How to Convert Your Shopify Store to PWA for Better Performances?


software developer

Sergii Ukolov, Software Developer in Multi-Programming Solutions

Progressive Web Application (PWA) is an innovative technology combining a web page and a program for mobile gadgets. The application site was first announced at the WSE Developers Conference in 2016 and soon gained popularity due to its undeniable benefits for users. 

Today all popular browsers can run PWA. The app is installable on any gadget, operates even offline, and has the features of native software. Progressive web application languages include JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. More and more entrepreneurs choose PWA for their Shopify store optimization. Web apps are low-costed, multifunctional, and successfully attract new leads.

A hybrid application allows you to use two channels of information transfer effectively: via website and app. PWA works similarly to standard Internet pages in the desktop version. But when run from a mobile phone, it creates a site’s cache, accelerating clients’ interaction with the resource.

In this article, we’ll discuss, is it worth turning your Shopify online store into the PWA and what are the benefits of such a decision. Let's learn the advantages of PWA in e-commerce and define milestones in Shopify's progressive web application development.

Table of Contents

How PWAs can improve your Shopify store?

Turn Your Shopify Store Into a PWA

The best examples of using PWA in 2022

Progressive Web App FAQ


Progressive apps are a helpful tool to achieve the primary goal of e-commerce - consumers’ attracting and increasing their interest in your site. With a PWA, clients can navigate your shop more easily and longer. In this case, the probability of making purchases as well as your income will also progress.

Shopify’s customers can install an app with a single click on the web page. A store icon will appear on the user’s smartphone home screen, providing quick access to online shopping. 

Why do you need a PWA if you already have a web page? In the progressive web app vs. web app battle, the first one wins. Unlike a web page, the innovative application can function offline, send notifications to clients and work faster. In addition, PWAs have a friendly interface, are easily accessible, and integrate with gadget functions (contacts, camera, geolocation, etc.).

So, progressive web app vs. native. Let’s compare them:

  1. The hybrid code can work both for websites and mobile phones.
  2. PWAs are viewed by search engines.
  3. Native apps take up more space on your phone and run slower.
  4. PWAs are installed from the site, not App Store or Google Play like native ones.
  5. Progressive web application development costs cheaper than a native one.

What benefits will an e-commerce entrepreneur gain by using an innovative sales approach? Let’s say you are willing to start a print business. Then, switching to PWA can significantly contribute to the development of your Shopify sales:

  1. Improve online store performance. Your web pages will load faster, allowing buyers to view products without a long wait. After the first visit, PWA saves the store data in the smartphone cache. Thus, large files will not be re-downloaded but displayed to the user immediately.
  2. Increase brand awareness. By making your app memorable, you will surely be able to increase your popularity and income. A store’s icon on the phone’s screen makes it easy for the customers to remember your company and purchase more often.
  3. Ensure constant communication with the client. PWA will send alerts about the order’s status or items in the cart and notify users of new arrivals and promotions. In addition, the offline mode will allow clients to choose a product for future purchases even with no Internet connection.
  4. Stay one step ahead of competitors. Having decided to create a progressive web app for the Shopify store, you start a completely new business journey. Now it’s the right time to apply all your creativity and develop something unique that sets you apart from all the competitors and helps to establish close relationships with your customers.
  5. Save money on advertising. Sending app notifications will help you reduce the marketing expenses on your Shopify store.
  6. Re-engage the buyer. Constant customer communication will allow you to acquire a regular audience and increase sales.

With a progressive web app, Shopify online stores can effortlessly establish a presence on users' smartphones. A client can install PWA simply from the online shop page. They don't need to visit a software store.

So the pros of using PWA are apparent. It remains to figure out how to convert an existing Shopify store into progressive technology.

How to make a progressive web app? You can add PWA to the online store by enlisting the MPS developer's support. Here you can purchase a ready-made solution for e-commerce goals and any unique case study.

