Will Progressive Web Applications Make App Stores Obsolete?

Responsive websites were traditional developers’ first solution for getting their application or service into the mobile space. Although they couldn’t tap into the functionality that a native iOS or Android application could, they could compete with app store solutions in other ways. Namely, they were indexed, searchable, and didn’t require any downloads or updates to use.

According to a survey of 31 countries by Deloitte, 82% of consumers have access to a smartphone or smart device. Due to the highly discoverable nature of responsive applications, they give organizations an advantage over native applications when aiming for maximum consumer reach. But what if web applications could do both?

The Developer's Manual of the Betty Blocks Platform

Responsive evolved

Thanks to the updated HTML, JavaScript, and CSS capabilities of modern browsers, web applications now have access to mobile-like functionality for the very first time without needing native programming languages to implement them. These progressive web apps (PWAs) serve more engaging, app-like experiences in the same searchable format as a responsive application. 

In reality, PWAs are built using the exact same tools that web developers are already familiar with. That means whatever strategy works for you now will continue to work. It also means that PWAs are fully RAD-ready so platforms like Betty Blocks, that can implement HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, will help you take advantage of PWAs way ahead of the competition. 

The value of progression

The first things that come to mind when talking about mobile functionality might be voice, video, GPS, or touch, but there’s a lot more available than the surface level benefits. Depending on what your needs are, your organization can drive business value from ten main benefits beyond the hardware of smartphones and tablets.

  1. Faster load times
  2. SEO indexing (easily findable)
  3. App-like functionality
  4. Multi-channel ready (desktop, smartphone, and tablet)
  5. Secured through HTTPS encryption
  6. Reduced development costs (compared to native mobile)
  7. Improved user experiences
  8. Increased engagement
  9. Increased conversions with better experiences
  10. Supported by RAD platforms like Betty Blocks

StarDust testing has a great roundup of the results seen across market leaders, like Trivago’s 150% engagement increase and AliExpress’ 104% conversion rate boost. 


Where does this leave native apps

With everything that a PWA can do, is native development still a priority for organizations who want to conquer the mobile market? Honestly, if you have a team in place capable of developing a native application, yes. If you don’t? Then a PWA is going to cover all your needs and more without the added cost of hiring or outsourcing mobile developers. 

The only downside is that a select group of consumers may want an app over a website. If that is your target audience then you won’t be findable where your audience is looking. Still, the audience you do reach gets a much higher quality service and you’ll have some great tools to keep them engaged. 

Keep your users in the loop

One particular feature available to PWAs deserves a specific mention. Push notifications when used correctly are extremely versatile. Certainly, they’re useful to remind consumers of events or services but notifications can also play a major role in daily business operations. 

According to the manufacturing company Veismann, 75% of employee app users read push notifications within one hour, compared to the average 22% that read company-wide emails. The potential use-cases of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Daily task reminders
  • Shift changes
  • Employee recognition (reward programs)
  • Open tickets or workflows
  • Emergency notifications  

Rapid progression with no-code

Progressive web applications are rocket fuel for multi-channel business strategies, offering native experiences without the hassle of native programming. With rapid application development like Betty Blocks though, you can develop PWAs even faster by not using traditional code at all. 

Although a no-code platform at heart, Betty Blocks is fully capable of implementing all the core languages required to build a high-quality PWA. HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript can be built into front-end pages by experienced developers in just minutes, deployed and ready to go instantly.

The Developer's Manual of the Betty Blocks Platform