Adobe adds a Progressive Web Apps builder to Magento
PWAs, the company says, represent a ‘seismic advancement’ that can move online stores beyond mobile web sites and mobile apps.
Adobe announced new marketing capabilities at the National Retail Federation conference on Tuesday, most notably its first Progressive Web Application (PWA) Studio.
“A seismic advancement.” PWAs are browser-based, fast interactive experiences that resemble mobile apps, but do not require downloads. While the new PWA Studio in Adobe’s e-commerce platform Magento is designed for use by a developer, it represents Adobe’s first major effort to move online stores into becoming web-based apps.
In a blog post, Magento Senior Director of Strategy Peter Sheldon called PWAs “a seismic advancement in the evolution of the mobile web, similar in magnitude to the transition that happened five years ago from conventional desktop sites to responsive web design.” Adobe says this is the first e-commerce platform to offer PWA building.
PWAs can be saved to a device’s home screen and then clicked to open, without a user having to first open a browser and enter the URL. They can also be shown in full-screen mode, with a hidden top browser URL bar and navigation controls showing at screen bottom, in order to give an “app feel.”
PWAs could be used on a tablet by store associates in a physical store, they could offer new interactive features within existing online stores, or they could become the entire online store.
Although the PWA Studio is primarily intended for mobile devices, Sheldon told me, they could also be developed for desktop/laptop use.
Segment-targeted recommendations, Smart Tags for video. Adobe also announced that its Target testing and targeting tool can now find the most effective personalized product recommendation algorithm for each audience segment, such as showing inexpensive furniture offers to college students.
There are also now Smart Tags for video in Experience Manager, enabling quicker discovery for consumers and marketers, based on actions, attributes and objects. Product lists can now be embedded into promotional emails, using design tools in Campaign.
Why you should care. The e-commerce race is now well underway, with the major marketing platforms participating fully and introducing major new capabilities that turn their tools into more fully realized marketing suites.
On Monday, for instance, Salesforce announced visual product search for its Commerce Cloud, turning product catalogs and stores into visual shopping assistants.
And, now, Adobe is adding PWA Studio to its e-commerce platform, while endorsing the idea that PWAs could replace responsive mobile sites for retailers — and potentially replace the need for e-commerce mobile apps. If PWAs do replace mobile apps and perhaps online stores for retailers, the marketers’ need to build mobile apps and even mobile sites could vanish.
In other words, the web store with text searches is fading, and these new announcements point to how stores can move beyond being simply a repository of products for sale, to becoming another agent to assist in shopping.