At Purrweb we decided to change this fact and created an ultimate guide on eCommerce app development for startuppers. We collected and answered all frequently asked questions, such as:
- How much does eCommerce app development cost;
- How long does it take to build an eCommerce app like Amazon;
- What features the app needs;
- How you can monetize your eCommerce app;
- Where and how you can find a trustworthy developer.
Enough talking, let’s break it down!
What is an eCommerce platform?
E-Commerce (electronic commerce) apps are platforms for buying and selling goods and services. They act as a mediator and connect businesses with consumers online. Usually, such services use a B2C (business-to-customer) model, like amazon.com, or C2C, like ebay.com or etsy.com. Some of them operate as B2B platforms.
Mobile App vs. Desktop
The history of online shopping started with commercial sales websites. But over time, mobile traffic overtook web traffic and such platforms evolved to mobile apps. Nowadays, 70% of users dohttps://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/ online purchases with their phone and most startups enter the market with a mobile app right away.
What happened in 2020?
The pandemic has significantly altered our ordinary life and changed online shopping forever. In spring 2020, after many countries went into lockdown and implemented stay-at-home orders, the number of searches with the word “delivery” increased by 3 to 9 times in various countries according to Google statshttps://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/e-commerce-in-the-time-of-covid-19-3a2b78e8/.
The uncertainty of the virus has had an impact on shoppers’ habits worldwide. Studies showhttps://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-global-view-of-how-consumer-behavior-is-changing-amid-covid-19# that people started spending more money on essentials, for example, groceries and household items. Meanwhile, the budget on apparel and travel has seen a decrease during these times.
Now is the perfect time for an eCommerce startup
Despite the apparent trepidation, now is a great time to start an eCommerce startup. Currently, the retail mobile app market doesn’t meet the demand of billions of users wishing to shop online — they’re dealing with delivery delays, increased fees, and out-of-stock items, because there are no good competitors who they can go to. While millions of local businesses and vendors are struggling to find customers during the lockdown, your solution can help them meet online!
Two reasons why your solution will be in demand
Frankly speaking, it will be easy for you to find the first users for your future app. Because there are 2 problems of small business that eCommerce apps solve: it broadens the audience nationwide, or even worldwide, and increases the retention rate.
Online shopping platforms expand your target audience from people who live nearby to those who shop online. Imagine opening up a gift shop in a nice neighborhood, but then the pandemic hits, and people stop using public transport and passing by your place. Sales rapidly drop and you have to find a way how to reconnect with customers again. You have 2 choices: to stay where you are and close up soon or to go online and find new customers via an eCommerce platform.
Also, eCommerce apps increase the retention and engagement rates of your service. For example, a user adds an item to the cart but does not complete the payment. Your platform can catch a customer up and later on send a push-notification with a special offer to bring them back. It is possible only with an app because the desktop version allows you to interact only through email (if a customer leaves one), which is likely to go directly to their junk folder.
How your eCommerce app can make money
Before discussing the eCommerce app development cost and timeline, let’s talk about the income. Researchhttps://blog.rjmetrics.com/2015/03/27/how-much-money-can-an-ecommerce-website-make/ says the average eCommerce store generates $150,000 in revenue after 3 months on the market. There are several monetization strategies for such apps to thrive:
- Delivery fee. The most popular and the easiest way to make money out of an eCommerce app is to charge a small fee for the delivery of each item. However, we would recommend you take a look at other strategies because studies showhttps://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/nrf-study-says-more-online-shoppers-want-free-shipping that 75% of consumers expect delivery to be free. For some, it becomes the last straw of making the decision whether to buy or not. For example, giants like Amazon dropped delivery fees in favor of other monetization strategies.
- Commission fee. The majority of apps charge a sales commission for each item sold on their marketplace. For instance, Myntra charges a fixed commission of 4% to 5%, depending on the category and brand of the product.
- Subscription is the method many apps go with. Amazon offers Amazon Prime, a membership package that unlocks special offers and unlimited free delivery on millions of items. Users have a choice to pay $12.99 monthly or $119 annually.
- Sponsored content. If sellers want to be on top of search results, they can pay a little extra and attract more buyers, while you add to your revenue with this feature.
Key features for e-commerce app platform
Any eCommerce app is a double-sided platform for both sellers and buyers. We created a list of key features your solution will need for both parties:
Registration and personal account
Every app starts with a login page. No matter who opens it – buyer or seller – they have to start with providing basic information about themselves. We suggest keeping it as short and simple as possible: ask for an email, the first and last names, and a phone number. Don’t forget about a personal account page so later on users can get back to it and set it up with more details and preferences.
Here your solution will need a search bar to look for a particular item and also be able to filter by categories, like price, colour, brand, etc. Sellers should be able to add new items to the list and attach photos and filter tags to them.
Overall, the search results page will contain a lot of elements, so make sure you work with an experienced UX/UI designer, who will keep the item catalogue intuitive and easy-to-navigate.
The item page should represent all necessary information about the item, such as the name, photos, description, price, delivery date, and reviews from previous buyers. Also, now many consumers consider shipping costs and special deals even before getting to the checkout page. Therefore, make sure you display all conditions from the beginning.
