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AliExpress upgrade into a Progressive Web App

Although mobile commerce is growing three times faster than e-commerce, Aliexpress has always seen the mobile web as a platform to transition a non-app user to an app user. However, this strategy did not work very well and not everyone download their app. Getting the users to install and re-engaged with the native app was challenging and onerous.

In this article, we analyze the case of this giant to understand a little more about its challenges, metrics and solutions.

Web mobile challenges

Aliexpress knows that the main channel of discovery on its site is the web mobile, but always found it difficult to bring a fast and immersive experience like the one in your mobile app.

The global online retail marketplace is now a popular e-commerce site in America, Russia, and Brazil and has sought a way to provide all its web users with the benefits of its application, such as performance, ability to work offline and reengage users . They have created a Progressive Web App (m.aliexpress.com) to combine the best of your application with the broad reach of the web.

AliExpress Progressive Web App

After implementing its PWA, the conversion rates from AliExpress to new users increased by 104%. This mobile web investment also resulted in conversion rates on Safari increasing by 82%. The new strategy also provided a much better experience. Users now visit twice as many pages per session and the time spent per session has increased by an average of 74% on all browsers.

“One of the reasons we built a PWA was to be able to invest in the web experience across all browsers. This is a sign of a great investment and will continue to pay for itself as browsers evolve,” says Lijun Chen, director of AliExpress mobile team.

Lowlights

We love the Lighthouse Chrome extension and always use it to test Progressive Web Apps.

For our surprise the Aliexpress PWA didn’t get the best score on the Lighthouse audit. Let’s analyze the results.

First we have tested the english version of the AliExpress mobile site and the result was very bad. The user will not be prompted to install the Progressive Web App because there is a request that is not being done in a secure way.

AliExpress (English version) – The user will not be prompted to install the Progressive Web App

We have made some more tests in other languages versions, this time the result was a little better and the installation banner was displayed, but the AliExpress PWA is not configured for a custom splash screen.

AliExpress Lighthouse Result (Portuguese version)

Another downside was displaying the native app install banner at the same time as the PWA installation banner. This makes the experience confusing.

Conclusion

The AliExpress PWA needs some refinements, as we can see in our tests. It is very important to reach the maximum score in Lighthouse results to ensure the best mobile experience for your users.

Source: https://developers.google.com/web/showcase/2016/aliexpress