Ecommerce Mobile Apps vs Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

In the ever-evolving world of eCommerce, businesses are constantly seeking new ways to engage customers and provide seamless shopping experiences. Two popular approaches to achieving this goal are dedicated mobile apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Each option offers distinct advantages and challenges. In this article, we will explore the differences between eCommerce mobile apps and PWAs, helping you make an informed decision about which is best for your online store.

Ecommerce Mobile Apps: The Pros and Cons


  1. Enhanced User Experience: Mobile apps provide a tailored, app-centric experience that’s optimized for smartphones, leading to a smoother and more engaging shopping journey.
  2. Push Notifications: Apps allow for personalized push notifications, alerting users to promotions, product updates, and abandoned carts, helping boost user retention and sales.
  3. Offline Access: Customers can browse and make purchases in areas with limited or no internet connectivity, making the app more reliable and convenient.
  4. Native Features: Mobile apps can harness the full power of a device, including the camera for augmented reality (AR) experiences and biometric authentication for enhanced security.


  1. Development Costs: Creating separate apps for iOS and Android platforms can be expensive. Maintenance and updates for two different codebases add to the cost.
  2. App Store Approval: Getting your app approved on platforms like Apple’s App Store can be time-consuming, and rejection risks are always present.
  3. Installation Barrier: Users must proactively download and install your app, which can create friction and lead to drop-offs.
  4. Limited Reach: Mobile apps are platform-specific, restricting your reach to users on the same operating system.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): The Pros and Cons


  1. Cross-Platform Compatibility: PWAs work on any device with a modern web browser, enabling a broader reach, including desktop, mobile, and tablets.
  2. Cost-Effective Development: A single codebase for PWAs reduces development and maintenance costs compared to building separate mobile apps.
  3. Instant Loading: PWAs load quickly and provide a near-instantaneous user experience, reducing bounce rates and improving SEO rankings.
  4. No App Store Hurdles: PWAs are not subject to app store approval processes, giving you more control over the distribution and update process.


  1. Limited Native Features: PWAs have limitations in accessing certain native device features, such as biometric authentication or deep camera integration.
  2. Less Engagement: While they can provide push notifications, they may not be as effective as those in mobile apps due to user browser settings.
  3. Offline Functionality: While PWAs can work offline, their offline capabilities are not as robust as those of mobile apps.
  4. Discoverability: PWAs may not be as discoverable as apps in traditional app stores, and user adoption can be slower.

Making the Choice: Ecommerce Mobile App or PWA?

The decision between an eCommerce mobile app and a PWA largely depends on your business objectives, budget, and target audience. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Target Audience: If your audience primarily uses smartphones and you require advanced native features, a mobile app may be more suitable.
  • Budget Constraints: If you have limited resources, a PWA can provide a cost-effective solution that works across different platforms.
  • Development Speed: PWAs are quicker to develop and deploy. If you need a solution in a short timeframe, they may be a better choice.
  • User Experience: If you prioritize a highly immersive and customized experience, a mobile app can deliver that. PWAs provide a more streamlined, web-like experience.
  • Marketing Strategy: Consider how you plan to market your eCommerce platform. Mobile apps may offer advantages in push notifications and app store visibility.

Both eCommerce mobile apps and PWAs have their unique advantages and challenges. Your choice should align with your business goals, budget, and the preferences of your target audience. Ultimately, the success of your online store depends on your ability to provide a seamless and engaging shopping experience, regardless of the technology you choose.