IDAP BLOG Mobile Application Development

How to build an E-commerce app


While desktop spendings continue to show steady growth year by year, the share of online retail sales through the mobile medium has seen a skyrocketing annual increase of 33.8% since 2016. The cause of that is the seamless process that customers experience at every tap of the screen. Simple logic suggests that e-commerce mobile app development is a long-lasting trend in the era of digital. Nothing hints at the global population refusing smartphones anytime soon. On the contrary, mobile e-commerce is expected to reach $3.5 trillion by 2021. And the reason for it is explainable. 

total mobile e-commerce sales

Mobile platforms provide tools for studying and gaining a through-and-through understanding of the customer journey. Marketing specialists can finally grasp what influences the decisive moment of making a purchase. All this knowledge is a must for engineering a smooth user experience that wins the hearts and minds of prospects while increasing the brand’s revenue. 

Just the ability to access a business and its product through the medium carried in the right back pocket of Levis’ is enough to choose it over any other thing present on the market. Today, any retailer who is delaying to create an ecommerce app might look obsolete if not flawed. Purchases on the go constitute a large niche worth being present in. There is no shortage in both technologies for e-commerce application development and the developers who possess the technologies well. Some particular nuances of the development should not prevent merchants from getting into it.

Read on if you are still chewing over the need to get a mobile app and try to find out what e-commerce app development consists of. 

Let’s begin our journey into application creating with a little detour to the requirements for the development of an e-commerce app. Is it really that easy to dive into the app making or there are some traps and pitfalls on the way to efficient e-commerce mobile app development? 

Read Also: How to Build a Marketplace

Things to take care of:

#1. Security

The initial idea of all e-commerce apps is to give users the ability to buy goods by tapping on the screen of their smartphone. The first and foremost element that should be considered is the security of the user’s private data. E-commerce applications require plenty of confidential information in the process of making a purchase (e.g. shipping and billing address, card number, CVV code, email) so its protection from harm has to be your primary concern.

How is a new application going to guarantee the safety of users’ private data? And what mechanisms can be used to prevent it from falling into the hands of cybercriminals? Personal data leakage is one of the most painful issues in the entire software sector nowadays. And e-commerce application development is no exclusion. Security features of a software product determine its future on the market.  

If you fail to assure users of the absolute safety of their personal info, it creates the risk that the app will never get to the top. The idea that it is impossible to create a 100% unhackable application belongs to superstitions rather than reality. Modern encryption technologies enable building ecommerce apps bullet-proof against data theft. Some methods of encryption are expensive, others are not. At the end of the day, the security level of any software application depends on how much its owners are ready to spend on a barrier against hackers. Sometimes, security is cost-intensive at the stage of e-commerce mobile app development, but it is always rewarding finally in operation.  

#2. Stability

Instability and crashes are a no-go for a mobile e-commerce app. Making the app stable should be on the list of top priorities if you plan on returning the investments and raise sales volumes. In general, users prefer to not waste their time on apps that are not consistent or well-balanced.

Of course, creating a perfect product without any difficulties or bugs is hardly possible. It is necessary to carry out quality assurance tests, receive feedback from customers, regularly release fixed updates, and continue to slowly improve the app step by step. Such a sequence of actions is a norm for any respectable company engaged in professional ecommerce mobile app development. Numerous iterations might be time-consuming at the stage of production. However, a well-crafted finished product won’t cause any headache to both the owners and customers. After all, this is about a seamless user experience that is worth the developers’ efforts. 

#3. Scalability

Scalability is the app’s potential to handle the growing amount of work. As an application gains popularity, it compiles more users and more requests to handle. While starting to create an ecommerce app it is hardly reasonable to limit its technical functions in terms of scalability. It is better to provide some excessive range from the outset than to suffer from a frozen application afterward.  

The scalable application can maintain or even improve its efficiency as load continues to increase. Meaning that an average response time, the number of requests processed per second, and so on would continue to increase by demand proportionally.

#4. Style

Creating an app for a myriad of gadgets calls for a top-notch design that answers the requirements of both Android and iOS, and can satisfy their users. You should consider the demands of these operating systems and the capacities of different devices that support them. Application design plays a significant role in reaching the top charts of app stores. How to build an ecommerce app for diverse devices is the first question that should come to mind of a farsighted merchant. The bigger audience the app can cover the larger income it can bring and, therefore, the smaller development costs can occur at the end of the day.  

It has to be visually attractive and intuitive in use. Remember that users are lazy and impatient. Anyone would get annoyed by a slow app that is hard to figure out. However, the design should not be sacrificed to usability. People are subconsciously looking for beauty in everything they touch. An impressive design is the other side of the coin when it comes to building ecommerce apps.   

Offer several payment methods

Now, e-commerce applications are all about sales and specials. Payment is the valuable feature people are after. For the sake of supplying users with a safe and easy-to-use payment system, it is necessary to add a payment gateway and processor into the app. 

You wonder what a payment gateway is? In short, it’s a connected service that allows charging your customers credit cards while they make purchases online. Usually, such a payment gateway is provided either by a bank or a particular financial service provider. Contemporary finance includes different options for payment beginning from bank cards and wire transfers up to cryptocurrencies. Somewhere in between, there are such popular payment services as Revolut, TransferWise, and Braintree. 

When thinking about how to make an ecommerce app, business owners start prioritizing payment diversity for a reason. A trouble-free transfer of money from a customer to a merchant is what any ecommerce app should be able to execute via its payment gateways. The payment gateway acts as a mechanism that connects your application to the acquiring bank by transferring the information back and forth. 

