What Technology Do You Need to Build a Shopping App?
Nowadays, it's much easier to buy something on the go instead of visiting certain stores in the different city sides. Agree?
Shoppers go mobile. It takes less time, efforts and, all in all, money for the transport. Traditional shopping loses its value. People want to make a purchase on the go and the mobile apps give them this opportunity.
According to the Business Insider research, mobile share of e-commerce will reach 45% of the total e-commerce market by 2020. Isn’t this impressive?
Answer me one question. Do you already have a Mobile App for your shop?
Yes? Great job!
No? You’ve got to start crafting one! It’s obvious must have for the successful business.
So, today our team is happy to share 7 insights regarding the technologies you could use to make it work. Check it out!
What are the key features of a successful shopping app?
Before we start talking about the technologies itself, let’s review some of the key features customers need in a mobile shopping app.
Without any words, simple and clear navigation is necessary for any application. Moreover, the navigational menu is the first function a customer uses in the Mobile App.
Rarely do customers open a shopping app without a particular product they want to buy in their mind. Let them find it quickly.
Paying for a product you want to buy is the spirit of any e-commerce. There is no exception for mobile retailing as well. Your customers would prefer to pay for the goods in the app.
Make the comparison process easier for your customers by suggesting similar products with same characteristics.
Ratings and reviews
Let your customers rate the products they purchased and describe their impression via feedbacks. High rates and positive reviews increase your chances to sell the item.
Let the customers know you’re thinking about them! You can inform your clients about a personal offer and the order status, tell about the novelties or send the warmest holiday greetings.
There is no protection from mistakes and problems. It’s nice when your customers can easily contact you if they have any difficulties.
Mobile or online retailing doesn’t mean there is no actual shop you can come to. If you have one, let your clients know about it.
What technology do I need to make a mobile shopping app?
We’ve already discussed the features a profitable mobile e-commerce platform has. Now let’s see what technical solutions we could use for each of them.
How to build features like navigational menu or ratings and reviews - this should be clear for your team of developers. And what about the other ones such as search and suggestions, payment in the app, reminders and customer support?
There are two ways you can act. You can either build this functions from scratch or save time and effort using the technologies we describe below.
Machine learning is an exciting modern technology. This is an area of the artificial intelligence research that develops special self-learning algorithms.
The general principle of how machine learning works are quite simple - a computer or device collects information, analyzes it and makes predictions according to the data. If you want to know more about this technology and how you can use it for your mobile app, we have an article for you.
So how can you use ML for your app? There are actually two functions it can improve:
- Product search - the machine learning algorithms can analyze a user’s previous search requests and re-order the results to make them more relevant for this particular user.
- Suggestions - the algorithms can suggest a similar product or accessories to the one you were searching for.
The technology of the machine learning is used in the mobile apps for a while. For example, in this application.
You can see that the user is suggested to buy a pair of glasses that he may like. The app makes predictions based on what this person bought before and what other people purchased. This technology makes life of the users easier and can bring you more revenue!
As we already said, payment is an absolutely necessary function for the e-commerce. There are two technologies you can use to develop a shopping app.
Why can’t I just take my client’s card number and receive payments directly? Well, let us explain it this way.
When you come to a supermarket and want to pay with your card, the retailer doesn't just write down its information. Each store has a point of sale that works as a mediator between the client and a bank.
That’s what payments systems are for - to process the bank card information and report whether the transaction is confirmed or rejected. Your servers receive a CallBack with the information about the transaction status.
If you want your client’s money to reach your pocket, you have to choose a reliable payment processor. There are two major ones you could use for your mobile app - Stripe and Braintree.
Which one is better? You have to choose for yourself.
- Braintree is free to get started. The system charges 2.9% + $0.3 only after your income exceeds $50,000. Stripe has the same fee but without the free period.
- Braintree’s customer support is more available and works faster.
- Stripe’s documentation is clearer and easier to understand.
- Stripe provides no credit card trial period.
- Both systems are secure.
- Both systems update the card information automatically.
The integration of a payment processor allows one-click payments in this app. Users will appreciate saving their time and ability to buy an airline ticket on the go.
If you work internationally, you might need to accept payments in different currencies. We know a technical solution for this function as well.
The Openexchangerates is a currency data API that allows your server to receive information about the currency exchange rates. If you build it in your app, you will receive a 2-month trial, after which you will have to pay a fee, at least $12 per month.
It may seem to be an unnecessary expense. But with this technology, you always have up-to-date currency exchange rates. You don’t have to look for this information yourself or build this function from scratch.
People love when you care, so show them how much you do. There are two technologies you could use for your mobile app:
- Push Notifications - they can work through native technologies of Android and iOS or use outside services like the Batch to make the notifications more customized and appealing for the user.
What does the Batch do? It helps you to create personal push notifications and in-app messages for each user. But it’s not the only value the Batch has for you - it also provides A/B testing of the messages, measures the app statistics and tracks the messages your competitors send.
- E-mail notifications - in this case, you need a service that sends emails from your server. It can be Sparkpost, for instance.
The Sparkpost is one of the leading e-mailing technologies. First of all, it’s very reliable - you can be sure that all the messages are delivered to your client’s inbox. It guarantees spam-free messaging and allows you to created personalized letter templates. The Sparkpost also provides you the analytics so you could improve your email services.
Customer service is the face of your company. It becomes crucial when something goes wrong. Your clients need to know that their questions and complaints will be heard.
Of course, there is a traditional phone customer support. But who likes calling the customer support service? It’s so much easier to send a chat message!
Chatbots and conversational interfaces are among the mobile UX trends now so why not use them for customer support? This way you will have to get involved only in the most difficult situations. A bot will save time for you!
Having this feature may increase the cost to build a mobile shopping app but it will create a positive user experience for your customers.
If you are an advocate of the personal communication, chatbots may seem too automatized for you. There are tools you can use to implement and improve in-app live communication
For example, Hipmob. It’s a service that allows live chatting with your customers through the app. It saves the conversation transcripts so you can review how the support team works. It also provides user analysis and stores in-app knowledgebase.
Not every mobile retailer has a physical shop. If you do, the location tracking would be a convenient option to show your customers where the store is. If you have a few of them, suggest the closest one.
To incorporate the location tracking into your app, you can use native tools:
- MapKit Framework if you create a mobile app for online shopping on iOS;
- Google Maps SDK if you develop a shopping application for Android.
Some customers are concerned about spying and privacy. Make sure that your clients agree to share the information about their location through the app.
A mobile app is a must have the retail business today. Using existing technologies in your own app development is a smart thing. You’ll save time and money and give your customers better service.
You can also read about 6 mobile app design tips that will definitely come in handy for you.