How to create an online shopping app?
Shopping app development is gaining popularity day by day. No wonder, after all, according to Visa, in 2017 almost half of the consumers have opted for online purchases in the New Year season, and a third of these purchases were made through mobile devices.
Over the past year, smartphone users have spent 525% more time to buy various products via trading applications (compared to last year). And this indicator is going to grow even more, as US m-commerce forecast shows. So, it's high time to think about how to create an online shopping app and make it profitable and successful.
We are ready to cover this matter for you.
- Why do you need to make a shopping app?
- Most Popular Apps for Shopping
- Shopping application features
- How to create a mobile shopping app?
- How much does it cost to build a shopping app?
- How do we create a shopping app?
Flurry Analytics Experts have found that demand for applications for purchases is increasing at an incredible rate, and more than a quarter of shoppers start searching for the product they need in the application right away, without even visiting a website first.
You can say that applications are becoming a kind of "middle way" between online and offline shopping. They allow customers to learn about current offers and discounts, make purchases online or determine the best time to go to the store.
So, owners of online (and real) stores can and should build a shopping app, that is - offer their clients one more tool for buying goods and services.
Usually, online shopping applications are selling such good as:
- products and beverages, especially exclusive ones
- sporting goods
- kitchen appliances
- computer hardware and home appliances of any kind
Although this is a very short list, obviously you can expand it with any other kinds of goods or services.
In fact, it does not matter what you sell, in any case, you can think about how to create a mobile shopping app.
But before moving on to the heart of the matter, let's see if the game is worth the candle.
As you've already understood, today a significant percentage of users regularly make purchases through mobile devices. Therefore, shopping app development will bring you:
- Increased sales and growth of the audience. Shopping applications are created primarily to improve the sales curve. Special built-in marketing features allow increasing the number of customers very quickly.
- Customer loyalty. If you create a shopping app, you will get an additional competitive advantage. Your typical customer definitely has a smartphone, and he is actively using it. So, by offering to install a mobile app, you make the life of your clients easier and better. In addition, you can take advantage of information about user behavior in your app so that you will be able to provide a customer with individual bonuses, discounts, recommendations. All this leads to rising the loyalty factor.
- New sales. If you find out how to make an app like Amazon (or a better one), then the clients will undoubtedly appreciate all the benefits of mobile collaboration with you. And the first successful purchase will lead to the second, third, and, in the end, turn the casual buyer into a regular customer.
- Expansion of interaction with the client. The chance of leaving a review, getting an invitation to an event, being the first one to know about the arrival of a new product is something that your customer will like and enjoy. So mobile shopping service will help you to engage the audience in much closer interaction.
- Optimization of internal business processes. Besides, you should build a shopping app to manage your company more efficiently (and at a lower cost). Believe us, if there is an application at hand, the task of managing and controlling becomes so much easier.
According to statistics, shoppers expect that mobile purchases should be 50% (and even more) easier, faster and more convenient than offline and desktop ones
Successful applications for m-commerce are constantly supporting the desire of users to search for products and make purchases at any time and in any place. Studying the audience behavior, the stores stimulate curiosity and interest of their customers, prompting them to open the app again and again.
Still in doubt, whether you should order online shopping app development? Well, we are ready to argue our position even more strongly.
There are 4 main arguments that will convince retailers to find out how to make an app like Amazon, and get the cherished places on the AppStore and Google Play:
- According to Google study, more than 80% of online mobile purchases are triggered by the spontaneous impulse. And such an impulse is a powerful stimulus that influences all areas of our life including this one.
- Your customers love mobile applications because these services make shopping more interesting, easier and more interactive.
- Shopping app development is a service available almost to everyone. Many small companies mistakenly believe that only the largest corporations can make a shopping app. In fact, the cost of the app creation is quite comparable to the cost of developing a perfectly good website. However, we will discuss the price issue later.
- Your competitors are also on their guard. After all, you are not the only one who knows about the demand for mobile applications.
Perhaps, the competition issue should be considered in more detail. In the end, it’s useful to know your enemy.
