Magento-based PWA: advantages, limitations, and implementation options

Guest post 16.4.2024. Reading Time: 5 minutes
magento PWA
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A growing number of businesses are adopting progressive web applications – solutions combining features of web and native mobile apps.  PWAs help businesses improve customer experience, and this can be one of the factors prompting the technology’s growth. According to IndustryARC, the global PWA market is expected to reach $12 billion by 2030, showing a CAGR of 28.7% throughout 2023-2030. 

Itransition’s ecommerce developers believe the technology can be especially advantageous for online sellers, namely Magento merchants, who can use ready-made Magento tools for PWA enablement. For instance, a business can implement a PWA to improve customer experience, and consequently, perform better. 

This article explores the advantages of Magento-based progressive web apps, highlights their limitations, and describes three PWA implementation options.

Why consider Magento PWA implementation

progressive web apps
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The implementation of Magento-based PWAs offers benefits to both businesses and consumers.

PWA advantages for merchants

·    Increased audience reach

Since PWAs are easily accessible from multiple operating systems and devices, they help Magento merchants reach their customers better. For instance, implementing a Magento-based PWA frontend helped Netatmo, a French manufacturer and seller of smart home devices, increase the number of daily website users by 16% and attract + 30% of mobile users.

·        Improved conversion rates

With PWA websites, Magento merchants can improve their stores’ performance and enhance mobile user experience as well, which can result in higher conversion rates. The launch of a Magento PWA store helped Kubota, a Polish clothing and footwear retailer, boost its conversion rate by 250% due to improved user experience.

·        Better customer retention

PWAs can also help Magento businesses re-engage customers better by sending push notifications to their browsers and mobile devices (except for those running on iOS). By using notifications, a merchant can signal users that their favorite products are back in stock or that a promotion has started, as well as message other relevant content encouraging users to return to the store.

·        Easier development and maintenance

Since PWAs are compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems, developers can build one PWA to replace two or three mobile apps. Additionally, since PWAs use a single codebase, developers can update and patch their solutions quicker, which helps merchants streamline application maintenance.

 ·        Optimization of ecommerce site

A website should meet specific requirements before it can be transformed into a PWA. For example, Google can decline to classify a website as a PWA if it does not use the HTTPS protocol. Thus, PWA development naturally prompts a merchant to optimize their website, which can implicitly improve the online store’s security and performance.

PWA advantages for consumers

·        Smaller application size

If installed, PWAs take up much less space on users’ devices compared to native apps – some PWAs can only take up a few hundred kilobytes. This advantage, as well as the ease of installation through a browser menu, makes PWAs more convenient for users.

·        Offline operation

PWAs can upload content from a device’s cache, so customers can use them even when there’s poor connectivity or no internet connection at all. For instance, a consumer can continue to fill their cart offline and check out later when the connection is restored.

·        Easier updating

Updating a mobile app can be annoying and labor-intensive for users, but the typical process of updating PWA is more straightforward. Usually, a pop-up message prompts users to install a new version of the solution, and all they have to do is confirm the update, which will install quickly, and continue their session. The whole updating process typically lasts no more than a minute, contributing to a better user experience.

Limitations of Magento-based PWAs

PWAs also have several limitations that retailers using Magento should consider in advance.

·        Limited access to the user’s hardware and data

PWAs can use fewer mobile device features compared to native apps. Therefore, if access to a user’s camera or geolocation is critical to the application’s work, retailers should opt for native app development instead.

·        Limited access to app stores

Although businesses can upload progressive web apps to various app stores like Microsoft Store and Google Play, they should remember that not all app marketplaces are equally accepting of PWAs.

For example, Apple’s official guidelines state, “Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website”, meaning there is a chance that the App Store prevents a merchant from submitting its PWA. However, developers can still try to upload a PWA in the App Store using the guide and open-source tools provided by Microsoft’s PWABuilder.

·        Limited browser compatibility

Not all browsers support PWA equally well. For instance, although mobile Firefox browsers work with installable PWAs, they are no longer supported by the Firefox desktop version since Mozilla removed the site-specific browser (SSB) feature. However, developers can get around this limitation using the community-built Firefox runtime available on GitHub.

How to implement a Magento-based PWA

There are several ways to enable PWA in a Magento-based store:

1. Using ready-made PWA themes

Purchasing existing themes is a relatively easy way to turn a Magento site into a progressive web application. Developers can use themes provided by PWA Studio, which is a proprietary Magento brand, or use third-party PWA builders, such as Vue Storefront or ScandiPWA.


• Faster and cheaper development since themes eliminate the need to design and engineer the solution from scratch.

• PWA Studio, Vue Storefront, and ScandiPWA provide convenient tools and libraries to help execute theme integration, so PWA development requires a lower level of technical expertise.


• Ready-made themes can fail to meet the merchant’s specific requirements regarding PWA design or functionality.

• Some ready-made themes contain unnecessary or excessive code that can negatively affect page loading speed, so developers may have to remove it.

2. Building a PWA from scratch

Developers can create a custom PWA using various programming languages and frameworks like Javascript, HTML, and CSS. While the custom development approach is more complicated and labor-intensive, it allows merchants to tailor PWAs to their unique business needs.


  • Custom development allows merchants to implement PWAs with unique designs and functionality to stand out among competitors more easily.
  • Merchants can modify and scale their custom PWAs whenever they need and at their own pace.


  • Custom development is more expensive and time-consuming, taking up a couple of months or even half a year.
  • This approach requires significant web development experience and qualifications that merchants don’t typically have in-house.

3. Taking a hybrid approach

Developers can utilize ready-made themes and write custom code when implementing a PWA project, thus gaining advantages and mitigating the drawbacks of both development approaches. However, like the previous one, the hybrid approach requires significant web development experience and proficiency in multiple web technologies.

Final thoughts

PWA adoption in the ecommerce industry is accelerating, and Magento merchants are keeping up with this trend. By turning their online stores into progressive web applications, businesses using Magento can attract more web and mobile users, improve customer engagement, and increase conversion rates.

Depending on their requirements, companies can use ready-made PWA themes or develop PWAs from scratch, which can be more complicated. However, retailers can mitigate the complexity of custom PWA development and make it more cost-effective by hiring third-party developers proficient in both Magento and PWA.


Roman Davydov
Roman Davydov is Ecommerce Technology Observer at Itransition. With over four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide retail businesses in making informed software buying choices when it comes to commerce and store management automation.