buying experiences they get from their desktop experiences.”
- Jason Woosley, SVP of Product & Technology at Magento, an Adobe company
At its core, Magento PWA Studio is essentially a set of developer tools that facilitate the process building PWAs within the xMagento 2 framework. The main tools provided with Magento PWA Studio are:
- Pwa-buildpack: The main build and development tools necessary for development of Magento PWA
- Peregrine: A collection of useful custom React hooks and components for Magento PWA.
- UPWARD or Unified Progressive Web App Response Definition is an essential component that helps describe how a web server should deliver and support a PWA.
- Shared Magento server: Maintained by the Magento team and open to all Magento developers, this shared server helps developers jumpstart the storefront development.
In case it’s still not very clear to you, the following video below might help:
Magento PWA Studio
Benefits of Magento Progressive Web Apps
It turns out, there’s more to PWA than meets the eye. PWA offers a host of benefits that help elevate the ecommerce store to a whole new level.
Instant Load Time
PWAs are built with progressive enhancement as their core principle. This enables the app to load instantly on repeat visits, thanks to device-level cache. As a result, the volume of data required to respond to user actions is reduced significantly.
The PWA is generally added as an icon on the device home screen and the app can be launched with full-screen immersive experience and control over screen orientation.
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One Codebase for All Versions
PWAs eliminate the need to develop a native application for each platform. This substantially reduces the overall development cost of your store while extending the reach of your application.
Better User Experience
With simple interface and functionality, PWA delivers improved experience thanks to minimum touch-points and streamlined flow.
Search Engine Optimization
PWAs can do wonders for stores trying to broaden their reach to the curious shopper in the habit of Googling products. Since PWAs are essentially web pages listing the best features of native applications, your store page can be optimized for search engines. This in turn can potentially drive more revenue for your store.
The Case Studies
The technical side of the story may be bland, but rest assured – Magento has its own archive of customer success stories with PWA.
One of the more recent Magento stores to switch to PWA is Eleganza, a high-end fashion retailer located in Netherland.
To start off, the brand was already doing pretty well. But they felt that they could do better by embracing the latest performance-improvement practices from the industry, and by closing the gap between their native apps and their webstore. The result, as expected, was nothing short of outstanding:
- 76% increase in pages per session
- 23% faster average page load time
- 372% faster average server reaction time
Eleganza embraces PWA to deliver a seamless and responsive experience to all screen sizes.
It’s no coincidence that brands who went PWA often find increased revenue and engagements on every purchasing channel. Guus van der Staak, eCommerce manager at Eleganza, had something to say about these extraordinary results with PWA:
“We look forward to realizing additional value in the future as PWA not only brings us to the forefront of our market but keeps us there for years to come.”
Read more about How Eleganza Transformed Mobile Shopping with PWA Studio.
Like Eleganza, ROECKL is a bright example of a Magento 2 PWA which has had its functionality and performance revamped with Magento PWA Studio. After going PWA, the store’s purchasing experience was fundamentally transformed, with a greater focus on the mobile experience, while retaining the already well-performing desktop purchasing experience.
The results attained with Magento 2 PWA, as reported by the brand: ROECKL saw an increase in order by 198%, 172% of which are from mobile devices. The responsive shopping experience—along with improved performance and instant load time—brought by Magento PWA was the main element that helpedROECKL see an average increase of users by 150% (and 175% mobile users), while their bounce rate saw a significant decrease by 35% (39.8% for users on mobile device).
With these results, it’s sufficient to say that Magento 2 PWA was the right approach for these first Magento stores that have initiated the Magento PWA movement—a movement that can only get more popular from this point onwards. It is no doubt that brands are now rushing to implement PWA initiatives into their business, making a future where all stores are Magento 2 PWA not so far-fetched.
To see more of Magento PWA examples, we recommend pwacart.com as a helpful catalogue of the currently available Magento PWA stores.
Alternatives to Magento PWA Studio
The good news is that Magento PWA Studio is not the only framework that you can use for building a high-performing PWA for your Magento Store. Here are the top 3 alternatives to Magento PWA Studio. As of now, these are way ahead than Magento PWA Studio in terms of functionality, live implementations, and community.
Vue Storefront was one of the first PWA frameworks to arrive for ecommerce platforms. Vue Storefront is created by Divante from Poland and is currently maintained by the partners and open-source community. As the name suggests, VSF is built on the VueJS frontend framework.
- Has the highest number of PWA implementations
- Platform-agnostic. VSF can be used on platforms other than Magento like Shopware, Pimcore, and Shopify
- Opensource with MIT License
- A large active community of opensource contributors.
- Poor architecture because of being “platform-agnostic. Customizations are very difficult as VSF uses a middle layer for integrating with the ecommerce platforms.
- Needs additional infrastructure to run PWA
- Deep customizations may require to change core files. No dependency injection.
- VueJS is way behind ReactJS in terms of acceptance, community, libraries, and support docs.
Built by the Latvian agency Scandiweb and maintained by partners and opensource community, ScandiPWA uses ReactJS and is built as a theme for Magento 2.
