Gone are the days of waiting in checkout lines, fumbling with loyalty cards, and trying to decipher ancient coupon codes. In the modern world, your customers will swipe, tap, and maybe even wink their way over to checkout. So, if you’re ready to dive into the app building adventure, read on and we’ll unravel the secrets behind successful e-commerce apps development in 2024.
Why You Should Develop an E-commerce App
Why settle for a mere brick-and-mortar store when you can also have the world as your storefront? In a universe where smartphones are practically an extension of our limbs, diving into the realm of e-сommerce apps is like strapping a turbocharger onto your business ambitions. Why opt for an e-commerce app, you ask? OK, let’s break it down:
Convenience. Your customers can shop anytime and anywhere, whether they are at home watching their favorite TV show, in transport, on their way to work or even when they’re at a party. Your app’s e-commerce store never sleeps, ensuring your online presence 24/7.
Personalization. Remember the friendly shopkeeper who knew your name and preferences? Your app can replicate that magic with personalized recommendations and tailored shopping experiences that can make your customers feel truly seen.
Data Analytics. An e-commerce app provides plenty of helpful information that allows you to analyze user behavior, trends, and preferences. Making sense out of this valuable data helps you optimize your offerings and marketing strategies like a true digital guru.
Cost-Efficiency. Compared to setting up a physical store, e-commerce app development offers plenty of benefits: lower overhead, reduced maintenance costs, and the chance to scale without needing an army of store associates.
So, an e-commerce app is just like a brick-and-mortar store that you can carry in your pocket. That’s really beneficial and comfortable, isn’t it?
An E-Commerce App Development Market Overview
The e-commerce app development market is expected to grow significantly in the near future, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 8.6% from 2023 to 2027. The market is currently driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets, the growing popularity of online shopping, and the increasing demand for personalized shopping experiences.
Here are some key statistics about the e-commerce app development market that you should know:
The global e-commerce market is expected to reach $6.3 trillion by the end of 2023
Mobile e-commerce is predicted to capture 70% of all e-commerce sales by 2024
Global mobile e-commerce net-worth is forecasted to reach 2.5 trillion in 2024
The average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes each day on their smartphone
76% of consumers are more likely to shop with a brand that offers a mobile app
The above-mentioned numbers show that the demand for e-commerce apps is growing like wildfire. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve need to invest in developing mobile apps that offer a seamless and personalized shopping experience.
Types of E-commerce Mobile Apps
There are four main types of e-commerce mobile apps:
B2B (Business-to-Business) E-commerce Apps are designed to facilitate transactions between businesses. These apps focus on providing a platform for businesses to buy and sell goods or services to other businesses. They often include features such as bulk ordering, customized pricing, negotiation tools, and integration with business systems like inventory management and procurement. B2B apps are commonly used by wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and other businesses to streamline their supply chains, reduce costs, and conduct their business transactions efficiently.
B2C (Business-to-Consumer) E-commerce Apps are used for transactions between businesses and individual consumers. These apps enable businesses to directly reach and sell their products and/or services to end-users. B2C apps typically offer a user-friendly interface, personalized shopping experiences, various payment options, product recommendations, and customer reviews. They cater to a wide range of industries, from retail to entertainment, where companies interact with individual customers in order to fulfill their shopping needs.
C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) E-commerce Apps empower individuals to directly sell products or services to fellow consumers. These apps facilitate transactions and communication between users, often through user profiles and reviews. Popular C2C platforms like eBay and Airbnb create a virtual marketplace for a diverse range of items and services by connecting buyers and sellers. C2C e-commerce apps need to have user-friendly interfaces, secure payment gateways, and mechanisms that establish trust among users in order to drive successful transactions.
C2B (Consumer-to-Business) E-commerce Apps revolutionize traditional commerce by enabling consumers to offer products or services to businesses. Through platforms like freelancing websites and user-generated content marketplaces, individuals can provide expertise, products, and creative content for companies. This model empowers individuals to monetize their skills and assets, while businesses gain access to a diverse talent pool. C2B e-commerce apps require efficient user registration, seamless communication channels, and secure payment methods that support the dynamic exchange between consumers and businesses.
All the above mentioned types of e-commerce apps play a significant role in the digital economy. They cater to different types of transactions and customers while offering distinct features that are tailor-made to the nature of the interactions they facilitate.
How to make an e-commerce app: 5 main steps
1. Define your goals and target audience
The first step in e-commerce app development is to define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your app? Do you want to increase sales, reach new customers, or provide a better shopping experience for your existing customers? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop the features and functionality of your app in order to meet those goals.
