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Why Progressive Web Apps Will Be the Future of Omnichannel Retail

3 Min Read
David Yates

According to research by Google, 90 percent of customers who use multiple devices (laptop, desktop, mobile, etc.) will, on average, switch between three screens to complete a task. And this multichannel behavior is not limited to the online realm: 45 percent of in-store shoppers expect sales associates to be knowledgeable about online-only products.

As a merchant, you need to be everywhere. The challenge for any ecommerce manager or marketer is to offer an immersive, personalized experience that can connect with customers at every step of their shopping journey, whether it’s in a store, on their phone, or at a desktop. For a time, building an omnichannel strategy has been a complex endeavor with a lot of moving parts. But the latest technology is finally getting merchants closer to realizing the goal of converting on any channel.

Omnichannel Strategy

PWAs and the promise of mobile

 

For the better part of a decade, we’ve been told that the future is mobile. The prophecy has been fulfilled: a few weeks ago, Google announced that it began indexing and ranking pages based on the mobile versions of sites rather than the desktop ones.

Nonetheless, tech entrepreneur Stephan Schambach argues that retailers haven’t come close to achieve a mobile mindset. Instead of mobile first, Schambach advocates for a mobile-up approach. Brands shouldn’t just optimize experiences for mobile, but rethink their whole ecosystem to get closer to their customers, increase customer loyalty, and build not just communities, but cults: opportunities that impact in-store experiences as much as they affect online experiences.

Recent mobile-up efforts have been largely accomplished through apps. For instance, the Barneys app uses notifications and location beacons to push editorial content and alert customers that an item they left in their online cart is available at a nearby store. If you’ve been eyeing a certain coat while scanning through your phone on the subway, when you walk in front of the store, you might get a push notification, telling you the coat is in stock and on sale.

It’s like a sales associate tapping you on the shoulder.

“The most important touchpoint is the phone,” Matthew Woolsey, Barneys VP of digital, told Digiday. “We’re proud of the way we’ve used our customer data online and offline to be fluidly connected — it allows for a personalized, consistent experience in store and online.”

While apps get us closer to that prized 1:1 interaction between users and brands, the challenge is in convincing people to download your app. Many app experiences are unsatisfactory, and not worth the storage space they require.

But Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, are changing this.

 

PWAs examples

How PWAs can work for you

 

The reason so many people are buzzing about Progressive Web Apps is they deliver a highly personalized, app-like experience to users, without the need to install, sign in, update, etc. PWAs work for every user from their very first visit, regardless of the device and browser they are using. Being “progressive”, they provide access to the basic content and functionality of the site, while offering an enhanced experience for browsers and devices supporting additional features.

Functionality such as location awareness and push notifications can now be built into the architecture of the website, allowing brands to more directly and precisely engage with customers with the right message at the right time.

So, how can you take advantage of this elevated experience?

 

Because PWAs represent such promise and will soon be widely adopted in the industry, it’s only a matter of time before all ecommerce platforms will fully enable and support them.

But in the fast-moving world of commerce, waiting isn’t really the best strategy.

If you want to bring your ecommerce store to the next level and mobile up, partner with an agency that understands what you’re looking for and can bring you closer to realizing the full potential of your omnichannel marketing efforts.
At Corra, we understand how PWAs will transform the ecommerce marketplace and impact your business. To be one of the first to take advantage of this technology, contact us today.

David Yates

David Yates is UX Lead & Omnichannel Strategist at Corra. With a multi-disciplinary background, David focuses on concepting and designing services, products and applications across installations, interactive signage, mobile, social and web. His passion is to extend and translate human experience, emotion, community and commerce into the digital world.

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Corra is the global digital agency that lifestyle brands trust to accelerate their growth. Working at the intersection of commerce technology and customer experience strategy, we deliver complex digital solutions to leading B2C and B2B retailers.

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