The use of smartphones has rapidly increased over the last decade, with it, we’re seeing a corresponding growth in mobile commerce. In fact, mobile commerce has become so prevalent that no eCommerce business is complete without a mobile app. These apps make shopping a 24/7 affair where customers can complete purchases with just a few taps on their phone.

1.2 billion people from around the world access the internet from their smartphones; that figure grows with every passing minute. Of course, this means that more and more people are choosing to buy things through the internet, too. You can see the impact of eCommerce in the fact that 4 out of 5 Americans shop online and more than half of them shop on their smartphones. In addition, 67% of shoppers claim to use their smartphones to window shop and scan online stores; 77% of these also admit to making impulse purchases on their smartphones when they find something they like.

While shopping has become significantly easier for customers, it has become equally challenging for sellers. This new challenge is due to online retailers having to work harder to keep up with the changing dynamics of eCommerce. Brick-and-mortar stores invaded the domestic space through websites on laptops and now, they’ve leapt into customers’ palms with eCommerce mobile apps. In 2019, 44.7% of eCommerce sales were made through smartphones; this figure is predicted to grow to 53.9% by 2021. This data illustrates just how important an eCommerce app is. All the industry’s biggest players - Amazon, Groupon, AliExpress, and Etsy, for example - have mobile apps. If you want to stay competitive, you’ll need one, too.

What is an eCommerce App?

Essentially, an eCommerce app is a brand-specific app that allows users to browse your products and make purchases on their smartphones. While going through the eCommerce app development process, you may want to consider adding a few features. Customers should have the ability to browse all products and buy at any time with a range of payment and delivery options. In addition, the app should have push notifications to send deals and offers that encourage conversions.

How to Build an eCommerce App

We’ve already established that your online business needs a mobile app, but how do you go about building one? That’s easy. Follow this step-by-step guide to develop an eCommerce app that’s in line with industry standards and will fulfill its purpose.

Why Does Your Business Need a Mobile App?

The first step in building an eCommerce mobile app is to answer this very important question. Evaluate your goals and what you hope to achieve with your mobile app. You should consider how much traffic your website generates, what percentage of your target audience shops with their smartphones, and how a mobile app can help your business. Once you’ve thought about all these things, you’ll be able to decide whether the time is right to get into this.

For example, if you’re a B2C business, you could be losing sales to stores that offer mobile shopping apps. Similarly, if your focus is B2B sales, then an eCommerce app can make reordering easier for your customers. In both cases, a mobile app can promote brand loyalty.

Who is the Target Audience for your eCommerce Business App?

This is something you should have thought about while you were developing your business idea. Knowing your target audience’s preferences is crucial to building a good business. But it’s also important while developing an app. Knowing what your customers like to purchase, how they like to buy things, how they reach out to you, and what their interests are is important. Once you can answer all these questions, you can customize your app to meet your audience’s specific needs. You should also remember that if you are a wholesaler or operate in the business-to-business sphere, you may need to specifically develop a B2B eCommerce app for your corporate clients.

How Does an eCommerce Application Work?

For any app, using the right technology is important. This is especially true for an eCommerce app. You’ll have to decide whether your app will work with iOS or Android, or both. You can figure this out depending on what’s most suitable for your target audience. This will also help you select the right app development tool. For example, you could use a simple building program like App Makr, Game Salad or Appy Pie where little to no coding knowledge is required. But, for a tailor-made app with all the latest eCommerce features that offers a great user experience, you should hire an experienced eCommerce application builder.

How Much Does an eCommerce App Cost?

Another important point to consider while thinking about an eCommerce app is your budget. You’ll need to determine how much you can afford to spend on developing on eCommerce app. This will, in turn, help you decide what technology you can use. Think of this as the difference between buying off-the-rack or tailor-made clothing. Your financial resources will decide whether you can get a custom solution or have to go a little more generic. To help you with this, try to get a few estimates from different developers. This way, you can understand the market rate and what type of budget you’ll need to develop an app.

10 of the Best eCommerce Mobile App Features

If you’re going to build a good app, there are several features you will need to include. In addition to being easy to use, a great eCommerce app should, of course, have all the basic business functions of an online store put together in an intuitive format. Here are a few features you should think about including when you go through the eCommerce app development process:

  • Easy shopping cart and checkout process
  • Multiple payment options
  • Detailed, yet easy to navigate product catalogue
  • Wishlist function
  • Custom branding that’s in line with the rest of your collateral
  • App rating system
  • Backend synchronization with your website for a seamless shopping experience across multiple devices
  • Social media integration
  • Push notifications
  • Multiple shipping options

All these features are important for a good eCommerce app. Of course, the most important factor will always be the user experience. Make sure that your app design is not overly complicated or messy. Too many bright colors and difficult navigation are big turn-offs for users, so avoid these. On another note, it’s important that your website and app offer the same product catalogue as many buyers browse on their phones, but make purchases on a laptop through a website. Similarly, a customer who’s registered on your website should also be able to log into their account through the app and access all the same account features like order history and wishlist.

Learn From Your Competitors

Whenever you begin a new business, one of your first tasks is to identify your competitors. The same applies if you’re planning to develop an eCommerce app. Check out your competitors’ apps and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Learn from their mistakes and correct them when you create your own app. Similarly, if you find a good feature on one of your competitors’ apps, modify it to suit your own brand and customers before implementing it into your app. Learn from them to compete better.

eCommerce Mobile App Testing

This should be an obvious step, but it’s so easy to overlook. Before you launch your app, you should do some market testing so see if there are any errors or issues that need to be corrected. Launch a beta version so you can test in real time. This will give you the fastest and most productive results. Get user feedback about how they use the app, features they liked (or didn’t), and any issues they faced. This way, you can fix your app before you launch it. This often gives better results than lab testing as users will go through all the app features and pinpoint any anything you may have overlooked.

Promote Your eCommerce App

Your app is ready to go, it’s time to launch and watch the orders roll in. However, to do this, you’ll have to have a good marketing campaign. Paid marketing is always the best option. Use an omnichannel marketing strategy to reach more customers through multiple avenues. You can also use your present customers to do that for you by incentivizing them to make recommendations on social media. Use ratings and reviews in the app marketplace to your advantage as well.

Purchasing Through an Online Store? There’s an App for That!

If you have an eCommerce store, then a mobile app is the next step. At a time when mobile commerce has become an integral part of the online shopping experience it’s crucial that you give your customers the opportunity to make purchases through an app. All the big names in eCommerce are already using mobile apps, and it’s time for you to jump on the bandwagon, whether you’re a big or small business.

Once you have your app, Easyship can be your partner for flexible shipping solutions. Our solutions are easy to integrate, affordable, and fast. We provide great solutions for eCommerce companies looking to expand globally without incurring huge costs. To try our services, sign up for a free account now!