eCommerce Apps Ultimate Guide: How-to Build, Key Features, Trends, and Development Cost

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People do make a lot of online purchases. Sneakers, sunglasses, drugs, office tables — you know, things. Lockdown times sparked an eCommerce boom even more. Making purchases through an eCommerce app became the most convenient and the only way to buy things so far. Statista forecasts that in 2022, mobile eCommerce sales will surpass $432 billion, up from $148 billion in 2018. With these numbers in mind, you probably start to think of entering the eCommerce market. Or if you’re already there, how to attract new customers and increase revenue. The answer is pretty straightforward – eCommerce app.  

In this article, I'll round up several steps to build an eCommerce app like Amazon, eCommerce trends, the approximate cost of mobile commerce app development, and features your app must have on the MVP stage. 

What Is Mobile Commerce App?

Electronic commerce was introduced about 40 years ago in its earliest form by English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich. Though his idea didn’t find much support back then, it’s now an inevitable part of our lives. Now by eCommerce, we mean online selling on marketplaces. To buy specific items and goods, you simply need to make electronic transactions through your smartphone or computer. 

The development of technologies along with globalization, people’s desire to have more options, and improved customer experience have certainly driven eCommerce growth. Today's eCommerce market requires transformation from brick-and-mortar stores into an online presence. And this is where eCommerce mobile app development comes in.  

eCommerce Apps Examples That Rock

From personalization to creating a great user experience, below I mentioned a couple of eCommerce apps rocking the mobile eCommerce app industry. 

  1. Goat app

I'm a sneaker fan, and I love browsing for shoes with collaborations. However, what I like the most about the Goat app is – search and filter feature. Filters are usually a weak spot for eCommerce apps, but not here. It's so simple, intuitive, and easy to use that I would say it's the best one I've seen in this domain. 

ecommerce app development
  1. IHerb app

IHerb mobile eCommerce app did a great job displaying goods' cards in the catalog and PDP (Product Detail Page) layout. This is a real challenge in the pharma field, as all information is different for each category: supplements, sports goods, baby care, etc. — and you still have to remain consistent and follow the same rules in UX, which IHerb did pretty well.

ecommerce app development

There are lots of great apps but do you remember your personal experience? How often you felt lost in such an app, didn't know how to find something, etc. It's because some eCommerce applications suffer from incorrect feature prioritization and lack of user testing.

Reasons to Build eCommerce App

The role of eCommerce apps is significant, as you see. And if we speak about the reasons why you need to create one, there are several points I’d like to highlight.

ecommerce app development

World of Smartphones

Right now, there are around 4 billion active smartphones in the world, which is an amazing opportunity to grab. Having these devices 24/7, most people complete online purchases through mobile with just one tap. So, starting with a mobile commerce app is half the battle. 

Revenue Growth

It's not just the smartphones that are the greatest form-factor. Many worldwide eCommerce apps like Walmart and Amazon have proved that mobile app attracts new customers and increases revenue growth across all devices. 

ecommerce app development

User Behaviour Changes After Covid-19

COVID-19 accelerated the eCommerce boom significantly and had a great impact on the way they buy goods. Total eCommerce spending in May 2020 reached $82.5 billion — a 77% increase from 2019. It would have taken 4 to 6 years to get that number looking at traditional year-over-year increases.

What’s more, there are some reasons to build eCommerce app than just to have a good adaptive web-view like: 

  • Fast access to a user;
  • Possibility to reach out to users via push notifications;
  • Better options to track users' behavior;
  • Collect analytics effectively;
  • Test hypothesis and new features fast;

Mobile Commerce Trends in 2021

Since the application of eCommerce replaces the traditional way of buying goods, it must create an experience that is similar to in-person shopping. Let's figure out what this means and what eCommerce trends create that experience.

Big Data

Big data algorithms have become more valuable for eCommerce since the number of users in this industry is rapidly growing. For instance, Amazon gathers data on every action in the app. Using big data algorithms, Amazon can predict what you want to buy next and start to recommend products that you might like. This is the time when the "How did they know?" question may arise. 

AR Experience

Augmented reality is what closes up eCommerce shopping to the real one. Ikea commerce app is among the retailers who succeed in AR experience the most. Customers of the home furnishings giant get access to the full catalog of goods in AR mode. 

One-click Purchase

The convenience of applications of eCommerce is in single-click payments. One payment transaction is both a trend and a must for eCommerce mobile app development. While working on the Dollar Shave Club app, we at Uptech put this feature on top priority. 

Since users don't have to retype data repeatedly, one-click payments are about to boost the number of impulse purchases on mobile. It's a great example of how the user-centric approach leads to a better buying experience and business results. 

ecommerce app

8 Steps of How to Build eCommerce App

Before moving any further, let me give you a detailed glimpse of the key 8 steps to take while eCommerce mobile app development. 

ecommerce app

Step 1. Research

We at Uptech are product geeks. That's why we put the research stage on top. During it, we conduct competitors' research and user interviews, which are essential for analyzing the behavior and patterns of the target audience. It also helps define the right app platform and the feature set as relatable as possible for our target audience. 

