Is it worth building an e-commerce mobile app with React Native?
People can do almost everything with the help of smartphones — pay rent, order taxis and food delivery, and, of course, purchase things from online stores. It makes sense that the owners of e-commerce businesses build mobile applications to reach a bigger audience. However, some entrepreneurs still wonder if they should develop an app or if creating a website would be enough. And if they decide to build an application, they wonder how to do it and what technologies to use. We think that React Native development is great for the e-commerce section, and in this article, we will answer all your whys and hows.
What is e-commerce today?
In general, the term e-commerce means both buying and selling products and services over the Internet. E-commerce makes the process of purchasing easier for customers — instead of going to a physical store, they can just open the store’s app or website and place orders there.
The global e-commerce market today is worth about $6.1 trillion, it’s also expected to amount to $6.7 trillion by 2024, and $7.3 trillion by 2025. These figures show that the e-commerce market will grow in the coming years and that it’s a profitable option for businesses.
E-commerce website vs e-commerce app development
Developing an e-commerce mobile app is important even if you already have a website or a web app. There are two main reasons for that: mobile apps are more convenient for users and have higher conversion rates. Using laptops or PCs, people simply can’t search for and purchase products on the go. Smartphones, however, are always in users’ hands, so they can make purchases anytime and anywhere.
Statistics also show that mobile commerce is overtaking web commerce. In 2021, $3.5 trillion worth of online purchases were made from mobile devices. Since the global e-commerce sales in 2021 were $4.9 trillion, mobile commerce occupies a large share of them. Moreover, 64% of smartphone owners use them to purchase products and services online, and 78% of smartphone owners prefer an app over a website.
A mobile app can make your product more accessible and easy to get which helps to attract new customers. Moreover, it helps to promote goods and services better. For example, the app can send users notifications about discounts and special offers, encouraging them to buy more. With an app, you can learn more about your customer base and offer them products according to their preferences.
However, e-commerce app development isn’t perfect for all use cases. For instance, if you have a small local business it would be unreasonable to invest in creating a mobile application. As a development partner, we’d rather recommend you set up a store on a marketplace. If you have doubts about which way you should go, you can contact us and we’ll help you find a solution for your business needs.
Reasons to choose React Native for e-commerce app development
Let’s see what is important for building an e-commerce app and how React Native helps with it.
Two platforms at once
React Native allows you to create cross-platform mobile applications for two platforms at once — iOS and Android. With this technology, a developer writes one code and adapts it to both operating systems. In the case of working with native development languages, developers write 2 codes separately for each platform, hence it takes more time and costs more. It’s preferred for e-commerce applications to be accessible to the maximum number of users, so a cross-platform framework is a good option.
Quick time to market
Since React Native allows you to use the same code for two platforms, the development time is reduced by 30–-35%. Besides, instead of making features from scratch, developers can use plenty of ready-made components like React Navigation, which also speeds up the process. The faster you deliver the app to end users, the faster you can get initial feedback and improve the app in the early stages.
The cost of the application directly depends on the size of the team and the time required for the development. We have already mentioned how the framework helps to reduce development time. As for the team size, to create a React Native e-commerce app, you need just one team of devs, whereas to create native applications, you need two teams.
Several features allow developers to update React Native e-commerce apps faster. Live Reloading and Hot Reloading help devs see the results of updates instantly, without restarting the app. They can open two windows side by side, one with the code and the other showing the changes in the app. Another feature is Over the Air — it allows devs to quickly deliver new versions of the app directly to users bypassing AppStore and Google Play. Quick updates are extremely important for e-commerce apps since users should always have access to the latest version of the app.
Popular e-commerce apps built with React Native
You can see that market leaders use React Native in e-commerce app development as well. Let’s find out why they chose the framework and how it helped the companies.
Walmart is a retail company that operates a chain of stores and markets across the USA. They have millions of customers, and a stable application to reach them all is a mere necessity. Initially, the company created native apps, but in 2018, they decided to implement React Native. Now about 90% of their Grocery App is powered by RN. By integrating React Native, Walmart managed to double the development velocity, improve code quality, and fix critical issues with the help of the Over the Air feature.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform for retail systems and online stores that also started with native applications. In 2018 they saw the potential of React Native and decided to use it in one of their most popular apps, Arrive (now called Shop app). The app only had an iOS version, and the company wished to reach the Android users who demanded Arrive. It’s no surprise since the app had millions of downloads on AppStore. Now Shop app is built entirely with React Native on both operational systems and shares 95% of the same code. As a result, the company launched an Android version, and the iOS version has fewer crashes.
Artsy is a React Native e-commerce app that helps people discover and purchase art from galleries, fairs, and auctions online. The app was initially developed primarily for iOS, but when it grew larger, the company started facing challenges:
- They wanted to support other platforms like Android without creating new teams.
- They wanted several business teams to work on the app without difficulties.
- They wanted to improve the architecture and increase developer efficiency.
Artsy searched for a solution to their architectural needs that would improve the user experience as well, and they decided to try React Native development. The company gave RN a try, and it happened to tick all the boxes of their needs. As a result, the app is available for both mobile platforms, its performance has increased, and developers are more efficient.
How to make a React Native e-commerce app step by step
As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to think about writing code and designing the layout of the future app. These steps should be done by professional design and development teams. However, there are some things you might consider doing before starting the project.
- Do a market research
Even if you have a thought-out application idea you are sure of, it’s worth conducting market research. Study the main competitors in your niche and highlight their advantages and disadvantages. You might think about which features, design elements, and technical aspects you can borrow from them and which ones you should better avoid. Studying the target audience can also help you understand what they like and what requests they have. This way you’ll be able to find the direction in which the React Native e-commerce app development should move.
- Make up a feature list
We’re not talking about writing a huge technical task describing all kinds of possible features. Just throw in a list of features you wish to see in the application. We recommend using a feature prioritization method, for example, MoSCoW. It stands for ‘must-have’, ‘should-have’, ‘could-have’, and ‘won’t-have’. The method helps you understand which features are vital for the app, and which can be postponed for later versions. With such a list, you can also estimate the approximate budget needed for development.
- Find a reliable development partner
It’s necessary to choose a React Native development company responsibly. You can check the portfolio of companies and reviews of their clients on Clutch and Goodfirms, try to download a couple of applications developed by a company, and test them. The most important step is to talk to the company’s manager and figure out the terms of collaboration.
At Ronas IT, we design, develop and maintain solutions for businesses using React Native and other technologies. Our team is always ready to discuss your project — click the link below to contact us.