Many industries took a significant hit during the COVID-19 outbreak, but the eCommerce industry isn’t one of them. On the contrary, it’s growing more rapidly than ever, as is the number of people who decide to shop using their mobile devices. According to Statista, mobile sales are expected to reach $3.56 trillion in 2021, which is 22.3% more than the previous year. This is a great reason to start thinking about creating a shopping app if your company is part of the eCommerce industry.
Our goal at EPAM Anywhere Business is to help you develop that app in order to increase your sales.
In this article, you will learn:
Let’s get started!
You already know that mobile shopping (also called mobile commerce) is on the rise, but let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind that, and some predictions as well as actual numbers.
First, why are people using their mobile devices for online shopping more frequently than ever before?
Now, let’s shift perspective to that of online store owners. Why would they want to have a mobile shopping app?
If you are still unsure whether you should invest in building a mobile shopping app, consider these real-world numbers and predictions:
There are some widely successful online shopping apps. You can use their huge popularity as inspiration while planning your app.
Amazon has its mobile app for shopping available for both Android and iOS systems, which offers app-only benefits. The main goal was to make the mobile shopping experience faster and easier than buying on desktop.
Main app features:
One of the most well-known and used shopping apps globally, created by Alibaba, is also available on Android and iOS.
Main app features:
eBay is a direct competitor of Amazon, and based in the United States, too. They created mobile apps for both platforms (Android and iOS).
Main app features:
Etsy is an online marketplace dedicated to those who want to sell their handmade or vintage items and art, as well as craft supplies. Available for Android and iOS.
Snapdeal is one of India’s biggest and most popular online shopping apps, available for Android and iOS users.
Wish is s an ultra-cheap online marketplace offering products for low prices with long delivery dates (quite similar to AliExpress), available for Android and iOS. The prices are low because Wish connects customers with manufacturers directly.
When planning to create your own store app, it’s important to list features that the application should have. Apart from standard features like mobile payments or order tracking, online stores should also think about more advanced features that are trending now and can persuade hesitant customers to complete the purchase.
Among these features are:
This feature allows customers to check products from different angles, which gives almost the same feeling as checking the product for real. Many well-known brands are using this feature, including BMW and Rolex.
This feature is good for upselling or helping customers make a decision. It works this way: a mobile app collects customer data, analyzes customers’ behavior and products they like or want, and recommends products based on the acquired data.
Chatbots can offer automated customer service to resolve most issues. They do so without involving humans by providing basic information based on what the customer wants to know. However, if necessary, a customer service representative can take over the conversation.
It’s a feature helpful for those online stores that also have physical stores customers can visit. For example, if a mobile app offers the ability to scan barcodes, customers can get basic information without asking sellers or looking for help.
Thanks to this feature, customers can simply take a photo of a product they want to buy, and a mobile app will try to find the same or similar product in different product categories. It saves a lot of time for customers who may not know exactly what the product is.
Online stores need to compete for customers’ attention with social media platforms, other apps, and other businesses. Push notifications allow for reminding customers of your online app once in a while by sending them new offers, coupons, or promotions their way. However, make sure that customers can choose which notifications they want to receive, and how frequently, so they won’t get irritated.
Both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are still just getting started, but they are slowly being implemented in various industries, including eCommerce. Both allow for checking out the product in 3D format or even “trying” the item without leaving the house.
Some well-known companies already applying these technologies include IKEA (to help customers buy furniture) and Dulux (to help customers choose paint colors).
Thanks to this feature, customers can add their favorite, but currently unavailable, products to a wishlist, and they will be informed (i.e., through push notification) when those products are available again. Also, wishlists can help with preparing automated personalized recommendations.
Card payments or wire transfers are not enough anymore. Allowing customers to pay using their mobile wallets or mobile money transfers makes the entire process of shopping (and paying) much more convenient. In other words, customers using their mobile device should be able to pay without reaching or looking for a physical wallet or purse to find their debit or credit card.
Once you know what features your online shopping application needs to have, you can move to the next step — choosing a platform. A decision about whether you should create an online shopping app in Android, iOS, or maybe for both platforms at the same time will greatly impact the development cost and time. However, that’s not everything — it will also influence the customer experience, the number of potential customers, and other factors as well.
Number of users globally
1.04 billion (iPhone users)
Number of users in the US
202 million (iPhone users)
Global market share (%)
US market share (%)
People who are not attracted to trendy things, prefer to save money instead of spending money.
People with higher income who can even get a loan to buy things they like and want, and like to spend money.
Things to consider before making a decision about the platform or deciding for cross-platform development (one app for multiple platforms):
In some cases, it might be a great idea to think about cross-platform development — especially if you are thinking about targeting both Android and iOS users. Keep in mind that creating separate apps (one after the other) will be more time-consuming and will cost more than a cross-platform app.