You also need to define your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your app? What are their needs and wants? Once you understand your target audience, you can tailor the features and functionality of your app in a way that appeals to them.
2. Choose the right platform
The next step is to choose the right platform for your app. Will your app be iOS, Android, or both? There are pros and cons to each platform, so it's important to choose the one (or both) that's right for your business and target audience.
iOS is a closed platform, which means that apps must be approved by Apple before they can be published in the App Store. This makes it more difficult and time-consuming to get your app approved, but it also means that the apps that are on the App Store are generally of a higher quality.
Android is an open platform, which means that apps can be published on the Google Play Store without first being approved by Google. This makes it easier and faster to get your app published, but it also means that there’s lot more competition on the Google Play Store.
Ultimately, the best platform for your app will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you're targeting a more high-end audience, iOS looks best. If you're targeting a mass market audience, then Android is probably the better choice.
3. Design and develop your app
This is where you'll bring your vision for your app to life. You'll need to design the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), and develop the backend code.
The UI is the visual design of your app. It's what users will see and interact with when they use your app. The UX is the overall experience of using your app. It's all about how easy and enjoyable your it is to use it.
The backend code is the code that powers your app. It handles the data storage, processing, and the communication between the app and the server.
4. Test and launch your app
Once your app is developed, it's important to test it thoroughly to make sure it's bug-free and user-friendly. You can test your app with friends, family and beta testers, however it’s better to trust this task to a professional QA company that specializes in such kind of services. QA companies have the experience and expertise to test apps on a variety of devices and operating systems, and they can identify potential problems that developers may not have caught. By using QA services, you can improve the quality of your app and increase your chances of success in the market, while also saving time and money by preventing costly defects from being released to production. Once you're confident that your app is ready, you can launch it in the App Store or Google Play.
5. Market and promote your app
Once your app goes live, you need to let people know about it! You can market your app through social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising.
Social media is a great way to gain a large audience with your app. You can promote your app by creating posts and ads on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram, etc.
SEO is the process of optimizing your app's website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This helps people find your app when they search for keywords related to your business or products.
Paid advertising is a great way to reach a targeted audience with your app. You can create ads that appear on search engine results pages, social media, and other websites.
Additional tips for building a successful e-commerce app:
Make sure your app is mobile-friendly. More and more people are shopping with their phones, so your app needs to be optimized for mobile devices.
Offer a great user experience. Your app should be easy to use and navigate.
Secure your app. Your app should be secure in order to protect customer data.
Keep your app up-to-date. Add new features and functionality regularly to keep your app fresh and engaging.
Listen to your customers. Get feedback from your users and use it for improving your app.
Following the tips we listed above will help you create an e-commerce app that will be successful and keep your customers coming back for more.
E-commerce Mobile App Development Trends
Over the years, e-commerce app development has undergone a seismic transformation, driven by an ever-evolving range of trends that redefine user experiences and reshape industries. We’ve selected the following trends as the key ones for 2024:
AR Experiences. As smartphones transform into AR-capable devices, app developers have seized the opportunity to incorporate digital narratives into reality. From Pokémon GO's global phenomenon to furniture retailers allowing users to virtually place products in their living spaces, AR is reshaping how users interact with both the digital and physical realms.
One-Click Purchasing. The rise of mobile apps has unleashed the power of swift, seamless transactions that reduce the friction between desire and acquisition. The success of platforms like Amazon (where shopping can be a matter of a single touch), have propelled the trend of one click purchases to new heights. As convenience becomes the ultimate currency, mobile app developers are tasked with crafting user journeys that are not just efficient but also exhilarating and fast.
AI Chatbots. AI-powered chatbots have evolved from rudimentary text-based tools to sophisticated conversational agents. These digital companions have the ability to understand context, emotions, and intent. This understanding provides users with personalized interactions that feel human-like. From customer support to healthcare diagnostics, chatbots are shifting the paradigm of user engagement. Chatbots aren’t merely tools, they’re the next stage of human-computer interaction. As they learn and adapt, the line between man and machine gets thinner.
Social Media Commerce. Social media platforms have long been a stage for self-expression, but they have now become thriving marketplaces. According to statistics, social media commerce is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026, which is a significant boom compared to the past. The fusion of social media and commerce has given rise to an era where influencers are merchants and users are both spectators and consumers. The seamless integration of shopping experiences within apps like Instagram and Facebook have blurred the lines between scrolling and shopping. Users can now go from admiring a product to purchasing it without ever leaving the app. It's a testament to the power of social persuasion and the new ways in which brands connect with their audiences.
