We live in a time when a lot of people frequent online stores a lot more than physical stores. What makes it even easier for shoppers to get to these online stores is the mobile applications. It can be the queue for entry into a club or while commuting in a bus, the shopper has the marketplace on their fingertips. It goes without saying that mobile applications have become a must haves for eCommerce businesses.
Creating an eCommerce mobile application can be tricky at times. The nature of eCommerce application development changes depending on how deep your pockets or how much time you have to make the app go live. Additional features such as AR, shipment tracking, etc. also affect the development process in one way or another.
It is why I have put together 7 steps that will help you create an eCommerce application capable enough of prospering in this brutal marketspace.
This is where it all starts. You need to start by clearly stating what it is that you want to achieve with this app. It would involve you having a good look at the current state of things and setting up very lofty goals.
You will follow it by doing research on the target audience. You need to identify the majority demographic among your customers and then find out how you can attract more of them with your app. You can do so by getting in their shoes and finding out what you would have wanted from an eCommerce mobile application.
Lastly, you will have to take a close look at the demand of your product and also the buying pattern of customers. Demand and supply control any marketplace and the same will hold true for you. Make sure your app makes it even more easier for shoppers to satisfy their demands.
Combing through the rivals will not only give you an idea of the competition you are about to face but also about what works and what doesn’t in your niche. The purpose of this step is to leverage your competition’s experience. You don’t want to make the mistakes they have already made but you definitely want to follow their footsteps for all the times they did well.
You would want to take a closer look at the app review and see what it is that shoppers admire the most about the app. The same goes for finding out customer pain points. One thing you need to keep in mind during competition research is that you find too difficult opponents for yourself.
You need to understand that your mobile app will grow gradually and there is no point in trying to go after the most successful apps right from the get go. Especially if you don’t have anything substantial to back those desires.
Now comes the time to make one of the most important decisions in the app development process. You need to decide if your eCommerce app is going to be based on a native app or a hybrid one.
Both the types have their sets of pros and cons. A native app usually comes with a smoother interface and provides an awesome user experience. It allows one to make use of most of the device features. With a native app you can have features such as AR and GPS navigation.
What attracts most folks towards hybrid apps is that it takes less time and money to be done with the app development process this way. Since there is only a single codebase that you need to work on, you end up saving a lot of resources.
However, in my opinion, native apps are a better step forward. User experience matters a lot to become a successful eCommerce application and it’s very difficult to deliver quality user experience with hybrid apps.
Apart from the type of app, another thing affecting user experience is the CMS you use. It is responsible for pulling out all sorts of information on the app from the database. If you already have an online store, you can use your existing CMS for the mobile app as well. All you need to do is make sure it is mobile friendly.
If you are looking for a suitable CMS option then there are plenty of good ones available in the market. You can with Magento, Shopify, etc. depending on your needs and availability of resources.
One suggestion I have for you at this stage is to go for a hybrid CMS. It brings the freedom of headless systems without the heavy dependence on developers to manage the front end.
Now that the considerations about the type of application and CMS are out of the way, you can focus on the features of your app. Every eCommerce mobile application is supposed to have some basic features and that is the place to start in this stage. These features include the option of secured login, payment method, etc.
Once done, you can proceed onto features that will increase the value of your applications and attract more shoppers. Voice search, AR, barcode scanner, shipment tracking, etc. are some of the features that will help you enhance the mobile application. Depending on the nature of products in your online store, you can introduce features that would give the shopper one more reason to buy your products.
An online dweller now comes with a very short attention span. They either get bored or get spooked very quickly and leave the site or the application. It is why you should always strive to provide the best user experience possible.
Some of the things you can do to enhance the user experience are provide a smooth check-in and checkout process, make them realize how secure and reliable the app is, and provide an intuitive interface.
Even though a lot of us would prefer seeing this step at the beginning, it might not be in the best interest of the mobile application to start that way. eCommerce mobile application development can cost you anywhere between $15,000 to $150,000.
The two primary factors affecting the cost are the number of features you want to see in the app and kind of developers you hire for the process. Markets will charge you differently for the process and it boils down to personal choice in the end.
For an indepth look into the process, checkout our eCommerce mobile application development article.