'Mobile is everything' this motto is definitely true for the e-commerce sphere even now. Technologies are evolving so quickly that buying things online while sitting at the computer is no longer considered as advanced way. In the quest for the clients, modern sellers fill app stores with their e-commerce mobile apps. So should you.
Future of mobile commerce solutions
For the last few years, the number of mobile users has grown rapidly all over the world. And all these users find online shopping via an e-commerce app much easier and convenient way to shop. According to Statista, the transaction value of global m-commerce is going to reach $460 billion in 2018 and almost 700 billion in 2019.
The transaction value of global m-commerce
Moreover, the same source predicts a rise of mobile retail commerce sales compared to all e-commerce sphere from 35 to almost 40% in 2018 and claims that in 2021 m-commerce will take more than 50% of all e-commerce transactions.
The mobile retail commerce sales
And it's just a tip of the iceberg. E-commerce mobile apps are so convenient and functional, that people trust them more day by day. And if you feel suspicious about statistics, here are the objective grounds why app development is the future of e-commerce sphere:
Reasons for a mobile commerce application development
Users prefer mobile
It is clear that the mobile devices are going to leave computers behind when it comes to the best device for daily routine. The most important reason for such a phenomenon is that we carry mobile phones with us all the time and can surf the net whenever we want or need.
More convenient to use
The majority of mobile apps are much faster than the websites. The average time needed to perform one action is much lower than on a website. Besides, there are no ad banners or pop-ups which annoy customer so much.
More convenient to buy
An app usually offers a really short way to a purchase. Such elements as 'one-click ordering' makes the whole process faster. There is no need to roam a site looking for a needed option.
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People also love mobile apps because of the features which are absent on a site. Such utilities as GPS, camera, finger or face scanner attract users with new possibilities. For instance, GPS mode can show a user where the nearest shops are, a camera can empower Augmented Reality feature, which allows users to 'try a piece of closing on' or see how some furniture would look like in a particular place. The face ID technology or finger scanner give a customer an opportunity to pay for products or services in a matter of seconds.
Better users engagement
All the features we've mentioned above increase users' acquisition and engagement. With the help of push-notifications, you can inform a customer about new bonuses or discounts and increase your conversion as a result. The same feature helps keep in touch with a client and builds trust between a brand and a customer.
An ability to pay faster and easier and a lot of additional features (compared to a site) all this makes shopping apps a great opportunity to boost your retail business. There are two ways to create e-commerce mobile app. The first option is to hire a development team and build one from scratch and the second option is to use one of the mobile app builders. All the pluses and minuses of automatic app builders you can find in our previous research. Still, we highly recommend you to choose a development company if you want your app to work seamlessly.
But let's get back to the point before you get to the development stage of your own shopping app, you have to plan and know exactly what functionality you need in your mobile commerce application. Let's start with the set of features which forms a minimum viable product.
E-commerce mobile app features
Below, you'll find a set of functionality needed for an ecommerce app development. These features are necessary for a minimum viable product, it means that without any of these features your app would fail.
How to build an e-commerce app
Authorization is usually implemented by means of direct interaction via the client-server API. If you want to enable the opportunity to log under the existed account (e.g., social media), you can do it with the help of the open authorization protocol, like oAuth. Thus, your app will not remember the third party credentials but still will be able to create an account.
Settings and push notifications
They are adjusted by means of client-server API. For push notifications, you will have to deploy special push notification servers different for each operating system. If you want to create an IOS app and an app for Android platform, refer to the APN (Apple Push Notification) and GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) servers respectively.
Catalogue with categories
It starts with defining the essence of 'goods'. Item of goods is something unique in the system which has ID, title, price, details, etc. You will have to maintain the data records as for the goods available in the warehouse.
Additionally, you will have to define the essence of 'category'. It may consist of category ID, parent category ID (where the category will be considered as a sub-category, like Wheel is a sub-category of Spare Parts which, in it's turn, may be included in the Car category).
