The prerequisites for building an e-commerce app

20th Oct 2016
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Mobile e-commerce is exploding. Mobile shopping is on the all-time rise. Almost every e-commerce company has made a jump to mobile and seen immense increases in their profits.

According to a recent report by Internet Retailer, there has been a substantial increase in mobile internet users. The report suggests that consumers have started spending more time with online retail on mobile devices, and have surpassed desktop users in 2016.

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Whether you’re thinking about building an e-commerce app for your existing business or starting out directly with a new mobile venture, there’s no better time to do it than now. From increasing your customer base to boosting sales and fostering an easier way of doing business, eCommerce apps have numerous benefits. But like any other business, there are a few pre-requisites you need to keep in mind before building one.

Have a plan in place

For the success of any business, it is important to ask yourself the right questions and find answers to them before you proceed any further. Meet with experts, friends and family who have professional experience, read good books, and go online. It’s better to be prepared in advance. Here are some of the questions you need to ask before building an e-commerce app:

  1. What products should I sell?
  2. How should I price my products?
  3. What will be my cut on every sale?
  4. How can I find the right manufacturers?
  5. Which app building platform should I choose?
  6. How should my app look?

Get a thorough research done and have a concrete plan in place before you take the first step towards building your business.

Choose the right app building platform

This is an important step in the overall development process of your e-commerce app. There are many platforms in the market today, which means that you need to do a thorough research on available options before you settle for a particular platform. Shopify, Volusion and BigCommerce are all big players in this sector, while many home-grown companies like OhoShop are also gaining popularity.

The cost involved in the app development is a key aspect of your decision process. Every e-Commerce platform offers varied plans and pricing depending on the features that you require. Visit the websites of the shortlisted platforms of your choice and compare the pricing of each. At Shopify, the basic plan starts at $29 per month and goes up to $299 for the advanced package, while BigCommerce starts $29.95 per month and goes up to $199.95.

Choosing the right platform also requires you to consider what features you want for your e-commerce app and which platform provides them at the best price and greatest flexibility. You may get a whole lot of features for the most expensive plans, but your business may not even require all of them. For instance, OhoShop’s Starter plan allows you to upload only 1,000 products and does not provide App Analytics, but the Advance package allows 10,000 products along with the latter feature. If you’re a small business, the basic plan would be sufficient, but for big firms, features like App Analytics are almost indispensable for tracking progress, which you can only access with premium plans.

Some of the basic features an e-commerce app requires are app personalisation, catalogue and inventory management, push notifications, delivery management, order acceptance and payment, and a dedicated customer support.

Study your budget and determine your business requirements before deciding on any platform.

Focus on delivering best customer experience

The whole point of having an e-commerce app is to provide your customers with a simpler and seamless shopping experience. Right from the look of the app to the final checkout, your customer should go through an effortless process. A lot of this also depends on the app building platform that you choose. It is best to use a platform that offers features like inventory management, design functionality with branding, custom icon, logo, a smooth back end office for uploading products and information and a payment gateway setup, since all these aspects come together to provide the customers with an excellent experience of using your app.

To reiterate, a good app is one that offers a seamless user experience. Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll be able to achieve just that.

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