How to develop an eCommerce Android app- A simplified guide

Mobile App Development, On-demand App Development

One of the most expeditious technological trends in the past few decades, one which has seasoned with time and has managed to stay relevant, have been the eCommerce trend. After its bumpy start, the eCommerce sector took off and managed to not only grow but also sophisticate itself as it progressed. In fact, now we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without it. The power of ordering things online and having them delivered to your doorsteps is nothing less than a miracle and pure addiction. After all, who wants to go out to shop, at the expense of brain cells which you would lose while dealing with the traffic, and shop owners, and obnoxious fellow shoppers who like to bump into you and not apologize at the mall? Who wants to make themselves so miserable when there is a much easier option available?

With just a few clicks, these eCommerce websites provide you with a selection of items from the most popular brands on the planet. You can browse through them all day long at your own convenience, and not a single person would object. But comfort is not the only factor responsible behind eCommerce’s massive popularity. These sites have tipped the balance of power; now the customers have the upper hand. They don’t rely on the kindness of shop owners and don’t have to bargain with them over their extravagant prices. These sites give you quality material on great prices. And every few months, they will perform a sale of one kind or another to boost their earnings further and help you get the best deal on that dual door refrigerator you’ve been wanting.

So one can see that eCommerce has jumped through a lot of hoops to prove its worth to its customers. And because of this ever-growing trend, more and more e-commerce businesses are launching every year and are earning hefty profits.

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According to the statistics, the American e-commerce market alone is worth $360.3 billion. And the US retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach the $603.4 billion mark by the year 2021! Now though encouraging this figure might be, saying that within 3 years, the sales will rise by $3 billion, would have been kind of ambitious.

But it is not.

Why?

Because eCommerce sector now has a new weapon, and that weapon is your cell phones.

Amazon, Flipkart, Wallmart, all the biggest online retailers have their very own smartphone app now. Smartphones are one of the most celebrated inventions of the twenty-first century. And looking at how easily eCommerce was able to use the smartphone technology, it wouldn’t be an overstatement if we said that they were both made for each other.

With a rise in the number of smartphones, shopping online is now easier than ever. You can literally make a purchase anywhere, provided you get a decent signal. Shopping in busses, in trains, while you’re stuck in traffics, while you’re at work, all of it is possible because of these eCommerce apps. This has further increased the number of e-commerce businesses in the market.

But now, the market is approaching its saturation point. And thus, the competition between eCommerce sites like is far fiercer than ever before. Everyone is trying to dominate the others and in doing so, is coming up with better and better ideas.

So breaking into this market space is tough, but not impossible. In fact, with the tools that you have nowadays and how easy eCommerce app development for Android and iOS is, the chances are you will be able to make it after all. But, there are some things you need to keep in mind before you kick off your smartphone app development process though.

And today we will discuss how you can develop an eCommerce smartphone app for your new business.

So let’s get rolling then!

Research and Market Study

For a new startup, the most daunting task is to know when the time is right. Here’s the thing, not every startup is equally well-funded. Some are able to reel in good investors while some are not as lucky. So for them, going for the mobile app development process is a big decision which needs to be taken very seriously. And they often find themselves asking-

If the time is right? Are they popular enough to justify having a mobile app? What will be ROI if they do decide to get an app built? Will it help their business?

It is natural that you should be stuck with this decision, but there is an easy out. What you need to do before you decide whether you should go for app development or not, is sound Market Study. Now Market Study has multiple sub-processes.

Know your Enemies

It involves researching your competitors and finding answers to below questions-

  • What they are doing with their apps and how they are doing it?
  • What features they have and will be adopting them in your app help your business?
  • What is the customer sentiment towards their app? Do people like it or not?
  • What are the mistakes they are making with their apps and what can we do to not make them as well?

 

When you will look into the matters which we mentioned above, you will get a good picture of what your app needs to be and what it shouldn’t be. To further expand your knowledge base, conduct the second step.

Trend Research

Our world runs on trends. If you look at the timeline of human civilization, you will realize that it is just us jumping from one trend to another. Yeah, sometimes some trends turn into fads and disappear just as quickly as they came, but at the end of the day, trends are the driving force in the development of human civilization.

The way current marketplaces work is that people want to be exhilarated by new things, or trends. Clothes, shoes, hairstyles, and even the apps they use, they want it to be trendy. And you do not want to spend all that time and money in getting an app developed and find it completely out-dated. So make sure that you research current technological trends and try to bring them in your app.

