Ecommerce Mobile App Development: Should You Make an App for Your Online Store?11 min read04/12/2018
With the growth of the mobile Ecommerce market, business owners turn towards the app development for their online stores. According to eMarketer, mobile Ecommerce sales reached the value of $1.8 trillion forming 63.5% of the overall online sales in 2018 compared to $1.36 trillion (58.9% of total Ecommerce sales) in 2017.
However, this statistics shows that users tend to make purchases online through mobile devices but there’s nothing about mobile apps in this data. The question is whether an Ecommerce mobile app in addition to your existing online store is what you really need to boost your sales. Let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of the Ecommerce app development.
Your website should be responsive to meet Google’s user interface design guidelines. If so, then it will be easier for your customers to make purchases in your online store. However, mobile apps can provide a totally different user experience.
Improved marketing capabilities
One of the most important advantages of Ecommerce mobile apps over responsive online stores is push notifications. Even though you can send push notifications through your website to both Android devices and desktops, iOS still doesn’t support web push notifications. It means that only a native mobile app can deliver notifications to iOS-based devices.
Unlike desktops, users always have access to their mobile devices. This enables brands to reach their target audience whenever they have what to say. Push notifications also allow businesses to timely tell about new items in their stores, inform about discounts or special offers, and build wise marketing strategies regardless of where their potential customers are. While users can easily opt-out in order to no longer receive web notifications, they can remove a mobile app to disable brands to send spam to their devices. You should remember this when building your notification content plan.
Simplified buying process
Both websites and mobile apps require users to type in their payment card information like primary account number, expiry date, and CVV2 to make a purchase possible in the case where Apple Pay and Google Pay aren’t available. However, the buying process in mobile apps looks simpler than in online stores. When it comes to two-factor authentication, mobile apps can automatically process one-time passwords (OTPs) sent by payment systems via push notifications. Therefore, users don’t need to open an SMS with an OTP and type it in a certain field on a website.
Speed of work
The web page loading speed plays an important role in how customers make purchases. According to Kissmetrics, potential customers may abandon your online store if it takes more than 3 seconds to deliver a web page to the visitors. It means that your website should be extremely fast to generate more sales.
However, mobile apps are faster than responsive sites since the latter use web servers to store data, unlike apps that store data locally on a mobile device. Furthermore, mobile apps can store static content right on a smartphone, unlike sites that generate all content every time users visit them. Even if you enabled browser caching for your website, it will make sense only for those web pages a certain user has already visited. It will take more time to load other pages this user visits for the first time.
On the Internet, you can find a lot of blog posts describing the advantages of mobile apps over responsive websites. However, the Ecommerce mobile app development can turn out to be an ineffective investment since it has a set of significant drawbacks.
Visitors are unlikely to install your app to make a single purchase
Excluding your social accounts, your website is most likely to be the first communication channel between you and your potential customers. At least, they first visit your website and then install your app if they need it. Moreover, they will hardly download it if they need to make only one purchase. So Ecommerce mobile apps make sense only for repetitive purchases. Mixpanel reports that the average web retention rate is 10.3%. It means that you are going to develop a mobile app for 1 of 10 website visitors. For all the rest, your solution will be useless.
Your mobile app should have at least standard features that enable visitors to make purchases. These features include:
- Full product catalog
- Branded design
- Order placing
- Online payments;
- Push notifications.
The Ecommerce app development cost can reach $3,000-5,000 for a solution with this minimal set of features. Any advanced additions like unique design can increase the overall price by several times. So when considering building a mobile app for your online store, take in mind that will cost you a lot.
You need to develop two different apps
When considering creating a mobile app for your online store, you should remember that, in fact, you will need two separate apps for iOS- and Android-based devices. Therefore, you can double your estimated overall app development cost. You can’t just ignore the interests of the large audience part since it can affect your company’s image. However, you can build an Ecommerce app for one specific operating system to test the idea or build a simple cross-platform solution for both iOS and Android.
Unfortunately, you can’t just invest once and forget about your app. In fact, you should continuously test it to make sure it works perfectly. With new iOS and Android versions arising, you have to adjust your existing Ecommerce mobile app to them in order to ensure its compatibility. Otherwise, you put your investments at a risk of becoming worthless if your customers can no longer use it once they get the last system updates.
Even if your online store is successful, users won’t form a queue to download and install your app. One way or another, you should create another marketing campaign to promote your app. Placing App Store and Google Play logos with corresponding links on your website isn’t enough for your mobile solution to become popular. In addition, you will need to hire an app store optimization (ASO) specialist who will have to increase the visibility of your Ecommerce mobile app in Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Any additional improvements will cost you money
With the rising of new mobile app development trends, you won’t be able to ignore them. At least, you shouldn’t. Over time, you will need to change your app design or add new features. All these improvements will significantly reduce your overall budget. Furthermore, such additional expenses can exceed the initial Ecommerce app development cost.
