With over a half of our planet’s population having a smartphone in their pocket, simply launching a website to sell products online is not enough. And almost 80% of smartphone users have purchased products using their mobile devices. Moreover, there are more people who have a phone than a desktop device, which is not surprising. Smartphones are cheaper and far more accessible, especially in developing parts of the world. This brings us to our topic: eCommerce app development.

create a shopping app stats

You can create a shopping app for any kind of item: clothes and shoes, cosmetics and pharma, groceries and beverages, sports and hobby goods, kitchen appliances and houseware, computer hardware and electronics, and much more. What are the benefits of making a shopping application?

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Improved marketing activities
  • Enhanced customer experience and engagement
  • Increased order value
  • Personalized shopping experience
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Automated business processes
  • Higher retention rates
  • Increased sales revenue

The list of benefits looks very persuasive and might incentivize you to create a shopping app. In this article, we will learn how to create a shopping app and estimate the costs of shopping app development, as well as which features are essential and how to choose the right tech stack.

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The Best Shopping Apps in 2021

Before we dive deeper into the technical part of the process, let’s take a look at the most successful examples of online shopping apps. Besides learning from their examples, we can also get inspired by the innovations and advanced features they have implemented.

 

Mango

iOS, Android

create a shopping app mango

Number of users: 200,000

Unique value proposition: Barcode scan that allows you to look for the garment in different colors and sizes.

Features:

  • Locate physical stores in your area
  • Create a wishlist
  • Receive promotions and exclusive offers

 

Zara

iOS, Android

create a shopping app zara

Number of users: 1 million
Unique value proposition: AR feature that brings Zara mannequins to life and shows you the related items.

Features:

  • Get notified about new arrivals
  • Receive exclusive promotions
  • Check collections at different stores
  • Reserve fitting rooms

 

Romwe

iOS, Android

romwe create a shopping app

Number of users: 400,000
Unique value proposition: Daily and weekly notifications about special offers & signup discounts.

Features:

  • Environmentally friendly products
  • Various coupons and offers
  • Product reviews right in the app

 

Nike

iOS, Android

nike create a shopping app

Number of users: 170 million
Unique value proposition: Early invitations to exclusive brand events.

Features:

  • Customization of footwear
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Notifications about training tips

 

Adidas

iOS, Android

adidas create a shopping app

Number of users: 132 million
Unique value proposition: Visual search allows users to upload a photo of an outfit and find it on the app.

Features:

  • Sales alerts
  • Notifications about performance stories
  • An opportunity to tailor your shoes due to your own specifications

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Shopping App Main Features

create a shopping app user flow

We will begin with the must-have features you need to implement to create a shopping app. Essential features are app functions that are sufficient to solve the user problem and in this case, they are the ones that allow users to find an item and make a purchase. Modern shopping apps have a plethora of extra functions that make them stand out, but they have all started out with a basic application.

 

Shopping App Essential Features for Users

User Registration and Login

Although the user registration feature should be implemented, it is recommended to allow browsing without having to use this process. Allowing your users to go through your products without going through the registration process will expand your audience. Besides that, provide various registration options like email, phone number, social networks, etc. Limiting your users to only one type of registration is detrimental to your customer experience and will cause a lot of signup abandonments.

 

User Profile Editing

Another important feature is profile editing, where users can alter their personal information in case they move or change their phone numbers and email addresses. Make sure to create a shopping app with a simple profile editing menu to allow customers make quick changes to their financial, personal, and other information.

 

Product Catalog

create a shopping app product catalog

This feature is also quite obvious as every online shop application requires a catalog of its products. Create a shopping app with an organized and categorized catalog to simplify browsing. The catalog should involve elaborate product descriptions and pictures of the items. Users expect to discover information about the size, color, fabric, style, and type of the item to help them make the best decision.

 

Catalog Search

There are a few things that are very important when it comes to in-app search engines. First of all, it should be extremely quick and provide results immediately. Second, your engine should be supplied with filters and indexing to help users swiftly navigate their way in the app. Finally, you can add extra features such as spelling corrections, search autocomplete, etc., to streamline the searching experience.

 

Shopping Cart

create a shopping app shopping cart and checkout

A shopping cart is a feature that gives users access to the items they selected. Create a shopping app with the ability to add, remove, or change the items in the basket, look at the item descriptions, see the individual prices, and also look at the total amount of their purchase.

 

Checkout & Payment Options

The most important aspect of payment integration is safety. Data breaches are the fastest gateway to losing your customer base and damaging your reputation. That’s why it’s important to create a shopping app with an extremely high level of security and data protection.