Focus on your customer base

You can’t target everyone. Most businesses need to focus their attention on one or two customer groups. When we say customer groups, we mean different types of people who might use your app, those groups can be age groups, ethnic groups, gender groups, business-oriented groups, etc. And based on the customers you target, you need to decide- If they will like to use your app or not? And if they would, what would be the features that they would enjoy?

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For example, millennials always like to stay with current trends, so if you’re in the business of selling skinny jeans, which no sane adult over thirty would even go near, then your app needs to target that age group only. And based on that, you will have to decide the style, working, and content of your app as well.

Take Customer inputs

If you already have a good customer base, then it is always a good idea to get their inputs on various issues. Conduct face-to-face interviews with them and take very inputs very seriously.

After going through all the processes involved with the Market Study phase, you will be able to get a good idea of what your app should be, and if you can justify developing or not.

Important Features

Once you have finished your Market Study, it is time to start planning your Android app development process. Now before we continue, you need to understand one thing very clearly-

Perfection is a lie.

You can’t sit around and keep tweaking your app till it meets your ridiculously high expectations. Because it never will. It would be a lot more prudent to get your application developed quickly and with only essential features in the beginning and then release it. It is called a Minimum Viable Product(MVP), and it is always a handy tool to gather initial customer reviews and see how much you need to change your strategy.

And once your MVP is out in the market, then you can keep working on improving and making it bulkier. Furthermore, if you release an application in its basic form, it is easier to tweak it according to user reviews.

Now there are countless features out there, and you can’t use all of them naturally. But there are some features which your eCommerce app must have.

Sign-up/Log-in

It doesn’t matter what your app is all about; most apps need to have a user sign-in and log-in module. You need to design a clean log-in/sign-up page with only the necessary fields and buttons. Remember that you don’t want to harass your customers by asking them frivolous questions. Just ask for essential details.

Furthermore, make sure that you give your users an option to sign-up and log-in using their various social media accounts as well. And in the end, remember to put in the Forgot Password? tab at the end of the page.

Push Notifications

They are a great tool to let your users know about any upcoming sales or share with them any new news. They can also be used to tell your users about the release of an app update or any new brand or product that you might be bringing to your inventories.

Search Engine

One of the things people like doing most on eCommerce apps, even more than buying stuff, is window shopping. What, you thought that was only reserved for actual retail stores? If yes, then you’re mistaken, my friend. That’s because it’s easier this way. Users don’t even have to get out of their homes and can do it while lying under a blanket.

So having a good indexing engine is a necessity for every eCommerce app. Make sure that the search action on your app provides almost instantaneous results. Furthermore, you need to put in various filters on your search results, so that users can adjust their searches based on various criteria. Some of the commonly used filters are- price, color, size, etc.

There is no limit how far you can push indexing to make the searching process more and more focused. You can separate your inventory based on the various brands that you offer, type of articles you provide, etc. too.

Product Page and Suggestions

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This element is essential, for obvious reasons. Without a Product page, how will you showcase an item? So make sure that you design a clean product page with good photographs of the product from various angles, and provide only the necessary information, like price, variations, a brief description, and buy now and add to cart buttons.

At the bottom of the page, using an in-app AI, you need to have a small ribbon which shows users various items similar to what they have bought in the past.

User Review

Users like to judge and give their inputs, and thought putting a comments section in the app is just an invitation for them to come and be nasty, it is something you need to do. Reason being, studies show that having a User Review section boosts a business’ sales. Furthermore, new buyers trust customer reviews more than what is written in the product description.

From Cart to Checkout

We all fill our carts very enthusiastically, putting in things we can’t really afford, but very few of us actually make the purchase. The prime reason behind it is the complicated checkout process.

You need to comprehend that nobody wants to apply the least amount of effort where it’s not necessary. So, if you are making your users do a lot of jumping jacks just to make a purchase, then they pretty soon they will get annoyed and simply leave your app and find a different one.

To help you create a more streamlined checkout process, here are some tips:

  • Permit users to make a purchase as guests. Don’t try to force the Must-Login-to-Buy restrictions on them. Many users don’t have time to sit and sign up these days, so make sure you don’t alienate them.
  • Nobody likes to wait or to stay in the dark. So, demonstrate the checkout progress to your users. Divide the process into a bunch of steps by making use of various forms, that way users will know how many steps they still have to go through.
  • Don’t bombard your customers with questions, keep the checkout process simple and straightforward.
  • Allow social media login.

Payment Gateway

Try using a safe and streamlined payment gateway. Also, don’t leave your users to just one option, give them choices. Paypal, Paytm, Google Wallet, there are many options in the market, and you should make use of them all. Moreover, make sure you use a popular and safe payment gateway with a good market reputation. When money is involved, security is the most significant concern. And if something goes wrong and a user’s payment is lost, it will taint your reputation irreparably.

