How to Design a Mobile App for an m-Commerce Business

Not so long back, entrepreneurs doubted if they needed a mobile-responsive site. When desktop-based online stores were already performing quite well, wouldn’t spending on mobile optimization be a redundant investment?

Gradually, stats coming from reported sources blew their minds, and consequently, their perceptions changed. Mobile-responsiveness became a necessity than a choice.

In 2017, eCommerce stores received 34.5% of the total e-Commerce sales from mobile devices. Statista also predicted that this number will only increase and by 2021, it will surpass desktop website sales to record at least 53.9% of the sales through mobile access alone.

Long before that, mobile traffic had already surpassed desktop web traffic. This increase was an indication that mobile was going to be a mammoth concern for driving eCommerce sales for years to come. Even Google released its long-anticipated mobile first update in 2018, which made it clear that mobile optimization is no more a choice but a necessity.  

Hence, early adopters who got the point started optimizing their site for mobile. However, here is a big question:

Why an app-based mobile shopping cart when sites are already responsive?

As per DynamicYield, “only 12% of online shoppers find mobile websites convenient for eCommerce shopping.” Despite shoppers use mobile phones for product research, desktop sites were still the preferred destination for checking out and completing the purchase.

That means eCommerce sites were not able to immediately convert at least 22% of the traffic that they would get from mobile users. Despite whether there was a chance that users would visit the same desktop site to complete the purchase, mobile sites were still incompetent to convert their native users.

That’s where native m-commerce (mobile commerce) apps with amobile app shopping cart come to the rescue. Mobile apps operate in a different way as compared with responsive sites. While mobile sites run on all supported devices and users don’t need to install a separate app, apps impart a unique UX to the mobile shoppers.

No doubt you need your mobile sites aligned with all the mobile e-commerce best practices to attract new or occasional shoppers, mobile apps can still bring a lot of repeat sales from regular customers.

Benefits of m-Commerce Stores

  • They emphasize on unique features and UX.
  • App-based mobile shopping carts are safer than browsers.
  • They can also work offline depending on the kind of app.
  • They are more user-friendly than mobile-optimized sites.
  • Their design is more augmented for a variety of screen sizes.
  • They use less mobile data for performing the same tasks as in websites.
  • They can leverage the phone’s components and enhance the user experience.
  • Sensors like mic, camera, GPS, increase usability and makes shopping easier.

According to Adobe, 67% of mobile-based shoppers prefer apps over mobile sites provided by their favorite brands. Offering a mobile app can boost brand loyalty among your customers. With faster apps and higher content quality, you can save your customers from slow websites and boost the conversion rates exponentially.

Be advised that 79% of the smartphone users have at least one m-commerce app installed on their phone. It’s time for you to join the league and make space for your mobile app on your prospects’ mobile phones.

How to Create an m-Commerce App for Your Business

Building a mobile shopping cart or so-called m-commerce app was a luxury a few years back. Be it an Android or iOS mobile app, entrepreneurs had to spend fortunes in their developments. However, its already mid-2019 and we now have an array of easy, quick, and affordable ways to build m-commerce apps. Find some of the most popular ways below:

Get a Ready-Made Native App Builder

Mobile app builders are the new trend. They work on the philosophy: “you don’t need re-inventing the wheel to make a cart. You can simply buy the wheels and focus more on making your cart as impeccable as possible.”

In the same way, mobile app builders come with ready-made base code where software developers or you can further customize them to fit completely to your requirements and brand. They are mostly fully-equipped, and you might have to ask for a UI revamp to match your brand. Such mobile app builders are also called white-labeled turnkey apps as vendors let you brand the app with your own unique identity.

I always prefer white-labeled and self-hosted mobile app builders over the SaaS builders. They offer you full control over your app, and you can host them with your own app store accounts, unlike SaaS-based builders, which do not remove their native branding and you can’t host your app on your own account.

The best part is, this type of app comes with one-time investment and you are saved from paying any monthly subscription cost, which is not the case in hosted or SaaS app builders you find on the web. They nearly give you unlimited customizability and control as you get while developing your app from scratch.

How to Get a Self-Hosted m-Commerce App Builder

Despite these are app builders, you don’t have to do any coding or setup by yourself. You will only have to give your requirements to the vendors and they will customize your native app as per your specifications. Unlike development from scratch, such apps cost less and provide you with fast processing and delivery.

However, if you already have a web-store and want a customized mobile app for it, it might take a little longer, but still less time than developing an app from scratch. If you want to launch your business as app-only, or thinking about getting both the turnkey website and apps from the same vendor, it would be a very quick process. This is understandable considering they would already have the ready-made website and app developed correspondingly.

Hence, here is the process to get your ready-made native m-commerce app:

  1. Look for a reputed self-hosted mobile app builder on the web.
  2. Submit your requirements and lock the deal.
  3. Wait until they deliver your app.
  4. Get the app and the source code.
  5. Host on the app store with your account.

Some vendors also offer hosting and promotion services. You might want to avail that for seamless launch and hassle-free maintenance.

Basic Designs and Features to Look For in Your m-Commerce App

Whether, you are purchasing a mobile app builder, outsourcing mobile app development, or developing your mobile app from scratch, you must make sure it is loaded with the following curial features:

  1. Admin panel: A web-based admin panel with every control for product management, user management, shipping management, order management, return management, and discount management, etc.
  2. User registration: An interface to register new users with a mobile number or email address.
  3. User login: A login interface for registered users.
  4. Social login: A login or sign-up using social media accounts. Eg Facebook login.
  5. Product catalog: A comprehensive product catalog with category management and filters.
  6. Search bar: An advanced search bar for product search using different filters.
  7. Shopping cart: An integrated mobile shopping cart adding products and checking out with them.
  8. Orders history: An option to save the order history of the registered users.
  9. In-app payments: Integrated payment gateways for in-app payments and placing pre-paid orders.
  10. Push notifications: Push alerts for communication and marketing.
  11. Wishlist: Add products to a dedicated list, which can further add them to the cart directly.  
  12. Shipping methods: Integrated APIs from partner shipping services like FedEx, Bluedart, etc.
  13. Integrated Analytics: Integrated Analytics for users, sales, conversions, traffic, and so on. Eg. Google Analytics, Salesforce CRM, and Heat Map tools, etc.
  14. API integration: Feasibility to integrate any popular API for the store and business management. For example, SMS API, CRM API, inventory Management API, Google Shopping API, Dropshipping API, Affiliate marketing API, etc.  

The design of a mobile app shopping cart totally depends on your business requirements and revenue models. The more are the features the more is the complexity to design the UI with them. Nevertheless, mobile eCommerce best practices still apply to the app as well. Follow the best designing principles and aim at making your apps more usable, easy to use, and quicker than the mobile or desktop site.

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