How to Integrate Progressive Web App in Magento 2
To be successful in today’s business world, it’s crucial for Magento e-commerce stores to approach potential customers who had shopping habits on mobile devices. Although there are many solutions to appeal to mobile users such as create a responsive website, build a native app or hybrid app, develop Progressive Web App - PWA in Magento 2 seems to be the hottest trend. Let’s figure out what this technology can bring about and how we can apply it to existing Magento stores.
- What Is Progressive Web App (PWA)?
- Why Should We Apply PWA In Magento 2?
- What Are Available Methods To Convert A Magento 2 Website To PWA?
- How Much Does It Cost To Implement Magento Progressive Web App?
- Final Words
What Is Progressive Web App (PWA)?
All of the PWAs must assure three essential criteria: Fast (respond to user interactions nearly instantly), Reliable (be able to work under poor network conditions) and Engaging (deliver smooth app-like experience).
There are some major differences between a PWA and a native app:
- A native app can only run on a certain operating system (iOS or Android) while PWA is powered by mobile browsers and supported on both iOS and Android.
- You have to download the native apps from an app store; meanwhile, PWA can be installed quickly after adding to home screen.
- Users must access their app stores to get the latest version of the native apps but refreshing to get PWA updates.
- Since PWA runs right in a web browser, it is easier for store owners to share and promote the PWAs than native apps. PWAs work on-demand without taking up the device’s memory like the native apps
Why Should We Apply PWA In Magento 2?
Progressive Web App integration has been drawing huge attention from Magento users, especially when Magento 2 PWA Studio was released. Below are three primary motivations to convert your website to Magento PWA:
- Enhanced user experience on mobile devices: Getting the PWA on users’ mobile is effortless, no download required, but it’s just the door before they experience amazing functions like offline mode (access the app even when losing your Internet connectivity), background sync (postpone actions until the network connection is stable) and other app-like features.
- Lower cost of development & maintenance compared to native apps: For native apps, you will have to develop two separate apps (one for iOS, and another for Android), which leads to doubled time and effort for app development and maintenance. On the other hand, a single codebase is needed to create a PWA that can run regardless of the operating system.
- PWA in Magento 2 website is not simply a heated trend, it will be the future of the apps: Many Magento stores have adopted this technology and found their mobile user satisfaction significantly improved, and more to come!
What Are Available Methods To Convert A Magento 2 Website To PWA?
There are three options of Magento PWA integration for Magento store owners to consider:
1. Install Magento 2 PWA Extensions
This is the easiest way to add Progressive Web App features to your current Magento website. Now, there are many Magento 2 PWA extensions from different providers (both free and paid) for you to choose from.
Pros: The cost of Magento 2 PWA modules are affordable (from $0.00 to $150). Also, it takes just a few hours to install those extensions on your site.
Cons: In general, most of the PWA extensions for Magento 2 are not able to deliver full features of Progressive Web App. For some modules, they can just perform the “add-to-homescreen” and send push notifications while ignoring other essential features such as fast page load speed, offline mode, and background sync. You should not only read what the developers promote module, try their demo and you will see!
2. Your PWA Using Magento 2 PWA Studio
Magento introduced Magento 2.3 PWA Studio to help us develop, deploy and maintain a PWA storefront for Magento 2 websites.
Pros: Compared to available Magento 2 PWA extensions, developing your PWA from scratch using Magento 2 PWA Studio is a more comprehensive solution. It will replace your existing Magento storefront with PWA storefront that will be connected to your backend via API.
Cons: Magento 2 PWA Studio is just a set of tools to support you in PWA development. There is still a long way to go. You can take a look at Venia storefront (PWA Studio demo: https://veniapwa.com) that is immensely basic and lack of many Magento default features.
3. Convert Your Site To PWA Using Magento 2 PWA Theme
Magento 2 PWA Theme is an advanced PWA integration solution, which is based on Magento 2.3 PWA Studio, ReactJS and GraphQL. It includes two parts: an extensive PWA storefront and built-in API to connect this storefront and Magento backend.
Pros: Up to now, this seems to be the most potential solution to integrate PWA in Magento 2 website. Firstly, it can deliver all we expect from a PWA: lightning load speed (on both desktop & mobile devices), shortcut on the homescreen, splash page, fullscreen display, network independence, background sync, low data consumption, easy update, and so on. Secondly, its PWA storefront demo shows a much better version than the default Venia storefront with a complete layout for all pages of the site. As a result, it will reduce significant time for your PWA development.
Cons: Although this Magento 2 PWA Theme meets all criteria of Progressive Web App as well as provides a great storefront that looks like a normal Magento 2 frontend, you still need to customize the PWA storefront according to your design. Also, if your site has some custom functions or installs some third-party extensions, you will have to check their compatibility with the new storefront and update the API as well.
How Much Does It Cost To Implement PWA In Magento 2?
As we mentioned, there are three methods to convert Magento 2 websites to PWA, which are associated with different costs:
- Magento 2 PWA Extensions: You need to buy the module (up to $150) and pay for the installation service (or install and configure the extension yourself).
- Magento 2 PWA Studio: You have to hire PWA developers who have strong experience in both Magento 2 and PWA to build your PWA from scratch. It will take up to 6 months to develop your PWA storefront and new API using Magento 2 PWA Studio tools. You should prepare a generous budget for this integration.
- Magento 2 PWA Theme: Since both PWA storefront and core API were ready built, your cost will mainly depend on your level of customization. This cost would be more reasonable than the second solution and higher than the first solution but it deserves your investment.
Many experts believe that Progressive Web Apps will replace native apps one day. We can’t know it for sure but the substantial growth of PWA in the future is undeniable. That’s why integrating PWA in Magento 2 websites should be carried out as soon as possible.
Last but not least, we think that PWAs can be either an alternative or a supplement for native apps. If the store owners have a strong financial capability, developing both PWAs and native apps will help them to reach the largest number of potential users.