Step 2. Set the goals

The foundation of an eCommerce mobile app development lies in setting the goals for your business. Here’re 3 questions that help you set your goals: 

  1. What problem do I try to solve?
  2. Who am I selling the product to?
  3. How do I understand it's successful?

Step 3. Choose the right platform

I advise you to get to know the ins and outs of your business before deciding what technology to use while eCommerce application development. Keep an eye on the development cost, inventory, and select the CMS, database, scalable framework.

With this information at your hands, it's much easier to decide whether you want to launch an Android app, an iOS app, or both. It goes without saying that the device usage of your target audience is a top factor.

Step 4. Define feature set

Since you already have users' feedback, expert opinions, trends, and the itch to outdo your competitors, you now understand better what problems your product needs to solve and which features can satisfy this end-user.

To help you decide which product feature takes the top spot on the list, you may use popular prioritization frameworks and strategies.

Step 5. Create UX&UI design

As I mentioned above, the experience in eCommerce apps must go beyond in-person shopping, and UX&UI design is the opportunity to stand out. Design is going to be your voice and business' identity for the target customers. Color schemes, appealing visuals, and smooth transitions from one page to another are what make a lasting impression on your customer.

For more inspiration, check out our design ideas for different on-demand apps on Dribble:

Nike Shopping app

Food Delivery app

On-demand Taxi app

Step 6. Build MVP

Remember I told you about the product features that take the top spot? MVP stage is precisely that time when you need to focus on the limited and most vital features of your eCommerce app. Instead of implementing a full-fledged product right away, I advise going for a continuous evaluation of the product, which fuels further revisions. 

MVP aims to learn what users think of the product, cut development time, reduce risks, and allocate resources more efficiently. 

ecommerce MVP

Step 7. Gather feedback

When the MVP is released, it's time to start gathering feedback from customers. It's a process of checking how users interact with your app, capture feedback, and find possible improvements. Feedback collection is significant as it helps you figure out what works for your target audience and whatnot.

Step 8. Iterate

Last but not least, iterating. If we look at the biggest players in the eCommerce app market, we can see that design is never constant. Instead, it's constantly evolving and adapting to market/user needs.

6 Essential Features for Your eCommerce App MVP

First of all, I'd like to highlight the meaning of MVP. Minimum Viable Product is the bare form of the product that is capable of solving the user's problem. 

"If there is a nice-to-have feature you hesitate about, then probably you should not include it in MVP." 

People don't need more filters when looking for something online — they need better results. It follows that the must-have features depend on the product itself. If you are building Shazam, you will need only one button to test the idea. If you are making the next Amazon, you will need only those features that provide maximum value to your customers. 

ecommerce app features

We've seen many products die because they were too slow to ship and very few because they were too quick. Better to release something small first, gather feedback, let people tell you what features make sense, and complement changes. 

How Much Does It Cost to Create an eCommerce App?

Finally, we reached the conclusion part – the cost of eCommerce app development. It’s a vital stage for any entrepreneur since you need to estimate the budget, plan the expenses and figure out whether the game is worth the candle. As for mobile eCommerce app development costs, it is rather complicated to provide you with accurate prices. 

First, everything depends on the goals and requirements. For example, on the number of features, mobile platforms, UI/UX design complexity, etc. 

Second, the cost is different depending on the location where a software development company is located. For comparison, the hourly rates of App Designer in the USA and Canada start from $150, while in Western Europe, rates may be from $50 to $100. Eastern Europe provides the most optimal rates, from $35 - $60.

ecommerce app design cost

That is why eCommerce application development may cost you either $80K or $150K and even more. It’s hard to predict the initial cost in advance. If you need precise numbers, feel free to drop us a line on your eCommerce app idea and product demands. We will provide you with detailed information.

Final Word

To make a long story short, today's eCommerce business is experiencing a boom for several reasons: significant usage of smartphones, pandemia, consumers’ desire to seek new, and other global circumstances. 

Having an eCommerce app creates many opportunities for your business, from fast access to a user to a competitive advantage. We also looked at top players in the eCommerce industry, and now you have some trends to follow. But the bottom line in the overall eCommerce app development process is focusing on the customer and finding the best user-oriented solution. 

If you're about to make an eCommerce app and looking for product support, contact us. With 5 years of experience under our belt, we know how to create a custom-made solution that works for your audience and product. 


How do I develop an eCommerce mobile app?

Here are 8 critical development steps for any eCommerce app:

  1. Research
  2. Goals setting
  3. Choosing the right platform
  4. Defining feature set
  5. Creating UI&UX design
  6. Building MVP
  7. Gathering feedback
  8. Iterating constantly

How much will it cost to develop an eCommerce mobile app?

On average, eCommerce application development may cost you from $80K to $150K. Depending on the number of features, mobile platforms, UI/UX design complexity, etc., the cost can go up. 

How long does it take to develop an eCommerce app?

The accurate time that goes on eCommerce app development depends on the goals and product requirements. Creating the first version of the minimum viable eCommerce app may take 3 - 4 months. Developing it into a medium complexity app usually takes an extra 7 months. Further development and improvements are inevitable. So get ready that your eCommerce app would constantly be changing. 

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