Wordpress Tutorial

Progressive Web App Building Made Simple: A Look at PWACommerce


With mobile use on the rise, and people loving the thought of everything being easily accessible on their smartphones, it makes sense that you would consider turning your eCommerce shop into a mobile app.

After all, mobile apps help build brand recognition since consumers see apps every time they get on their phone.

In addition, they are more user-friendly than websites, push notifications boast a 17%-20% click through rate, and they make social media sharing easier than ever.

In the past, we have shared with you how to build your own Android/iOS app for your existing WordPress website and have emphasized the importance of small businesses being mobile-friendly.

However, for those looking for reliable and fast way to turn your eCommerce shop into a customized and fully progressive web app, look no further than PWACommerce.

What is PWACommerce?

PWACommerce - Progressive Web App Plugin

PWACommerce is a WordPress plugin designed to transform your WooCommerce shop into a fully functioning progressive mobile web application.

Supporting both Android and iOS devices, as well as boasting compatibility with Safari, Google Chrome, and the Android-Native browsers, PWACommerce lets you create a progressive mobile app for customers to use while on-the-go.

Its clean and simple interface makes creating the app a piece of cake. It also provides a natural user experience. All customers need to do is access your website via their mobile browsers to see your online store’s web app.

In fact, users can even add your progressive web app to their home screen and start interacting right away.

Additional features include:

  • Web Notifications. Engage customers even after they leave your app with push notifications. Display special deals, exclusive discounts, or reveal new products and boost user engagement instantly.
  • Offline Mode. The difference between a traditional website and a mobile app, besides the fact that mobile apps are super responsive, is the fact that mobile apps are accessible offline. This means that your consumers can access your online store even in areas with no service.
  • Modern JavaScript Stack. JavaScript Frameworks like Angular/Ionic and ReactJS are utilized to deliver the most optimal user experience possible.
  • Responsive Design. Your mobile app is sure to render seamlessly every time on any size screen or type of mobile device. Moreover, it adjusts to both portrait and landscape orientations.
  • Google Analytics Integration. Easily implement your Google Analytics account into your mobile app for tracking user behavior and the success of your online store.

Lastly, with its minimal framework, creating a progressive mobile app of your WooCommerce shop is perfect for all skill levels.

Not to mention the fact that your products will look amazing, even on the tiniest mobile screen.

PWACommerce’s Main Features

Before jumping into what PWACommerce has to offer by way of features, take a quick look at how to install and activate this free WordPress plugin on your website.

Start by searching for PWACommerce after navigating to Plugins > Add New.

PWACommerce - Installation and Activation

Next, select Install Now and Activate. You are now ready to enable your progressive mobile app. Simply enter your WooCommerce API keys into the PWACommerce settings section.

PWACommerce - WooCommerce API Keys and Icon

Now, on to the main features.

Not Just a Web App – But a Progressive Web App

PWACommerce doesn’t just help you build a web app of your WooCommerce store. Rather, it aids you in enabling a progressive web app for the ultimate user experience.

The developers of PWACommerce state that progressive web apps must have the following features:

  • The ability to work offline or in areas of poor service
  • An Add to Homescreen or Web App Install Banner function
  • Web notification capability, even when the browser is closed
  • HTTPS implementation
  • An app shell architecture instantly loading the app on your user’s screen

Lastly, the most important feature of a progressive web app is the fact that when opened, your shop will resemble a native application look and feel. Yet, it is viewable within the browser. In addition, it will function much like a native web app.

In short, a progressive web app, which is exactly what PWACommerce creates for your customers, is the perfect mix between Web technology and native app functionality.

Remember, after activating the plugin and entering the WooCommerce API keys, all your customers have to do is type your website’s URL into their mobile browser to view the app version of your online shop.

That’s right; there is no need to download an actual “app” from the app store.

eCommerce Shop Categories

PWACommerce makes browsing your online shop a cinch thanks to the Categories section.

Its minimal design, complete with title and thumbnail image, givescustomers a look at what your store has to offer.

PWACommerce - Product Categories

When a user clicks on a specific category, the app immediately takes them to products that relate to that category. And, if a customer decides they want to make a purchase, they simply click on the Shop Now button.

Product Descriptions

Despite being a simple app for your online shop, PWACommerce does a great job of showcasing your products and services when an interested customer clicks on the Shop Now button.