Some of the tools that can help you with cross-platform development:
If you are not sure, the best thing to do is to contact our EPAM Anywhere Business team directly for a consultation.
All the information thus far is intended to prepare you for the actual process of creating a mobile store app. Let’s get to it!
We recommend you take the following steps:
The first step of creating a mobile shopping app is to decide what features you want by taking into account these factors:
The next step is to decide which platform you will use to build your app. Basically, you have four options:
It’s the cheapest and fastest way to build your app, which, in addition, doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Most of these are drag-and-drop builders, so, in other words, you can build your shopping app visually without knowing how to code.
However, this option has many disadvantages, like limited design and customization options, reliance on a third-party vendor (the creators of the app builder), poor code quality, and zero control over app performance.
Yet, in some cases, using an app builder makes sense, i.e., to help confirm if people will actually download the app and use it.
If you want to give it a try, here are some app builders you can use:
On their websites, you will find some tutorials on how to create an app for an online store using their builders.
Going the native app route means an app developed specifically for a particular platform, so choosing this way would mean developing separate apps for Android and iOS one after another. While it’s much more expensive and time-consuming than using an app builder, native app development allows you to match your app to your online store branding, add specific features and take care of code quality.
The main benefit is that if you don’t know how to develop an Android app for online shopping, or an iOS one, you may need just one skilled developer.
However, this option has two fairly large downsides.
The first one is that you have to develop two separate apps, and that means not only more time that needs to be spent but also money. It’s like buying two different cars instead of one.
The other downside is that it’s harder to maintain and update two different apps simultaneously. Additionally, not all features available for Android will be available for iOS, and vice versa.
Native app development tools:
If you want to build applications for both Android and iOS, there is a less expensive and less time-consuming process called cross-platform development. It allows developers to use one tool to write one source code and get an application that can be deployed or published on multiple platforms (Android and iOS in this case). Such an application will have one codebase, so it’s easier to maintain, and it’s enough to hire one team of developers. Also, it’s less time-consuming, as you will develop one app instead of two.
Cross-platform development tools:
Hybrid apps combine the elements of native applications and web applications. Put simply, hybrid apps are basically web apps that have been put into a native app shell. This way, when the application is downloaded and installed on a mobile device, the shell is able to connect the app with the mobile platform through the browser embedded in the app, invisible to the user.
Similar to cross-platform apps, hybrid apps have one codebase. However, they can be a little low on performance since there is one additional layer between the codebase and the targeted platform.
Hybrid app development tools:
Let’s check out the benefits of doing the development work in-house or outsourcing it to the development company.
More efficient communication
Easy to scale
Geographical and cultural alignment
You will save time on recruitment and onboarding
Working with the best
Faster time-to-market than in-house development
Time-consuming recruitment and onboarding
Limited control over the development process
Finding experienced developers is difficult
It might lead to additional business challenges
If you don’t have an in-house dev team with technical knowledge and relevant experience, it’s best to talk with a qualified development agency, at least for a consultation. Contact the EPAM Anywhere Business team directly, and we will do our best to help with your specific case by offering various retail software development services.
Integrating an app into your business ecosystem
The important thing about online shopping app development is to remember to integrate it with your current online store and particular systems already in use, like your CRM or ERP.
The good news is that there are three main options that do that:
The complexity of such integration depends on the shopping app itself, its features, and the tech stack used to build it. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but keep in mind the necessity of integration during the planning phase.
In both cases, the approval process could take a while, so you will have time to prepare marketing campaigns informing your customers about your new app. Talk to your marketing team about what you can offer and encourage customers to download the app and use it.
Once your app is approved and available to download, execute the marketing campaign and add download buttons on your online store website.
It’s hard to give an estimation without details such as:
However, we decided to give you an overview by estimating a simple MVP of a mobile shopping app.
Such an MVP could have features such as:
Now, let’s do some calculations.
Android app development
iOS app development
React Native app
From $108 000
From $120 000
From $90 000
From $86 000
From $96 000
From $72 000
Estimated development time: 1200-1500 hours
If you don’t have an in-house dev team with relevant experience in building mobile apps, or you simply want a reliable partner to help you with the development, let’s talk! Our team has built several mobile apps in the past, and we will be happy to talk about your idea, help you choose the right platform to make a store app, and assist with the overall process.
The whole eCommerce industry — including mobile commerce — is on the rise despite the worldwide pandemic. This is proven by both retail numbers and statistics. Online stores are competing for customers’ attention, and building a mobile shopping app is one of the ways shop owners can differentiate themselves from the competition. And, as people love convenience, an idea to develop an online shopping app makes perfect sense: You can fight for customers’ attention, thanks to various features like push notifications, and allow them to effortlessly place orders whenever or wherever they want using the internet and a smartphone.