The versatility of options is another vital aspect: PayPal, Stripe, credit and debit card, cash on delivery, etc. The options depend on the location of the targeted user group, as Paypal is popular in Europe, whereas Southeastern Asian countries still mostly pay with cash.

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Customer Support

Regardless of how well thought out and constructed your app is, your customers might eventually run into some issues. Make sure to provide easily accessible and responsive customer support to swiftly resolve any issues. Either via a phone, email, chat, or any other communication format, allowing customers to contact support managers and get help is a necessity.

 

Shopping App Admin Panel features

Finally, you cannot create a shopping app without an admin panel. The admin panel is the behind-the-scenes part of the application that helps business owners manage the content, take care of orders and reviews, ensure payments, etc. There are quite a handful of things that need to be implemented to provide smooth processes.

  • Orders tracking and managing as well as order summary for order details and payment information.
  • Customer data for managing the names, addresses, and contact information.
  • Abandoned checkouts for reaching out to the clients and reminding them to finish their shopping.
  • Catalog app builder and product management for adding new products, including titles, descriptions, images, prices, shipping details, tags, etc.
  • Inventory management and out of the stock system for having a clear overview of all your products and keeping them up to date.
  • CRM and analytics for managing customer relationships and monitoring store performance. These tools can be installed via third-party integrations.
  • Marketing tools for ad creation and management. These features can be implemented via third-party integration to help reach new audiences, and measure the performance of your marketing activities.

To learn more about the must-have features of an eCommerce app, get in touch with DOIT Software. We are a team of experts that delivers great mobile solutions with ongoing post-release maintenance. Contact us to get a consultation and create a shopping app MVP within a few months.

Additional Features of a Shopping App

Essential features allow you to create an MVP, a Minimum Viable Product, that covers a customer’s primary needs. In this case, essential features are enough to help a user find the right product and make the purchase. Additional features help you to stand out from the competition. The implementation of Augmented Reality or thoughtful nuances like wishlists helps businesses offer a unique experience to their audiences and convince the customer to recommend the app to their friends and family.

When you create a shopping app, first you need to test the idea. How to create an online store that attracts user attention? By collecting and analyzing user feedback. It allows you to adopt the insights from feedback and complement your app with new exciting features.

 

Create a Shopping App with Additional Features for Users

Wishlist

create a shopping app wishlist

People enjoy window shopping in real life and the same goes for applications. How to make a shopping app that allows digital window shopping? A wishlist is a separate “cart” that contains the items that a customer liked but could not buy right away. The reasons could vary, from not having the money for it now, to choosing gifts for Christmas ahead of time. Allow your customers to choose their favorite items and store them on the wishlist. Later, you can send them reminders and discounts to incentivize users to finish their shopping.

 

Order tracking

create a shopping app order tracking

Although not technically necessary, the order tracking option has become a part of every eCommerce app. This feature allows your customers to trace their order, from the confirmation on your side up until the time of delivery. Letting your customers know where their package is at any moment and when it is going to be delivered is a great practice as it shows that you are respectful of your clients’ time. Sitting at home the whole day, sometimes even several days, and waiting for the courier to deliver their order could be stressful and will eventually discourage people from using your services.

 

Maps

Map integration helps customers find your brick-and-mortar shops in their area. On top of that, if you offer express delivery, people could actually track their package on the map. Map integration is a great way of improving the user experience and increasing the sales revenue of your physical shops. Without the map, people might not even know whether you have an actual store near their location. Create a shopping app with an interactive map that will incentivize users to check out your store.

 

Augmented Reality (AR)

create a shopping app augmented reality

AR is slowly penetrating the market of eCommerce app development. Augmented Reality is a feature that allows your customers to try on clothes or makeup via their phones. The way it works is through your camera in real-time. Users select the lipstick or eyeshadows they would like to try on, and the application automatically “applies” it to the user on camera. If you wish to create a shopping app for clothes, the AR feature will help them to try on sunglasses, hats, and other accessories.

This feature is quite expensive and advanced, which is why it is definitely not essential for an online store app. However, it will help you stand out from the competition and allure new customers to try your products.

 

Machine Learning (ML) recommendations

How to make a shop online with personalized suggestions? ML recommendations is a feature that collects and analyzes customer information such as search and order history, demographics, etc., and makes predictions about their shopping behavior. As a result, the app suggests possible items that the user might like. Alternatively, you can also offer items that go well together with the piece of clothing that has been selected.

