Mobile eCommerce app development guide: cost, steps, features

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: cost, steps, features

In a world where smartphones have become an extension of our hands, having a mobile eCommerce app is no longer a luxury, but a strategic necessity.

In today's digital era, the importance of having a strong online presence for businesses cannot be overstated. According to recent statistics by Statista, mobile commerce sales accounted for a staggering 65.2% of all retail sales globally by 2022.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: Mobile eCommerce 2023
information by OuterBox

Now is the perfect time to dive into the world of eCommerce software development and seize the opportunities waiting for you in the palm of your customers' hands. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the cost, steps, and essential features of creating a cutting-edge mobile eCommerce app in 2023 to make this strategic decision an impactful and informed one. (And some bonus tips from our experts!)

So buckle up and get ready to unlock the secrets of success in the mobile commerce realm!

What is mobile app development for eCommerce? 

Mobile eCommerce app development refers to the process of creating a mobile application specifically designed for online businesses. 

It involves the development of a user-friendly interface that allows customers to browse products, make purchases, track orders, and interact with the business seamlessly through their mobile devices.

eCommerce mobile app development entails a combination of various elements, including UI/UX design, coding, integration of payment gateways, product catalog management, order processing, and customer support functionalities. 

The ultimate goal is to create an app that reflects the brand identity, offers a smooth and intuitive user experience, and drives conversions.

Why do you need eCommerce mobile app development: the 5 big reasons (and brand examples)

With several names leading the industry today, like Amazon and eBay, and many brands jumping in with the trend of exclusive apps dedicated to their brands, there are many reasons you will need custom retail software development:

1. Competitive brand edge

It shows your commitment to providing a modern and convenient shopping experience, setting you apart from competitors who have not yet embraced mobile eCommerce, much less use it as a method to solidify their brand.

An example of a brand that has gained a competitive edge through its eCommerce mobile app is Nike. Nike's mobile app offers a seamless shopping experience, with features such as personalized product recommendations, exclusive releases, and in-app reservations for limited-edition sneakers (see the appeal!)

"It was observed that several prominent athletic wear companies focused on developing apps that promote healthier lifestyles and workout routines, and did not solely offer eCommerce functionality," says an official for a Nike app case study.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: Competitive brand edge
Nike app

2. Increased customer engagement

Personalized shopping experiences, targeted notifications, and exclusive offers are all ways to effectively bring value to your customers. Mobile apps allow this level of customization and engagement that can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Incorporating AI for customer engagement is another powerful tool that can enhance the personalization and effectiveness of these strategies.

For example, the Starbucks app allows customers to order and pay for their drinks ahead of time, earn rewards, and receive personalized offers and recommendations based on their preferences. 

The app's gamification elements, such as the ability to collect stars and unlock achievements, further enhance customer engagement and encourage repeat purchases.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: Increased customer engagement
Starbucks app

3. Enhanced user experience

App development for eCommerce is designed to provide a smooth and intuitive user interface, making it easier for customers to navigate through products, make purchases, and interact with your business. A seamless user experience can significantly improve customer retention and conversion rates.

While not particularly an eCommerce app, the best brand to take UX inspiration for mobile apps is Airbnb. The well-designed and user-centric app experience contributed the most to Airbnb's success and customer satisfaction.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: enhanced user experience
Airbnb app

4. Accessibility and convenience

Instead of third-party sources or websites, a dedicated mobile app allows customers to shop anytime, anywhere, without the need to visit a physical store or open a web browser. This convenience leads to higher customer engagement and increases the chances of impulse purchases.

Amazon, the eCommerce giant, is known for its mobile app that provides unparalleled accessibility and convenience. 

The app allows customers to browse and shop from a vast selection of products, track orders, and access features such as one-click purchasing and voice search. With its emphasis on convenience and a user-friendly interface, the Amazon app has become an essential tool for millions of customers worldwide.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: Accessibility and convenience
Amazon app

5. Untapped marketing opportunities

Push notifications sent directly to customers' devices from your app, keep them informed about new products, promotions, and discounts. This direct communication channel can significantly improve marketing efforts and drive sales compared to email, social media, or website pop-ups. Additionally, integrating AR in eCommerce apps can provide immersive shopping experiences, allowing customers to virtually try on products before making a purchase.

Sephora, a popular cosmetics retailer, utilized eCommerce app development to unlock marketing opportunities. The Sephora app offers personalized beauty recommendations, virtual try-on features, and exclusive offers and promotions. 

The app also integrates with Sephora's loyalty program, allowing customers to earn points, access rewards, receive personalized notifications, and targeted push notifications.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: Untapped marketing opportunities
Sephora app

Types of eCommerce apps 

One thing is common for all big names out in the eCommerce app game.

Researching and developing the type of apps that fit their users the most.

Understanding the different types of eCommerce mobile application development is crucial to choose the best solution for your business and profit from its benefits.

Native apps

Native apps are specifically built for a particular operating system (such as iOS or Android) and offer the best performance and user experience. They can access device-specific features and take advantage of platform capabilities. However, developing native apps for multiple platforms can be time-consuming and expensive.

Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps are a more common option since they are developed using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) and are wrapped in a native container that allows them to be installed and accessed like native apps. They offer cross-platform compatibility, faster development time, and lower costs compared to native apps. However, they may not provide the same level of performance as native apps.

Progressive web apps (PWAs)

PWAs are web applications that can be accessed through a web browser but provide an app-like experience. They are responsive, fast, and can work offline. PWAs are platform-independent, meaning they can run on any device with a modern web browser. However, they may have limited access to device-specific features.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: advantages of each app type

The relationship between businesses, consumers, and eCommerce app development 

While those are the choices you need to make on a structural level, you must also double down on subtypes for the eCommerce app you wish to develop like:

1. Business-to-Business (B2B) 

These eCommerce apps facilitate transactions between businesses. Like or Amazon, global B2B platforms connecting manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.

2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) 

B2C eCommerce apps are created for businesses to directly sell products or services to individual consumers. Like Amazon, the world's largest online marketplace for a wide range of products.

3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) 

C2C eCommerce apps enable individuals to sell products or services directly to other individuals. For example, eBay or OLX, popular online auction and shopping platforms where individuals can buy and sell a wide variety of items.

4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B) 

C2B eCommerce app development reverses the traditional business-consumer relationship, allowing individuals to offer products, services, or expertise to businesses. The best examples are freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.

5. Aggregator Applications

Aggregator apps bring together multiple sellers or service providers onto a single platform, offering users a wide range of choices and facilitating comparisons. For example an online aggregator website to order food from different locations in your town like DoorDash or UberEats.

The essential steps for eCommerce mobile app development

Define your objectives and target audience

Before starting the development process, clearly define your objectives and identify your target audience. This will help you make informed decisions throughout the development process and ensure that the app aligns with your business goals and meets the needs of your target customers.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: user persona template
(Figma jam’s user persona template)

Conduct market research

Research the market to understand the current trends, customer preferences, and competitor offerings. Identify the unique selling points of your business and determine how your app can differentiate itself in the market.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: feature market template
(Figma jam’s feature market template)

Create a feature list

Based on your objectives and market research, create a comprehensive list of features that your eCommerce app should have. This may include product catalog, search functionality, shopping cart, secure payment options, order tracking, user profiles, customer reviews, and social sharing.

Mobile eCommerce app development guide: planning template
(Figma jam’s feature planning template)

Design UX and UI

Never rule out a UX audit process and work with a skilled UI/UX team to create an intuitive and visually appealing interface for your app. The design should reflect your brand identity and make it easy for customers to navigate and interact with the app.

Choose the development approach

Select the development approach that best suits your requirements and budget. You can choose between native app development, hybrid app development, or progressive web app development. You must also decide on one or more subtypes to make the app fit in your niche.

Integrate third-party services

Integrate necessary third-party services into your app, such as payment gateways, analytics tools, social media platforms, and customer support systems. This will enhance the functionality and improve the overall user experience.

Test and debug

Use quality assurance services for your software to identify and fix any bugs or issues. Consult experts for both functional and usability testing to ensure that the app works seamlessly across different devices and operating systems.

Gather user feedback and iterate

Monitor user feedback and reviews to understand how your app is performing and identify areas for improvement. Continuously update and iterate on your app based on user feedback and evolving market trends.

General features for eCommerce app development 

While the specific features of an eCommerce app may vary depending on the nature of your business, here are some general features that are essential for an effective eCommerce app:

User registration and login: Allow users to create accounts and log in to access personalized features, track orders, and manage their preferences.

Product catalog: Display your products in an organized and visually appealing manner, with detailed product descriptions, images, and pricing information.

Search functionality: Enable users to search for specific products or browse through categories and filters to find what they're looking for easily.

Shopping cart and checkout: Provide a seamless and secure shopping cart experience, allowing users to add products, modify quantities, and proceed to checkout with multiple payment options.

Payment integration: Integrate popular payment gateways to facilitate secure and convenient transactions, such as credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and alternative payment methods.

Order tracking: Allow users to track the status of their orders, view shipping details, and receive notifications for order updates.

Customer reviews and ratings: Enable customers to leave reviews and ratings for products, helping other users make informed purchasing decisions.

Social sharing: Make use of social media marketplaces and enable sharing functionality, allowing users to share products, promotions, and their shopping experiences with their networks and link back to your store or profile for instant purchase.

Personalization rewards system: Use customer data to provide personalized recommendations, product suggestions, and targeted offers based on user preferences and purchase history.

Customer support: Offer various channels for customer support, such as live chat, in-app messaging, or a support ticket system. Ensure that customers can easily reach out for assistance and receive timely responses to their queries or concerns.

Which eCommerce application development platform is best for mobile apps? 

Before making a decision on how to choose the best eCommerce platforms for your business, you must consider some factors:

1. Scalability – Ensure that the platform can handle your current and future business needs as you scale and grow.

2. Customization – Look for a platform that allows you to customize the app according to your brand's requirements and unique features.

