The beginning of a new year brings along changes, and when it comes to one of the significant changes in the eCommerce realm, most people will refer to the shift of focus to mobile site versions. It is the one change that none of the eCommerce platforms can afford to ignore. 

With people spending an average of 4.8 hours on mobile phones and 72.9% of eCommerce sales coming from mobile, the focus on mobile site version for eCommerce is not a big surprise. But to harness this increasing trend of mobile usage, websites need to hone their skills, quickly adapt to changes and fulfill the need of mobile users. 

PWA eCommerce development
Source: Pexels

This journey includes improving UI/UX, optimizing, deploying new and unique features, page load acceleration, and much more. That might be the reason why so many websites are flocking towards progressive web applications (PWA) instead of rehashing the old model. 

PWA might be helping brands in turning any website into a progressive web app while thriving on the features of a native app. Still, PWA eCommerce development comes with its own set of challenges, which we will discuss in this blog post. 

What is PWA?

What is PWA
Source: Pexels

PWA is an app built from popular web technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and Java, but it comes with the features and feel of a native app. You can create a PWA much faster than a native app, but while thriving on the time-effectiveness, you won’t have to compromise on the features you get on a native app. 

There are many websites you use daily, and they are entirely PWA! One of the best examples of such a website is Twitter. If you are accessing the website of Twitter through your smartphone, then you can easily install it on your home screen. And when you open the established Twitter site, it will feel and function just like a native app.

Why are companies shifting to PWA?

  • It can keep the customers engaged through location tracking and push notifications. Thus, companies can target the right person at the right time. 
  • Aids improve security by rendering through HTTPS protocol for both the digital assets of the store and the user data. 
  • One can push changes quickly as the entire system runs on a single codebase, promoting continuous innovation.
  • It saves time and cost since companies don’t have to develop different platforms for both Android and iOS. 
  • Promotes better conversion through a better user experience.

Top challenges in PWA eCommerce development

Integration issues

When it comes to front ends like Angular, React, or Vue, you can quickly access a long list of frameworks like Next.js, Nuxt.js, and design systems like Fundamentals, but things aren’t that easy in the case of eCommerce platforms. 

The level of integration on the eCommerce platform for providing a seamless user experience is highly complicated. Showing the products to the customer is the first step as you also have to take care of wish lists, user accounts, promotion tool integration, order workflow, and much more. To top it is the communication of these integrations with the back end which needs to be correctly optimized. 

Some people might rely on frameworks like Next.js Commerce to tackle the integration challenge, but even these popular frameworks become confined to back-end integration. 

SEO concerns

PWA is web-centric; search engines were kept in mind while developing it for creating the searches easy. 

You can indeed make PWA out of any traditional website, and you won’t have to wait for long for this process to complete. However, many PWAs use Javascript to build complex functionality, and even in an era where search engines have become familiar with rendering JavaScrpit, this can be a cause for concern for many eCommerce players. 

SEO concerns
Source: Pexels

That is why one needs to make sure that the JavaScript is accessible while setting up the PWA. Never try blocking the files for bots, and always ensure that the links you have provided are available. You can also make the JavaScript use server-side rendering for better rendering.

PWA development challenge

Working on a PWA might give you the best of both worlds but developing a progressive web application isn’t that easy. Only a tea of experienced and skilled developers with world-class coding ability can handle a progressive web application development project. 

The development of PWA involves using modern frameworks like React.js or Angular.js, and therefore, the developers need to be familiar with these frameworks to build a progressive web application successfully. 

Developers might use different ways of developing PWA, and there might be a ready-made-out-of-the-box method, but in addition to being incomplete, they don’t offer much flexibility. In any situation, the developers will need unique codes. Due to such complications, many eCommerce platforms procrastinate the development of PWA. 

But such issues can be solved by outsourcing PWA development to a third-party expert. Such PWA outsourcing companies have the right tool and people for dealing with PWA projects in the best possible manner. They can allow you to reap maximum benefits from your PWA initiative.

Legacy back-end platforms

In most cases, PWAs require implementation on a headless architecture, and therefore, the back-end platform you are going to integrate must offer a proper API. That can be a cumbersome process for many teams since it requires being quick and taking care of all the features. 

When it comes down to platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, developers usually adopt developing gateways around the core platform because the APIs are not that efficient. 

But in the case of GraphQL and Magento2, the real issue is not with the API coverage but with the performance as it is super slow. And in the case of other platforms like Hybris, the need to upgrade is the actual perpetrator as it requires a lot of time. 

Retrofitting challenges

Another issue with PWA eCommerce development is retrofitting the PWA in an existing application. Every eCommerce platform has an aversion to procrastination, and this is what they have to deal with during this type of retrofitting of PWA. 

Retrofitting PWA in an existing application might require a long list of additions and changes, especially when the current application is tightly coupled or simply monolithic. The traditional applications aren’t designed to be responsive, and even their communication isn’t built to deal with intermittent connection. 

One of the best methods to deal with this issue will be to narrow down your targeting to a good area of the website for PWA and work on it first. 

PWA might have become a go-to solution for eCommerce platforms as it helps them in dealing with the always-evolving market landscape, but just like any other solution, even PWA comes along with its own set of challenges. So, the only way to harness the features of PWA is to overcome such challenges and make PWA development as seamless as possible. 

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