This is the age of smartphones as every tom, dick, and harry owns one. Smartphone usage has witnessed huge penetration since the last few years. In fact, the number of smartphone users has crossed the 3 billion mark in 2019, and the same is poised to touch 7 billion by the next few years. This trend proves that people are largely resorting to mobile phones, even for rudimentary activities.
This also stresses the fact that how important it is for businesses, especially eCommerce, to develop mobile applications to target their audience in a better way. For eCommerce ventures, mobile applications have become mandatory as mobile users are spending the majority of their time on apps. When it comes to buying, 62% of people are using their gadgets. So, this makes mobile apps indispensable to eCommerce businesses.
Three chief reasons for an eCommerce business to develop a mobile app
The importance of mobile app for eCommerce businesses is paramount. The app, apart from luring customers, also offers eCommerce ventures many other advantages. So, let us understand three vital reasons to develop an eCommerce mobile application.
Connect with your audience easily
These days the main source of online traffic comes from mobile apps, implying that smartphones are increasingly being used to visit websites. So, it makes absolute sense to develop your own eCommerce mobile app as there are no other means better than apps to connect with customers easily in real-time.
Also, the apps are quicker than the majority of the responsive websites as they store photos and other assets on the devices itself. This ensures that users don’t have to access data from servers every time they visit your eCommerce app. This is one of the reasons why your online store requires a mobile application.
Offer user experience to cherish forever
With a mobile application, you can choose the kind of user experience you want to offer. An efficient app can make everything related to purchase simple and easy. Such an app goes a long way in building a brand for your business and making customers loyal to you. It has to be noted that building an app might not be a one-time task as you have to fine-tune certain features according to the changing business dynamics to enhance the appeal of the application. In case you develop a potent UI mobile app then your business will only go from strength to strength.
Clearly figure out user behavior
Accessing data has become quite vital these days. The present mobile eCommerce apps present you with the opportunity to acquire key information about your users, such as shopping pattern & performance very quickly. Through apps, you can easily figure out the most viewed products and the demand for any product. This helps you in delivering exactly what customers want
Must-have features for any mobile eCommerce app
You can have an eCommerce mobile application for the heck of it, but it won’t do you any good. The mobile application of your eCommerce business has to have certain features without which it won’t make the desired impact. What are these essential features, let us go through them one by one.
Easy registration process
Nobody likes to go through a maze of formalities for the sake of registering themselves on an eCommerce mobile platform. If the app in question has a cumbersome process of registration, then it can easily put off users or buyers. So for the sake of attracting and retaining customers, it is advisable. to have a few easy steps of registration. This also addresses the problem of the drop-off to a large extent. Some of the common and convenient registration procedures are: sign up through email id, and phone number, Sign in via social media and Single Sign-on via Google.
Efficient search and filter functionality
A potent search and filter functionality is a must for an eCommerce website. This helps in meeting users’ needs vis-à-vis your existing inventory. In case your mobile application lists only 50-100 items, it still permits users to find products in line with the price discount and delivery slots they desire. Your eCommerce mobile app should help customers in finding what they want with ease, and for this, a potent search and filter functionality is a must.
Flexible cart facility
A cart is a very critical aspect of eCommerce mobile platforms, and the customization of the same is also very critical. The buyers should be able to change the color, size, quantity of the product from the cart itself. In case a buyer wants to remove one or two products from the cart, he or she should be able to do the same with ease. As for wishlist, it is another crucial aspect in contemporary eCommerce mobile apps. As a huge part of online purchases are made on impulse, a wishlist helps in building brand equity and inculcating loyalty among customers.
Safe and secure payment modes
An eCommerce mobile application should provide different modes of payments. One of them is e-Payment. It is the responsibility of the mobile application to make the e-payment process as simple and safe as possible. So, it is pertinent to provide potent security and review code constantly to accord maximum protection to a customer’s card details, residential or office addresses, from cyber stealth. Again just like the registration process, the payment procedure should not be lengthy as well.
Online tracking facility
This one is an absolute must. An eCommerce application without tracking facility is akin to a rudderless ship. When a customer places an order on your eCommerce mobile application, your actual responsibility begins. Your commitment to the customer ceases only when the product reaches the recipient in good shape. Hence, it is your app’s responsibility to provide customers with actual details of the product in transit. In case of any hiccups, happens at times due to extraneous factors, the app should provide constant updates about the progress of the product in transit as well.
Things to factor in while planning E-commerce Mobile App Development
Let us delve into various facets that every business owner should keep in mind before developing a mobile application. These things go a long way in giving a clear picture to the entrepreneur prior to creating the mobile app for their online stores.
Which platform to use?
The chief objective of any mobile app is to make it accessible to as many people as possible. In this endeavor, it is an absolute must to choose an appropriate platform to build the same. The mobile platform plays a crucial role in the success of your app. Hence, before selecting one, certain factors have to be taken into consideration such as age group, the country, kind of business, etc. However, two widely used mobile platforms are Android and iOS, so it makes sense to focus on these.
What to choose: Native or Hybrid?
How to give the best user experience?