So, to get started, let's look at the statistics: which companies are dangerous for those who set out to build a shopping app?
A complete list of the most popular of your competitors you can see if you click on this link.
Amazon is a coffee break for shopping
We have no doubt that you are especially interested in knowing how to make an app like Amazon. Sure thing, it is such a wanted service! And, as you can see, it's the first one in the list of the most popular apps for purchasing. Care to know why? Let's see…
In the Amazon Shopping app for Android, you can do the same thing as on the site: search for products, compare prices, read reviews, make purchases. The convenience of use is the most important criterion by which buyers choose this shopping application.
Why do customers choose Amazon?
Agree, this is an important question if we want to understand how to make an app like Amazon… so let’s try to answer it.
The Amazon Shopping interface is designed specifically for touchscreen devices. With a huge range of products and a number of categories, UI/UX specialists had to work hard so that users could easily and quickly find any goods from the catalog.
In the US, users compare the viewing of the goods catalog in the Amazon app with a coffee break - it’s like a way to relax and get away from work, do shopping for a cup of coffee, so to say.
By the way, according to statistics, buyers most actively use the application during lunch (about 5 minutes) and after work - almost 7 minutes. And these are not useless data, marketers take advantage of them when planning promotions and discounts. Take this in mind if you want to create a shopping app of the same level of success.
Walmart speeds up everything
Despite the standard functionality, the Walmart application clearly stands out in the e-commerce market by giving its customers the opportunity to save time on purchases. So you should study its advantages if you are thinking about how to create a mobile shopping app.
First of all, this application allows placing the goods on hold so that a customer can pick them up later in the store, without queues and searching on the shelves. In addition, weekly notifications of discounts stimulate the buying activity.
Taking care of customers is one of the main goals of the company, that is why the app makes it possible to purchase not only goods for the whole family but even medicines and vitamins - just scan the recipe, and it’s done.
eBay is an auction in your pocket
This is another very popular service that should be taken into account when thinking about shopping app development, for eBay is a really strong competitor.
Auction fans will especially enjoy this application. In the end, it is not always possible to wait until the end of the auction, sitting at the computer, which means there is a real chance to lose the desired product. With this application, there is no such danger, because eBay app will remind the user in a timely manner about the need to make a bid. And, naturally, the app interface is user-friendly and clear, making the interaction with the mobile service so simple and enjoyable. Undoubtedly, eBay owners were smart enough to make a shopping app with a high-quality UI/UX design.
Marketers of eBay have noted that users often open the application at the start of the working day (from 8 to 10 am) and spend about 7 minutes in it. Users’re enjoying this app much longer late at night, this is the time to relax and look through the catalog in search of interesting products for family and friends (and hence this is the time for advertising, as marketers understand).
The mobile service success consists of many factors, and the behavior of users in the application is just one of them. And this particular factor can serve as another reason to build a shopping app.
Groupon helps to be even closer
The application for selling coupons became a subject of active discussions back in the distant 2011 when a quarter of Groupon coupons had been purchased through the app (in the North American market). Now the Groupon application can be proud of more than 150 million downloads, with 63% of all Groupon transactions going via smartphones.
At the very beginning, Groupon focused on social offerings: promotions for cafes, restaurants, and cinemas. Such establishments are usually being visited by the companies of friends or relatives. As a result, this "word of mouth" effect led to the brand popularization.
Using geolocation, the Groupon application offers different promotions available in the nearest institutions. Thus, the service not only saves money but also introduces visitors to nearby places that people might not even know about. Another key to the success of this service is compatibility with popular mobile platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows.
In short, the Groupon owners did not miscalculate when they decided to create a shopping app. It turned out to be a profitable business.
Etsy.com is easy and affordable
Etsy is a huge online hand-made goods store offering 17 million products from 800,000 sellers. Here you can find everything you want, from jewelry to furniture.
Having won success on the web, Etsy owners realized: it's time to make a shopping app.