When you browse something, you probably see a lot of things that you want to save for the future – just add it to your wishlist. This feature is essential for customer retention. They can bookmark items that they like, and if the price for a wishlist item drops, you can send a push-notification to inform the user.
Customers should be able to add a product to the cart, see the total and then pay. If they don’t complete the payment, you can remind them about the order later on and bring them back to the app, increasing retention rate. Also, make sure your app supports ApplePay, GooglePay, and PayPal for increased comfort of customers.
When it comes to finances, we recommend double-checking that you implemented reliable payment getaways and secured the connection with data storage services.
The history of previous orders and payments is essential for both sellers and buyers. Customers could see what they have bought and when, and also how much money they have spent, while vendors could track their sales and count their income with this feature.
Customer support chat
Startups like eCommerce apps deal with a lot of customer inquiries and feedback. People buy and sell tons of things daily and it might be difficult to keep an eye on the quality of every single item. If you don’t want unsatisfied customers to go to social media, customer support should be easy to reach so questions and concerns can be addressed. We recommend implementing messaging functionality so users can easily contact support and get help within a moment’s notice.
How much your eCommerce app development cost
Here comes the most interesting and vital part of the article – eCommerce development cost and timeframe. Before we start, an important note from us: at Purrweb we try to make the process for our clients as transparent as possible, and we always openly discuss all future steps. If you want to get a personalized price estimation, just contact us through the form.
Let’s do the math now! When you create your solution with us, you will pay for:
- UI/UX-design (We plan and execute the interface, build a prototype, choose fonts and colour scheme that matches your style the most)
- React Native frontend development (to cover a larger market by building an app for both iOS and Android eCommerce apps)
- Backend API development (We deal with the architecture of the app and connect with servers)
- Project management (Chaperoning the project and solving administrative tasks)
- QA Testing (We test the usability of your application to find and fix all potential bugs before the release)
Overall, a team of 7 people will work on your Android or iPhone eCommerce app. Here is the timeline with prices:
|UI/UX design||150||$ 7 500|
|React Native development||860||$ 43 000|
|Backend API + admin panel||600||$ 300 000|
|QA||219||$ 3 942|
|Project management||3 months||$ 4 750|
The average eCommerce app development time for the Purrweb team is 3 months. According to similar projects we have made, the estimated eCommerce app development cost is from $ 25 000 to $ 60 000 for a full cycle of execution – UI/UX design, building a prototype, testing, creating iOS and Android versions, and more.
How to find a contractor in 2021?
Nowadays it is not easy to find a reliable and fast developer to build a mobile eCommerce app. There is no time for mistakes. You have to move quickly with your solution while the market is growing and dynamic. Here we gathered 3 bits of advice from our team on how to make a choice:
- Choose companies over freelance developers. It’s more convenient and time-efficient to get all services from a professional team with good communication. Imagine spending time on finding a coder and designer and then managing all of the processes by yourself. Why? If you can delegate and focus on release strategy and investor pitching, the developers’ lab will cover all technical aspects of development and polish your solution.
- Check reviews. It is always better to be safe than sorry. We advise performing a background search and reading feedback on your potential contractor beforehand. First of all, Google the name of the company and see what comes up. Then check professional websites, such as Behancehttps://www.behance.net/ and Dribbblehttps://dribbble.com/ for portfolios and reviews.
- Choose someone who works with React Native. For a startup, money and time can be crucial. The React Native framework has many pros for newly released apps. For example, a shared codebase allows developers to build two apps for both iOS and Android with 60-65% similar code. It not only saves time and money for the startup but also helps to release the product for a larger market. Also, React Native eases the testing process and helps to quickly discover and fix all possible bugs before the release.
When in 2020 the majority of countries went into lockdown and introduced stay-at-home orders, it significantly boosted the eCommerce sector. During these times 63% of shopping has taken place online and the number of searches for “delivery” in Google skyrocketed in all countries across the world.
The market is growing rapidly and the demand exceeds its current opportunities. That’s why now is the perfect time to choose your niche and start building your solution.
Here are 7 key features to consider when developing an eCommerce app:
Let’s talk about money. If you are wondering not only how much does the eCommerce app development cost but also how much money you can make, here is the answer. Studies show that the average eCommerce store generates $150,000 in revenue after 3 months on the market. There are 4 main monetization strategies:
- delivery fee
- commission fee
- sponsored content
Our advice is not to stick to only one strategy, but to mix them together. Also, keep an eye on recent trends and big companies’ updates. For example, recent research showed that ⅘ of customers prefer delivery to be free of charge when they are shopping online. Moreover, they look at it before getting to the checkout page.
The estimated full-cycle eCommerce app development cost is from $ 20 000 to $ 40 000 and it takes around 800 hours [64 days].
At Purrweb, we build eCommerce mobile platforms with a focus on UX/UI design and QA testing to develop a robust cutting-edge solution. We have a blog where we openly share our experience and a portfolio with previous works where you can check our style. Plus, we work with cost- and time-efficient React Native that helps us develop high-performing marketplace apps in 3 months.
Read more about the services we provide and schedule a consultation to chat about your idea and see how we can help.