Thankfully, there is a new kid in town, “Progressive Web App” (PWA). It’s an app that is accessed through a browser and offers app-like experiences to your users on any device or platform, also for online payments.


Rightfully, many retailers are questioning the value of a native app for their business. They are expensive to develop and are a pain to discover and download. The only way to distribute them is via app stores. Users then have to follow 4 to 6 steps to download a single app. This is just too much asked for and inconvenient. PWAs overcome the issues with native apps while bringing in the best features of browsers on top.

pwa example

With a PWA you can maintain stickiness by utilizing push notifications, and have easy access to your clients via your app icon on their home screen. Along with the easy discovery, increased security and speedy download times that only browsers can offer, they substitute the need for a native app and allow for a single point of access to your customers, instead of both a mobile website and a dedicated app.

A historical concern with native apps has also been their comparatively weak security features. Many have noted the overuse of cookies, improperly cached data and poorly protected access to phone data and functions. PWAs, on the other hand, are often able to function without access to this data. Because PWAs are served via HTTPS, all data will automatically undergo end-to-end encryption. Dedicated browser APIs also mean that certain processes, such as payment transactions or auto-login, are made more secure.

E-commerce PWAs: Checkout and payment

For ecommerce PWAs the checkout and payment process should be an area for optimization.To reduce friction and to speed up checkout, you may consider to turn to address auto-complete, one-page checkout or one-click purchase features and streamline the client experience. Using these checkout enhancements, you can create a fast and seamless path for your client to complete the order.

Payment request is a feature to optimize PWAs for quick task completions. The API by Google – Payment request – promises to enhance the payment experience for your clients. It eliminates a checkout form by combining shipping, billing information and payment methods into one step. The standard enables fast and seamless payment processing using a native UI. Payment request makes it easy to integrate any type of payment method that you require for your clients.

In summary:

  • Costs. PWAs don’t need to be built several times to work on different platforms or devices, and any maintenance or feature updates don’t need to be performed three times – build once, deploy instantly, everywhere.
  • Discoverability. A great advantage lies in the fact that the app is shared with you by a link and can be called up with a browser. Search engines can also index these links. PWAs can be found in Google search because they are completely indexable.
  • Brand engagement. Users will access a PWA from your mobile website. Since PWAs require a URL to discover, it is increasingly likely that a user will be already engaged with your brand. PWAs allow for push notifications, a powerful feature for targeted marketing.
  • Easy access. No app store is required for the operation of the app, and the user doesn’t have to install anything because the app functions with the browser. Also, you get rid of the updates required through an app store from time to time, and PWAs run offline as well.
  • Speed. PWAs load immediately, no need to look for it in an app store, no need to register or wait for it to download. You can engage with a PWA instantly, it requires a significantly shorter loading time than native apps, and users can easily switch between apps and share the contents of the PWA.
  • For E-commerce PWAs: Payment request could enhance the shopper experience.
  • Security. Connections with PWAs are SSL encrypted and are thus more secure than web connections from traditional native apps.
  • Time-to-Market. Businesses can get their apps to market much faster because they are not awaiting approval from store platforms, and they can be made available instantly. This also goes for continuous delivery of maintenance updates: There are no application store approval periods, and no need for the user to wait to get their hands on the app, since PWAs are installed on their device by simply adding the icon to the home page.

With the example of AliExpress, increasing sale conversion rates by 104% with their PWA, you could consider to have one for yourself.