Have you ever wondered what’s the next big thing for eCommerce or even the Web in general? To say the least, the rapid advancement of technology all around the globe means that the internet is evolving too.
One of the best things that happened to the web community in the past few years is the growing hype around progressive web apps. And we believe that as of today building Magento PWA apps is the most promising way to invest in business growth.
Why? In 2019, the Magento community has created 5 new powerful tools that enable business owners to do that, with the official Magento PWA Studio being among them. As a whole, progressive web apps are getting more attention from the development community. For instance, WordPress (Super Progressive Web Apps, Progressive WordPress PWA, etc.) and Drupal (PWA Drupal Module) have released their own promising PWA themes.
Furthermore, every year PWAs become easier to build and their capabilities expand impressively. Therefore, now is a great time to start developing a PWA. So how can it help you boost sales? Let’s find out!
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the story behind progressive web apps, explain why they’re great, as well as provide you with our selection of more than 25 best progressive web app examples that will inspire you to get your own.
Why Progressive Web Apps Became Popular
PWAs have set a really high standard for performance, responsiveness, and stability, especially in regard to mobile devices. Luckily, the list of PWA requirements isn’t huge either. Such apps look and feel native (this is their biggest competitive advantage and the major thing that makes them stand out).
Among other PWA advantages:
- PWAs work well on any screen size or device, it doesn’t matter what your viewport is,
- they can work offline or with a weak connection,
- they have extremely fast speed, especially after the initial load which can be achieved thanks to Magento GraphQL use,
- you get app-like desktop shortcuts and behavior,
- background content updates without the need to refresh the page,
- there is no active mixed content, data is always served over a secure connection.
How PWA Apps Got Started
The term progressive web app appeared in 2015 and described applications that used service workers, web app manifests, and native OS capabilities to communicate through services with a web browser.
2015 was also the first time when Google added PWA support to Android. Two years later, Apple taught iOS how to use service workers in Safari. After iOS and Android embraced the new web technology, it was just a matter of time before progressive web apps conquered the world.
2019 was the year when most browsers and operating systems already knew how to handle PWAs. 2019 also got big announcements in terms of Magento PWA development tools (here’s our summary on the Magento PWA Studio release).
What’s for 2020 and beyond, there are several things to be excited about. For starters, shifting to a PWA is a big step towards Headless Commerce, a modern approach that defines the future of online retail. Furthermore, a couple of years back, Google announced that they want to abandon Google Apps in 2020 and switch over to PWAs. The big shift for Google Drive took place in January when Google upgraded its Drive to a progressive web app. The other big release? Google Play Store is now open for PWAs too!
PWA Websites Examples: Best Progressive Web Apps
Now it’s time to get acquainted with some real progressive web applications. Our PWA Hall of Fame is full of awesome apps. Of course, this list of PWA examples is not full, but still, we’ll go through over 25 of them to convince you that progressive web apps can be your new sales driver.
1. Bright Star Kids
The first progressive web application on this PWA list that we’d like to bring up is the one that we’ve developed here at Onilab for Bright Star Kids. This Australian company offers a huge variety of customizable products. Users are free to select their own designs of all kinds of items (bags, clothes, coasters, notepads, etc) and order them with the chosen unique prints.
Due to the growth of demand for their personalized products, the online store was in need of a fast and modern solution, so they’ve opted for building a PWA. Among the main things that the app had to cope with was a properly functioning online constructor.
Take a look at the screenshots above that show how a user can create their own design for a child’s backpack. There are several steps, each responsible for a different part of the design’s customization. As such, the customer can select the design of the label, type in the child’s name, choose a font, and the color of the item. The greatest part about it is that the app is very simple and intuitive to use, not to mention that it’s very fast, thus, doesn’t keep clients waiting.
Among the top web apps that have caught our eye is that of AliExpress. Why is AliExpress so popular? It’s known for one awesome feature: product suggestions. Have you ever wondered why you can’t leave AliExpress without a purchase? This is because the entire company focus is concentrated on making you browse, read, and buy.
They invest so many resources into keeping you inside this loop that it becomes virtually impossible to just visit the app. You get literally sucked into browsing more and more stuff. With so many interesting things on display, something is bound to grab your attention.
