Published: January 24, 2017
16 min read
Last updated: May 2, 2022
In this article, you'll learn:
👍 3 Main Shopping App Development Approaches
📱 How to Make a Shopping App: Key Features
🛠 Tech Tips: What Tools Will Help You to Develop a Shopping Application for Android and iOS
🗂 Case Study: Shopbop, MANGO, Nike, Forever 21, Sephora
The eCommerce industry is rapidly growing and you don’t want to stay behind, do you? After all, Shopping App development isn’t that much about creating a Mobile Product - it’s about creating a great Buyer Journey for your customers on their iOS and Android smartphones. Which leads to what? Correct. It will rock your sales.
Just to make sure we’re on the same page, here are a few notable figures from Statista:
Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Remember those days, when it was enough to just have a website? Bad news - they’re gone. With every coming year, people spend less time in front of their computers and more - with smartphones in their hands. Here a few more stats which prove that the idea to develop a Shopping Application for Android and iOS is a good one:
But I guess, you already know that and it’s exactly why you’re reading this to develop a Shopping App now. What are the technical ways to do this? Let’s try to find the best one for your case together!
I bet the next thought you had right after deciding to make a Shopping App was “What is the most cost-efficient way to do this?”. That’s the moment when it’s important to make the right shot from the first try. And the possible options in this case are:
Let’s see the ups and downs of each option!
You’ve probably stumbled upon Shopify-like builders while looking for ways to develop a shopping app. Funny thing is that they all promise the same: you can build an application having no coding experience, just by “dragging & dropping” the needed sections. It’s rather fast, cheap and really doesn’t involve any special knowledge. Sounds like a magic bullet, right?
What they don’t promise you is high conversion rates and low cart abandonment rates, effective retargeting tools and custom UI solutions, which match exactly your brand & audience, and which improve the overall Customer Experience and LTV - in other words, things that really matter to your business.
App builders allow you to create an app without coding but don't expect a high performance and UX (image by Virgil Pana)
Think about such an example: you visit 2 different restaurants. One represents a big restaurant chain, like McDonald's and the other one - a family-owned restaurant, where the owners welcome their loyal customers during each visit. Which dish will you choose in the first restaurant? Is it special or exactly the same as all your neighbors have, actually “template”-based? Where will the level of service be higher? Which of those 2 will you remember and recommend to your friends?
I guess, now you got the idea. Is it worth it? It’s up to you to decide. You will be able to save some money and time but in the long run, such a templated application will lose to any custom-built shopping app of your competitors, your customers will feel it.
The native approach is the “classic” way to develop a Shopping Application for Android or iOS. It requires hiring experienced native mobile developers who can build a great mobile product from scratch. The most cost-efficient and fast way to do this, if you don’t have an in-house development team - is outsourcing.
Native app development allows you to build tailor-made mobile applications, which match exactly your branding, marketing strategy, customer portrait and Buyer Journey of your specific business. They aren’t limited to a few templated options and require more time and resources than app builders.
You can reach a great UX with the Native Shopping App development, however, it will cost you a pretty penny (image by Alex Kunchevsky)
What is bad about Native Shopping App development is that you will have to hire 2 separate teams to build applications for different platforms, and you’ll need 2 engineers to maintain it. It significantly increases the cost to build a mobile Shopping App for iOS and Android.
To put it simple and short, here are the benefits that you can get after deciding to build your app with this technology:
By the way, we at Stormotion got React Native development down to a fine art. If you want our help to develop a shopping app for your business, shoot us a message by hitting the button under this article!
No matter which approach you’ll choose, it won’t change the list of key features that your customers expect to see. What are they? Let’s brainstorm it together!
A good eCommerce application kills two birds with one stone:
To ensure that your Product works both ways, we recommend the following structure for your application!
Users will be mainly visiting your application for one reason - because it’s the most convenient way for them to interact with your business and goods. Therefore, bring what you offer upfront and don’t create any barriers.
Your product screen must encourage users to buy your goods (image by Christian Vizcarra)
How to provide the best experience to your customers on this screen? Make sure it meets the following recommendations:
Customers rarely open a shopping app without a particular product in their mind, which they want to buy. That’s why you can hardly make a shopping app without Searching, Filtering and Sorting features.
These are the standard tools that will help your customers to narrow down the list of your products and find the ones that they are ready to buy.
Create filtering options which are specific to your business. Are you selling shoes? Great - your client could search for “Boots”, “Sneakers”, “Business Shoes” etc. Next, give him the option to select among “Leather”, “Synthetic” etc. Picked one? Cool - give him the option to filter out his specific shoe size. Got the idea?
Make sure your users can narrow down the results to find what they've been looking for (image by HanF)
If you will have such interactive filtering options and not only generic stuff, your client will see, that you are professionals at what you’re selling. This is a big plus to your brand and could make your client your ambassador.