3. Integration capabilities – See if the platform supports integration with third-party services such as payment gateways, shipping providers, and analytics tools.

4. Mobile responsiveness – Verify that the platform offers responsive design capabilities, ensuring that your app works seamlessly across different mobile devices and screen sizes.

5. Security – Prioritize platforms that provide robust security features to protect user data, transactions, and sensitive information.

6. Developer support and community – Consider platforms that offer comprehensive documentation, developer support, and an active community for troubleshooting and assistance.

With all that in mind, there's only one option.

Businesses opt for custom mobile app development services using frameworks like React Native or Flutter to build their eCommerce mobile apps. 

Custom development allows for complete control over the app's functionality and design. It offers flexibility in incorporating unique features, customizing the user interface, and integrating specific third-party services. However, custom development requires a skilled development team and can involve more time and resources compared to using pre-built platforms.

Bonus: eCommerce app development best practices to stay ahead 

If you've made it this far, you already know the recipe to make a great eCommerce mobile app.

However, not all great apps are successful. To ensure the success of your eCommerce mobile app, consider the following best practices (from our veterans!)

User-centered design

With how the digital world is changing to be more user-centric you must also prioritize the user experience and design your app with a user-centered approach. Conduct audits, usability testing and gather feedback at different intervals of the development process to continuously improve the app's usability and navigation.

Performance optimization

Optimize your app for fast loading times and smooth performance across different devices and network conditions. Minimize unnecessary features or heavy graphics that could affect the app's speed. Utilizing helpful UX writing is also a must to help your users navigate any complex features easily. 

Security measures

Implement robust security measures to protect user data, transactions, and sensitive information. Use encryption techniques, secure payment gateways, and regularly update security patches. Building trust is a crucial step for satisfied users and loyal buyers.

Regular updates and maintenance

Continuously update and maintain your app to address bugs, improve performance, and add new features based on user feedback and market trends. Keep up with platform updates, industry trends, and ensure compatibility with the latest operating systems.

Advanced analytics and data tracking

AI is changing the way the digital world works. Leverage AI and advanced APIs to implement analytics and gather valuable insights on user behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. Utilize this data to make informed decisions for app optimization and marketing strategies.

eCommerce app development cost and what it depends on

The eCommerce mobile app development cost can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the app, the features and functionality required, the development approach chosen, and the expertise and location of the development team. 

Native app development typically requires separate development efforts for eCommerce iphone app development or eCommerce android app development, which can increase costs compared to hybrid or progressive web app development. However, native apps offer better performance and access to platform-specific features.

On average, the cost of developing a basic eCommerce app can range from $20,000 to $50,000. More complex apps with advanced features and integrations can cost upwards of $100,000 or more.

It's important to note that ongoing maintenance, updates, and marketing expenses should also be considered as part of the overall cost of the eCommerce mobile app development.

COAX Software – your reliable team of experts in all-round app development 

COAX Software is a reputable app development agency for eCommerce app development. With our expertise and experience in developing mobile apps, we can assist you throughout the entire process of building your eCommerce mobile app.

Our dedicated team of versatile developers, designers, and strategists, evolves with your business needs and provides the most advanced yet affordable solutions for your business regardless of its scale.

At COAX, we have the expertise and experience to guide you further on the development process and build a tailored eCommerce mobile app that meets your specific needs. From conceptualization to deployment and ongoing support, our team will be there every step of the way to ensure the success of your eCommerce application development project! 

Have more questions or a plan?

Book a no-obligation consultation with our experts and get more insight into our tailored approach for custom eCommerce app development!


1. What is an eCommerce app development? 

eCommerce app development refers to the process of creating a mobile application that enables businesses to sell products or services online. These apps provide a platform for customers to browse, purchase, and manage orders conveniently from their mobile devices.

2. What are the benefits of creating an eCommerce app? 

eCommerce mobile app development offers several benefits, including:

- Increased customer engagement and loyalty

- Expanded market reach and customer base

- Enhanced user experience and convenience

- Personalized shopping experiences

- Direct marketing and communication channels

- Improved brand visibility and competitiveness in the digital landscape.

3. What are the main steps of an eCommerce application development process? 

The main steps involved in app development process typically include:

- Planning and requirement analysis

- UI/UX design

- Front-end and back-end development

- Integration of payment gateways and other third-party services

- Testing and quality assurance

- Deployment to app stores

- Post-launch maintenance and updates.

4. How much does eCommerce application development costs?

The cost of developing an eCommerce application varies depending on factors such as the app's complexity, features, platform compatibility (iOS, Android, or both), design requirements, development resources, and the location of the development team. It is challenging to provide an exact cost without a detailed understanding of the project's specific requirements. However, eCommerce app development can range from several thousand dollars for a basic app to several hundred thousand dollars for a highly customized, feature-rich app. Share your vision for the app with Coax Software and get an exact quote from our experts!

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