After installing the application, the user is able to track new items, get instant notifications about the appearance of the selected product, and, of course, buy online. Mobile purchases become possible if the shopper has previously connected his payment card to the store gateway system.
The only unpleasant moment that you may encounter when buying at this store is that etsy.com sometimes does not accept the delivery address as the billing address. Especially when it comes to payment through the Paypal system.
What should be taken up as the lead for successful shopping app development?
If you want to build a shopping app, you need to think about how to outdo your rivals. So, what should you think about, given the experience of your competitors on the market of mobile commerce?
- The app speed. As the statistics data shows, with every slowdown of loading the application by 100 msec, the chances for successful interaction with the user (and, accordingly, for the sale of the goods) are being reduced by 1%.
- Goals. Decide on the goals you're going to achieve with the mobile application. For example, getting ten thousand downloads is a bad goal, increasing the average number of orders by 30% is a good one. Ideally, online shopping app development should positively affect your entire business.
- The desire to work hard. The mobile application cannot survive without your help. Therefore, having decided to build a shopping app, consider the strategy of its promotion on the Internet, social networks, and also through offline channels. You should have a plan how to create a mobile shopping app and how to present it to the public, and you should have a team that will happily take care of this task.
- Value. If you want to make a shopping app, think about what you can offer to future users. The mobile application itself is not a value. Therefore it is important to figure out:
- who they are, your customers;
- what problems they solve with the help of your products;
- how you can help them through your application.
- User-friendly interface. You are unlikely to have such a variety of goods like Amazon and eBay do, so it would be easier for you to cope with this task. After all, even Amazon managed to untie all the knots and build a shopping app that has a laconic design so that a user needs a minimum amount of time to purchase. However, we'll talk about UI/UX design and how it should look like (with our examples) later.
- Customer care. Thinking about how to make an app like Amazon, try to take into account the interests of the user. The review of goods and recommendations of Amazon, as well as the opportunity to order a medicine using the scanned recipe that Walmart offers, is a vivid example of such customer care.
- Gamification. The entertainment factor is always important, and shopping is no exception. Of course, we do not encourage you to create a shopping app similar to a game, just don't forget that your service should be fun to use, with numerous interactive elements.
- Offline promotion. Trying so hard to win a competition on the Internet, we're forgetting about the easiest way to promote services. After all, while some buyers are asking if the store has its own application, most of them simply do not think about it. Therefore it is important that your sellers know about the mobile app and advertise it among shoppers (without imposing, of course).
Well, it's time to move on to the next important shopping app development item and talk about the structure of the application in more detail.
To build a shopping app that users will like and enjoy, you need to know what they expect from mobile services in the retail sector. The following statistics give some idea about this issue.
Many believe that the mobile application must necessarily be as creative as possible. Of course, uniqueness is always important, but the usability is a much more significant factor. And this usability is provided by the correct functionality of the application.
There are several "classic" features that you can take advantage of during online shopping app development.
#1. User registration
Undoubtedly, this is really a "must-have" feature. Be sure to give the user the opportunity to sign up in various ways: through a phone number, social networks, email...
A helpful tip: let the customer, if desired, make a purchase without registration, this will expand your audience. To persuade a person to become a registered user, try to give convincing reasons (for example, a system of bonuses and discounts).
You cannot make a shopping app without this feature which goes second on the list of importance (the first one is registration).
There are two types of people: some come to the store for choice, others look for something specific. To meet the needs of both, you need to create a searchable catalog. This catalog should colorfully present the whole range of your products and provide the possibility to find the goods according to the given characteristics (for instance, color, size, collection).
#3. Purchase online
It is impossible to create a shopping app without allowing users to buy online. But, doing so, don't forget to take into account the specifics of your business niche.
For example, sometimes it is important to see the product before buying it, so if you have goods delivery points, your application must include a map of their location. In addition, in the shopping app development process, try to make a purchase system as simple (for a user) as possible. Otherwise, why should a customer download your mobile service?
In particular, you can simplify the purchase process by binding a bank card to the application: the shopper selects the goods, clicks the "Buy" button and confirms the purchase with the code.