For even better UX, you may use Machine Learning in your app. There are actually two functions it can improve:
This technology makes the life of the users easier and can bring you more revenue!
According to over 40 studies, the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.89%. For some retailers who want to create a Shopping App, this number seems like a disaster - 7 out of 10 customers leave the website or application without finishing their purchase.
Why? The following stats give quite a clear picture of the reasons for abandonment during checkout:
And this is the best possible answer to the question “how to make a shopping app with low abandonment rates?”. Create a Checkout Screen that successfully copes with the problems mentioned above.
Here are a few tips from Stormotion Team on how to manage top 4 positions from this list:
To create a shopping app with a user-friendly Payment Gateway, you have to make sure that it meets users’ requirements and expectations in the following fields:
If you meet those - customers will be quite happy with your Payment Screen.
Choose only proven payment gateways for your application (image by satoko miyajima)
Registration, if not mandatory, can provide many benefits for your business and customers at the same time.
Make your Sign Up Process fast & simple (image by Taè Prasongpongchai)
The main rule here is that you should never ask your client to create a profile in your application before he reaches the checkout stage (when you’re really need some personal data for shipping and charging the payment). Otherwise, modern users will leave your app right away.
An option of buying as a guest may encourage some users to finish the order.
How to make the registration process as user-friendly as possible? Implement a Social Login feature! It allows them to create account in your application by reusing personal data from their social media accounts. Fast and easy - just what your audience is looking for!
Push Notifications is another obvious reason to create a mobile app for online shopping on iOS and Android. Why? Because websites, even mobile ones, just can’t do it!
At the same time, Push Notifications are a powerful tool to communicate with your customers and retarget them. For example, by informing users about current sales and special offers, you can keep users interested in using your application.
But the true king here is retargeting. It’s used to reach specific groups of users with highly customized messages: for example, to inform customers about special offers regarding the goods they often buy or remind those who abandoned their carts to finish the order.
The following stats by invesp prove their effectiveness:
Finally, don’t forget to integrate analytical tools as you make a shopping app. This is quite a helpful feature that will help you understand whether you’re moving in the right direction and what sides of your business can be improved.
When it comes to the development itself, the right tools can help you cut the shopping app development cost and ensure that your application works smoothly, and provide your customers with an outstanding experience. Here are some technologies that will help you to build an MVP for the shopping application:
React Native vs Native (iOS/Android) App Development
There’s nothing bad in learning from the best ones. Here are a few shopping apps with noticeable functionality.
Shopbop is a global online retail application that offers women’s clothing and accessories worldwide. The app doesn’t surprise with any unexpected features - it’s just perfect in its minimalism.
The Shopbop app
What we can learn from the shots above?
This is another example of a good clothes shopping application. Just like the Shopbop app, MANGO sticks to the minimalist design: black and white colour scheme, big attention to an appropriate spacing, a minimal number of visual elements.
However, the reason why we’ve included this app on our list is that it illustrates how you can connect your mobile product to offline stores.
The MANGO app
We couldn’t help but include the Sephora app on our list. Why? Because it’s one of the brightest examples of how you can create a mobile app for online shopping on iOS or Android and benefit by using latest technologies.
The Sephora app
The application has a “standard” set of features that you can find in many great shopping apps. For example, Sephora’s stories and product announcements or the “best selling” screen to encourage customers to make a purchase.
However, the most noticeable feature here is shown on the first screen - a virtual try-on experience. What does it mean? This feature allows users to try Sephora’s cosmetics using their smartphone camera and AR technologies - thus, they’re able to check whether this or that product really suits them.
Nike is well-known for its outstanding mobile applications. Along with Training and Run Club, the company also has a retail application that we like and believe to be a great example of how to make a shopping app. Just take a look!
The Nike app
What’s great about it? Let’s figure out:
Finally, let’s take a look at the Forever 21 app. It also has some noticeable functionality, especially regarding searching & filtering.
The Forever 21 app
First of all, you can see how guys improved the searching feature. Voice commands are a trend now so why not to use it in your application. It not only adds some extra points to the overall UX and Customer Experience but also shows that the company doesn’t hesitate to use the best technologies.
Also, pay attention to the “Style Finder” feature. It improves the basic sorting and filtering functionality by adding some specific categories - like colour, sleeves, long, neck and so on. It does not only look quite unique (we haven’t seen it in other shopping apps) but increases the chances that customers will find what they’ve been looking for and finish their journey in the app with a purchase!
These were Stormotion Team’s insights on how to make a shopping app for your business. Now, as you have a clear picture of what benefits you can get and what the structure of your application should be, your key task is to find a skillful team who can build an efficient development process and get things done!
How to Select an Agency for Your App Development?
Any questions left? Drop us a line and we’ll help to figure it out! We can also help you if you’re looking for an experienced Tech Partner to create a mobile app for online shopping on iOS and Android. Let’s skyrocket your business together!
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