Off it goes

A big reason behind Amazon’s success is its reach. It has well-stocked warehouses everywhere which allows it to transport goods swiftly. Customers are always impatient, as soon as they place their orders, it’s like an imaginary clock starts ticking over their heads and they count hours till their product is delivered to them.

So to ease their minds, you need to put into place an excellent order-tracking mechanism which tells users the latest location of their goods. Blockchain might be the best technology for you to look into for this matter.  Also, show your user a delivery date, as accurately as possible.
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Design

The first impression is the last impression. If you do not astonish your customers from the second they open your app, then you’ve failed. So be sure that you pick a professional design for your app. The visuals (UI/UX) of your eCommerce application will be great influencers on users’ opinion of you and your app.

So don’t mess it up.

Some of the key things you should focus on while designing your app are as follows:

  • Logo: Your logo will define your Android eCommerce application. Every time a user will sift through his app list, he will recognize your app with your logo. So it needs to stand out, and for that, you need to create a clean, creative, sometimes even funny, logo. Your logo will be the identity of your app. On the Google Play Store, your app will be recognized by your logo. So be sure that it is as eye-catching as it can be. But don’t go too on board though. In an attempt to make a good logo, don’t cram too many elements in it. Because if you do, it will just look sloppy and your perfectionism will work to your disadvantage.
  • Choose your colors wisely: Make sure that you follow a color scheme which makes the goods on the application stand out and do not irritate the eyes.
  • Good pictures: High-def and well-lit images taken from various angles will be an asset to your app and your business on the whole. If users like what they see, they will buy it. And not having good pictures for your products is robbing them of their allure.
  • Add zooming option: Some users like to scrutinize on every detail before making a purchase. So having a zooming option on your pictures becomes a necessity.   

Platform

The next phase of development is landing on the choice of platform you want your app to run on. Now we know that the title of the article reads how to develop an Android eCommerce app, but we want to be fair and articulate the best information without any bias. So we will go over some pros and cons for two of the most popular smartphone platforms in the market because, when we say that the platform of your application can make or break your business, we mean it.

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The most prominent players in the market are Google’s celebrated brain-child Android and Apple’s art-piece of a smartphone OS, iOS. Both of them are highly popular in their own circles. While iOS dominates in North America and Europe, other parts of the world choose to go with Android mostly.

Now before landing on a platform, you need to ask yourself once again, who are my clients? Am I targeting wealthy, upper-class customers? Or am I going after more average, middle-class customers? It is necessary to ask these question, especially at this juncture of the development process. Reason being the well-accepted fact that rich people go with iOS, simply because they can. While, most middle-class customers go for Android, given the fact that it is cheaper.

Then comes the matter of geographical divisions. Different countries, based on how developed they are, have, on average, different preferences. So ask yourself- Am I targeting customers in Europe and North America, or the Orient and other Asian and middle Asian countries?

And finally, you need to keep your timeline in mind as well. It is one of the major challenges of Android app development- Since Android has many variants in the market, an app for Android needs to be developed for multiple devices. On the other hand, Apple applications are finished quickly, since it has only a handful of devices. But register that Android has a far larger customer base than iOS and though the iPhone buyers are, by social-acceptance, considered rich and willing to buy more stuff, they cannot compete with the sheer volume of Android users and the number of purchases they make.

Customer service

Issues will always arise. Maybe with your app functionality, or products, or something otherwise. The bottom line is, users will have complaints, and you need to come up with a way to make it easier to convey them to you. Giving a simple contact number and an email address is no longer enough. It is very rare these days that a customer will close your app and call on the number you have provided. So be available for them through the app as well.

Promotion

And the last thing which will decide the fate of your app is how you promote it. Don’t underestimate the power of publicity; you need people to know and be intrigued by your application even before it is released.

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are powerful promotional tools. Your presence on these platforms is must nowadays. Also, try to be as active on them as possible and respond to customer queries on your company pages.

Managing a blog is also good to promote, too. This way you can share your ideas and some news you might have with your customers.

Signing off

The process, of course, doesn’t end here. As we mentioned at the beginning as well, you can always enhance your application. Remember, that the process never ends. So take customer reviews very seriously. There are a lot of other ways by which you can keep your customers interested in your app, to keep the hooked. Over the course of time, you can develop an eWallet for your app and have users use it instead of using their debit cards; you can give them wallet credits if they use your app, coupons, exclusive deals, even.

In conclusion, your app needs to become a necessity for your users, so choose your eCommerce Android App developer carefully, only then will it have any chance of surviving in the market.
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