Progressive Web Apps or “going headless” – when is the right time to make the switch?
The popularity of mobile e-commerce is on the rise. According to PayPal’s 2021 eCommerce Index, 82% of Australians now shop on mobile devices. Google searches are also predominantly mobile, which has prompted Google to switch to mobile-focused indexing; meaning it now ranks websites based on their index of mobile versions rather than desktop versions.
With consumers looking for a seamless mobile shopping experience and a fast mobile site that improves SEO rankings, retailers simply cannot afford slow and outdated mobile e-commerce sites.
However, improving the mobile shopping experience can be a costly, complicated, and time-consuming exercise. Gone are the days when simply reducing image sizes and minimizing code could adequately improve page speeds – for high traffic sites with big sales, the best way to really streamline mobile e-commerce is with a headless Progressive Web Application (PWA) solution. Used by some of the leading e-commerce sites including Coles, Officeworks, and Kogan, PWAs are the inevitable future of mobile retail. The trick is knowing when to make the switch.
The need for speed
Studies have consistently shown that a fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate. According to Portent’s research, an e-commerce site that loads in one second has a two and a half times higher conversion rate than one that loads in five seconds. Which, when translated into sales numbers, could add up to tens of thousands of dollars a day in missed revenue. In addition to prioritizing mobile-friendly sites with high SEO rankings, Google research found that website speed also improves customer defense. Research has shown that a reduction of just three seconds in page load speed increases the likelihood that consumers will recommend a site to friends and family by 10%, while a six-second reduction in page load makes them 26% more likely to recommend a site. to place. Faster page load speeds not only improve conversion and boost SEO, but also increase word of mouth marketing, which can be invaluable for retail businesses.
Go headless with PWA
The reason traditional websites tend to run so slowly is because the front-end (what buyers see) is created and delivered by the back-end application (the e-commerce engine). On busy retail sites, the back-end handles inventory updates, payment transactions, and liaises with the warehouse. These operations affect the front-end, frustrate customers, and ultimately decrease sales. Moreover, these traditional e-commerce applications also use data front-end technology.
Making a mobile e-commerce site “headless” solves this problem if implemented correctly. The approach separates the front-end application from the main application, allowing the whole experience to run at a faster speed. By powering the consumer side with Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) regardless of your technology choice, a PWA provides shoppers with a super-fast mobile shopping experience, even in the face of slow and spotty network connections due to the application. largely operating on the user’s device.
Black Milk Clothing
Australian fashion brand BlackMilk Clothing recently transformed its mobile e-commerce site with a PWA solution from Balance Internet. The new mobile solution was driven by the need to improve the brand’s mobile commerce experience, given that 80% of its traffic and 65% of its sales came from mobile e-commerce.
Being a very unique brand with a cult following, BlackMilk needed to increase its mobile speed to accommodate large increases in traffic following new releases and exclusive collaborations – such as the BlackMilk Pokémon collection that sold out in the first hour, and The Legend of Zelda’s Fall which resulted in four thousand five hundred visitors shopping on the site at once. By implementing a “headless commerce” approach, designing a high-performance PWA solution with an entirely new theme that would resonate with BlackMilk’s customer base, the PWA solution seamlessly supports the site’s extraordinary traffic volumes, making changes to live product data in the backend, while simultaneously processing orders in the front end. Ultimately, by switching to a PWA, BlackMilk was able to reduce product page load speeds by almost six seconds, reduce category load speeds by up to two seconds, and increase transaction count by 10%. .
A question of when, not if
As with all new technology, early adopters and tech giants were the first to use PWAs. But now, as technology improves and becomes more accessible, more and more retailers are considering adding a PWA migration to the roadmap.
Any retailer who has ever refreshed their maps website should definitely make sure that PWA is considered a core part of that upgrade. And it goes without saying that any new player in the market should build with PWA from the start. For everyone else, it’s probably something that will have to happen in the next two to five years or so. The demand for a seamless mobile shopping experience will only grow; and the more online retailers switch to PWAs, the more customers will expect this quality of experience.
For this reason, we anticipate that headless PWA solutions will soon become the norm for mobile e-commerce; so it’s just a question of when, not if, retailers should make the switch. It’s not just me and the Libra team supporting this view, Google is also evaluating its Ad Quality Score and SEO scores based on this technology.
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