How much does it cost to develop an eCommerce app?
The buying habits of average shoppers have changed dramatically over the last three years. Now customers expect to buy goods including makeup products, clothes, kitchen utensils, and even grocery and home plants online and have all these delivered right to their door. That’s why many of us consider gaining a mobile presence as an addition to a brick-and-mortar outlet. But where to start?
In this article, we are talking about the types of retail apps and their purposes and revealing the ins and outs of the eCommerce app development process and pricing.
If you are searching for a team to create an eCommerce app for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team provides eCommerce app development services: we can design an online store or a marketplace interface and offer a suitable technical solution. Learn more about our mobile app development services.
What is an eCommerce application?
While eCommerce is a process of buying and selling products online, an eCommerce application is a piece of software that provides users with an opportunity to browse for and purchase goods online. eCommerce applications can be divided into two groups: online stores and marketplaces.
An online store is an eCommerce platform owned by one retailer. Online stores are usually associated with already existing brick-and-mortar outlets and help them gain an online presence.
Most commonly, online stores are owned by world-known brands since they have enough marketing resources to promote their own eCommerce apps. Online stores help retailers gather client information that helps build trustful relationships, arrange marketing campaigns, and interact with clients. No wonder prominent brands like IKEA and Nike quit their partnership with Amazon in 2019 and built their own online stores.
Marketplace is an eCommerce platform that displays goods from many different retailers. Some marketplaces provide retailers with inventories and sell the products directly from them, while others let the retailers control the entire fulfillment process and serve just as intermediaries between retailers and customers.
Marketplaces are already-developed platforms with a high level of customer engagement and traffic. So, the retailers don’t deal with anything connected to the development and growth of the marketplace like UI/UX design, advertising, or SEO promotion. The only thing a retailer needs to do is set up an account and follow the terms of the platform. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, and Alibaba are the most common marketplace examples.
Learn more about eCommerce app development, inspiring apps, and UI/UX design in Stories and articles.
eCommerce apps market overview
It is known that the average shopper makes 19 to 22 online transactions per year. It means that some people buy things online more than twice a month.
Moreover, it was estimated that global eCommerce sales reached $4.9 trillion in 2021, and this number is projected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. It’s hard to count the precise number of existing online stores, but surveys show that nowadays, this number is somewhere between 12 and 24 million units. It means that the eCommerce market keeps growing and still has room for new applications and websites, so it’s the perfect time for eCommerce app development.
eCommerce application examples to inspire from
Amazon is a common example of a mobile marketplace. Except for basic features, this app provides its users with an advanced search flow and the ability to get a full impression of the chosen product. Amazon’s customers can use voice search to browse for goods, read reviews, and take 360-degree product views.
The Sephora app provides customers with features for smooth browsing, making wishlists, quick checkout, and scanning products for searching and reviewing. Sephora customers can use Virtual Artist, an augmented reality feature that allows trying on makeup products instantly.
As an addition to the official website, Warby Parker provides users with a mobile application where they can make virtual try-ons. The app users can sort the frames by color, width, size, and shape, as well as estimate the way they look on the face.
H&M app is a perfect example of an online store owned and promoted by one famous brand. The app provides conveniences both for shoppers who prefer buying things online and for those who like going to brick-and-mortar outlets. With the help of this app, customers can scan items and immediately buy them online in case the location doesn’t have the color or size they want to purchase.
Nike sells its products via its official website and mobile app. Its application is not just a purchasing tool. Using it, customers of Nike can get training tips, read success stories, and get style advice from Nike’s in-house stylists. Thus, Nike encourages its customers to stay motivated and focus on their exercise goals, as well as enlarges the brand’s popularity and sales.
Native development vs cross-platform development: Which one is better for eCommerce app development
According to some studies, about 37 of top U.S leading retailers like Nike, Amazon, and Etsy prefer having a hybrid mobile app. These companies have started running their business with web apps they keep improving for many years. If they ever wanted to build native apps, all the work done with their web apps would be thrown away, and they would have to start building new products from scratch. That’s why many brands rebuild their web apps into cross-platform ones and leave only some parts native.
After a short discussion with our CTO, we agreed that the cross-platform model matches eCommerce apps best. It allows to implement all the essential features of eCommerce apps and makes these apps easier to maintain. All the unique features of the retail apps mentioned above can be implemented with a cross-platform model, except for augmented reality try-on. That’s why a cross-platform model is perfect for creating an eCommerce app.
eCommerce application development process
The process described below is the way our team approaches eCommerce app development.
Before diving into the eCommerce app development process, it’s crucial to define your business goal and analyze the target audience and market.
Here’s an example of how our team runs the analytics process. Once an Australian entrepreneur asked us to create a food marketplace. He owned an inventory and delivered products to local restaurants. To automate this process, he wanted to get his own marketplace app.
However, after thorough research of the market and business made by our analyst, it became clear that the entrepreneur did not receive enough orders for the app development to pay off. That’s why an alternative was offered: It was easier and more cost-effective to set up an Instagram page and automate the delivery using it.