For mobile applications, user experience is very significant. It presents a positive or negative picture upon users depending upon the experience they had. So, as an eCommerce entrepreneur, you need to think of different ways to provide out of the world experience to those who come to your mobile application. In such a scenario, it is really worthwhile to come up with ideas to make your app more appealing to the target audience. If you ignore this aspect, then expect your app to go into oblivion sooner or later.
Who is your Target Audience?
Before developing a mobile app for your eCommerce venture, you need to know your target audience, their expectations, and the technologies they use. Why this is important because if your app turns out to be a disappointment for users then they are bound to take down the app from their smartphones. So, develop an app that satisfies the needs and requirements of users.
How can you stand apart?
There is an innumerable number of apps today on various platforms. For example, the number of apps in the iOS Store happens to be 2.2 million till May 2019 and there were 2.6 million in the same period on Googe Play Store. There are many apps relating to eCommerce as well. The key is to stand apart from the crowd. This is possible only if you study your competitors closely. Then only you can conjure up something unique. You can get a lot of ideas and learn a lot by observing what your competitors are doing. So, understand your business rivals thoroughly to be distinct.
Upcoming trends for mobile e-commerce applications development
We have so far been through the features and various other factors involved in mobile app development for eCommerce ventures. Now let us shift our focus to some of the trends in the eCommerce app development that is going to befall us in the future.
Despite being an upcoming trend in eCommerce mobile application, the phenomenon is not something very new. Geo-Fencing can be used by e-tailers to drive traffic to their online stores. The term simply implies the usage of GPS or RFID technology to form a virtual boundary around a specific location, so as to evoke a response if a customer comes within a specific location. Geo-fencing is also very helpful in keeping a track over the arrival or departure of goods into a warehouse.
These days one can get help through machines by sending out some instructions. The voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa have gained currency among people all across the world. So, it would not be a bad idea for e-commerce majors to adopt this emerging trend and enhance the user experience by enabling several facilities through voice.
Internet of Things
There is a deluge of IoT-based devices in the market such as smartwatches and refrigerators, connected cars, etc. IoT serves the purpose of a bridge, linking machines, appliances, and several types of stuff. Through digital connectivity, e-commerce can gain significantly, apart from boosting e-commerce investment in automation. This enables a control similar to the dashboard, influencing real-time inventory, spots faults, and malfunctions, and offer enjoyable customer service.
AI-based assistants and suggestion inducing engines
When it comes to customers, they prefer personalized experience on any digital platforms, especially mobile applications. The e-commerce apps can take recourse to AI-powered chatbots to better understand the requirements of customers and address their issues. By employing intelligent chatbots on eCommerce mobile apps, human interaction can also be avoided to a great extent while dealing with customers. As for Recommendation Engines, they can utilize AI to predict the pattern of consumer behavior and analyze search history to know their tastes and preferences. This data will help give personalized recommendations and increase the visibility of the catalog.
Augmented Reality or AR
Currently, AR is gaining traction all across the industry. Apart from the gaming domain, the technology is increasingly being integrated into eCommerce apps as well. This can make the user experience very entertaining and engaging. One prominent example is IKEA using an AR e-commerce mobile app to permit buyers to check out furniture sitting at their abodes.
Factors to keep in mind while fixing the budget for e-commerce app development
Developing an e-commerce mobile platform requires significant money for any business. As a result, proper planning is mandatory when it comes to costs and resources. So, we are giving you some crucial things to analyze while fixing the budget for your mobile e-commerce app development.
Inclusion of features
We have already spoken about the features required on the eCommerce apps. But how much effort is required to get these things right? Does anyone know that? Let us understand the efforts involved in developing the features:
- User Account containing shoppers’ personal details, and past order details requires 35 to 50 hours to develop.
- Cart needs integration of several payment options, and this requires something between 70 and 110 hours to set up.
- Main Screen useful for searching and filtering products on various catalogs needs close to 45 hours.
- Product Details Screen having photo sliders, ratings, reviews and social media sharing provisions can take 20 to 40 hours.
Not only these, but there are also other features involved, and even their integration is crucial to the smooth functioning of your eCommerce app. So, you need to analyze the efforts involved in these tasks before allocating budget for app development.
Hybrid VS Native
These are two approaches in app building, and you need to consider your requirements before choosing one option. Hybrid development is quite quicker than native, but for enjoyable user experience, the latter comes in very handy. In case you want a huge consumer base, you ought to have different native applications for Android and iOS platforms. However, native apps are expensive than the hybrid. Now, make a decision based on these factors.
Outsource or in house development
Entrepreneurs have the liberty to decide whether they require internal staff or external agency to do the app job for them. Owners can go for any option, in-house or external, but the app developer should have these people:
- UI and UX designer
- QA engineer
- About 2 to 4 developers
- Backend developer
- Project manager
Prior to taking a call on the vendor, analyze key factors such as reputation, capability, past works and, domain knowledge.
So, developing a mobile application for the eCommerce venture is a must to survive the existing cut-throat completion. The app should be relevant for your business as developing the same for namesake won’t fetch you the desired results. Also, analyze your needs and preferences before choosing to create a mobile application for yourself.