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iBeacon

How to create an app to sell items both online and offline? If you have brick-and-mortar stores, iBeacon is a tool for user experience improvement. Basically, it is a device that can be installed somewhere in the store and connected to the customer’s application via Bluetooth. After a successful connection, the device gains access to the customer’s purchase and search history which is then transmitted to the salespeople at the store. This way, sales personnel can help customers find what they want based on their order history, or simply suggest the needed size of their item. It drastically enhances the shopping experience for your customers.

 

Sharing options

If you would like to learn how to make an online store with built-in self-promotion, then implement sharing options. Make sure to create a shopping app with shareable images and pages. First of all, users would want to share their findings with friends to ask for their opinions. Secondly, this will make an amazing free advertisement for your business. There are a few options here: you can allow users to take quick screenshots with a certain button on the interface, share the page via WhatsApp or Telegram, or even post it on social media platforms.

 

Barcode scanner

create a shopping app barcode scanner

A Barcode scanner is another useful feature for physical store owners. When your customers look for items at your brick-and-mortar location and cannot find the price tag, they can simply scan the barcode and get access to all the information about this item. This removes the burden of being around the customers for salespeople, and enhances the user experience for your clients. Finally, the history of searches remains in the app and this allows users to think about their findings and order these items later.

 

Push notifications

How to make a selling app that helps businesses keep users engaged and interested in the application? Using push notifications, you can inform your audience about your discounts and special offers, new arrivals and collections, as well as brand events. Push notifications close the gap between your business and your customer, and allow for building a tighter connection.

 

Online Chat

We have talked about customer support earlier in the article, but online chat goes beyond that as it offers a 24/7 connection. Use an AI chatbot for your online sales app to deliver instant support to your customers. Having chatbots is much more affordable than maintaining a call center. On top of that, chatbots will learn from interacting with your customers and become smarter when it comes to answering popular questions. However, create a shopping app with some human support for those situations when the chatbot cannot answer a difficult or unique question, the customer can be referred to a manager for help.

Tech Stack of a Shopping App

Now that you know which features to implement, let’s delve into the technical details. In this section, we will focus on the technical stack that is required to build a shop app and the team composition that’s necessary.

 

Tech Stack

create a shopping app tech stack

Your technical stack depends on a variety of aspects, but first and foremost is the platform choice. Are you building shopping applications for Android or iOS? Maybe you would like to launch apps on both operating systems? Here we have two options: native and cross-platform app development.

Native mobile development refers to building a mobile shopping application for one platform. For example, you can use Kotlin or Java to create an Android app and Swift or Objective-C to build an iOS application. The benefits of native development are increased user experience and excellent performance. The downside is quite apparent: you will be building two separate boutique shopping apps, thus spending from 30% to 40% more money.

 

Create a shopping app

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Cross-platform mobile development allows coders to create a single codebase and use it for both applications on Android and iOS. Although some inputs from native developers will be required to adopt the native UI elements, this type of app development is a little bit cheaper. The disadvantage of platform-independent development is the limited functionality and poorer performance. At the same time, the disadvantages do not matter when it comes to building minimum viable products, and cross-platform development is the perfect cost-efficient process to build MVPs. However, with the right approach, professional developers, and advanced cross-platform frameworks like Flutter or React Native, you can create a shopping app that performs well and is native-like.

Mobile app backend is the behind the scenes of the application such as database, servers, and everything else that keeps the app afloat. Node is the best backend JS runtime environment to create a shopping app. It is fast, scalable, flexible, and accessible.

Whether it is native or cross-platform, a shopping app needs an admin panel. For this, we highly recommend ReactJS for the frontend. This JavaScript framework is known for delivering great user interfaces and providing code reusability. For the backend, you can use NodeJs. The technology is fast, scalable, and thrives when it comes to real-time web applications.

 

Team Composition

The eCommerce application development team consists of a UX/UI designer, QA team, project manager, and developers. The software development team depends on the type of development: native Android coding requires Kotlin or Java developers, native iOS coding needs Swift or Objective-C developers, whereas for cross-platform development we would recommend hiring Flutter or React Native coders. For the admin panel creation, a ReactJS frontend developer and NodeJS backend developer make a great team.

Costs of Shopping App Development

create a shopping app app development cost

eCommerce mobile app development cost depends on the choice of the tech stack, app complexity, and the location of the software development vendor. To create an accurate estimate and achieve a smooth development process without facing endless pitfalls, make sure to include the discovery phase into your plan. This phase is crucial for a successful development process as it helps to pinpoint user needs, establish technical requirements, and set up your business goals.