However, this approach has its own pitfalls: cases of fraud, alas, are not uncommon, and people don't trust their data to mobile devices. Therefore, it is worthwhile to seriously consider security issue and develop a reliable authorization system.
#4. A shopping basket
Of course, you cannot build a shopping app and forget about implementing this feature. What should a shopping basket be like? Here are its important characteristics:
- an intuitive interface (do not force the user to think about what exactly he should do to place an order or add goods);
- the ability to add and remove items to the basket;
- calculation of purchase price.
#5. Search bar
How to make an app like Amazon?... first of all, follow the example of this popular service and offer a convenient search for the desired product, with a filtration and sorting system.
Not all stores sell online, but this does not mean that they should abandon shopping app development. In this case, you can provide such a feature as Wishlist, its purpose is to shorten the customer service time by facilitating the buyer's choice.
The mobile app can serve as a user assistant in the selection of goods, allow creating lists of desired purchases (so-called wishlists) and making pre-orders. Then the client should go to your store and pick up his order without the hassle. This simplifies the customer service and thus saves time both for clients and your staff.
#7. System of recommendations
If you want to know how to make an app like Amazon, this feature is just what you need. As we have already explained to you, the Amazon application has won the sympathy of users, among other things, thanks to the system of recommended purchases.
The principle is simple: by analyzing the user's behavior, you can understand his needs and suggest a product that can interest him - something that he is likely to buy. For example, you can offer products similar to those ones that he has already bought or viewed.
#8. Customer Support
If you want to build a shopping app that will attract users, you need to think about bonuses for them. There are heaps of ideas of the sort: layaway programs, the chance to ask a question to the consultant, leave feedback, get a discount, etc.
And you can think over a special loyalty system for the users of the application - for example, a good discount for those who order products through your mobile service.
#9. Online Chat
This feature will allow a potential buyer to ask you a question online, any time he wants. This is beneficial to both parties of the shopping process since many customers prefer to communicate with online consultants instead of dealing with real ones.
To implement this features during online shopping app development, you can use the chatbot system. This means that the questions will be answered by the program (at least initially, and your manager can join the conversation later if there is such a need). This is convenient because a number of clients use applications during off-hours when managers are usually no longer available.
#10. Scanning codes
This feature allows using barcode scanning to find out prices and information about products. The user won't have to spend time on asking sellers or searching for help.
#11. Search for the nearest store
If you decided to create a shopping app, then you want to make the purchase process much easier for customers. In that case, the feature that allows finding the nearest outlet is necessary - of course, if you have the chain store system.
#12. Instructions and useful materials
This feature is especially important if you are selling complex or specific products. Then the mobile application becomes, among other things, a kind of manual.
#13. Push Notifications
It's not enough to make a shopping app. Moreover, it is not enough to convince the user to install it... it is also important to remind him of your mobile store from time to time. Notifications serve this purpose quite well.
However, to make sure that these reminders aren't distracting the users' attention from your services, you need to notify only about important marketing promotions, discounts, and activities on interests (for example, an exhibition of new products, etc.).
iBeacon is a small device which can be attached anywhere in the store. The application through Bluetooth transmits its unique number, and the beacon recognizes the user along with his history of purchases, visits, time spent in the store, etc. This is good for establishing a system of personalized marketing.
Of course, it's interesting only if there is a full-line-chain of offline stores with a large flow of customers. Otherwise, one can build a shopping app without implementing this feature.
#15. Interactive Elements
Even if the main purpose of this mobile service is to stimulate demand and build a sales channel, it is quite possible to supplement the online shopping app development with interactive elements.
For example, appreciate our interactive version of the product presentation:
This shopping animation concept is bright and simple at the same time, right?
#16. Shipping system
Of course, you can create a shopping app where the customer will be asked to make pre-order and pick up the goods in the store itself. This is useful in cases when the product should be preliminarily studied, examined in detail. However, it is much more reasonable to provide a reliable shipping system. A good option is to establish cooperation with one of the many third-party delivery services.
