Before the GameStop saga in January 2021, most people viewed stock trading as a fringe activity, reserved for only experienced brokers and Wall Street insiders. Following the controversy, everyone wanted to get involved in the action, thus elevating stock trading to the same status as crypto trading.
As a result, software development companies are now responding to ever-increasing market demands by rolling out trading applications for personal and corporate use. But before you venture into trading software development, you must understand what the stock market entails.
In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of stock trading software development. We’ll also explore how to develop stock market software, as well as the best practices for building a market-worthy application for trading.
Trading software market overview
Fortune Business Insights estimates that the current market value of automated trading software is 8.6 billion USD, and expected to rise to 12.16 billion USD by 2028.
Research from Mordor Intelligence shows that companies are adopting algorithmic trading practices, which account for around 70% of the overall volume of equity trading in the USA. Data from the same research also shows that this growth rate will clock an 11% CAGR increase by 2026.
According to Markets and Markets, the global cryptocurrency market could experience a 7.1% CAGR, rising from 1.6 billion USD in 2021 to 2.2 billion USD in 2026. With companies like Tesla (Elon Musk, specifically) endorsing Dogecoin, we’ll continue seeing a faster adoption rate for cryptocurrencies in the open market.
As these figures predict an upward trend in trading software development, it makes sense for financial and fintech companies to invest in a custom trading system.
Types of trading platforms
With the help of trading platforms, investors and traders can trade and monitor stocks in real-time. This platform could be a mobile app, a website, or a desktop application.
Before you develop trading software, you should know the two main types of platforms available.
These systems come with user-friendly features for day traders and investors, including news feeds, user guides, and exchange portals. Apps like Robinhood and Binance fall under the commercial platform category.
These are custom systems tailored to a brokerage’s specific trading style and requirements. You can find prop platforms like FTMO in massive financial institutions and banks.
Advantages of trading software development for professional traders
Before you commit to building a new application for trading, check out the potential benefits of trading platform software development for traders and brokerage firms.
Access to the global stock market
In the past, brokers could only buy and sell stock options within their locale or country of origin. But with modern apps like eToro and FXPro, traders can purchase and monitor stocks from all parts of the world. These platforms also allow traders to manage multiple accounts simultaneously using numerous trading apps.
Trading software makes it easy for investors to access their portfolio and trade from any device they prefer without stress. Besides, features like advanced search filters offer diverse customization options to personalize your experience.
When trading time-sensitive assets with high volatility, you can set reminders to keep you updated. Price alerts can also notify you about movements in the market.
Some investment applications allow users to access as much information as possible, more than what human stockbrokers are capable of providing. Users can even monitor what others are doing to determine if the market is “bullish” or “bearish” over a certain period.
Trading apps provide users with up-to-date charts and backtesting capabilities. With access to multiple data sources, you can make informed, properly-timed trading decisions instead of relying on emotions and instincts. Apps like FxPro even offer warnings when you are trying to initiate high-risk trades.
Want to build a stock trading platform?
How does stock trading software make money?
The primary aim of venturing into brokerage software development should be to make real money — which should come as a by-product of offering value to consumers.
However, monetization is different in stock market software development. For example, you cannot make trading software for sale in the App Store; all your potential competitors are (or will be) offering free services. So, that eliminates app purchases from the equation.
That said, let’s figure out lucrative ways to develop trading software that will rake in funds for your company.
According to Forbes, this model helped Robinhood generate 420 million USD in Q1 of 2021, accounting for 80% of its revenue during that period. Although a significant portion of this increase in returns can be attributed to the January surge mentioned earlier, these figures are still mind-blowing.
Fees and interests
Modern trading apps allow traders to borrow money or securities at specific interest rates. Following the Forbes report mentioned above, 12% of Robinhood’s revenue in Q1 2021 came from interest payments.
You can also monetize your trading app by charging fees for specific transactions. But before fixing commissions for any transaction, analyze your competitor’s fees to ensure you stay within a rational limit.
Here are some of the fees that the trading platform eToro charges:
- Contract for differences (CFDs) on cryptocurrencies, FIAT currencies, and other assets.
- Overnight fees — for CFD positions that stay open overnight, relative to the value of the position.
- Withdrawal fees — for international transactions.
- Inactivity fee — for accounts dormant more than 12 months. Caveat: this particular charge could discourage users from using your application in the future.
Most free apps rely on advertisements to make money. But with trading apps, ads can become intrusive and even harmful to the overall user experience, thereby driving people away from your platform. That said, here are various ad formats for trading apps:
- Banner ads
- Pre-roll video ads
- Native ads
- Rewarded video ads
Freemium model (subscriptions)
Paid subscriptions offer another means of monetizing a trading app. Under this model, you can make certain advanced features accessible only to premium subscribers.
Looking for top-notch stock market development services?