 

Discovery phase

The discovery phase is the requirements gathering and marketing research part of the development process. During the discovery phase, it is important to try to identify user needs, technical requirements, establish business goals, and assess the costs for the duration of the project. This stage varies from company to company and sometimes is neglected. The DOIT Software team believes that investing time in this phase pays off as you will be prepared for the next stages and make data-driven projections. Moreover, you will have a clearer understanding of your shopping cart app and reduce the number of iterations. Finally, the discovery phase will help you assess the software development vendor and figure out whether you would like to work together in the future. The Discovery phase for a shopping app can take about 260 hours.

It consists of several necessary steps:

  • Collecting the requirements for project goals, target audiences and markets, and competitors analysis.
  • User flow mapping with sections and pages, and defining how users interact with them.
  • Build a specification with detailed requirements, user documentation, and technical stack.
  • Prototyping, that allows you to create a clickable visual layout of the application.
  • Project timeline and cost estimation to calculate the budget and resources required.
Deliverables Hours
Project init 16 - 18
Description of the main features' logic 4 - 6
Mind map creation 8 - 10
Clickable prototype creation 100 - 105
Solution architecture document 16 - 20
Functional requirements described in a user-story format 32 - 35
QA software requirements 8 - 10
Prototype test 4 - 6
Resources & communication plan 2 - 4
Accurate estimation 9 - 11
Communication, brainstorms 35 - 40
Total: 260 - 265

Mobile app development

Features description Hours
Authorization Splash / Loading screen 52 - 64
User registration
User Login
Catalog Search Main screen 106 - 126
Search results
QR/Barcode scanner
Manual code search
Categories & Filtering
Products Product view (images, color/size, title, description, price) 95 - 111
Add to Favorite/Cart
List of suggestions
List of favorite items
Try mode
Cart & Checkout Cart (Items, Total, Shipping address) 165 - 194
Checkout (Choose payment, Add payment method)
Order confirmation
Order Tracking (Stages with Map integration, Push notifications)
User profile Edit profile 92 - 114
Change password
Shipping address
Payment methods
Your favorite items
Support Contact block 27 - 34
Map integration
Total: 537 - 642

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Admin panel development

Features description Hours
Login interface (user id, passwords) 13 - 15
Forgot password (reset the password) 6 - 8
Dashboard/Orders (filtering, search, sorting, order status management, order view) 45 - 50
Catalog (filter, search, edit, remove, disable items, add special price, app new items) 105 - 115
Banner in the app (add, disable, remove, edit) 20 - 23
Try mode (edit, remove, disable) 20 - 22
Edit contact information 15 - 17
Manage users (search, sort, view, disable, enable user's profile, check user order history and statuses) 50 - 55
Reporting (filter registered users report, orders report) 42 - 45
Total: 316 - 350

Project init

Hours
Project initiation 22 - 32
Requirements review and planning 12 - 16
Environment setup 22 - 26
Tech documentation creation 28 - 40
System structure creation 16 - 20
Mobile Stores accounts creation 14 - 28
Total: 114 - 162

To understand your budget more accurately you should add an extra 20-50% of the total development hours for bug fixing and about 10-20% for all communications.

Creating a shopping app like the one described above with the DOIT Software team will take about 5-7 months. If you decide to move on with cross-platform app development the total budget for a shopping app and admin panel will be about $67,000 – $77,000. Native mobile apps and an admin panel will cost you $75,000 – $85,000.

Contact us to get a quote and to learn more about the costs of shopping app development. Vast experience in various fields, including eCommerce, allows us to build solutions that stand out in the market. If you want quality, smooth communication, and reliability, create a shopping app with the DOIT Software team.

Things to Consider Before Shopping App Development

Besides the actual shopping store apps development process, there are a few other things that must be addressed. For example, the choice of a business model, monetization strategy, and market analysis. In this part, we will take a closer look at the business side of the process and learn how to create a shopping app.

create a shopping app

 

Business model

Basically, you have three options for a business model that suits the eCommerce realm. You can create B2B, B2C, or C2C platforms.

B2B or business-to-business is a model that focuses on selling products from one business to another. Examples are ACME iOS and Android, Pepperi iOS and Android, Nuorder iOS.

B2C or business-to-customer is the most traditional business model in the eCommerce industry. B2C shopping cart apps are solutions that allow businesses to sell products to end user customers. The examples are vast: Walmart iOS and Android, Target iOS and Android, Alibaba iOS and Android. If you want to develop an app like Amazon iOS and Android, B2C is your choice.