#17. Customer Feedback
Reading negative reviews is unpleasant, but it helps to fix the situation and solve the problem that your buyer might have experienced. As statistics show the implementation of this feedback feature increases sales by 15-20%.
#18. AR / VR feature
Definitely, not everyone can afford to make a shopping app with the AR or VR effect. We will be frank, this feature belongs to the extra (means expensive) functionality. On the other hand, we strongly advise you to seriously study the benefits of augmented and virtual reality.
This feature is the best way to allow the consumer to see your product in 3D format and even "try it on". As you understand, this will essentially stimulate the buying activity.
In fact, app features can be collected in stages. First, the main application goals should be defined, then the features and the way they are implemented are being thought out. If you find the right mix of them, you can be sure that your customers will appreciate your mobile service.
We hope we convinced you, and you decided to build a shopping app. What are your actions then (apart from finding the right experts)?
#1. Market analysis and collection of requirements
It is unreasonable to begin the process of shopping app development without analyzing the demand and supply rate. In other words, you need to conduct market research.
- your competitors (not only world-scale but also local ones): who they are and what they offer;
- consumers' expectations. What user problems can you solve if you create a shopping app?
#2. Features Set
Understanding the market requirements, you can figure out what your application should be like, what you can offer the consumer. Based on this information, you must compile a list of the features of your mobile store.
#3. Specifications & prototype
This stage of online shopping app development implies the coordination of your requirements with an expert company. It is important to make up a technical project and create the prototype which includes the wireframes of each app screen.
#4. Application Design
If you come up with how to create an online shopping app that is visually appealing, you can assume that you've made a first step to the future incomes.
The successful design for the shopping app includes a stylish logo, a user-friendly basket and a brightly illustrated catalog of products.
And it is very important that your application be as easy to use as possible. The fewer actions required for ordering, the better.
For example, take a look at the design examples for shopping applications that our UI/UX experts have developed:
This shopping app design concept is very informative and appealing.
#5. The right choice of the platform
To make a shopping app of the highest quality, you need to choose the right application platform. So, it is necessary to understand which audience you are targeting at and what is the level of your ambitions.
Mobile app development for iOS
- The audience is the owners of iPhones and iPads. Firstly, these are people who value brand image, and sometimes they are even ready to buy an expensive device on credit. Secondly, these are wealthy individuals who attach importance to the status and security of data, as well as to good quality.
- The rules for publishing applications in the App Store are tougher than in Google Play. It takes a lot of time and effort before the application is available for users.
If you want to build a shopping app for self-confident people who are striving to make a strong impression on others, then choose the iOS platform.
Mobile app development for Android
- Mobile devices on the Android operating system are being produced by a large number of companies: Samsung, Lenovo, Sony, LG, Philips, Asus, Huawei… The price range for these smartphones is wide, from the cheapest ones to the most expensive models.
- It can not be said that Android is a budget device. But at the same time, if you need to reach an audience with medium and low incomes, then Android should be on your list necessarily.
- The main difficulty of shopping app development for Android is its advantage, namely - a wide range of mobile devices. This means that you need more time to test the application and modify it.
If you want to create a shopping app for people of average income who are less prone to fashion trends, the Android platform is what you are looking for.
Together, iOS and Android cover about 90% of mobile device users. And this implies that the best option is to make a shopping app for both platforms.
If your goal is also to attract fans of Windows Phone (the former Nokia), then in addition to the two popular platforms, order the online shopping app development for Windows.
#6. Shopping app development and testing
Of course, this is the key point of the whole process. And now you definitely can not do without the help of professional experts.
Suppose you decided to build a shopping app for all platforms... what should you do next?
It all depends on your budget. Shopping app development can be carried out in parallel or in two or three stages, that is, for each platform separately. Choose the audience that is the most loyal and profitable for you, and start with a platform that is close to these people (for example, Android). Then, when time and money allow, create a shopping app for iOS.
This option stretches the overall online shopping app development time, but it brings closer the release date of the first application version.
