Since eCommerce mobile apps have already emerged as the most successful retail channel for businesses across all categories and niches, we don't need to dig into the same reasons. If you are a B2B or B2C startup with little technical knowledge, you must be wondering how to make an e-commerce mobile app that quickly achieves traction. Well, here we are to address this query. But before that, let's explain a few preliminary things.
First of all, eCommerce web stores and mobile apps are two different things even though they represent the same business brand through browsers and mobile apps. If you want to know how to create an e-commerce mobile app, you already focus on targeting mobile user audiences with a native shopping experience. In contrast, web stores offer a very generic user experience lacking interactions with device features, offline access and ease of use.
Secondly, when knowing how to make your eCommerce app from scratch, we can advise you to start small and go for a simple app for one OS platform and based on user feedback making value additions through future updates and targeting the other OS platform after settling with the first version for some time.
Lastly, always remember that a successful eCommerce mobile app is also the handiwork of a reputed and experienced mobile app development company. Hence, you should plan your resources and hiring process accordingly. The choice of experience and skills in developers can greatly impact the outcome, as far as eCommerce app development is concerned.
Let's begin our guide on how to make an e-commerce mobile app by explaining the basics of strategy. How do you plan to grow your business and sales through the eCommerce mobile app? Whether you are a B2B business or a B2C business, whether you are selling products or services, how do you plan to make sales and optimize business conversion through your app? These are the primary questions that you need to answer.
You can only have clear objectives based upon your present state of affairs. If you already have a web store, how much traffic do you generate at present? How much of this traffic volume access your store through mobile browsers? How much business conversion do you enjoy from this mobile traffic?
In B2C businesses, losing some existing traffic and business when you shift focus from web store to mobile app is quite normal. But over time, with better checkout and mobile experience, you can get these lost grounds. In the case of B2B e-commerce apps, you may not face such a drop in traffic and business conversion if you can offer more engaging and valuable features such as re-ordering, personalized push notifications, etc.
Once you have a clear idea about your app's particular requirements and objectives based on the above findings, you need to get into audience and market research. Knowing the target audience will help you address user concerns and preferences better and enjoy better business conversion.
For audience research, some of the key aspects that you need to inquire about include the following.
Through these answers and findings, you can get a clear idea about your audience and the competitor apps you have to compete with. It is advisable to create a clean user persona based on these user attributes. A user persona will guide your app marketing and positioning of the app against competition as well.
After you have a clear idea about your objectives, the target audience and competition, it is time to select the right platform and the technology stack for building the app. As we have advised, either build a cross-platform app with maximum reusability of the code or build a single native app for one platform at a time. This will help you keep total control of budget and development challenges.
These days you can develop cross-platform mobile apps with native user experience and highly platform-specific performance thanks to cutting-edge frameworks and tools like Flutter and React Native that comes equipped with native UI layers while allowing maximum code reusability.
An e-commerce app can have an array of features, but not all are definitive for the shopping experience. To pace your steps cautiously, it is advisable to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Project) app with key features. Based upon the user feedback, include more features through subsequent updates. This will help you scale the app gradually while having optimum control of the budget. Your chances of going wrong also get reduced with this approach.
Some of the elementary and definitive features for your MVP e-commerce app project include the following.
Create the least confusing and straightforward onboarding experience to help users understand how the app works within a few seconds after landing on the app.
Allow users to register quickly and as effortlessly as possible by providing minimum information. In addition, allow users to check out as guests and use social login for faster registration.
Provide a simple checkout process involving only a few steps and on-screen actions to complete the purchase.
To help with more straightforward business conversion and a satisfactory shopping experience, offer users several different payment options, including mobile and e-wallets, credit and debit cards, net banking, COD and PayPal. Using a secure and trusted payment processing platform is vital to ensure credibility.
Allow your shoppers to use social sharing features to promote your products and services through their social media footprints.
Keep in touch with your audience with personalized push notifications based on their in-app activities, previous purchase history, browsing history and other triggers.
Allow your customers to review your products and services and give ratings on different aspects.
Allow shoppers to search your mobile app through voice command and use different filters and search terms to find their required items as effortlessly as possible.
Allow users to create their curated wish list of items for future purchases and considerations. Provide an "Add to Wish List" button beside the "buy" button.
When you ask how to make your own e-commerce app, you mostly think of the art of creating an engaging interface that accommodates all the products and services in an easy to search and easy to navigate manner. Well, that is what breathable, and easily searchable product screens in an e-commerce mobile app amount to. Perfecting the product screens requires several efforts over a period involving multiple updates.
But since the product details screen is the place from where shoppers will make buying decisions, you need to give all your efforts to make them engaging and effortless for product search. The product screens should also be sufficiently scalable to accommodate a new range of products that are going to be added by the business over time. Some of the key things that you should insist on while building product screens include the following.
A successful approach to the product screen design is to leverage different components that can coherently work with one another. Whatever UI design approach you embrace, the product screens can be decisive for your mobile e-commerce app's overall shopping experience.
Let us now offer some time-tested and widely acclaimed tips for product screen design.
You should always embrace a modular approach while creating a product screen as this allows quickly listing too many items in one product screen. As most buyers hate to click on the next page button while searching products, accommodating long-list products is key to a great product search experience. Through a modular approach, you can accommodate many products that can be viewed just by scrolling down.
With modular UI design for the product screen, different screen elements remain entirely independent of one other. This ensures the least minimum effort for making any addition or alteration with the search features. For instance, creating one filter and removing another becomes significantly more accessible as the developer doesn't need to mess with the entire app.
Thanks to the modular UI approach in product screen design, you can not only ensure better consumption, but you can also optimize the utilization of the device memory to help with faster loading time and at times through pre-loading of many screen elements. Obviously, this ends up delivering a smooth and lightning-fast shopping experience to e-commerce customers.
Finally, it is the local in-device caching that ensures quick loading irrespective of the network condition. This helps e-commerce mobile apps offer a better user experience even in low-fidelity network connectivity areas.
The last but not the least consideration that today's e-commerce mobile app projects should consider with priority is the ease of accessing certain app features and product pages when the device is offline. Yes, offline access is a great selling point for many business and e-commerce apps, and this feature mainly made the PWAs and native apps so popular these days.
Any app user will find it frustrating to lose some information due to the sudden network connection loss. That is precisely where offline access can play a vital role. Losing access suddenly due to the loss of connectivity can make an e-commerce store lose valuable sales.
To prevent such scenarios now, app developers can use local caching and technologies like edge computing to make specific data or app screens available that are already in use. When this is done perfectly, the app can help to continue with the in-use app screen and allow specific interactions that will be updated as soon as the network is restored. For e-commerce mobile apps, this offline access is a crucial and irreplaceable feature.
We have almost provided all the steps and critical considerations for building a robust and successful e-commerce mobile app that can immediately find traction among its target audience. There is more to be discussed on fine-tuning the e-commerce apps for more business conversion. But that requires a separate blog post.
Raza is a tech entrepreneur with an experience of working with 500+ clients. His key expertise is around tech consultation, where he guides people on how to successfully build digital softwares for their businesses.TALK TO RAZA!
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