For example, display a slider highlighting your products best views so customers can get an excellent idea of what they will be purchasing. In addition, to aid the visual appeal, PWACommerce makes zooming in on images easy with the Full Screen icon.

PWACommerce - Product Description

In addition, you can display whether an item is out of stock and add the purchase price for customers to see. Plus, display a customizable Add to Cart button for users to click on when they want to purchase an item.

PWACommerce - Product Description.2

Moreover, you can include a short product or service description so customers know the specifics of what you are selling. In addition, display product reviews so customers can see social proof that others buying your online shop items are satisfied.

And best of all, PWACommerce makes it easy for customers to share their favorite products across social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Intuitive Shopping Cart

Your progressive mobile app comes with exceptional navigation. Customers want to know at all times how their purchasing process is progressing.

As a result, PWACommerce has a simple shopping cart icon located in the upper right hand corner of the screen dictating how many items are in the shopping cart at any given time.

PWACommerce - Shopping Cart Icon

When a customer clicks on their shopping cart, they will see an overview of everything they placed in their respective cart. They will also see an Order Summary.

Customers can easily delete any products added to the cart that they no longer wish to purchase, add additional items to their cart, and select Checkout when they are ready to finalize their transaction.

PWACommerce - Shopping Cart Contents

Clicking on Checkout brings customers to the screen where they complete their purchases. They can login if they are returning customers or add a coupon code and apply it to their purchase. And of course, customers enter their billing information so the product or service can be paid for.

Customers can also view their order in its entirety and choose their preferred payment method.

PWACommerce - Shopping Cart Payment

In the end, PWACommerce developers made the purchasing process possible in three simple steps.

Eliminating unnecessary distractions, your customers need only click on the category they wish to browse. Then, all that’s left to do is add items to their shopping cart and click on checkout to finalize any transactions they have started.

PWACommerce Pro

It is important to mention that while the free version of PWACommerce comes packed with plenty of progressive mobile app features, there is a pro version under development offering online shop owners even more.

For instance, receive 3 domain licenses so you can create mobile apps for three separate shops with one license purchase.

In addition, customize your web app’s appearance to look exactly like your online shop and access premium app themes that are available individually or as a bundle.

Lastly, enjoy unlimited push notifications so you can make sure your loyal customers are always up to date on what is happening with your online shop.

Documentation, Support, and Pricing

Documentation for PWACommerce is slim right now. There is no dedicated knowledge base so far as I can see.  In addition, their blog has one single blog post, though it was recently posted, which may signal more to come.

*Keep in mind this is likely due to the fact that this plugin is brand spanking new. So, be on the lookout for more helpful information!*

PWACommerce is in fact developed by the same team behind WordPress Mobile Pack that has over 1,000,000 downloads in WordPress repository. That being said, it is expected to know what they’re doing when it comes to mobile products.

The team behind PWACommerce does offer a contact form for getting in touch should you have questions about any of their products or services. And, they  will do their best to get back to you within one working day, which is helpful for those looking for information right away.

In addition, for those who seek additional support, there is always the support forum found in the WordPress Repository.  And, for those who purchase the pro version of PWACommerce (priced at $49/year if you choose to pre-order the plugin before its official release – which is expected to drop this January 2018), you will receive 12 months of priority support and product updates.

If you choose to wait for the official launch of the pro version, you will pay full price, which is $199/year.

Final Recommendations

For those looking for a unique way to showcase their existing WordPress eCommerce shop as a progressive web app, PWACommerce has a lot of promise.

The simplicity of its setup and final design makes creating a web app easy for even novice website owners, and simple for customers browsing your online shop from their mobile devices.

That said, I am still on the fence about whether I want my mobile website to look and act like a mobile web app every time a customer types in my site’s URL from a mobile device. I feel that by changing my entire website into a progressive mobile app, other information, such as my blog content is lost.

However, for those who simply have an online shop, this plugin solution works flawlessly.

In the end, though still in its infancy, PWACommerce has a lot of potential. And, at the price tag of $0, there really is nothing to lose.

Get PWACommerce Here

Have you ever created a progressive web app for your online shop? Would you consider using PWACommerce? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

About Lindsay Liedke

Lindsay is a freelance writer who loves all things WordPress. When she is not writing she can be found spending family time with her son and two silly nephews.



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