Decentralized Apps. Decentralization (powered by blockchain technology), has put the concept of ownership back into the hands of users. Decentralized apps, or dApps, are rewriting the rules of the app economy. By removing intermediaries and enhancing security, these apps empower users with unprecedented control over their data and interactions. From decentralized finance (DeFi) apps challenging traditional banking systems to decentralized social networks, the ethos of decentralization is reshaping how apps are built, shared, and experienced.
UI/UX. In e-commerce app development, the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) stand as the threads that define the quality of engagement. In today’s ocean of apps, it's the aesthetics and functionality that set the best apart from the rest. Modern users demand more than just utility, they also seek an emotional connection. Developers are making an unparalleled effort into crafting interfaces that are not just visually stunning but are also intuitive and memorable. From fluid animations to micro-interactions that delight the senses, UI/UX has become the arena where apps win or lose.
Beacon Technology. In an age where personalization is paramount, beacon technology emerges as a guiding light. By leveraging Bluetooth signals, apps can pinpoint a user's location with remarkable precision in order to deliver content and experiences that are tailored to their immediate surroundings. From museums offering contextual information to retailers sending exclusive offers right as their customers walk through the doors, beacons are redefining how apps engage users in the real world.
Gamification. Gamification has the power to transform mundane tasks into exhilarating adventures. Mobile apps are no longer merely just for utility, they are playgrounds for user engagement. By integrating game mechanics like rewards, challenges, and leaderboards, developers are now turning everyday interactions into captivating experiences. From fitness apps that turn workouts into quests to language learning apps that feel like epic journeys, gamification is rewriting the rulebook of how apps capture and sustain attention.
Predictive Analytics. The future has always been a realm of uncertainty, but with the rise of predictive analytics, app developers are getting closer to getting a crystal ball that foresees the future. By analyzing vast massives of user data, apps can anticipate behaviors and needs and then predict user actions and desires. From suggesting your next read to proposing the best route for your commute, predictive analytics is a testament to the art of data-driven personalization.
Foldable Devices. Foldable devices are not just gadgets, they are portals to new dimensions of user interaction. As these new screens can bend and expand, apps must adapt to this and offer seamless experiences across a spectrum of form factors. This trend challenges developers to reimagine user journeys, and make apps that are flexible and adaptable to different screen configurations.
How many people does it take to develop an e-commerce app?
Nobody can tell you the exact amount. The number of people that are necessary for e-commerce app development depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the app, the development team’s experience and the chosen platform. That being said, a team of 3-5 people should be sufficient for developing an entry-level e-commerce app. A team of 10 or more people would most-likely be needed to complete a more complex and feature-heavy app.
The most common roles that are required for developing an e-commerce app are:
A Project Manager is responsible for overseeing the development process and ensuring that the app is delivered on time and on budget.
A Front-End Developer is tasked with creating the user interface of the app (this includes the design of the app’s screens, as well as the code that makes the app look and feel the way it does).
A Back-End Developer is accountable for creating the functionality of the app. This includes the code that powers the app’s features, such as the ability to add products to a cart, checkout, and payment processing.
A QA Engineer is tasked with testing the app to ensure that it’s bug-free and works as expected.
An UI/UX Designer is responsible for creating the user experience of the app. This includes the overall look and feel of the app, as well as the flow of information and user interaction.
In addition to these core roles, there may be other roles required depending on the specific needs of the project, such as a marketing specialist, a product manager, or a security engineer.
The size of your e-commerce app development team will inevitably impact your budget. A larger team will cost more, but they will also be able to deliver a more complex and feature-rich app. On the contrary, a smaller team will be less expensive, but they may not be able to deliver an app that has all of the features you desire.
Technology Stacks Needed for Developing an E-commerce App
Here are some of the most common technologies you will need for e-commerce app development:
HTML is the foundation of all web pages. It is used to define the structure of a web page and to add content, such as text, images, and videos.
CSS is used to style the elements of a web page, such as the font, size, and color of text, and the layout of the page.
Programming Languages are used to create the logic and functionality of the Back-End. Some popular programming languages for e-commerce apps include Java, Python, and PHP.
Frameworks are sets of pre-written code that can be used to speed up the development process. Some popular frameworks for e-commerce apps include Spring Boot, Laravel, and Django.
Databases are used to store the data for your app, such as products, orders, and customers. Some popular databases for e-commerce apps include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.
Payment Processors are used to handle the financial transactions for your app. Some popular payment processors for e-commerce apps include Stripe, PayPal, and Square.
Hosting providers store your app's code and data on their servers. Some popular hosting providers for e-commerce apps include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure.
