Push Notifications in PWA – Everything You Need to Know

Marlena Walburg

Progressive Web Apps seem to be an ongoing trend in the mobile app development industry. Actually, their cross-platform abilities, improved speed, and no need for installs make them a future-proof solution. Many businesses consider moving from traditional websites or even native apps to PWA because of its advantages. Just think about it – PWA’s possibilities to grow brand awareness, enhance user experience and increase conversions are really huge. Moreover, the development of such an app is much easier, cheaper, and faster compared to native apps. As opposed to regular websites, PWAs are packed with much more functionalities. Overall, Progressive Web Apps are truly business-oriented and value-generating.

However, PWAs would not be the same beneficial solution if not push notifications. This concept definitely brings them to the next level and opens many doors to gain users’ attention. Even Google mentioned push notifications many times in their yearly predictions as a robust online marketing strategy-building trend.  

What are push notifications?

You probably know what notifications are – short messages that appear on the user’s device. Notifications can be sent locally from the open applications allowed to do so or pushed from the server to the user when the app is not running. They can work without push but combined with it; they let you make the most out of this feature. So, push notifications to deliver new content to the app without any action from the client side. They are powerful marketing tools that can help effectively re-engage the audience, keep them informed about new updates and, at some point, call them to take a specific action. Many businesses combine it with users’ data collecting and processing to trigger push notifications with highly personalized content. Once the users agree to get them, they will receive dedicated messages designed based on their activity on the website. As you see, it has a great potential to make your brand more visible and retain customers. However, only if you use them wisely and do not spam your audience. 

Does PWA support push notifications?

Well, push notifications are one of the critical PWA’s features and advantages. They give users some native feel even though they use a web-based app which PWA itself is. Offline access, quick loading and being lightweight make a solid basis to push notifications to extend the experience Progressive Web Apps deliver. Push notifications allow PWA to go far beyond the browser and let users interact with your app without going back to your website. So PWA not only supports push notifications but also draws its attractiveness and popularity from them. By displaying your business icon and a few lines of text, they engage consumers and remind them of you. They are also a valuable source of information for them, which they do not have to look for themselves in your ejaculation or Progressive Web Application

How to set up push notifications in PWA?

To enable push notifications and offline access in general, PWA uses Service Worker. It is a JavaScript file that runs separately from the main browser thread and lets the application control network requests, cache them and access acquired content. For push notifications functionality, Service Workers provide a starting point for Notifications API and Push API. Thanks to the first API, the app can display notifications to the user. The second API allows the app to subscribe to push service and receive messages. Service Workers need to be registered, installed and activated. With Web App Manifest and some security requirements, Service Workers are the components that define a website as PWA. 

Thus, having your PWA created and the Service Workers setup done, you need to configure checking permissions, i.e. whether the user has allowed the sending of notifications. In addition, the user request for permissions must be properly encoded. Finally, you also need to add a way that the user will opt out of push notifications. There are functions for all of these tasks. It is, of course, a very general description of setting push notifications. Your developer will probably do this job for you, but it is worth knowing what the process looks like. 

What are the reasons to implement push notifications in PWA?

If you really want to benefit from PWA possibilities, you should enable push notifications and plan a strategy for them. It is pretty straightforward to set them up but creating value is a little bit trickier. However, if you implement push notifications thoughtfully, you will be rewarded with many profits.

We already mentioned how powerful tools for any business could push notifications be. Timely updates for your customers and sending relevant content will result in a better customer retention ratio. Usually, it is a challenging process, so introducing a good push notifications strategy can effectively help you in that. Push notifications can help fill the gap between online and offline channels and create a tremendous omnichannel experience for clients. As many smartphone users use mobile devices to make an in-store purchase, you can leverage this opportunity to send personalized push notifications to boost in-store sales.

What is more, keeping users engaged and constantly interested in your app and business is much easier with this functionality. Plan personalized reminders, offer alerts, relevant notifications to regularly attract customers and make them remember about you. Another notable thing about push notifications is their ability to send updates in real-time. So if there is a kind of information you need to send instantly to your users, like package tracking updates, push notifications are your way to go. 

Can Web apps have push notifications?

Most leading browsers allow for push notifications nowadays. Therefore, a website with web push notifications set up can send them to any device that supports those browsers, but the user does not have to install anything. Moreover, users can receive the push while browsing another website, and you do not need to have an app to send web push notifications. 

To be precise, app push notifications and web ones are not the same things. Formerly, this term referred only to apps, but it has broadened out to include both types. So, to finally answer if web applications can have push notifications – yes, they can. However, it is essential to implement it well, bearing in mind Service Workers and HTTPS, as web push notifications can only be implemented on HTTPS enabled domains to prevent potential malicious attacks. HTTP websites too can execute web push functionality but require some work to do first.  

Can PWA send push notifications to iOS?

There is, in practice, no official support for push notifications from Apple. However, there are some ways that developers find that get around the system a bit. Most of these require the application ID to be registered with the Apple Developer Portal with the approval of the relevant service. There is also a way to use Apple Wallet for this purpose. Unfortunately, these are not simple ways and genuinely belong to the PWA functionality. Perhaps in the future, Apple will enable implementing push notifications in a simple, official way. After all, Steve Jobs himself spoke about the concept of PWA and sending notifications through them over ten years ago.

PWA push notification use cases

Below we list examples of how you can use push notifications in various industries to gain profits:

  • Media & Entertainment – dedicated push notifications can significantly boost subscriptions for media and entertainment applications. By sending personalised recommendations based on viewing or listening history, you can build engagement. Addressing potential users’ needs this way can eventually lead them to buy a higher subscription plan.
  • E-commerce – this industry seems to be made for push notifications. You can notify your customers about goods left in the shopping cart, new deals, new arrivals and drive sales for your e-commerce business.
  • Finance/Banking – banking apps can, for example, send notifications to inform about transactional updates, sending security alerts or any finance-related tips. Likewise, it is an excellent potential for various fintech applications to notify about changes in the exchange rate, stock market events, exclusive deals, etc.
  • Tourism – the ideas start from notifications about weather conditions where the user is staying, recommendations of places worth attending in the destination location and reports about upcoming trips or other travel destinations. The tourism industry also has a wide range of possibilities. Attractive offers from hotels or dedicated tours can also be a thing here.

In fact, you can use push notifications in every industry, ranging from recommendations to dedicated offers.


Push notifications are a remarkable strength of PWAs. Properly used, they are a powerful marketing tool that can generate considerable income. Used wisely, conveying relevant information to consumers, they will make users familiar with your brand, will want to come back to your application or store, and will be loyal, regular customers. Remember not to overuse them and not spam them with notifications about trifles not to scare your audience. In combination with analytical tools that track user traffic on the web and collect data about their activity, you can achieve real success.

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