eCommerce Mobile App Builder#
We’re in the midst of an eCommerce revolution. It’s an exciting time for brands and customers alike.
In 2022, nearly 20% of all retail sales occurred online, and that number is expected to increase to 24% by 2026. Many of those sales come from retail websites and online marketplaces, but eCommerce apps are responsible for an increasingly larger share.
An eCommerce app is a downloadable application for tablets and smartphones. These apps are often compatible with Android, iOS, or both, and they provide users with a dedicated experience on their mobile devices.
Most of the things that can be done on an eCommerce website are also available through eCommerce apps—browsing, buying, raising support tickets, and checking orders.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to eCommerce creation is the cost, time, and skill it requires. Major eCommerce brands have invested millions into building dedicated apps and that’s something that smaller retailers can’t compete with.
In the following guide, we’ll talk more about this eCommerce apps and discuss the whys, hows, and whens of building an eCommerce app, including:
Do I need an eCommerce app?
What are the benefits of building an eCommerce app?
How easy is it?
Is my business a good fit?
When is the right time?
What are the steps?
How much does it cost?
Why Would I Want to Build an eCommerce Mobile App?#
Increased earnings—that’s the main reason to consider developing a mobile app and its why countless brands make this commitment every single day.
Greater profitability is the end goal of every eCommerce business, whether they get there by improving the product, service, or supply chain. Mobile apps can help with all of this.
A well-designed eCommerce app can give customers more ways to browse and additional options to buy. It simplifies and streamlines the ordering process. More importantly, by providing a dedicated retail experience, it keeps those mobile users in the app and improves customer loyalty.
Apps are also a great way to promote offers (discounts, buy-one-get-one-free), highlight loyalty schemes, and keep customers informed about previous orders, future promotions, loyalty points, and support tickets.
Simply put, there are many reasons for brands to consider eCommerce apps, and many brands that can benefit from making such a commitment.
Should I Build an eCommerce App?#
Before you rush to build your own app, there are a few things that you need to consider. Most eCommerce brands can benefit from building an app, and when you consider how easy and straightforward the process is, it’s tempting to stick it at the top of your to-do list.
But first, you need to do some research, ask some questions, understand your market, and get all your ducks in a row.
Consider all of the following:
Does my Business Need an eCommerce app?#
This is a relatively easy question to answer.
If you have an eCommerce store or want to sell a product online, you can benefit from creating an app.
At best, it drives the bulk of your sales and will be used by the majority of your customers to place orders. At worst, it serves as an additional option for loyal customers and those who prefer a dedicated shopping experience.
Either way, a shopping app can increase sales, which is ultimately the goal of all eCommerce brands.
What is my Target Market?#
One of the first steps to launching an eCommerce brand is to understand your target market. This is especially important when building an app, as it’ll help you to construct that app in a way that suits that demographic.
At the most basic level, you must consider whether your customers need the app and can use it.
Do they use smartphones/tablets? Do they spend a lot of time on their devices?
If you’re targeting the older generation, for instance, they may struggle to understand how the app works. That doesn’t mean you should refrain from creating an app, but rather that you need to tailor it to their needs, such as:
Clear instructions on how to download and use.
A simple and easy-to-use interface.
Help files within the app to assist them as they navigate.
Fewer clickable elements on a single page.
Of course, if your target customers are technophobes who don’t use apps, rarely make purchases online, and prefer to engage face-to-face, an eCommerce app might not be suitable.
You should also spare a thought for trends and cultural differences. A flashy, high-spec, in-your-face app might be suitable for younger generations who grew up with technology, but the same can’t be said for those who don’t spend much time online and just want a simple interface.
One of the biggest mistakes that eCommerce brands make is thinking about themselves and not their customers. They create new products because they have the funds or opportunities to do so. They launch new logos and layouts because they want a refresh. They make changes that are prompted by their owners or CEOs.
Throughout all of this, what they should be doing is asking, “Will this actually benefit our customers?”.
Can I Fulfill Customer Orders Online#
There are actually two questions to answer here. It all depends on where your business is currently.
Brands that will be launching into the eCommerce space with an app must ask themselves whether they can actually fulfill orders online. Brands that are launching an app off the back of an existing eCommerce website must address whether they can handle the potential increase in orders.
The first is obviously the more complicated, but there are numerous systems in place that make it easy to process online orders.
You can showcase all of your products, highlight some customer reviews and testimonials, and provide customers with a wealth of product information.
From there, you just need to connect a payment processing solution that allows you to take orders. You’ll receive the orders when they are placed, your staff can process them, and if customers have any issues, they’ll contact you via email, live chat, or whatever other support options you provide.
Unlike traditional retail, there is minimal contact with customers. Secure automated systems ensure that payments are processed properly while the couriers you use will keep customers updated on the progress of their orders. You can even automate the returns process by including a returns label in the parcel.
If you already have an eCommerce website and are simply adding an app, prepare for extra demand.
Many online shoppers use their smartphones and tablets to shop, so if you have a lot of brand exposure, numerous effective marketing campaigns, and loyal customers, there should be an increase in orders.
There are a number of ways that you can prepare for this:
Use stock limits to ensure that customers can’t order stock if you don’t have it.
Shorten the supply chain to access stock more quickly when it is needed.
Be prepared to post notifications warning about potential processing/shipment delays.
Calculate whether or not you’ll need more stock based on marketing/existing customers.