AliExpress also uses an unconventional approach to progressive web apps. See that DOWNLOAD button at the top? This is not their only attempt to get users to switch over to the native app. I have actually found out that they redirect me to the AliExpress Android app even when I just clicked on the Cookies notification or wanted to browse some store ads on the front page.
It’s interesting how different merchants address sales. Apparently, AliExpress believes the native app sells much better than the PWA. Who knows, maybe they will change their mind someday? But right now they prioritize native apps over progressive apps.
The next progressive web app website that made our list is Tinder. Its PWA is an awesome example of how to build, optimize, and manage a powerful progressive web app with the goal of capturing new audiences.
Tinder needed the app to bridge the gap for some users: not everyone is ready to install a new dating app just because they want to try something new. Creating a fully capable PWA helped these users try Tinder without fully committing to the platform. The app replicated the native experience completely, but at the same time, it didn’t push users to download it from the App Store or to the device, or to sign in somewhere else.
Instead, the PWA app was designed to feel as fast and convenient as possible while maintaining the idea that after a while most users will switch over to the native app on their own.
While I was using the Tinder PWA app, I quickly forgot that it was just a website. Everything was as fast, intuitive, and convenient as in real native mobile apps. Tinder introduced its new progressive web app several years ago yet it still remains the best example of building one of the lightest, fastest, and most user-friendly progressive web apps on the market.
Here’s one more example on our list of progressive web apps. Well-known for being a great cooking assistant and a treasure trove of recipe tips and meal ideas, Yummly is an indispensable helper for those who cook at home. Providing the opportunity to look for recipes in the database based on input ingredient, price, or other preferences (such as dietary concerns, number of calories, or even allergies), the service also offers plenty of functionality, aimed at helping to plan a meal and even shop for ingredients.
And the most amazing part about it is that Yummly learns the tastes of individual users so as to tailor the results according to their likes. The progressive web application offers intuitive navigation and operates very quickly.
Even though their PWA is very convenient, Yummly still urges users to download their native application. As in the case of many other services, I can assume that this PWA serves as a middle ground for those users who aren’t ready to go for the native application yet straight away.
60% of customers in Brazil browse the web and make online purchases exclusively via their phones. Brazil has one of the largest percentages of mobile users in the whole world (starting from 2018, it has kept the top fourth place among the countries with the biggest mobile web user demographic).
As you can see, the store uses a great value proposition to make anonymous users register on the site. Subscribers get a permanent discount on all products. The discounts are not big but it’s enough to convince people to sign up.
Their simple Checkout became one of the most powerful features of the app. While other Brazilian stores require you to create an account before proceeding with your purchase, Petlove is much more flexible about it.
Petlove also uses auto sign-ins for returning customers. This feature helped them increase the number of users who enter the Checkout step already signed in by 100%. Another winning feature of the Petlove app is the recommendation algorithm that pitches items the user might like. Thanks to the combination of all these usability features, Petlove grew 2.8 times.
Mentioning other popular PWA apps, we’d like to take a look at Uber. Uber’s progressive web app appeared on the market in 2017. This was an important step for the company because it allowed users to instantly hop into action without going through the trouble of installing and using the native application.
It’s hard to disagree that most situations when you urgently need to go somewhere are mission-critical, high-stress moments where it’s hard to make time for additional app installs. The PWA app offered a good alternative here. Especially keeping in mind that back in 2017 Uber’s native app was a bit buggy.
Since then the situation has improved a lot. Uber’s native application is doing just fine. Right now the PWA serves as a capable backup option for situations when the native app doesn’t work or you need to call for a taxi ride from someone else’s device.
2017 was a rich year for PWA implementations. Even Pinterest, a service that always relied on its native app, decided to join the hype and release a brand new progressive web app.
Why? Well, because a lot of people never bothered to actually install and register on their native app. It was the kind of situation when the company doesn’t have any choice in the matter, you either adapt or lose your potential customers.