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Many-to-many relationship between products and categories should be organized. It means that one category may include 0 and more products. In it's turn, one product may be placed into 0 and more categories.
The user should be able to limit the search results by one category (either firstly select the category and then start searching products within it or select a product and see all the categories it is placed to). Defining the product category can be done via the admin panel created by the development team.
Different payment methods
Various payment methods are integrated with the help of the processing centres of the companies you are going to work with. The most popular ways to submit payment are via payment card, PayPal, direct bank transfer, cash on delivery, etc.
Tracking purchase enables users to see the status of the order. You should also implement a feature to cancel it at the initial stage. It is important to let users see how fast the order is processed. Integrated SMS functionality allows you to inform when the order is sent, processed, delivered, etc. Use existed services like Twilio, Clickatell, Plivo. They have already developed the mechanism of sending messages. You should only integrate it into your app by means of their API.
A shopping cart is an essential option for all e-commerce applications. Surfing your app users will add the products by clicking an appropriate button.
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Customer support can be organized via email, online chat, or both. You can also leave a phone number for customers to call. For integrating email and chat support, you can use special services. Thus, you don't have to implement the chat on your own, but simply integrate ready mechanisms into your app. The modern solution is a chatbot, which works better than people but will cost you less. In our previous article, you can find how to build a chatbot and how businesses can benefit from their implementation.
This basic functionality is great for the start. Still, if you want your app to outshine all the rest, you need to make it unique and add more useful features.
Additional e-commerce application features
How to create an e-commerce app which will put your competitors out of the business? There are many ways to make online shopping app with different options. Let's go through some of them.
Additional functionality to create a shopping app
Comparison of similar goods means that each product has a list of characteristics and users can select their values. You should implement a kind of 'comparison basket' to place the goods which users are interested in. Once 'Compare Selected Products' button is pressed, a separate page opens. The page contains a combined list of characteristics of the goods being filled in with appropriate values. The characteristics may be useful not only for comparison but for filtering during the search. The mechanism of implementation is similar to shopping cart development and refers to the using REST along with JSON data format.
Payment by part
Payment by part helps customers to decide on an expensive purchase and, thus, increase your profit. To organize it, you should conclude the agreements with the monetary institutions which can offer credits to your customers.
There are several options how to implement a shopping assistant feature into your app. But Artificial Intelligence algorithm is considered to be the most modern and effective one.
Currency converter simplifies the buying process for the foreign customers. To integrate it into your app, you should refer to the ready mechanisms. By means of their APIs, you can enable such option in your application. As an example, take a look at the following services: XE, Fixer.io. Also, pay attention to the currency converter mechanism of the European Central Bank. Even though it allows converting only through Euro and has a limited number of currencies, you can benefit from integrating it into your app for free. Note that conversion will be executed at the official exchange rate.
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Wishlist contains a set of the products which customers would like to buy. It is usually available for the users who have an account. So, you can organize it in such a way that an offer to register the account takes place at once when the 'Wish' button is pressed. It is very convenient for the customers who want to postpone a purchase. They would get back to your site with a great chance knowing that the product is on the Wishlist. Also, you can inform users as for different changes, like price, availability, comments, etc.
It's a great and simple option to extend your app functionality. Clients can use it to make each other presents. A person who further wants to make a purchase should enter unique card ID. By the ID application defines a sum allowed for spending.
Virtual fitting room
There is no secret anymore that Virtual reality has a hypnotic effect on people. Companies which used this trick for their marketing campaigns got the enormous financial gain from it. Nowadays, there are many developers' SDKs to implement such a feature, in our article you can find a list of the best AR SDKs for iOS and Android platforms.
There are many more options for you and the more funny and useful feature you add, the more chances you have to maximize your profit.
Shopping app provides excellent opportunities for e-commerce businesses. 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 it's own app with the same or even better functionality as in their websites. So don't waste a minute, write us about your business and let's create your app together!
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Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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