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How a Shopify PWA can Improve your Store on Mobile Devices

Progressive Web Apps were one of the most talked-about technologies in the famous Google I/O event, which occurred in May of 2017.

Since the launch of the Web App by Flipkart in 2016, this category of apps has been widely adopted and improved, and it seems that the future will be one of increasingly light and sophisticated apps.

Great! More storage space for selfies 😎

PWA & Mobile Commerce

Jokes aside, this new app category makes a lot of sense for a mobile experience in e-commerce, as we know how expensive and laborious it is to acquire and engage customers in native apps (the data doesn’t lie, see below). Not to mention the hard work of gaining approval and keeping apps up-to-date on the various app stores.

People suffer from app fatigue

There are ~5.6M apps available and consumers today are overwhelmed with an increasingly crowded app ecosystem.

  1. 65% of people tend not to download or engage with traditional apps.
  2. 50% of all native app downloads are made by only 7% of people with a smartphone.
  3. Discovering new apps is increasingly difficult.

Source: Mobile Developer Population Forecast 2016-2020, VisionMobile, comScore, FB, Statistica 

How does a PWA work?

The best way to understand what a PWA is, is by using one. Open Twitter Lite on your Android device with Google Chrome and browse a little. Did you notice that the website has an app-like experience? If you keep browsing for a few seconds, you probably noticed the famous installation banner. Go ahead and install it, the process is instantaneous!

You may be wondering: Can I remove the native Twitter app? Yes, this version occupies practically no space on your device and is always up to date. 😱

Service Workers (Nerd stuff)

While browsing Twitter, you may have also noticed that the browsing experience is extraordinarily fast. This fantastic performance is achieved primarily by using a Service Worker which, behind the scenes, intelligently caches the essential features for running the web app and enables offline browsing. This is a minimum requirement for Google Chrome to display the PWA installation banner.

Another factor that greatly helps performance is the use of Ajax requests.

Using Ajax in Shopify Themes

Many merchants ask us about using Ajax in Shopify themes as this technology makes browsing a lot easier.

The good news is that Shopify has a complete guide on with their Ajax API. Your developer can also use Cart.js, which is a very small open source Javascript library that makes the addition of the powerful Ajax cart functionality a breeze.

Tip: Talk to the Shopify experts to help you to tweak the performance of your theme, they’re the professionals we suggest for this type of work.

Shopify PWA

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably now on-board with this technology being a game changer. The good news is that your Shopify can now have a more significant, long-lasting presence on your customer’s devices.

Litefy is the world’s first app that turns any Shopify Store into a Progressive Web App with just a few clicks.

It’s available on Shopify’s app store and has a 7 day free trial in case you want to test it. Click here to go to the app store.


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