And, of course, you should not forget about testing your mobile service. Some people who are willing to make a shopping app want to save at this stage, which is certainly a mistake. Such an approach can lead to the fact that your application will fail, and instead of the QA engineer, the user will find a malfunction... And this will have a bad effect on the user experience.
#7. Launching the app and publishing on the App Store and Google Play
This is the final stage of the shopping app development process, but it is also very important. First, the application must fully meet all the requirements of AppStore and Google Play. Secondly, you need to make sure that your service somehow stands out among its like. An attractive logo and skillful description of the benefits of your mobile store will help achieve your goal.
So, now you know how to create a mobile shopping app… but how much money do you need for this purpose?
The final cost of the shopping application is influenced by such factors as:
- application functionality;
- design and app interface;
- the level of complexity;
- compatibility with platforms.
As you understand, it's rather difficult to name the universal price of the app development... after all, how do we know which functionality you're going to provide? And yet, let's discuss and try to see, at least approximately, what budget you should have to create a shopping app.
#1. The list of features
If you want to save money, it's best to start by creating an MVP model. It can include the following features:
- Registration system
- Search bar
- Shopping basket
- Reliable payment system
- Online Chat
- Shipping system
#2. Location of specialists
You intend to build a shopping app, but where will you look for specialists?
Please note that developers from the US, Canada, and the UK are the most costly options. It is more reasonable to choose experts from Eastern Europe: their rates are quite moderate, and the quality of work is still high. Well, if you want more precise instructions, we would recommend that you hire Ukrainian developers.
!!! Why Ukrainian? That's a subject of a different discussion, and if you are interested in knowing our reasoned position, read this article. !!!
#3. Company Size
Again, there are large and small companies... which one to choose?
You need a golden mean. On the one hand, it makes no sense to hire a world scale company and pay only for the famous name. On the other hand, the newly created firm cannot cope with the task at the level you need. Therefore, the ideal option is a medium-sized agency that has a good mobile development experience and employs such specialists as:
#4. Summing up
So, suppose you decided to make a shopping app with minimal functionality and hire an average company located in Ukraine. What will be your costs?
- Android shopping app development: not less than 300-350 hours, probably more;
- iOS development: from 250-290 hours.
- Backend development: from 400-470 hours.
- UX/UI design: about 150-200 hours (of course, it all depends on how complex the application interface you are planning to create).
- Project management: from 150-200 hours.
- QA: from 200 hours.
Total time of the shopping app development: about 1500-1700 hours (or more)
Now it remains to multiply this figure by the developers' rate. When it comes to Ukrainian specialists, it is usually $25-55 per hour. So, your expenses will be (very approximately, if you take a rate of $35 per hour):
$ 52,500 - $ 59,500
Of course, these are very approximate calculations. To find out the exact cost of online shopping app development, contact our specialists.
We offer you our professional services. Agilie developers have huge experience in creating mobile applications for Android and iOS and have already completed many projects of this kind.
- The shopping app development begins with business expertise. We analyze competitive applications: we study reviews, the number of versions, the dates of the latest updates.
- At the prototyping stage, we model all possible user scenarios and develop screen layouts. This approach allows determining the most convenient app format and choosing the best solution before we start working on the design.
- We're carefully working on the format of the goods page, the basket layout, product cards and category pages. We pay special attention to UI/UX design which should be clear and understandable to users of Android and iOS.
- Our developers write clean and understandable code that guarantees the efficient operation of the application. And our QA engineers meticulously check the program operability.
- Of course, we always make sure that your application appears in App Store and Google Play as soon as it is developed and fully tested.
If you ask us to make a shopping app, you will get a mobile version of your online store that can receive and process orders from any device, namely:
- Catalog with search possibility;
- "Smart" search filter for goods;
- Different types of payments;
- Detailed description of the goods;
- Communication with customers through push notifications;
- History of orders and views;
- Geolocation feature;
- Everything that you would have liked in your application.
We do not offer standard template solutions. Each project starts from scratch, and to each one we choose an effective and unique approach.