The Pinterest team decided to adapt and they reached an enormous success. The progressive web app they built was extremely fast, intuitive, and attractive. While they still promote their native app as much as possible, Pinterest also understands that some customers are just too stubborn to install an Android or iOS app. Which is fine because, as since the introduction of the Pinterest PWA, it has experienced a 60% surge in engagements, 44% more user submissions, and 40% longer site use times. These are extremely good numbers.
Letgo is a regional second-hand reseller marketplace aimed at customers in the US. The app that they built creates a great opportunity for customers who are willing to go all-in with the platform.
Thanks to the ample capabilities of the PWA app, Letgo managed to grow its user base and engage more customers in immediate selling and buying activities. Instead of pushing their own Android and iPhone apps, Letgo took a different route. And it was pretty successful: the target audience appreciated the option to stay app-free but get all the features of the native app.
9. 2048 PWA Game
If you haven’t played it yourself, you must have at least heard about 2048! The PWA game that quickly obtained popularity and hype, 2048 is simple in essence yet quite addictive. The point of this application game is to join digit blocks to form the sum of 2048 in the total score.
The app is lightweight, very plain, and that’s what makes it so great. Also available in downloadable native format, the game is equally nice in its PWA version.
The next app in our PWA overview is a real estate service that’s based in Mumbai. Being among the leaders in its market today, Housing.com does its best to simplify the process of searching for a place to live, be it for rent or for purchase, in over 35 major Indian cities.
Initially, the Housing.com team had to overcome the page load challenge as users were very impatient with the slow page uploads that occurred due to weak internet connections. Moreover, they had to keep in mind the question of costly internet which basically meant that people wouldn’t download the native app as often as Housing.com would want. The decision to develop a PWA came naturally as it would allow users the opportunity to use the app even offline.
Among the major aims that they wished to reach was the application’s impeccable web experience for users. And according to the PageSpeed Insights scores that the website obtained, it can boast an awesome 100 out of 100 mobile-friendliness score.
Was the PWA successful? Yes! More impressively, after implementing the PWA, the site reached an outstanding increase in conversions on various browsers by almost 40%, not to mention that they’ve managed to speed up the site by 30%.
11. Spotify PWA
Having a native application readily available for download, alongside Spotify offers its own PWA. Thus, answering the question of “is Spotify a PWA?”, yes, it does have a progressive web application version. Among the things that make it stand out are the brushed-up UI and refined design that are needed for providing a top-grade experience. The elements aren’t cramped together and are easy to tap on.
The lightning-fast application has many great features, for instance, those that deal with customization. From easy-to-craft playlists and changeable background colors to great pitches and selections based on the user’s tastes, this PWA’s capabilities are already quite impressive.
The only current weakness that’s worth noting is that the offline version doesn’t function perfectly yet, but after some time this won’t be a big deal.
Treebo is one of the most well-known hotel booking websites in India. It was founded in 2014 as a budget hotel aggregator, catering to users who were short on money. Since the launch of the new PWA, the Treebo team experienced explosive growth in conversions, mobile orders, and returning customer logins.
I can understand the appeal of the website. It’s well-designed, fast, and shows just what one needs to pick an optimal room for the stay:
- good location details,
- appropriate tags and features,
- rich photos of locations and rooms,
- special deals and discounts on “hot” properties.
All the filters, smart search, and tags work together to achieve one goal: completing the booking process. Treebo is a great example of how a progressive web app can increase the conversion rate by 4 times just by being convenient, fast, and user-friendly.
With its bright-red brand colors and energetic design, Garbarino is certainly something you won’t forget soon. The store asks you to log in right from the start as if it knows you are going to stay here for a while, buy something, and come back later.
The entire shop is fast and pleasant to use. It’s 100% purpose-driven, everything in the store serves the goal of helping you find, pick, and buy the product you need. Good discounts and time-limited deals create a healthy sense of urgency where the customer needs to decide quickly whether they want to chase a specific item at a lower price.
14. Kopa (PadPiper)
The Kopa housing service (formerly called PadPiper) provides grounds for connecting people who are searching for roommates for one month and more. The listing of properties includes furnished rentals.
With the growth of the site thanks to the PWA, Kopa’s target audience expanded from just college students to those who graduated recently, digital nomads, and even people with professions that require traveling or relocation.
