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 businesses are looking to optimize their eCommerce business with a mobile app.
The 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 to our customers who want to create a mobile commerce app is to leverage 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 to 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 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 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 to, 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 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 a 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 all components are handled 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 the case of an app, the exchange takes place 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
Tight integration of APIs and the application view is important for the app to work efficiently. The view adds a lot of information about the product. There is static information that 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 the 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 clients 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 the app over the 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 needs to authorize himself on the app 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 utilizing 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. Besides, they have a title, price and details. Also, 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 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 fundamental to the functioning of e-commerce applications. Users sometimes add items in their cart on the app and check out from the website so take a cue.
7. Customer support
Customer support via email, online chat, the phone is essential. The popular eCommerce app lets its customers receive a callback from a service representative.
Benefits of making a mCommerce app
Today, every business owner knows the importance of online presence. But there are some advantages of using a mobile platform in the business of which everyone is not aware of. Here is how a mobile eCommerce app can boost business nicely:
1. Ease of shopping
A majority of businesses claim that by offering a responsive eCommerce website, they can provide their customers with a better experience than a mobile app. But this is not fully true.
As per TheDroidsonRoids, mobile apps are 1.5 times faster when it comes to loading data and search results on mobile devices. Thus, customers can access services and products faster than a mobile app.
Due to the convenience of shopping, the customer journey can be accelerated. Also, businesses can offer their customers the best shopping experience and streamline the purchase process faster.
2. Mobile marketing opportunities
Another benefit of mobile commerce is that you can get new marketing opportunities in the form of a unique mobile marketing channel. Because with mobile apps, you can quickly sell your products and services to your customers.
Besides, it offers you multiple features such as news feeds, search option, product pricing, multiple payments, etc. Apart from this, mobile apps enable you to reach a large number of customers due to which your marketing campaign costs will get decreased.
Moreover, if your app is integrated with social media platforms than you can encourage your customers to spread the word about your brand via comments, tags, repost, etc.
Also, you can think of adding advertisements when your m-commerce app gets famous.
3. Better Personalization
The traditional stores are mostly focused to provide the same experience to all the customers. However, mCommerce apps are slightly different in this case. Mobile commerce apps enable you to send personalised messages, notifications, offers, etc. to customers. Also, you can provide your customers with personalised product recommendations based on their last purchase.
In this way, the personalised approach offered by the mCommerce app can increase your sales as your customers believe that you care for them and provide them with the best tailormade offers.
4. Valuable customer insights
With the mCommerce app, you can easily track all the customers’ data right from the moment they discover your product till the moment they will purchase it. During this period, you can gain valuable insights into the habits and preferences of your targeted customers.
To know your customers better, you need some demographic information and their shopping history and location to forecast trends and understand customer shopping patterns. And this is something that the mCommerce app can easily provide.
5. Wider reach
Another important advantage of the mCommerce app is that it helps businesses to reach their customers at the right time with the right message.
For example, you can send push notifications to the customers when they are surfing through your products. Also, you can give them suggestions for their next purchase.
With geo-tracking and paid advertising, you can connect with consumers during specific moments in their day. If you implement them perfectly then you significantly increase the likelihood that they complete the purchase.
6. Contactless Payments
Security and convenience are necessary when it comes to payment. And that is why it becomes important for you to provide a secure payment experience over your mCommerce app. At this time, contactless payments can be of great help.
Contactless payments are a secure way of protecting payments. Also, it is encrypted to stop malicious hacking attempts. Furthermore, contactless payments are protected against frauds by many issuing banks.
Credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, RFID devices, NFC devices, etc. are some examples of contactless payments.
How much does it cost to make a successful mCommerce app?
The cost of developing a top-notch mCommerece app depends on multiple factors such as the number and complexity of the features, app development company, app design, location of the development company, technologies, etc.
After considering the abovementioned points, we can say that the mCommerce app development can cost you somewhere between $36,150 to $65,550 if you add core features. If you want to add some more features into your mCommerce app, then it can cost you as per the number of features.
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.