In general, the situation is the following: If you own a small local brand, it’s better to sell your goods via social networks or an already existing marketplace. But if you own a well-known brand, you’ll need to find channels that will help you to promote the developed app and attract your customers.
If you have a business idea and you are not sure if you need your own eCommerce app, contact us. We can help you to validate your idea and offer a suitable tech solution for eCommerce app development. Find out what tools we use in the process of Analytics.
2. UI/UX design
The success of the eCommerce app is measured by the number of complete purchases, and UI/UX design is a thing that directly affects both conversion and user retention rates. Here are a few things we do to achieve in the process of eCommerce app design:
- Build intuitive navigation
We think through every visual element we design and follow platform guidelines. The flow we create allows users to quickly understand which page they are at, where the search bar and filters are, how they can get to the home page or catalog, how they can pay for the goods and when they are delivered.
- Create UI consistent with the branding style
Our designers embed the branding style into the app interface, making sure that colors and UI elements correspond to the commercial offer.
- Present the items effectively
Some goods have many parameters that need to be described in the product card. The app users won’t want to search for product information on several pages. That’s why we aim to keep the balance between product photos and descriptions, so users can get a full impression of each product.
- Keep CTAs and core elements noticeable
We establish a clear hierarchy between UI elements to make them easier to notice. Also, we keep CTAs within the thumb-friendly zone, which is the left or lower left part of the screen.
Here’s the tech stack that we would use while building an eCommerce app. These technologies can be used for engineering different parts of an online marketplace.
f you are planning to build a mobile app, with the help of React Native, you will be able to implement all the necessary features by creating only one code base and using it to build both Android and iOS apps. It greatly speeds up eCommerce applications software development and maintenance.
NextJS or ReactJS
If you want to build a web marketplace, these React frameworks will be a great choice. With their help, developers can build interactive interfaces and spend less time coding. To add, NextJS has an in-built SSR that helps to create SEO-friendly web products.
Laravel Nova is an admin panel that can be customized to match the needs of different kinds of projects, including projects connected to creating eCommerce apps. It saves time on creating admin panels and allows adding management tools and dashboards with metrics.
NextJS, ReactJS, or Laravel Nova
Either of these variants can be used for building a product panel that would match the app in terms of design.
Django is a web development framework that allows the implementation of both basic features like authentication and content administration, as well as advanced features like a smart recommendation system.
Laravel is a backend framework that provides all the features to build a web app, including routing, validation, caching, queues, file storage, and more. We like using Laravel because it has detailed documentation and a large development community.
We launch developed apps using Google Cloud as it is reliable and secure.
Infrastructure as code or IaC approach helps to manage the IT infrastructure through configuration files written in the form of code. Within the frameworks of this approach, we use Terraform and Helm to develop and deploy the infrastructure.
We managed to automate the process of release with the help of Expo. With Expo, our developers don’t have to do any manual work to release apps to the stores. Everything is done in Expo’s cloud.
Expo provides a feature called “Over the air”. If you need to release updates or make minor adjustments, you may not go through the review of the stores again and again. The review sometimes takes a few days, so this feature helps us save the time and resources of our clients.
5. Maintenance after the release
Our team tends to create long-term partnerships with our customers. So, we keep working with applications even after the project work is over. We add new features to the apps, improve them based on user reviews, and fix bugs in case there are any.
eCommerce application development cost
Let’s have a look at the list of essential flows in the eCommerce application. Imagine that we have decided to build a mobile marketplace. Marketplaces establish the communication of three user types: customers, retailers, and admins. Each of them will need a separate flow.
- Register or login flow
- Search for products flow
- Payment flow
- Track an order flow
While the mobile interface will be enough for the customer’s part of the app, the panels for retailers and admins will be more convenient if we develop a web app for them.
- Register or login flow
- Goods management
- Orders management
- Company profile management
- Retailers management
- Customers management
- Goods management
This is the list of essential flows that the marketplace needs no matter if it’s an MVP or a fully-fledged product. The final cost of the eCommerce app development depends on the number of standard and unique features the customer wants to add within these flows.
We estimated the approximate price for the development of such an app and compared it to the prices of US agencies and freelancers. The average time required to build an eCommerce app is 14 weeks.
We have collected the key points mentioned in the article:
- The market of eCommerce keeps growing from year to year and the global sales market is expected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026. This means it has room for new projects and undertakings.
- Many world-known brands created cross-platform apps and left only some of their parts native. Most of the essential features of retail apps can be implemented with a cross-platform model, that’s why they are a great match.
- Before starting the eCommerce app development process, it’s important to run the market research and analyze the target audience and the product to understand which automating solution matches your business idea better.
If you are searching for a team to provide you with eCommerce app development services, contact us. Our team has been engineering software for 15 years. We can both help you choose the right tech solution for your business as well as create a compelling interface that your users will love. Find out more about our mobile app development services.