We have previously spoken about the growth of mobile ecommerce and the need for responsive websites. However, as technology is continuously changing, we decided to follow up with our Oporteo Consultant, Andy Pratt, to see what’s new for mobile commerce.
Q: What impact has mobile technology had on B2B businesses?
A: The rise of the smartphone has revolutionised the relationship between B2B businesses and their customers. Thanks to mobile responsive websites and apps, buyers are no longer tied to a desk going through product catalogues. They can conveniently research, find and buy products anywhere with an internet connection.
In fact, ecommerce sales via mobile are significantly on the rise as you can see from the graph below.
Q: Sounds great, is there a catch?
A: Such convenience comes with a cost for customers. As they demand more visual and responsive websites, it puts a strain on their connection, especially if they have a data allowance. If their network connection can’t handle it, the result is poor performance. This can range from slow load times and unresponsive navigation, to websites being completely inaccessible on a mobile device.
Q: What’s the impact for a wholesalers and distributors?
A: The consequences of a slow or unresponsive website can be dire for a wholesalers and distributors that rely on online catalogues and other online facilities to do business. For any website with ecommerce capabilities, high performance is crucial to engage and retain customers. Otherwise, businesses will haemorrhage sales opportunities.
Q: So, are apps a better option?
A: Unfortunately, no. Apps can be just as much as an inconvenience for customers as a slow-loading website. They rely heavily on customers being able to find the app and install it before they begin to use it. For businesses, apps require ongoing investments to keep it up to date, because if it isn’t kept up to date customers are not likely to use it. Apps can also use up a lot of space on a device, so customers are likely to delete them to make room for something more entertaining.
Q: What can businesses do to overcome these issues?
A: Luckily there is a solution that combines the best functionality of mobile responsive websites and apps. These are Progressive Web Apps.
Q: What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
A: A PWA has been described by Google as “A new way to deliver amazing user experiences on the web.” It uses the latest technologies to combine the best aspects of websites and mobile apps. Thus, ensuring customers always have a high-quality experience.
Q: How do PWAs work?
A: PWAs do not require the costly and time-consuming processes associated with developing an actual app. Instead, they’re accessed through your website URL but still get an app-like feel, including home screen icons, app-like use interactions and push notifications. They work across multiple devices such as desktops, tablets and mobiles. In addition, they are connectivity independent – so they work offline!
Q: What is the difference between an App and a PWA?
Traditional Mobile App
Progressive Web App
Downloaded from App Store
Accessible via URL
Minimum resource impact
Q: Do PWA’s offer any special benefits over Apps?
A: Most definitely. A PWA is a single platform that is responsive on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
Firstly, this reduces the complexity and number of systems you need, for example a separate website and a separate app. As a result, it removes the need for content duplication and additional maintenance, saving business time and money!
Secondly it simplifies your channels for customers as there is no need for them to visit the Appstore and download an app and then also keep checking websites for any additional information.
Is your website slowing down your business? Want to become more omnichannel? Contact us to find out how Progressive Web Apps could benefit your business!