Lately, mobile users have exploded around the world. They find the idea of easier, convenient e-shopping fascinating. As per a Statista report, the business value of worldwide m-commerce will reach $460 billion in 2018 and 700 billion in 2019.
Besides, the same report forecasts a rise of mobile retail commerce sales equated to all e-commerce market from 35 to almost 40% in 2018 and claims that in 2021 m-commerce will be more than 50% of entire e-commerce sphere.
And it’s just a starting point. Mobile commerce apps are so opportune and handy that people trust them more every day. And if you feel apprehensive about data, here are the impartial grounds why a mobile shopping app development is the future of e-commerce sphere:
We come across a lot of businesses that have an ecommerce website but lack a mobile commerce app. With changing market dynamics more and more enterprises are looking to optimize ecommerce business with a mobile app.
Ecommerce industry is not very different either. However, developing an app from scratch is a costly affair for small-time businesses and startups running online marketplaces.
An alternate approach that we suggest our customers who want to create a mobile commerce app is to leverage on their existing ecommerce websites. The latter reduces the cost of app development, considerably. Also, ecommerce apps derived from functional websites take lesser time to market.
Adapting a Mobile Commerce App from an Ecommerce Website
A systematic procedure assures that the resulting app is not only ready for testing on time but also has negligible bugs at the time of distribution. In this case, the ecommerce website and associated mobile commerce apps are going share the same database. Only the presentation of the information is going to vary from website to mobile commerce app.
1. Platform Identification
There are many ecommerce platforms to build websites on available in the market from full-fledged enterprise-grade Content Management Systems like Magento to WordPress plugin like WooCommerce. When it comes to creating an app out of a website made from of one of these platforms, identifying the platform is important.
The results of this identification decide the fate of the course of the application development that’ll follow. For example, the process is a lot simpler for OpenCart but a bit tedious for Magento.
2. Building consistent look and feel
Since we are leveraging on an existing ecommerce website that customers are accustomed with, it will be a clever move to retain the familiar look across the entire ecosystem of websites and mobile applications.
Thus, it is important to retain this look and feel across the board. A consistent look is also essential for the branding purpose. The app view should reflect that of the website all the time and vice-a-versa. Any consistency is uncalled for and might alienate users.
3. API development
A CMS is a closed structure of software components that makes it easy to create website. Magento is one such CMS that, principally, makes ecommerce web development easier and profound. Since all the software components: platform, web server, database and frontend are part of the same system, they can exchange data without any problem. There is no security risk as such as the all components are handles by the same party.
That is not the case with mobile apps though. They don’t form a closed system with the database. To exchange data with the database in case of an app, the exchange takes place in via a bridge called API, an acronym for Application Programming Interface.
So to create an app from the same database as the ecommerce website, API developers have to develop a number of APIs. Although a number of APIs were available from the publisher’s website, developers often have to create a lot many from the reference design.
Of course, creating REST APIs is a complicated process and beyond the scope of my blog.
4. API integration
A tight integration of APIs and the application view is important for the app to work efficiently. The view adds lot of information about the product. There is static information which sticks to the page and then there is dynamic information that is pulled by the API from the server. For example, product prices are subject to change and must be pulled from the server by the application before showing it to the customer.
Robust API integration also makes the server as well as the users’ devices securer. Your phone’s data and the server work in isolation. Instead, each communicates with small packets of data, sharing only that which is necessary—like current price.
Testing is an integral part of an application’s post-development phase. Likewise, a mobile commerce app is tested to various parameters. The quality analysis team ensures the app is compliant with the client’s or a standard quality parameter like ISO 9001.
There also goes a lot of manual testing where a professional tester uses the app as any user would and reports any bug, if found.
A quality mobile commerce app after public testing is uploaded to an Application Store for distribution. Generally, the app stores are Apple App Store and Google Play Store. However, there are many 3rd party app stores.
As such, mobile apps carry a lot of advantages to a dynamic website. There are reasons people are moving to a mobile-app strategy. Ecommerce vendors are insisting on app over website.
Features of mobile commerce apps
Below, you’ll find a set of functionality needed for an e-commerce mobile app development. These features are necessary for a minimum viable product, it means that without any of these features your app would fail.
A user need to authorize himself on the app in order to make purchases on the ecommerce app. Everyday authorization is typically realized by means of direct interaction via the client-server API. Social Logins on the other hand use an authorization protocol like oAuth.
2. Setting and push notification
Push Notification services are available on all major platform. We have APN (Apple Push Notification) and GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) respectively for iOS and Android. Settings are attuned by means of client-server API.
Read more: Trends in eCommerce Through Mobile Apps
3. Catalogue with categories
Every product listed on an ecommerce app has a unique ID in the database. In addition, they have a title, price and details. In addition, each category has a unique ID.
4. Different payment methods
Stripe and Braintree are the two most famous payment gateways that support a lot of payment methods including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Western mobile commerce app users need PayPal and support for common credit card types: Visa, AMEX, Mastercard and Discover. Asian users are accustomed to a payment feature called Cash on Delivery.
5. Tracking purchase
Tracking purchase allows users to check the status of an order. Ecommerce apps also implement a feature to withdraw it at the early stage. SMS functionality lets can notify customers when the direction is sent, managed, transported, etc. Twilio, Clickatell, Plivo are popular SMS gateways.
6. Shopping cart
A shopping cart is a fundamental to the functioning of an e-commerce applications. Users sometime add items in their cart on the app and checkout from the website so take a cue.
7. Customer support
Customer support via email, online chat, phone is essential. Popular ecommerce app let their customers receive a callback from a service representative.
Rush… don’t drag
There is no point to deny it but mobile apps have conquered the whole world and people’s hearts. In a few years, every service and company will have its own app with the same or even better functionality as in their websites.