The PWA is very easy to use, every element functions properly, and pages load very quickly without any delay. Plus, I’ve found it useful that the rental price of the property “sticks” to the bottom of the screen together with the View availability button.
Overall, it’s super intuitive to browse properties on the site, and all the necessary data on the location, amenities, host, house rules, etc, is readily available. It’s no surprise that due to the simplicity of the PWA, Kopa’s audience is continuously growing.
15. Google Maps Go PWA
As it was shortly aforementioned earlier, the progressive web app rush didn’t shy away from Google. Their renowned Google Maps service appeared in a lightweight PWA version a couple of years ago. Before that, the main issue with maps was that they took way too long to load and often back-peddled because of the large data volumes.
To overcome this challenge, they rolled out a PWA that would be able to cope with the limited processing power and RAM (that are a common case with mobile devices) on the web version.
Snapdeal is an Indian clothes store that built its own progressive web app fairly early. The store specializes in fashionable clothing and online entertainment which is a weird mix but I guess it works for them.
Snapdeal is much more straightforward about its approach to sales. The Add to Home Screen request comes as a pop-up instead of a pop-under (like in other apps), the notification is also highly visible and can become annoying if you are sensitive to these kinds of promotions. But in general, the PWA shows great performance optimization, a high level of usability, and a large number of nice discounts.
The overall PWA concept and pushiness of the app can be explained by the mindset of the customers who visit the store. After all, some of the sales tactics that are unacceptable for the Western market still work fine for Eastern online retail.
With the slogan of Every Wish Gets Fulfilled Now, Flipkart is famous for being one of the biggest online stores in India. It was founded in 2007 and since then the store keeps changing. I think that their PWA app was one of the most successful upgrades in the last few years.
Flipkart is an online megastore that specializes in electronics, fashion, beauty, and home décor. That’s why the progressive web app that they built needed to cater to a very diverse audience, from the tech geeks to the fashion crowd. They had to give a lot of attention to how they approach this UI/UX challenge.
Flipkart PWA app shines when it comes to speed, UI performance, and user experience. The UX is especially good in the Review section.
Also, take a look at the orange call-to-action button. Depending on the context you’ll either see a Buy Now or Place Order button. I think they did a great job highlighting the CTA with a bright, actionable color that’s always present on the screen.
Konga is a rather young brand. Established in 2012 in Nigeria, it offers merchants a capable marketplace to promote, sell, and interact with their customers.
One of the most distinctive features of Konga is its KXPRESS service which is basically a company-run logistics network that helps the merchants deliver orders to their customers. Think Amazon but with an African flair.
The store introduced a PWA app fairly early on. The Nigerian online retail market itself served as the biggest driver to make their PWA happen. Most Nigerians shop from their phones and very rarely use desktop computers. Add slow Internet connection to the mix (Nigeria is 50% rural) and you get a huge crowd of customers who need a fast and reliable platform to shop online.
This created a unique challenge as Konga needed something revolutionary to improve the user shopping experience on old and slow phones working on super slow Internet. You guessed it right, they decided to build a progressive web app in 2016.
Konga’s PWA is modern, fast, and functional. I was impressed by how easy it is to browse and find stuff. No wonder users really appreciated how the app worked on slow 2G networks saving dozens of megabytes of data! The PWA app uses up to 92% less data than the native app.
The focus on speed is visible everywhere. Konga claimed they achieved 1.5x-2x savings during initial loading, transactions, and just regular browsing.
Konga and Jumia are direct competitors and rival each other for the promising Nigerian retail market. No wonder Jumia didn’t want to lag behind in this struggle and also built a capable PWA app in 2016 (the same year as Konga).
The PWA apps of these two giants share a lot in common. Both are laser-focused on usability, data savings, and mobile performance. This is inevitable in a market where users are poor, have older phones, and don’t have access to good Internet.
Both in design and user experience Jumia and Konga go hand in hand. At the same time, Jumia clearly handled the PWA transition much better. Their data usage lowered 5 times, with savings reaching 25 times for storage data and 12 times compared to the native app.
As we’ve mentioned before, data savings became the main goal of the app. You can see how fast it works right from the start. This is because most Jumia users buy extremely limited data plans. It’s common to see shoppers here with the bare minimum in terms of data allowance.