Essential features to consider when developing stock market software
When you make stock market software, you must consider some core functionalities to make the app viable in an already saturated marketplace. Let’s go through some of these features and explore how they affect how stock investors use your application.
Before trading with the app, users have to create an account and confirm their identity — as part of Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. Subsequently, they can log in with their details; this also protects the contents of their portfolio from falling into the wrong hands.
In addition, your platform must enable two-factor authentication. This way, even if someone gets access to the trader’s login details, they’d still need to scale an extra wall to access the dashboard.
User profile dashboard
Trading systems must contain a customizable dashboard where users can update their personal profiles, as well as monitor their trading activity.
Stock trading relies on gathering valuable information and acting on it promptly. With that in mind, apps used to trade stocks should contain a curated news feed for information and updates.
At a bare minimum, the platform should provide users access to trading charts, indicators, and other analytical data. The data chart can also appear at the top of the news feed.
The software should allow traders to buy and sell their assets freely — the more trading options available, the better the application.
For brokers running automated trading strategies, limits can help you tread the fine line of a volatile stock market. eToro allows traders to withdraw their gains automatically using the “Take Profit” feature. Other limit functionalities, like “Stop Limit,” also help high-risk traders minimize their losses.
Custom search (filters)
Scrolling through the entire catalog of assets and stocks is a time-suck, but with custom search tools, traders can look up specific stocks instantly.
This option should allow traders to add their favorite stock options and assets to a dedicated, easily accessible folder.
Since traders need real-time stock market updates, adding push notifications to the app will help them keep track of market movement and asset volatility.
User tips and guides
The application should have an educational page with helpful resources for people looking to boost their trading knowledge.
Interested in developing a trading platform?
Steps to creating a trading platform
When you create trading software for commercial or personal use, be sure to outline and follow these essential steps during the development cycle.
Research and ideation
When you make stock trading software, always kick off the project with extensive research. Your first port of call should be to determine the platform of choice.
If you want to build prop trading software, focus your project scope on the desktop version. If you're going to create a commercial application, focus on mobile devices (Android and iOS). You could also build a cross-platform application to reduce development costs.
Why make these distinctions? Traders who use prop platforms work in brokerage firms, which means they will spend more time on their laptops. Conversely, individual traders will most likely trade on their phones and tablets. So, you need to identify your target audience for the trading app to build a convenient platform for them.
After choosing the optimal platform, craft a marketing strategy and monetization models to ensure you profit from the trading app.
Garnering results from your well-founded research, you can now develop a minimum viable product or proof of concept to present your ideas to upper management. If you are the product owner, you can send the concept to a financial expert for evaluation and feedback.
The role of UX designers is to convert those groundbreaking ideas into a visual representation, using elements of graphic and material design. In some cases, the UI/UX designer can create a dynamic prototype for usability studies — or as proof of concept.
This is the most important aspect of custom trading software development. At this stage, your developers should analyze the designs and convert them to code.
Always base your choice of programming languages and tech stacks on the expertise of your developers and the available resources. Highly-skilled engineers can also help you determine the best third-party APIs to integrate into the platform to improve performance and bolster security.
In addition, hiring financial experts with industry experience to create brokerage software for your startup will help you avoid breaking financial regulations and other compliance standards.
In 2021, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Robinhood 70 million USD for misleading users — this issue resulted from flouting financial regulations during development.
The last thing you want when you create your own trading software is to release a bug-filled product into the market. A case in point is the Robinhood “infinite money” saga that skewed the trading algorithms, almost plunging the company into a financial hole.
To avoid legal action and customer outrage, hire QA specialists to conduct end-to-end testing for every product before deployment. Check the software infrastructure to make sure it is bug-free and impregnable to DDoS attacks.
Deployment and maintenance
Once you have a working app, it’s time to ramp up the marketing. Create marketing outreach campaigns to inform your target audience about the product’s benefits. Pay special attention to your platform’s unique value proposition and communicate it in the marketing pitch.
After generating enough buzz for the application, you can deploy it on the cloud or any locally-hosted server. When the product goes live, you’ll still need to process user feedback and run upgrades to maintain the system.
By the way, you could also release the beta version first to gauge market reception before launching the alpha version.
Ready to build your custom trading platform?
How is developing stock trading software with EPAM Anywhere Business different?
Over the years, EPAM Anywhere Business has helped many startups and budding businesses construct and adopt fintech solutions for stock trading and personal finance. Our engineers have a massive wealth of experience in developing software platforms that meet industry standards and address consumers’ needs.
If you want to work with us, please contact our business analyst to review the specifics of your project and all other essential details.
Building a profitable trading software is a challenge that requires painstaking attention to detail and a systematic approach throughout the development cycle. By understanding the fundamentals of stock trading, you can make informed decisions regarding your custom trading software development.