Top 6 Tips to Develop a Mobile App for E-commerce Business

Browsing products, reading reviews, and ordering online – smartphones play a major role in e-commerce these days.

But for the number of mobile phone users, there are very few brands that have dedicated mobile apps. Only 47% of online brands have e-commerce mobile apps. 

As more consumers prefer shopping from smartphones, now is the right time to create an ecommerce app for your business. 

However, creating just another app isn’t enough. The app should be user-friendly, have useful features, and be completely secure. 

To help you create such an app, we have compiled a list of the top tips to develop a great ecommerce mobile app for your business. 

What is an E-commerce Mobile App?

An e-commerce app is a mobile-based application that allows customers to browse, buy, wishlist, and do any other purchase-related activity from your brand. 

They are the easily-accessible, mobile-friendly versions of your e-commerce website. Instead of typing the URL every single time, users can just download the app once and access it anytime with one tap. 

These apps offer features like product categories, live chat, filters, price ranges, discounts, and payments – everything a customer needs to make a purchase from your e-commerce store. 

An ecommerce app aims to help your customers make quicker purchases from their mobile phones. This means more convenience and as a result more sales.

But convenience isn’t the only advantage. E-commerce apps have several benefits that boost sales for your business.

Why Do You Need an Ecommerce Mobile App?

Though e-commerce websites still enable consumers to shop from their cell phones, one-third of shoppers prefer mobile apps more than other channels. 

That’s because e-commerce app development solves major business issues and provides benefits like:

Lower Cart Abandonments

Customers who browse mobile apps prefer buying products once they are added to the cart. Unlike computer or mobile websites, apps enable a customer to complete the purchase process due to a few factors:

  • Apps allow easy access to payment options. It can save debit/credit card info, direct towards UPI apps, or access mobile wallets. This helps customers quickly make payments, reducing cart abandonment.
  • With mobile apps, customers won’t “forget” their carts. Businesses can send cart abandonment notifications which customers see faster than email or SMS. 

Improved Customer Engagement

Ecommerce apps open up various communication methods with customers. Apart from the usual notifications, brands can leverage innovative ways to encourage customer engagement within the app.

For example, brands can create point systems that reward customers for opening the app every day, entering app-only contests, or writing a review. These simple activities are new interaction channels for customers, boosting sales and revenue.

New Customer Data for Personalization

Mobile development apps provide new channels to collect customer data. With the right permissions, brands can access device location, app usage, and online activity of users. This data analytics enables brands to create a highly personalized customer experience on their mobile app.

For example, if a customer books a beach vacation through their phone, clothing brands can access this data to send in-app offers on beach wear through their apps.

Or, if a customer is in the vicinity of a competitor store, brands can prompt customers to check out discount coupons in their own app through location data.

As brand personalization is trending, especially among younger generations, mobile apps provide a channel for brands to increase their consumer base.

Increased Efficiency with Better Features

With the development of mobile apps, customers can access features that aren’t available on computers or mobile websites. App users can open the in-app camera to scan products, use voice search, or save their payment data securely through multi-factor authentication.

These features make the purchase process more efficient by reducing the number of steps between product discovery and purchase. 

E-commerce mobile application development benefits all types of businesses, from fashion apparel to electronics. But every business requires a unique app that captures the brand essence and is directed towards the target audience.

To achieve this, your ecommerce app should run smoothly, have the right features, and simplify the brand interaction process for consumers. If you are unsure where to start, here are some top tips for building the best mobile app for your ecommerce business.

Tips for Developing a Successful E-commerce Mobile App

E-commerce app development can be complicated without the right roadmap. The below tips help you design the application in terms of the layout, UI, features, and design.

  1. Include hassle-free registration

One of the reasons customers prefer mobile apps is convenience. But a time-consuming registration process can deter consumers from using the app. 

While registration and login are essential to maintain user profiles, you don’t need too many details to get started. A simple username and password combination is enough to identify a user.

You can also replace the username with a phone number or email address to collect their contact information. 

A more convenient way is to use social media accounts to log in to the brand app. Social media accounts already have most details of the customer and provide an additional layer of verification during login.

