5 Things to Consider Before Building Your Ecommerce App
A guest post by Atul Poharkar, co-founder of Plobal Apps. Plobal Apps is a platform that aims at developing; engaging & cost-efficient mobile applications with minimum time to market.
Apps are rapidly changing the way people shop, eat, travel and interact with each other. Today, consumers want-to-know, want-to-go, want-to-buy, want-to-fly, all with a few clicks and are increasingly turning to their phones as they expect brands to deliver.
In the last 2 years, apps have made a huge difference in how businesses operate in the Retail space. According to Shopify, 53% of all merchant orders made in Q2 of 2016 were made via mobile devices. If you’re an Ecommerce store owner, you’ll know that simply having a mobile web presence is no longer enough. A recent study by Criteo on E-commerce mobile apps concluded that:
- Retailers with an app saw 120% growth in their conversion rate vis-à-vis mobile browsers and tablets.
- Shoppers using mobile apps browsed 286% more products than mobile web shoppers, contributing to an add-to-basket rate of 90% higher than mobile browsers
We have created a list of the most important things you should consider to make your app development process a success.
1. Who Should You Work With To Build Your App? – DIY Platform v/s App Development Agency
Before you start building your mobile app, you need to have a clear understanding of your app's development process. You can either outsource your app development to an agency or use a DIY platform to build one yourself. The most important factors that you need to consider while making this decision are time to market, cost and the features you need for your app.
Time to Market - Typically, mobile app development with an agency can take up anywhere between 2 to 5 months. On the other hand, DIY platforms can have your apps ready within minutes.
Cost of Development - In terms of cost, app development agencies charge on the basis of work-hours put in. An e-commerce mobile app can cost anywhere in the range of $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the features required. Most DIY platforms offer monthly pricing plans starting as low as $29 including free versions of your preview / test apps.
App Customizations - In terms of features, an agency will provide a high level of flexibility and customizations exactly as per your store's requirements. With DIY platforms the level of flexibility and customizations depends on which platform you choose.
2. How Should Your App Look?
How your customers use your app has a lot to do with the design and interface of the app. So, a simple and seamless navigation and layout is what you should aim for – one that your target user group is familiar with. To get started, follow the design guidelines set by Apple and Google for your mobile app.
3. What Features Should Your App Have?
Features are the most important element in the app development process. It is not a good idea to incorporate every single feature you can think of into the first version of your app. Apart from standard features like Cart, Favorites, Featured Products and Categories, here are a few features you should consider for your store.
- Push Notifications - One of the best ways for your brand to engage with your customers is through Push Notifications. Apps with push notifications tend to have 88% higher engagement rates. You can engage with your customers by sending them updates about product launches, discounts, sales, new arrivals, etc.
- Hassle-free, Auto Real-Time Store Sync - This helps your web store inventory always remain in sync with your mobile app. Ensure that your app automatically syncs with your web store in real time.
- Security Updates - Protecting your app from threats such as bugs and hackers, especially in cases where users need to enter personal information. Ensure your app is using https (valid and trusted SSL certificate) APIs only.
- Powerful Dashboard - You should be able to monitor the number of app downloads, user behavior patterns like screens visited, number of products added to favorite or added to cart and revenue generated from your app.
4. How to provide an amazing user experience
Your mobile app should aim at providing a user experience that makes online shopping a simpler and seamless process. With this in mind, we’ve listed several factors that contribute to an amazing user experience:
- Fast Load Speed – Your app needs to load fast. The user experience of browsing or searching through hundreds of products needs to be smooth and optimal.
- High Quality Content - Ensure you have high quality product images and well designed promotional banners on your app. Keep your product descriptions detailed and easy to understand.
- Integrated Payments & Check-Out Process: Offer customers convenient payment options that enable a seamless checkout experience. Ensure that your app has a highly optimized check out process to reduce cart abandonmen
5. Test Your App!
Last but not the least, thoroughly test your app. Your users will have a hard time using your app if it has bugs and issues. This makes it crucial for you to test your app which allows you to iron out its functionalities before it goes live.
All in all building a successful e-commerce app requires commitment and patience. Don’t build everything that your user wants. Get lean. Understand what they need in a great mobile experience and build that over a period of time.