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Optimizing Customer Engagement using a Loyalty Club Application. Custom Headless PWA vs. Native Mobile Apps


Date 13/11/2023

1. Headless & Progressive Web App


1.1.    Custom Headless Architecture

Headless architecture involves decoupling the frontend and backend of a system, which allows developers to work on each part independently. This separation of concerns provides several advantages for loyalty app development, including:

  • Security: Decoupling the frontend and backend can enhance overall security by reducing the attack surface. Secure APIs facilitate communication between the frontend and backend, making it more challenging for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities.
  • Scalability: Separating the frontend and backend enables developers to scale each part independently, allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing user demands and expand our loyalty application as needed.
  • Performance: Decoupling the frontend and backend permits developers to optimize each part for better overall performance, leading to faster load times and an improved user experience.
  • Omnichannel Approach: Headless architecture supports an omnichannel approach, allowing content to be delivered seamlessly across various channels and devices without needing separate tools and processes. 

1.2.     About Progressive Web App (PWA):

Progressive Web Apps are web applications that combine the best features of native apps and traditional websites. They are served over HTTPS, ensuring data integrity and privacy, and can be accessed via a web browser while offering a user experience similar to that of a native app. 


2. PWA vs Native

Why companies choose to build PWAs:

  • Superior User Experience: PWAs provide a smooth, app-like experience that can enhance user satisfaction and user engagement.
  • Increased Engagement and Conversions: The improved user experience often leads to increased customer engagement and higher conversion rates.
  • Safe and secure: PWAs are served over HTTPS, ensuring data integrity and security.
  • Responsive design: PWAs adapt to various screen sizes and devices, ensuring a consistent user experience.
  • Discoverable and linkable: PWAs are easily discoverable and can be shared through a simple URL.
  • Easy installation and updates: Users can add PWAs to their device home screen, and updates are managed seamlessly.
  • Analytics: Integrate analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics) to track user behavior, engagement, and the effectiveness of your loyalty program.
  • No App Store Required: PWAs can be installed directly onto a user’s mobile devices without needing to go through an app store, simplifying the installation process. However, can be added/promoted on the app stores. 

How does a progressive web application benefit the user?

  • Speed: PWAs load quickly, offering a smoother and faster experience than traditional websites. This can help reduce bounce rates.
  • Easy installation and updates: Just like native mobile apps, PWAs can be installed on a user’s home screen, and updates are managed seamlessly.
  • Network independence: PWAs can function offline or on low-quality networks, making them more reliable.
  • Media capturing: PWAs can access device cameras for capturing images and videos.
  • User contact access: PWAs can access user contacts for enhanced functionality and user experience.
  • Geolocation access: PWAs can access geolocation data to provide location-based services.
  • Push notifications: PWAs support push notifications, allowing for real-time communication with users.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: PWAs can interact with Bluetooth-enabled devices for added functionality.

By contrast, native mobile apps are designed for specific devices and operating systems, which means they can provide an optimized user experience. In spite of this, there are a several major disadvantages:

  • Complex Development: Native app development can be a complex process, requiring specialized knowledge and tools for each platform like iOS or Android
  • Higher Costs: Building and maintaining a native app tends to be more expensive than PWA development since it often requires separate development for each mobile platform.
  • Time-Consuming: Creating a native app for multiple platforms is a time-consuming task compared to PWAs which are built once and work across platforms.
  • Frequent Updates: Native apps require frequent updates through app stores, which can be cumbersome for users.
  • App Store Approval: Getting an app approved on platforms like Apple's App Store can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Limited Accessibility: Native apps need to be downloaded and installed, whereas PWAs can be accessed instantly through a browser.
  • Storage Consumption: Native apps take up storage on a user's device, while PWAs usually consume less storage.
  • Distribution Control by App Stores: App stores control the distribution, visibility, and sometimes the features of native apps, leading to potential restrictions.
  • Reduced SEO Benefits: Native apps don't contribute to search engine rankings like PWAs which are web-based.
  • Platform Dependency: If a platform updates or changes its policies, native apps may need significant adjustments, whereas PWAs, being web-based, have fewer dependencies on platform-specific rules.

By choosing custom Headless or PWA solutions, businesses can deliver high-quality, engaging user experiences while reducing development costs and resource consumption.

3. PWA Statistics: Customer Engagement

According to Smashing Ideas, businesses that transition to PWAs often experience a notable boost in engagement, ranging from a minimum of 20% to as high as 250%. This substantial difference in engagement levels often translates into increased revenue for these businesses.

Several companies have observed improved customer engagement after implementing PWAs, including:

  • Lancôme saw a significant increase of 53% in mobile sessions
  • Forbes - Registered a 43% increase in sessions per user, a 20% increment in ad viewability, and 100% more engagement.
  • Pinterest - Registered a massive 40% boost in total time spent, a 44% hike in user-generated ad revenue, and 60% more core engagement.
  • BMW - Experienced a 30% increase in CTR to their sales site, 4X faster load times, 50% growth in mobile users, and 49% more organic traffic.
  • Alibaba - Improved its mobile web conversions by 76%, seeing 14% more active users on iOS and 30% Android users.
  • Twitter experienced 65% increase in pages per session, 75% increase in Tweets sent, and 20% decrease in bounce rate.
  • Trivago had an impressive 150% increase in repeat visits
  • OLX witnessed a staggering 250% rise in repeat visits.
  • Airbnb observed a 25% improvement in mobile web conversions and achieved a 2.5x performance improvement, with the average load time reduced to nearly 5.5 seconds.

These statistics highlight the effectiveness of PWAs in engaging users. Considering the fact that a significant portion of users (65%) do not download any apps on their phones, PWAs provide a smooth and convenient way for users to access their favorite websites. This enhanced user experience leads to higher engagement levels with PWAs. In the long run, this increased engagement translates into higher revenue for businesses, as PWAs prove to be a valuable tool in driving business success.

4. Conclusion

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve by adopting innovative solutions like custom Headless and PWA architectures. By embracing these technologies, companies can benefit from improved security, scalability, performance, and resource efficiency compared to traditional mobile app development. Custom Headless and PWAs represent the future of mobile app development.

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