What should one pay attention to when deciding on a payment gateway? Take a look at a couple of options you have there. 

#1. Integrate a gateway API

There is a number of payment gateways that can be successfully integrated into the e-commerce platform of your choice. This way users will be able to submit their payment information into the form inside your app without any redirections or outside services. This feature provides a smooth user experience. When e-commerce application development is about a large project, the approach seems very reasonable.

However, while it is the simplest way for a user, it is not the safest one. The information about credit cards and payments as well as secret passwords all will be stored on your company’s servers. To prevent data leakage and fraud you will have to take security measures complying with Payment Card Industry standards. As far as small or even middle-sized businesses are concerned, this is the least cost-effective solution.  

#2. Using the services of payment gateway providers like Stripe or Braintree

Stripe and Braintree have a PCI LEVEL 1 Service Providers certification – the highest level of existing certification systems. These guys are going to deal with a majority of delicate issues concerning payments and data safety. 

By integrating any of these payment gateways, the payment information of your customers will be transmitted directly to the payment systems’ servers. The only thing on your hands is to fill in their questionnaires. The demand for secure payments in the e-commerce sector creates healthy competition between the emerging payment-gateway providers. Today, the one who is going to create an ecommerce app has quite a wide selection of relevant payment services. They keep developing in the context of compatibility with various technologies in e-commerce mobile app development. Both business owners and consumers are benefiting from service fees that are going down due to competition.     

Brief summary of the e-commerce mobile app development

e-commerce mobile app development

When all preparation steps have been made and decided upon, it is time to move further to the application building. We are going to cover what kind of team and technologies are required for e-commerce mobile app development. Projects may vary significantly, technology stacks can be different as well. But the general workflow in the segment of e-commerce application development is well-known to the last detail. The developers’ team is never a secret since thousands of software development companies share their working experience on the internet. 

A well-balanced team for app creation should consist of: 

  • Project Manager 
  • UI/UX Designer 
  • iOS Developer 
  • Android Developer 
  • Backend Developer
  • Quality Assurance Tester

Key features that need to be implemented in the app on the stage of an MVP are:

1. Authorization

Provide users a choice whether they should register through email, phone number, or a social media account;

2. User profile

This feature will consist of the user’s personal information (email, name and surname, shipping address, buying history, wish-list). Nicknames, avatar pictures, and photos won’t hurt as well. Preferable payment methods can be a good option since this is about e-commerce application development.

3. Feed

Add a list of offered items based on the user’s preferences that can be updated in real time to retain their interest; SearchA search bar where users can type in what they look for and filter the results by brand, color, size, season, model, and so on. Voice search can be added since this technology is on the hype in e-commerce today. There is even a standalone name for it: “voice commerce”. This is especially relevant to e-commerce mobile app development where everything facilitating mobility is welcome.

4. Payment system

Integration of one or another payment service belongs to back-end development mostly. The end customers are hardly aware of the amount of work necessary to be done when the payment section is developed. Nonetheless, users always appreciate the uninterrupted functioning of payment options. Hence, making a payment system is crucial during e-commerce application development.  

5. Online support

Users can get confused with size-charts, delivery methods, or just have trouble placing an order. It is necessary to add an online chat or a call center to support the app. Chatbots can be implemented as well to prevent customer support from overloading with simple and frequent queries such as signing in, for instance. When a large-scale e-commerce project should be built it is worth getting customer support outsourced to a professional BPO provider. 

6. Rate, comment, and review

Users rely on each others’ opinion in making a decision whether to go for a product online, as there is no way to try it on or see color in real life. Adding a rating system for goods and a comment section for leaving feedback on offered goods/services can strengthen the credibility of your business. On the one hand, the section for customer credentials can facilitate a proper onboarding of newcomers. First-timers can get useful info from product reviews created by earlier buyers. On the other hand, regulars can get another opportunity for self-expression via reviews and comments. Any project in e-commerce application development should use such a section as word of mouth that is always a win-win strategy.  

7. Order tracking (optional) 

This feature gives users information on the status of their delivery.

Each stage of the app making needs some time, and that is also going to affect the final sum. E-commerce application development is all about planning and time scheduling. You can’t just come to the vendor’s office with your own schedule and budget. The total cost of an application heavily depends on human hours to be spent to create an e-commerce app. 

E-commerce application development

The draft time plan for the app development is going to look like this:

e-commerce application

The most time-consuming features to develop are: 

  • Feed 10 hours (can be more or less depending on the UI’s complexity); 
  • Integrating payment system 40 hours; 
  • Customer support chat 16 hours;

In total, the development of an e-commerce app may take up to 500-600 hours depending on the number of features and their difficulty. The software development process has to be well-planned to avoid hidden costs, unnecessary re-dos, and unwanted time expenses. But in any case, the process of e-commerce application development should start from receiving a technical requirement from a customer. The document reveals what exactly the customer is expecting from the application. A certain experience and qualification are needed to create a consistent technical requirement. However, this is not fatal if you have none – our project managers are always at your disposal. 


IDAP provides proper planning for every project we deal with, no matter how big or small it is. Our project managers diligently study your business needs and offer appropriate tech solutions to meet your expectations. Especially if you have a limited budget and a tight schedule. Contact us today if you are looking for e-commerce application development on a turn-key basis.

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