The owners can do the conversion on their own, having learned some basic requirements for creating one of the successful Shopify PWA examples:

  • Keep your store secure. Now, after all these events like the pandemics, everyone is sitting at home boring, and the hackers’ activity is higher than anytime before, the business security is the priority. Use HTTPS with a valid SSL certificate to safely transfer information and make payments.
  • Create Web Manifest. This JSON file contains basic data about your PWA: store name, app short title, startup page, icon, language, author, version, background color, and other custom information. It is created and filled in the site’s root folder. A properly drafted Manifest will generate an “Add to home screen” link. This button will install the application on customers’ smartphones right from the store page.
  • Describe Service Worker. This JavaScript file will make the app operate offline: cache data, retrieve information from storage, process orders, and send notes. You need to check if the browser supports Service Worker in your site's JSON file, register it, and generate the code. You can evaluate the correctness of the settings in Chrome Dev Tools - Application - Service Worker. Here you can check if the app displays content offline.

Assess the application performance with the Audit tab in Chrome DevTools. The resulting report gives detailed insight into ​​the app’s speed and further optimization. 

With a bit of knowledge and passion, you can build progressive web apps by yourself. 

PWA, as a fairly new development, is still gaining popularity. Right now, online store owners can get more benefits from switching to advanced applications: grow the target audience, and establish regular interaction with customers before competitors.

Many world-famous companies have increased their sales by converting websites to PWA. Those who doubt the need to apply advanced technologies should get acquainted with the best progressive web apps examples in 2022: 

  1. Spotify, after launching PWA in 2019, increased website traffic by 30%, and the replays number grew by 40% per month.
  2. Telegram has grown its active users by an impressive 175% per month since 2018. Thanks to easy access to the messenger and processing speed, customer retention has increased by 50%.
  3. AliExpress. The company was able to confidently expand sales to 230 countries around the world by implementing PWA. The number of subscribers increased by 104%, and visitors began to view more than 2 pages in one session by 2020.
  4. BMW has switched to progressive apps to quickly provide its clients with the latest news and improve navigation on the company's website. This wise decision increased the site's new visitor growth by 50%. Users were able to view car catalog pages 4 times faster.
  5. Washington Post. A major news portal with over 60 million readers grew its page loading speed by 90% and returned 23% of subscribers within a week of the PWA launch.

Your online store can also drastically reduce content loading times, give easy access to Shopify store listings, and provide users with up-to-date information. Improving customer service will increase the conversion rate and top-up sales.

PWA to increase online sales

Are progressive web apps dead in 2022?

The announcement of new criteria for the PAW functioning gave rise to rumors that some applications will not work in Chrome from April 2021. The issue of offline screens has become a stumbling block for browser developers and application users. However, the solution was later put on hold after receiving public feedback.

Do all browsers support PWA? 

In most cases, yes. But still, there are exceptions. So Desktop Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Facebook Mobile Browser do not support progressive web apps in 2022. Also, there are several limitations in the Safari browser. So, the application does not have a full-screen mode, and it is impossible to send push messages.

Will the appearance of the Shopify store change after the introduction of PWA?

No, the PWA creation doesn’t touch your shop’s interface or its functioning. So Shopify’s page will look the same when loading from a PC, laptop, or mobile gadget. It’s just the same good old Shopify store but on the other platform - the one that runs fast, saves time and increases CX.

How does the mobile site differ from the PWA?

The progressive application is not much different from the mobile page’s view. But here comes the main advantage of PWA. If buyers have no network, they can still browse your online shop items from the app. This operation can’t be done on the website from a browser. Instead, a customer will face an Internet connection error.

Progressive Web Apps are an excellent innovation for Shopify store owners who want to make their business more profitable. Here, we mean improving the customer experience and site performance along with promoting your brand. If you are the one who wants to make your shop customers’ lives easier and help them save more time, then this is the right decision for you.

Shopify PWA will enhance your online sales attainments in 2022 by giving clients offline access to your store's products, setting communication via push notifications, and encouraging users to make a purchase. The world's best practices in progressive application usage confirm sales growth and an increasing number of real buyers relative to potential ones.

PWAJuly 19, 2022
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