How to Build an e-Commerce App: Entrepreneur’s Guide
e-Commerce has grown exponentially in a very short period of time thanks to the widespread use of smartphones and inexpensive data. Many would rather buy online via a website or better yet a well-crafted application where they can access anywhere at any time to buy from the worldwide market.
Does your e-Commerce business have an engaging, easy to use app to boost your conversions?
Why Does Your Business Need an eCommerce App?
Today more people of all ages are using smartphones and digital devices for many aspects of their lives including shopping. With so many apps now on the market, a plain, functional app isn’t going to cut it. You need an app that’s easy to understand and navigate. It should load quickly and provide a great user experience.
Apps, at the moment, are necessary to grow your eCommerce business. While there is a cost involved for the development and maintenance of an app, they can do a lot of the work for you reducing efforts and expenses.
How to Build an E-Commerce App
What to Consider Before You Start Developing the App
First, you need to know your target audience. Identifying the audience for your particular niche is vital to the success of your app. Start with your existing customers. It’s important that you understand their habits and preferences so you can tailor your app to attract them to your business.
Check on the competition:
Check on the competition: Identify your major competition and study their setup. In your analysis, you’ll get some great ideas for your business and app. More importantly, if you understand how they do business, you’ll figure out how to offer a better deal to draw your targeted audience to your business.
If you’re a small business, you may not have the budget to create an app for every existing platform. If that’s the case, identify the ones your customers are using most. If possible, at a minimum, develop an Android eCommerce app and iOS eCommerce app because they are globally used. Your platform choice might also be swayed by your geolocation.
What Features Should Your App Have?
Your app should feature each product offered on your website or physical store.
A comprehensive search utility is a necessity for your app. A good search function allows your customers can save time and find exactly what they are looking for fast. Bonus points if you include filters that allow them to further sort by price, size, color, and more.
Social media integration:
Customers today want what they want fast and with minimal effort. If you can integrate a social media platform with registration so they can log in with their Facebook account and use that information to expedite the process, your app will be more successful. Such a setup will also help you track them better to see what sort of news and products they are interested in so you can make any possible adjustments to what you offer.
The easier your checkout process, the better. If your checkout is quick and easy, you’ll lower your cart abandonment rates and earn customer loyalty.
Using the cloud:
When you use cloud computing, you can add the power of a recommendation engine to provide a better user experience. You also increase the chances that your customers will find something else they want to buy. With cloud computing you can include a chatbox. These can serve as a personal shopping assistant to your customers to provide vital information exactly when they need it.
A secure payment system to protect your customers and yourself is a must. Offer as many payment options as you possibly can and make sure your system is encrypted and secure.
It’s important to get the design of your e-Commerce app as close to perfect for your business as you can from the beginning. What should definitely be included in the design? What should you avoid?
App Design Dos
The app should be simple to use and easy to understand. If you’re developing a reservation service app, it should work smoothly and be easy to comprehend.
Study how a customer might use the app as you develop so you can make adjustments to make it more user-friendly.
There should be no clutter within your app design. If it doesn’t serve a vital purpose, don’t include it.
Include navigation that allows the user to easily visit any part of the app quickly and easily.
Remember older folks will be using your app and make your buttons big enough to see and touch on any device.
App Design Don’ts
Design a “first visit” experience for your customers. Through the use of personalization, you improve your customers’ experience and help them become more invested in your business and the app.
Don’t confuse user interface and user experience. It’s important to understand the distinction. The user interface is the “how” your customer interacts with the app. It’s not the same thing as the user experience which is how they emotionally feel about your app and ultimately, your business.
Ensure the appearance of the app is appealing but minimal. Fonts and layouts should be appealing and make it easy to read and view all content.
Give your customers a way to provide feedback. Providing an integrated feedback system within your app. It will demonstrate to your customers that you care about their opinion and instills trust in your business.
Monetizing Your App
When developing an app for your business, remember you’ll want to have ways to monetize it to recover the cost for its development and upkeep.
In-app Buying: Give your customers a way to buy within the app.
The Freemium App:
The Freemium App: Providing your app as free to download and use will encourage customers to do just that. Keep in mind that you can reserve a few key functions they just might like to have for a fee.
Subscription Apps: You can set up your business app as free to download and used for a prescribed period of time. When the time is up, they’ll need to buy the app to continue to use it. If you’ve done a good job of development, they may want to do just that.
Third-Party Gateways: If your business sells physical goods, you can incorporate a third-payment gateway for payments so your customer can easily pay within the app.
Promoting Your App
Customers won’t download an app they aren’t aware of. Advertise your new app as widely as your budget will allow.
Use a landing page on your website for your app with key talking points about it. Include videos, calls-to-action, and a full list of its features to draw customers to it.
Ensure that your app is not only available in the popular apps stores but also use app store optimization techniques to rank it as high as possible.
Draw customers to your app with viral video content. Reach out on social media platforms with the video about your app to build interest.
If you have a blog, use it to advertise your new app. If you don’t have a blog, start one and make your app one of your first topics. Then use the blog to build your website’s rank in the search engines.
Shipping your orders internationally
With a new and improved e-commerce app comes new sales (hopefully 😉 ). All these new incoming orders will have to be shipped and delivered to your newly acquired customers.
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In planning your app carefully before it’s even in development, you’ll have a better chance of developing an app your customers will love and that will be a real asset to your business.