Following the significant growth in the number of consumers accessing the internet via tablet and mobile devices, the way that we create and interact with websites has evolved. Today’s users want more immersive and engaging experiences driven by UX via their mobile devices.

In their latest 2.3 update, Magento announced the release of a suite of new features which we briefly touched upon in our last post Magento 2.3.0: What’s New. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at Magento’s new ‘headless solution’; PWA Studio – and how it delivers the on-the-go, app-like experiences that consumers look for today.

What is PWA Studio?

Originally introduced in 2015 by Alex Russell, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) aren’t a ground-breaking new concept.  Magento is leading the way with this new release, which marks a turning point for ‘headless’ front-end development.

Traditionally Magento store development relied on theme components defining the look and feel of the front-end store. This is heavily tied to Magento at a code level – and has often been restricted to specific Magento technologies for ease.  Magento’s PWA Studio takes a modern approach to this, allowing developers to create custom front-end experiences by utilising store front applications through JavaScript, whilst building the backend functionality separately.

By de-coupling the platform (back-end) from the storefront (front-end), GraphQL APIs relay information between the two; allowing separate development teams to deliver customised sites without the reliance on the front and back code.

Benefits of a Magento PWA implementation:

Performance Optimisation providing improved site speed and faster load times, even on slow networks.

Enhanced Security using HTTPS connections.

Responsive Design to create consistent experiences across all devices.

Compatibility to perform across all modern browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Offline Mode allowing site content to be cached to ensure site content is always available.

Mobile ‘Install’ enables PWA sites to be bookmarked to home screens and send Push Notifications.

Shared Content using the sites unique URL, allowing PWA sites to be shared through other apps and social media.

What are the Benefits of Implementing a PWA?

Site Longevity:

Taking a Headless approach to eCommerce development, PWAs provide merchants with the flexibility to change platform at a later date and not lose any of the look, feel and functionality of their existing website.

Integrated into the front-end, the site storefront can be detached and easily transferred onto an alternative back-end platform, providing merchants with the peace of mind that their website can adapt as their business grows.

Customer Reach:

PWA built sites allow merchants to deliver app-like experiences that are fast, engaging and can be accessed even when offline, syncing in the background and extending customer reach beyond the user’s Wi-Fi availability. PWAs can be saved to the users home screen (on Android) allowing for fast and repeat access without needing to type the URL in the browser.

Push Notifications:

PWAs support push notifications (on Android) in the browser through a quick and simple one-click opt-in via the PWA site. Push Notifications extend the opportunity for marketers to send real-time, personalised communications based on users interests and interactions.

Faster, Responsive Browsing:

Designed for faster interaction, and smoother scrolling and transitioning of pages, PWAs are engineered for fast loading and transitions – removing the need for pages to reload.

Simple Code Management:

Developers can build and manage all channels via one code base, deployment and app. By separating the front and back-end, developers can easily update the storefront, without needing to amend the backend code, lowering the total cost of ownership and providing a shorter time to market once development standards are established.

PWA Tool Suite:

PWA Studio provides a suite of purpose-built developer tools for fast prototyping, debugging and feedback, allowing them to quickly and flexibly deliver app-like mobile commerce experiences.

These core features include:

pwa-buildpack build and development tools for a Magento PWA.

peregrine UI components for a Magento PWA.

Venia storefront provides a snapshot of the design concept built using PWA Studio tools.

Progressive Web Apps are the Future

With more and more consumers reaching for their mobile device for their online retail fix, their expectations of what they want from a great website are increasing.  

In order to deliver the fast and slick user experience that consumers crave, businesses need to start building PWAs as part of their business growth strategies. With PWA Studio, merchants can improve their online mobile conversions by delivering fast, responsive and engaging, personalised user experiences.

For more information about Progressive Web Apps and integrations with Magento, please contact us today.