Switch to easily scalable solutions so you can quickly adapt to increased demand.
How Much Will it Cost me to Build an App?#
If you want to install more complicated features or just don’t have the technological know-how to piece things together, you can hire a developer to do the work for you. By hiring a contractor only for specific features, you’ll spend a fraction of what you would by hiring a team.
App development teams don’t come cheap. They hire experienced and highly-skilled developers, designers, and editors. When they build applications, they often do it from the ground up, investing a great deal of resources into the project and seeking constant feedback from the brand.
It’s expensive. It’s time-consuming. And while it might be worth it for the Amazons and eBays of the world, it’s simply not an option for smaller brands.
What is the Right Coding Framework?#
If you decide to build an app, consider whether you want a native app or a cross-platform app.
Native apps deliver the best performance, but they are much more expensive and complicated. They are “native” because they are designed for a specific platform and use the programming languages that work best for that platform.
Cross-platform app development is a far simpler option. As the name suggests, it entails creating apps that work across multiple platforms, ensuring they are widely compatible and thus accessible to all.
Cross-platform apps can be built quickly and relatively easily using existing app creation frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Ionic, Xamarin, and others:
Flutter: An open-source framework developed by Google. Flutter is used by many major developers and brands and includes a number of features, including a selection of widgets.
Ionic: Can be used to build progressive web apps, which give users advanced and feature-rich experiences akin to what they get with native apps.
Xamarin: Owned by Microsoft, Xamarin leverages C# and .NET programming languages.
React Native: Facebook’s offering is popular with numerous big brands and offers fast development with easy integration.
Create UX/UI design#
Modern consumers don’t have much patience for slow and clunky apps. Everything needs to be fast, smooth, slick, and effortless. If they constantly find themselves waiting for images to load, clicking on the wrong link, and having to navigate backward and forward to find the right pages, they will close the app, delete it, and see what your competitors have to offer.
It’s all about creating the path of least resistance, making it as easy as possible for them to find what they want, check the features/capabilities, and then place an order.
It’s tempting to pack as much information into the app as possible. But in reality, the best solution is often the simplest. Make it easy for app users to find information like promotional offers, FAQs, and delivery info, but don’t bombard them with it.
You should always test the app before launching it. Spend some time on it yourself. Give it to employees, friends, and family members, and ask for honest opinions.
But don’t stop there.
After the launch, pay attention to user comments and reviews. Don’t panic if you see several bad reviews. Don’t get stressed or upset if they mock your efforts and trash your business. Use those comments to make changes and improvements, update your app, and then keep your eyes peeled for more comments and reviews.
It will feel like customers are being unnecessarily harsh, as many people only leave reviews when they have something negative to say and those reviews can seem hypercritical. But if you take that feedback on board, you can improve the functionality of your app and ensure you receive better reviews in the future.
Benefits of Building an eCommerce Mobile App#
We’ve addressed how to build an eCommerce app and highlighted some of the steps you should take. But what are the benefits of launching such an app?
Let’s find out.
1. It Takes Your Brand Online#
If you operate a brick-and-mortar retail store without an online presence, an app will allow you to move into the world of eCommerce.
The benefits of online retail are endless. It gives brands the chance to go global and tap into a growing number of shoppers that either can’t or won’t buy from physical stores.
2. It Expands Your Reach#
eCommerce applications can be added to Apple App Store and Google Play Store, giving you access to more consumers in your target category. They also target customers that prefer apps to websites, which is true for a growing number of young shoppers.
3. It Improves Conversion Rates#
By personalizing the UI and engaging consumers in unique ways, apps typically offer higher conversion rates. It’s also very easy to conduct A/B testing on an app, which means you show a UI to one group of people, display a slightly different UI to another group, and then see which one performs best.
When you have the answer, you can test the “winning” UI against another option and keep going until you have a highly customized and optimized interface.
4. It Improves Customer Engagement#
Thanks to push notifications, apps tend to perform better with regard to customer engagement. You also have their undivided attention when they are using the app, so they are more likely to see and utilize promotions.
5. Data Collection is Easier#
Application analytics will provide you with key data regarding how users navigate, what links they click, and whether there are any sticking points. You can collect a lot of data and use it to improve your app and your bottom line.
6. It’s a Chance to Build a Community#
If you can keep customers engaged and entertained, an app is a good way to build a strong community of loyal customers. Send them notifications, keep them busy with features, and ensure that they keep opening the app and returning. Loyalty leads to high lifetime value, and that’s what modern eCommerce brands thrive on.
Can I Build an eCommerce Mobile App Myself?#
You definitely can build an e commerce app yourself. But before you rush in, it’s important to have a clear goal.
You don’t want your app to look amateurish. It must also stand up against the competition and provide your customers with a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience.
Spend some time checking other shopping apps on the market. Read the reviews, pay attention to both the praise and the complaints, and you’ll learn what your customers are looking for.
It’s also imperative that you spend time developing and improving. The world of eCommerce is not going anywhere. There’s no need to rush the app. Take your time and produce something that you’re happy to launch and your customers are happy to use.
How AppMachine Can Help you Build an eCommerce App#
Are you ready to start building your own app? Then check out the AppMachine eCommerce app builder. It’s the easiest way to build an eCommerce mobile app and it offers loads of great, easy to use features.
Visit our product page to learn more and start building your very own eCommerce app!