This is why it’s so impressive to see the amount of effort that went into making Jumia so fast and light-weight. The focus on optimization really paid off too as Jumia increased their conversions by a third! In addition to that, they managed to lower the bounce rate by 50%.
Want to sell something? Want to buy something? Do you love flash deals? 5Miles is the right platform for you. It’s also an interesting example of a progressive web app done right.
Why? Because 5Miles managed to decrease their bounce rate and increase the time users spend in the store by 30%. The Add to Home Screen clicks also occurred 30% more often. That’s a nice bunch of metrics here. Let’s see what the 5Miles team has done right.
The 5Miles’ progressive web app is nice. It’s fast – no question about that – well-built, and engaging. Have you seen their Dash Bids? They are fascinating to watch. The app allows users to participate in real-time bidding processes during which bids come and go in a matter of seconds.
It’s captivating. I even started to regret that I don’t have an account on 5Miles. The bidding game really feels and looks like a game. It’s interesting to watch and easy to join. No wonder the PWA helped them raise conversions!
Another PWA example on our list is the Forbes PWA. Launched back in 2017, the web app was presented with a completely reworked look of the site. Wishing to keep in pace with time, the main focus on this mobile site was made on the visual appeal of the content, coupled with fast page load times and superb navigation solutions.
The PWA showed impeccable results straight after the launch with a visible 50% increase in user engagement. One of the perks to be noted is the opportunity to read the Forbes content offline.
Most of the people who browse real estate deals online are not experienced users. They need a lot of hand-holding to do things, they easily get confused or frustrated if the app doesn’t offer them a clear and simple design and UI, fast speed, and excellent user experience.
This is exactly why we decided to highlight the PWA of OnTheMarket. The app looks and feels great. It’s an outstanding example of how a well-thought-out progressive web app can work for a large and diverse target audience.
Their development team put in a lot of effort into those elements that matter most: the map, the property features, and the wishlist function. Also, note the contact buttons, they are always visible, bright red, and easy to reach.
The OnTheMarket team knows that its customers will want to look through a lot of properties before they make their choice. The Save feature helps users keep track of interesting offers.
What is more, real estate shoppers need a convenient way to compare and return to different offers during their search. As a result, OnTheMarket focused on key usability metrics and made the site fast, reliable, and easy to use.
Noon is chill. The store dresses in yellow and blue colors and tries to be as approachable as possible. A part of the good impression here comes from their focus on usability and clean design. Another part of the allure is because they have no other choice. They sell so many various things that it’s important to display them in good order.
A major reason for that is that Noon is among the most popular online stores in the Middle East. They sell everything from home appliances to fast fashion stuff and groceries. Their main markets are the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. With such a huge scale come tough challenges.
One of the things Noon had to deal with was customer satisfaction. The Middle East is a diverse place with plenty of customers who live in areas with EDGE/2G Internet, mobile-only access to the store, and outdated devices.
Maintaining a high standard of service for everyone is not easy there. Noon recognized the challenge early and went for building a progressive web app that would be light, quick, and easy to use.
Depending on where you live, you might have heard of Debenhams. It’s a British brand that operates stores in 27 countries around the world but most of the stores are located in Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark. Out of 240 stores, 178 operate in these 3 countries.
In an effort to boost sales and user engagement, Debenhams needed to work better for mobile consumers. Their mobile shopping crowd was growing fast but the brand didn’t have anything to offer these users. By 2018, 57% of all Debenhams shoppers used a smartphone to browse the store. At the same time, the website was slow and barely working.
As you can see, Debenhams made a complete turnaround a few years ago. The solution they are using right now is mobile-friendly, fast, and engaging. Everything is tailored to make buying things easy.
As a result, the PWA app generated more than 40% in mobile revenue. The app worked as a great sales tool, leading to a 20% increase in conversions. Because the marketing team was always monitoring multiple user behavior metrics, they were able to instantly see how the app affected shopping behavior.
Fun fact: Debenhams noticed that shoppers became more active during peak transit hours (in the morning and in the evening when people are commuting to or from work). Most of such commutes in Denmark and Britain are done by train, the time when people relax, read a book or browse the Internet. It was the perfect opportunity to monetize this time for the brand.