In addition to these core technologies, you may also need to use other technologies for specific features, such as:
an image optimization service like TinyPNG or Kraken that improves the performance of your app
a fraud detection service like Stripe Radar or Clearsale that protects your app from fraud
an analytics service like Google Analytics or Mixpanel that tracks your app’s performance The technologies you ultimately choose will depend on your specific needs and budget. However, the technologies listed above are a good starting point of reference for e-commerce app development.
How much does it cost to develop an e-commerce app?
The price of e-commerce app development can be influenced by a variety of factors:
App Complexity. The complexity of the app is a major determinant of the development cost. An entry-level e-commerce app with basic features will cost less compared to a more complicated app with advanced functionalities like personalized recommendations, AI-driven features, and complex payment gateways.
Features and Functionality. The number and complexity of features in the app significantly impact the overall cost. Features such as user registration, product catalog, search functionality, shopping cart, payment gateway integration, order tracking, reviews, and more will all add to the development time and expense.
Design and User Experience (UX). The app's design and user experience play a crucial role in attracting and retaining users. A well-designed app with a user-friendly interface and smooth navigation will probably require more design effort, which impacts the development cost.
Platform and Devices. The choice of platforms (iOS, Android, or both) and the range of devices (smartphones, tablets) that the app will be compatible with all affect the development cost. Developing for multiple platforms and devices increases the complexity and, consequently, the cost.
Technology Stack. The technology stack chosen for development (programming languages, frameworks, databases, etc.) can impact both development time and cost. Some technologies might require more specialized skills that affect the pricing.
Third-Party Integrations. Integrating third-party services such as payment gateways, shipping APIs, analytics tools, and social media platforms can increase costs, as these integrations often require additional development and testing.
Security Requirements. E-commerce apps deal with sensitive user data, including payment information. Implementing robust security measures to protect user data from breaches and attacks increases the development time and cost.
Scalability. If the app is expected to handle a large user base and significant traffic, it will require scalable architecture. Building a scalable app might require additional development effort and investment.
Testing and Quality Assurance. Thorough testing is essential to ensure the app works seamlessly and stays bug-free. Extensive testing, including compatibility testing across various devices and platforms all add to the development timeline and cost.
Maintenance and Support. Post-launch maintenance, updates, bug fixes, and customer support are ongoing costs that need to be considered in the overall budgeting process.
Geographical Location. The location of the development team can impact costs due to differences in labor rates and the cost of living. Developers from regions with higher costs will probably charge more for their services.
Project Timeline. The development timeline can affect pricing. Shorter deadlines might require more resource allocatation than normal, which potentially increases costs.
Customization. The level of customization required for the app's design, features, and functionalities can impact costs. Highly customized apps will require more development effort.
Regulatory Compliance. If the app needs to adhere to specific industry regulations or compliance standards, additional development work might be required. All of these complexities add cost.
It's important to note that all of these factors are interconnected, and changes in one aspect can cause transformations in others, which affect the overall cost. When planning an e-commerce app development project, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your requirements and expectations so you can get an accurate estimate of the overall development budget.
Starting an e-commerce app development in 2024 isn’t only about code and design. It's about harnessing the pulse of a digital era. As you delve into the world of app development, tame the chaos of constant change. Envision an app that doesn’t just display products, instead build an app that learns from individual preferences in order to provide a remarkable shopping adventure. Explore the uncharted territories of augmented and virtual reality, where customers can try before they buy. Rely on social commerce, recognizing that the digital realm is a bustling marketplace of opinions and trends that are waiting to be tapped.
However, amidst the allure of innovation, never lose sight of the basics. User-friendliness remains the North Star that’s guiding your app's trajectory. Simplify, streamline, and enhance, while never compromising on security and privacy.
As we step into 2024’s unknowns, the art of building an e-commerce app isn't just about lines of code, captivating UI, or a frictionless checkout process. It's a dance with human desires and technological potential, think of it as a journey into the psyche of a consumer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should it take to build an e-commerce app?
The time it takes to build an ecommerce app can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the app, the development team’s experience, and the chosen platform. In general, it can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months to build a basic e-commerce app. More complex apps that will have a lot of features can take a year or more to develop.
What makes a good e-commerce app?
A good e-commerce app is user-friendly, has a wide range of features, and offers a satisfying shopping experience for customers. It should be easy to navigate, have secure payment processing, and reliable customer support. The app should also be updated regularly with new content to keep customers engaged.
Is there an e-commerce app without coding?
Yes, there are a number of e-commerce app builders that allow you to create an app without coding. These builders provide drag-and-drop interfaces that make it easy to create an app with all of the features you need. Some of the most popular e-commerce app builders include Shopify, WooCommerce and Wix.