C2C or customer-to-customer is an eCommerce business model that allows customers to sell their products to other customers. Examples include eBay iOS and Android, Etsy iOS and Android, and Craigslist iOS and Android.

 

Monetization strategy

How to create an online store that generates stable income? Monetization strategy is contingent on the business model that you choose. For B2B and B2C platforms, your monetization strategy begins with sales revenue. The C2C platform is a different story and does not generate pure sales revenue for the owner. However, you can take a commission for every transaction that your customers make. Besides, all three types of business models can utilize advertisements or create a SaaS business. SaaS platforms charge their users monthly or yearly fees to use their service.

 

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Market research

Finally, before you make any moves with your eCommerce app, conduct a thorough market research process. Investigate the market trends, strengths and weaknesses of your primary competition, and learn as much as you can about your target audience. Create user personas to understand the needs and pain points of the potential audience and offer them a solution that will truly help them. Conduct a SWOT analysis to uncover hidden risks and opportunities for your business. Risk anticipation will help you mitigate them, whereas knowing your strengths will allow you to exploit them and find your unique value proposition.

Final Checklist: How to open an Online Store Step-by-Step

create a shopping app open an online store

Before you decide to create a shopping app, make a checklist with your next moves. You can also use our list, or at least get some pointers from it. How to start an online shopping app without encountering common mistakes?

01

Learn the market

Research the market, competition, target audience, etc. to make sure there is a market/product fit.
02

Choose the platform and tech stack

Are you building retail store apps for Android or iOS? Or maybe both? Or perhaps you would also like to create a web application?
03

Find an agency to create a shopping app for your business

Communicate your idea, market research, and company information to a software development vendor to get a budget estimation. Observe their business processes and communication patterns to see whether this company is right for you.
04

List the essential features for the MVP

Essential features include product catalog, payment gateways, user signup, shopping cart, and customer support. Your vendor will create a Software Requirements Specification document that entails every technical requirement and act as a blueprint for the entire process.
05

Write down the additional features for future expansion

Additional features are functions that you will later implement into your online store app. This list is not limited as you can add anything you find feasible and beneficial such as AR, iBeacon, chatbots, etc.
06

Create a mockup for your online store app

During the discovery phase, create the first mockups of the mobile app for your online store. This step will help you visualize your idea and make sure the design suits your brand name.
07

Start the development process with the chosen vendor

After the discovery phase and designing stage, your vendor can begin the development process. Teams mostly work in sprints using the agile methodology that became quite popular in the software development landscape. The sprints entail coding, testing, deployment, and feedback collection. Later, the necessary adjustments are made to the plan and the process runs its course again.
08

Establish continuous communication with your vendor

When you work with a vendor, a clear and smooth communication channel is vital for success. Make sure your vendor is responsive and professional when it comes to updating you about the process. For example, weekly and monthly reports, as well as regular checkups, are a good practice at DOIT Software.
09

Test, deploy, collect feedback, repeat the cycle

After the development process is done, the QA team will proceed with alpha testing where the app is used by developers themselves and other people involved in the project. The next phase is called beta testing where real users can try out the app and share their thoughts. If the app receives positive feedback, the team launches it to the wide public. However, it is a common practice to continuously gather feedback and use the insights from your audience to make further improvements.

Conclusion

eCommerce app development is a long and complex process that might seem overwhelming at first. However, with the right vendor, you will create a shopping app with little to no effort. DOIT Software is a team of custom software development experts who can deliver you the best online shopping app for your particular needs and requirements. Contact DOIT Software to learn more about how to make an online store and get a quote for the project. Our team is ready to take on your idea and create a high-performance application that drives your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I make my own shopping app?

Research the market to learn your competition and target audience and contact a software development vendor to get a budget estimation. After making sure the vendor is professional and responsive, discuss your future collaboration and begin your new project together.

How much does it cost to make a shop app?

Based on our experience, native app development for an eCommerce app with a basic set of features is roughly $75,000 – $85,000 for both platforms, whereas cross-platform development costs $67,000 – $77,000.

What is the #1 shopping app?

The number one retail app for Android, iOS and for the web remains Amazon. However, let this not discourage you, as many businesses launch their own highly successful niche shopping apps.

How to create an app to sell products?

A successful eCommerce application has easy-to-use navigation, provides the highest security measures, and offers something unique, like AR experience, iBeacons, personalized recommendations, etc.

What is the most necessary feature for retail store applications?

There are a few essential features for an online store app: user registration and signup, product catalog and search, shopping cart, checkout and payment gateways, and customer support.

SERHII OSADCHUK
CTO @ DOIT Software
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