25. River North Hotel
Hospitality has become much trickier since it was disrupted by Airbnb and other aggregators. Desperate for a way to regain their ground from the new industry giants, hotels are looking for any means of how to be successful in the new market circumstances.
In 2018, Best Western River North Hotel decided to go the PWA way. They focused on being faster, more user-friendly, and engaging than their competition, and they succeeded.
I’ve tested the River North Hotel website a bit to see if all these goals have been met. Yep. The site is fast, convenient, and easy to navigate. The photos loaded on my end within seconds.
Today the hotel’s PWA app gets River North Hotel 6 times more customers which translates into a 4 times growth in revenue. Awesome numbers! And judging by the PWA app, they are also well-earned.
Right now, the Middle East has huge business potential. One of the stores that captured our attention there was OpenSooq, a Craigslist-like classified ads website that serves 20 countries of the Arab world.
OpenSooq’s key target audience is 85% mobile. That’s a huge number, although it’s not surprising since most developing countries have more mobile users than desktop owners.
To better serve this mobile crowd, OpenSooq decided to introduce a mobile-first app. But if they took the traditional route and just created a native Android or iPhone app, that would leave behind a huge amount of users who don’t install apps at all.
The right decision was to go with a PWA. Progressive web apps are much easier on low-end device processors, they are lighter and don’t need a lot of storage space on the phone. And this is a huge concern in a market where people can use extremely budget phones to shop online.
The progressive web app became the right solution for the company. OpenSooq claims they managed to grow their monthly active user base by 14% as well as their page views per session (+48%), and site visit length (+28%).
Despite the foreign look, the app is intuitive to use. It’s ergonomic, clean, and fast. The icons and other design elements clearly show what each button does.
There’s an English version of the site but, as an experiment, I decided to test the original Arab store. Fun fact: despite my obvious lack of Arab knowledge I managed to use the app as if it was in English. Big thumbs up to the dev team who made the PWA app so user-friendly! (I think that’s a nice UX test to do as people rarely read what each button means anyway, they are just looking at the icons).
Trivago is famous for its powerful finder tool and for being easy to use. Here we are going to look at the second part of their success, usability. With more than 120 million monthly users, the progressive web app they wanted to build had to be perfect.
So it’s a good thing they did just that. The Trivago team was highly motivated to create an app that could handle tremendous amounts of user traffic. Think about that, 120 million users a month means over 1.44 billion visits a year.
The main challenges that a PWA app helped solve for Trivago were the way travellers approach hotel finders:
- the app needs to work on any connection (think rural 2G networks or crowded backcountry cafes),
- the app should be easy to use since it’s aimed towards new Trivago customers (old users are more likely to eventually install a native app),
- the app shouldn’t reset or reload all the time, it needs to do everything on a single page, even if the user loses and regains connection multiple times,
- old phones should be able to run the app as fast as the new ones.
Trivago PWA app works and looks great. It’s an almost perfect copy of the website, too. The PWA app offers the same functionality as the desktop version or the native app.
The finder is fast and useful, with a lot of filters and preferences that you can choose. After you pick the hotel you want, you get redirected to another site, e.g. Hotels.com (they also use a PWA by the way).
Trivago claims that the number of clicks to hotels rose to 94% and more than 67% of the users who dropped connection came back online and continued using the app. It’s actually not a big number since only 3% of all users even try the offline feature. But we are convinced that as the awareness of this feature grows this number is going to rise.
PWAs still have a few challenges they need to overcome to offer the best possible user experience. For instance, Apple needs to pick up its game to be on par with Android capabilities.
Secondly, PWAs need a more intuitive way to get added to user devices. Right now the Add to Home button sometimes works inconsistently. Thirdly, PWAs need a more mature dev environment. It’s still a young technology that developers need to learn to use efficiently.
But although PWAs experience all these challenges, they remain one of the most impactful tools for your growth in the 2020s. Building your business online using a progressive web app is a good way to get a super-fast, mobile-friendly, and engaging store. And the solution can come at a reasonable PWA price, not to mention that with time PWAs will get even better!