- Simple architecture as ScandiPWA is built as a theme for Magento
- No need for additional infrastructure for PWA. It can run on the same Magento instance
- Uses the widely accepted ReactJS
- Customizations are very easy as there is no middleware
- Strong rewrite concepts and dependency injection for heavy customization
- Opensource with OSL 3.0 License
- Supports only Magento versions later than 2.3
- Does not work on platforms other than Magento 2 (obviously!)
- Out of the box ScandiPWA has only basic vanilla Magento features
NexPWA is probably the best PWA solution for merchants who are serious about their ecommerce business. NexPWA uses the ScandiPWA framework and is distributed as a suite of features for ScandiPWA. It offers a lot of readymade templates for different industries and a host of popular features. With NexPWA, you can go live in as fast as 2 weeks.
Demo Store: https://demo.nexpwa.com
- Uses ScandiPWA
- Ready-made themes for different industries
- Built-in Payment Integrations
- A/B Testing with Magento Frontend and PWA Frontend
- RTL for Arabic
- Retain URLs of Magento
- Server-Side Rendering with Rendertron for SEO
- Publish PWA on Google and Apple stores
- Full Support for Magento Open-Source and Commerce Editions
- Implementation Support by NexPWA with SLAs.
- NexPWA is not free as it is not open-source.
- Supports only Magento version later than 2.3
If you are a store owner and want to convert your ecommerce store into a PWA, the CedCommerce Cenia PWA theme for Magento is a great option.
CedCommerce Cenia Pro Theme for Magento 2 PWA Studio utilizes the robust technology of Magento PWA Studio, ReactJS & GraphQL. Cenia PWA Studio Pro Theme is compatible with Magento 2.3.0 and above.
Cenia PWA Theme for Magento 2 comes with a wide range of features that provides merchants and users an excellent shopping experience. With the help of Cenia PWA theme, you can create your own PWA regardless of your niche.
- Easier to use than a web-native application
- Works (extremely) faster than the web store
- Supports message pop-up for Android gadgets
- Totally responsive
- Dispatches without the web or low-quality we
- It closely resembles a local application
- Users do not have to refresh the dynamic web application
- No application store required
- Supports only Magento versions later than 2.3
Magento Progressive Web Application (PWA): An Overview
What is a Progressive Web Application (PWA)?
A Progressive Web Application (PWA) is a type of web application that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users. PWAs are designed to work on any browser and enhance progressively, thus ensuring a consistent experience for all users. They can be developed faster and maintained easier than native apps. Key features of PWAs include:
- Offline functionality.
- Push notifications.
- Fast load times, even on flaky networks.
- An app-like interface and functionality.
- The ability to be added to a user’s home screen without needing to be downloaded from an app store.
Magento, recognizing the transformative potential of PWAs, introduced its PWA Studio. Magento’s PWA Studio provides tools for developers to create and maintain a PWA frontend on top of a Magento 2 backend. With Magento’s PWA Studio, online merchants can offer a fast, mobile-friendly, app-like experience on the web, which can lead to improved user engagement and conversions.
Best Templates for Magento:
Magento themes (or templates) define the look, feel, and overall user experience of a Magento store. While PWA is more about functionality and less about design, several themes are optimized for or compatible with Magento’s PWA Studio. Here are some of the best templates or themes for Magento, keeping PWA in mind:
- Venia: This is Magento’s own demo theme that comes with the PWA Studio. It’s a reference theme to help developers understand how to build their own PWA themes using PWA Studio tools.
- ScandiPWA: Claimed to be the first open-source PWA theme for Magento, ScandiPWA can be installed on top of any Magento 2.3+ version. It offers a rich set of features and is optimized for speed and user experience.
- TigrenPWA: Created by Tigren Solutions, this theme offers a seamless shopping experience and combines all the strengths of a mobile app with the broad reach of the web.
- UberTheme UB PWA: This theme offers a full-feature set to bring the best storefront experience to the PWA-driven Magento stores.
- Hyvä Themes: Though not strictly a PWA theme, Hyvä Themes focuses on performance, and their approach can work harmoniously with PWAs. They reduce frontend complexity, which can be a good foundation for a PWA storefront.
While these are specific themes/templates optimized for PWA, it’s crucial to understand that the real power of PWA lies in its functionality. Many businesses might choose to adapt their current Magento theme to be PWA-compatible or develop a custom PWA storefront that matches their brand’s design and requirements.
As mobile commerce continues to grow, having a mobile-optimized, fast, and reliable storefront becomes increasingly critical. Magento’s embrace of PWAs via its PWA Studio signifies the platform’s commitment to providing merchants with the tools they need to compete in today’s digital landscape. Whether you opt for a ready-made template or a custom solution, integrating PWA functionality into your Magento store can offer tangible benefits in user experience and conversion rates.
Could your storefront be missing out on all the essential experiences that the better-performing brands are offering? It’s quite possible, given that brands are now optimizing their storefronts for a mobile-first approach that aims to universalize typical shopping experience across all devices to be fast, engaging and seamless.
As it currently is, Progressive Web App is set to no longer be a momentary movement, but a permanent shift in the way app-browsing experience is done. And among popular eCommerce development approaches, we feel Magento 2 PWA is the successor of the old and outdated shopping experience.
For Magento store owners looking for a cost-effective solution for their store’s PWA development, SimiCart is a Google-recognized Magento PWA solution provider. With over 8 years of experience, it is ready to turn your storefront into an engaging PWA within a week of development time.