Google Analytics provides a wide range of tools that can help you track your app success. With Google’s service, you can monitor how users explore your solutions: which screens they prefer, how long they’ve been using your app until delete it, how many customers have downloaded it. However, web analytics tools provide much more advanced capabilities and provide you with a better control over marketing channels. For example, with web analytics, you can promote particular products or categories on the internet by referring to specific web pages rather than promoting the whole app.
Putting your eggs in different baskets
With an Ecommerce mobile app, you will need to monitor your traffic on one resource more. This will create an additional workload on your marketing departments thus increasing your expenses. This is the case where “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is not applicable.
When you should create an Ecommerce mobile app
Taking into account the above-mentioned benefits and drawbacks of Ecommerce mobile apps, it can seem that this idea is worthless and you shouldn’t create one for your online store. Well, it’s not actually true. While most Ecommerce businesses really don’t need it, for a narrow range of online stores a mobile app can be a profitable investment. Here’s when you should start building an app for your company.
High retention rate
As mentioned above, a mobile app makes sense only for repetitive purchases. A high retention rate is a characteristic that may encourage you to invest in the Ecommerce app development. For those customers who are planning to buy more in your online store in the future will appreciate the simplified checkout process in your mobile app. As soon as your retention reaches the value of at least 15%, you can start building your app.
The loyal audience generates repetitive purchases but it can include those customers who will rarely buy something in your store. Instead, they appreciate your service and can monitor prices or check characteristics of new products in your online store. Such customers are influencers who can encourage other people to become your clients by talking about their positive experience of the cooperation with you. The whole loyal audience deserves your app. If your calculations show that your Ecommerce app for this audience will pay off, then you should develop it.
Your website generates over 10,000 visits per day
it makes no sense to invest thousands or even tens of thousand dollars in the Ecommerce app development if only a couple of hundred people visits your online store every day. In this case, you will create an app for less than a hundred users. Does it worth it? Furthermore, most of them will remove your app after one week according to Mixpanel. However, if you have a monthly traffic of over 300,000 visitors, you can hire a dedicated team to develop a high-end mobile app for your online store.
Tools to develop an Ecommerce mobile app without coding
In the case where your budget is extremely limited, but you still need a typical mobile app with a basic set of features for your online store, you can turn towards Ecommerce app builders that will enable you to create a mobile solution in a drag-and-drop manner.
AppyPie is an Ecommerce app builder that offers 15 simple layouts that allow you to create a mobile solution with a decent design. However, they are easy to edit. You can add your own background pictures and change default colors. One of the best features of AppyPie is that it supports the integration with such content management systems (CMS) as:
- WordPress along with the WooCommerce plugin
- Ebay, etc.
The tool also enables you to receive payments from your customers via Paypal or credit/debit cards via the PayPal gateway. In addition, you can add the cash on delivery payment method for those who need to be sure they will get what they’ve paid for. Furthermore, AppyPie has the Mailchimp integration feature as well as Analytics tools that offer 100 free emails for your customers.
- $15/month: an Android-based app with AppyPie branding; push notifications – 5,000, disk space – 200MB; monthly bandwidth – 4GB.
- $30/month: an Android-based app and progressive web app (PWA). Push notifications 0 10,000; disk space – 400MB; monthly bandwidth – 8GB.
- $50/month. An app based on Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, Fire OS, and HTML5; push notifications – 25000 , disk space – 600MB; monthly bandwidth – 12GB.
AppyPie charges yearly. You also can try a free package with ads in your app.
Mobimatic is another Ecommerce mobile app builder that allows you to create a highly optimized solution with a modern design by dragging and dropping blocks on your display. This cloud-based software offers users to develop mobile apps for both iOS and Android operating systems.
With Mobimatic, you can offer discounts to your customers and get collect their data when they register a coupon. Furthermore, you can configure coupon expiry dates or set the number of times customers can use them. The tool offers more than 80 different layouts that allow you to configure your app design according to your preferences. You can choose any Ecommerce app template, add your text as well as change colors, styles and background images.
The web application enables users to create full-fledged product catalogs with a card, image galleries, filters, notes, and options. With Mobimatic, you also can add different payment options like credit or debit card, cash on delivery, and PayPal. In addition, the tool can synchronize your products and categories from any CMS from the following list:
- WordPress (the Woocommerce plugin)
- Opencart, etc.
- $ 67 Per Month
- $ 647 Per year (about $54 per month)
- $ 1697 lifetime
All the above-mentioned packages offer the same capabilities. You can choose one of them according to your payment preferences.
An Ecommerce mobile app in addition to your responsive website is a huge hole in your budget. Customers won’t download and install your app to make purchases once a year or even every six months. In most cases where you think whether or not you need to create a mobile app for your store, the answer is no because, for those companies that really can benefit from it, the question is out of their agenda.
With their huge loyal audience and lots of repetitive purchases, such Ecommerce businesses as Amazon or Ebay understand that a mobile app is what their customers need rather than what these companies want to offer them. Otherwise, you will just develop an app as a means of the image element instead of another income generating channel. So build an Ecommerce app only when you’re sure this idea will definitely pay off.