It is also hassle-free for the consumer as they don’t have to retype the same details in every app they use.

Sephora’s ecommerce app provides several ways for customers to sign-up or log in. 

Customers can log in through their Google or Facebook accounts. Or they can also use SAML Mobile and Lumapps to sign in to Sephora which makes it easy for them to access the app and buy from it.

  1. Keep the navigation simple

Navigation features should be easy and consistent throughout the mobile development app. One way to ensure this is by using a single visual element for one feature. For example, a triple bar to access the main menu or a magnifying glass for the search option.

Faces Canada is the perfect example of this. The brand has a side arrow that users can tap on to access various categories of makeup products on their mobile app.

Note: The app you create should also follow the same color, image, and design patterns on all pages to maintain visual consistency. This helps users easily detect navigation features as they are in the same place on every page.

Another way to ensure seamless navigation is by understanding the UI and design of commonly used devices and adapting the design for the same. 

For example, if the phone places its “Back” button at the bottom right, then the app should also place the “Back” navigation button in the same place.

  1. Utilize minimal device memory

An ecommerce app should be light, compact, and take up little space in the device’s memory. A heavy app affects device performance which may prompt users to delete the app. Instead, you should ensure the app uses minimal memory by:

  • Using a simple UI and eliminating unnecessary features.
  • Using highly-optimized mobile app templates.
  • Identifying bulky design elements and optimizing them for lesser space.
  • Auto-delete loaded images and media at the end of every user session.

You can also introduce a lite version of the app. These versions are more compact and have limited features. Though lite apps don’t provide the full shopping experience, consumers prefer them as they require less space.

  1. Reduce load time

Users want apps that load almost instantly after opening. Even a single second of delay increases the bounce rate by 32%. A longer delay and users might abandon your app for other fast-loading brand apps.

To keep users engaged with your brand, it is essential to have an app load time of less than 4-5 seconds. Apart from reducing app size, there is a lot more you can do to improve the app loading speed.

  • Use fewer animations: While animations make the UI attractive, they also considerably slow down the app. Too many animations can also make your app crash. Instead, stick to one effect throughout the app that’s compatible with your simple UI.
  • Load media according to response: Loading the images of all products at the same time takes up a lot of data and delays the app loading process. To prevent this, display a few images and load more depending on user responses, such as product clicks or wishlists.

The ecommerce app by Adidas displays regular images for their products. Once a user clicks and scrolls through the images, the app starts loading the 3D model depending on the customer’s interest.

  • Use caching: If a customer frequently uses an app, then caching the elements will reduce load time. The device memory will save pre-loaded elements, reducing data usage every time the app is opened.
  1. Involve secure payments

Payments are one of the most crucial elements of an ecommerce app. Customers will only purchase from your app if it has trusted payment options and secure gateways. 

There are several payment methods you can include on the checkout page of your app. Credit cards, mobile wallets, store credit, or even cash on delivery – verify each payment method to check if the right amount of money is deducted and transferred to your account.

Elle’s Boutique’s mobile app offers three different payment options. 

Each payment method is widely used and verified. They have also written prompts under each method to reassure customers that their billing information is safe. 

  1. Stay transparent

Today, customers value their privacy and expect brands to do the same. Even if the development of a mobile app provides access to all types of customer data, brands should acquire user consent before using the information.

This can be in the form of seeking permissions, informing users of data usage, and ensuring that their data is protected and used for ethical purposes. 

For example, Zara requires location and notification permissions to provide a personalized in-store experience to users. The app specifies how they utilize this customer data and also provides the flexibility to change permissions later.

Finals Thoughts

Mobile application development is a huge part of the e-commerce culture. Businesses that introduce mobile apps can communicate better with their customers and build brand familiarity. 

But with several ecommerce sites building their own applications, you need a top-notch app to stand out. 

The above tips will help you create an app that addresses all your customer requirements while also boosting sales and revenue for your ecommerce business.

Author’s Bio: Natasha is a content marketing specialist who thinks it’s kind of fun creating content marketing strategies for SaaS businesses. In her free time, she spends time watching Netflix.