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Demystifying Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Apps

Mobile Commerce
Mobile Strategy
E-commerce Strategy

Any good retailer should always be on the lookout for new opportunities – particularly when it involves delivering an enhanced experience for your customers.

In today’s fast-paced world of mobile shopping, providing a superior mobile experience for potential shoppers could prove the difference between them splashing out on your website instead of your competitor’s site.

Speed and efficiency are crucial factors in the world of mobile ecommerce. This is where mobile ecommerce (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) can make such a difference.

What are AMPs?

Essentially, an AMP is a stripped down version of a webpage that loads quickly – usually taking less than a second to load. They don’t have any Javascript and have a maximum of 50kb of CSS styles.

Despite the lack of Javascript, there is an AMP library. This is packed full of web components – the main three of which are AMP Html, AMP js and AMP Cache.

The real beauty of an AMP is that no advanced skills are required to create one. Retailers can therefore create quickly accessible, intuitive pages that showcase their offering with ease via mobile channels.

What are PWAs?

PWAs are web applications that are made to look like native apps. They do use some native capabilities like push notifications, offline mode via caching and background sync.

What advantages does a PWA have over a native application? From a retailer’s perspective, a PWA can be discovered via a normal web search, rather than within an app store. This has seen many retailers see big changes, as outlined on the PWA Stats site. A notable example is Pinterest, who rebuilt their mobile site as a PWA and saw core engagements grow by 60%. Additionally, time spent on site and user-generated ad revenue both respectively increased by around 40%.

PWAs are also easier to update and reflect the brand more accurately.

What benefits can AMPs and PWAs bring to your business?

AMPs can help lower bounce rates thanks to their reduced loading time and the overall performance improvements they bring to a page.

PWAs also progressively add new capabilities to a site. These include background sync and push notifications.

Additionally, if the browser supports app manifest, a PWA can also be ‘installed’ to a phone’s home screen the way a normal app would be. This provides quick access to the PWA for users.

The first time a PWA site is accessed, it will generally be slowed as the content is not cached. The service worker will then enable intelligent caching and background content updating. That means that after the first visit, PWA sites can be loaded quickly, meaning lower bounce rates and an enhanced user experience.

Furthermore, an AMP can be upgraded to PWA. This is possible if the visitor browser supports service workers and app manifest. More info on this is available from AMP project.

Take a look at this AMP used by The Guardian, and also this PWA from Ali Baba, to help you get a grasp of what each brings to the table. Additionally, this PWA site is also a great resource when it comes to seeing what’s being created and launched in this space.

Can AMPs and PWAs work with Magento and Wordpress?

If your ecommerce website runs on the Magento or WordPress platforms, then good news! There are modules and extensions for PWAs and AMPs for both Magento and WordPress.

There is an official WordPress plugin which can help make the blogging experience faster.

For Magento, PWA Studio can become the default front-end system in the future. Take a look at this article for more info.

If you think AMPs or PWAs could suit your business, get in touch with the Williams Commerce team. We’d be delighted to discuss the options available and help you get the most out of the opportunities AMPs and PWAs present.