Accelerated Mobile Pages v Progressive Web Apps. Mobile devices have already made a tremendous impact on the e-commerce industry in the previous years, but they will play an even bigger role in the future. Estimates say that 82% of people consult their phone regarding a purchase they’re about to make in a store. Going forward, mobile shopping will continue to add to e-commerce revenues as shopping on the go will become more and more common.
It comes as no shock that mobile e-commerce or m-commerce is growing at a rapid pace. People are spending more time on their smartphones, browsing through retail outlets, discount deals, etc., using them for more types of activities than ever before.
Despite mobile overtaking desktop traffic, it still lags behind the humble PC when it comes to conversions. According to a report from BroadbrandSearch, US e-commerce conversion rates were at just over 4% for desktop, with mobile at just 1.5%.
The growth in m-commerce has been actively supported by the increase in mobile-friendly features that have been developed in the past years. This includes single-page checkout, responsive website themes and easier integration with mobile wallets such as Amazon Pay, PayPal One Touch, Apple Pay etc.
Mobile platform options
E-commerce businesses are using a variety of approaches to deliver mobile experiences in terms of the technology platforms used. Some are mobile first, some are mobile responsive, while others are mobile adaptive. Coupled to this there are technologies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which are increasing in importance and popularity – and may well be on your roadmap. Accelerated Mobile Pages v Progressive Web Apps?
What’s the difference and why does it matter?
Mobile first design means that sites are designed with the mobile user in mind from the outset. This is different to responsive design, which adapts a core design to mobile devices. These tend to have large design elements and buttons which may work well for mobile pages but may well not on desktops. Mobile first is also a “content first” strategy. The content dictates the site’s design as opposed to the site being designed and then having content slotted in after. Adaptive designs are becoming more popular since they may use different design layouts, content and calls-to-action for smartphone vs desktop.
Accelerated Mobile Pages v Progressive Web Apps? Companies are often choosing mobile first if their analytics and conversion data suggest they receive more visitors/more orders from smartphones or tablets. If your site is not mobile first, it should at least be responsive. Otherwise, it could have serious consequences for your Google search position. You really do have to opt for one or the other.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
You can see the importance that Google gives to AMP since David Besbris, VP of Google Search, is also the AMP Project Lead. He explains their growth:
“In two years, we’ve seen the project grow from a few launch partners to over 25 million website domains that have published more than 4 billion AMP pages. And not only has the number of pages built with AMP grown, but their speed has too. The median time it takes an AMP page to load from Google search is less than half a second”.
He contrasts the half a second figure with a benchmark statistic that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load. Although, site abandons are natural regardless of load time.
AMP is increasingly being used by retailers to deliver pages more quickly to users. AMP has traditionally been most important for news and blog pages, yet these are relevant for most sites. So why do ‘just’ 25 million sites feature AMP and why aren’t they used on more project pages? Besbris quotes research showing that AMP leads to a 10% increase in website traffic with a 2x increase in time spent on-page. For e-commerce websites using AMP, the study also found a 20% increase in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages.
Progressive Web Apps
Google has increased its ‘push’ for PWAs. Google explains the benefits of PWAs and contrasts them to mobile apps like this:
“It’s not hard to see why leading brands would embrace PWAs. They realize the need to provide the best mobile experience for users―regardless of platform.
PWAs eliminate friction by using the web to deliver app-level experiences. There’s no need for consumers to find apps in the app store and install them—they can just navigate to the site on any browser, including Chrome and Safari. PWA techniques focus on reliably loading faster (even working offline) and using less data”.
Adopters of PWAs include media companies like Forbes, Washington Post and e-commerce sites like Alibaba (China), Myntra (India) and Lancôme. In markets where 2G rather than 3G or 4G dominates, PWAs are particularly important.
We’ve already mentioned the increasing importance of focusing on mobile before desktop. PWAs are fantastic, but also a big investment and still largely reserved for huge retailers and news outlets.
Serving an AMP version of your site, however, is achievable by nearly anyone. If your site is built on a CMS like WordPress, implementing AMP is as simple as adding and configuring a plugin. Once you’ve done this, it is with physically reviewing how your site looks and performs as if you were a user, as sometimes styling can go awry and need a little tweaking. BTW SwiftERM is AMP optimised.
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