We are right out of the pandemic fatigue, but there is one strong business lesson entrepreneurs have learnt from it – the importance of having a digital storefront for your products and services. This realization, and the profits online shopping apps and software programs have yielded for the early movers, have further added to the lucrativeness of this domain.
If you’re one planning to take a plunge like so many other entrepreneurs who enjoyed great profits, here is a quick guide about investing in ecommerce applications software development, product options, cost estimates, hiring factors and marketing.
Benefits of Ecommerce Development
- Electronic branch
An ecommerce digital platform, whether an app or a fully-featured corporate-level software serves as an electronic outlet and a digital storefront for your retail and wholesale business, especially if you are dealing in physical products – apparel, pet and baby care, food, books and gift items.
- Lead gen and conversion
A digital commerce platform makes the buyer journey shorter. While that’s possible with an app or software with a high-end in-app shopping experience, it takes retail businesses 2X or even 3X closer to their turnover goals.
These platforms, because they connect businesses to the target customers 24*7 and teleport their products into their hands, make lead generation and conversion better.
- Brand loyalty
These digital platforms work wonders with business marketing. While you can announce discounts, sales and distribute vouchers and new promotions, you can meet your marketing and branding objectives faster. Send out personalized recommendations, and push notifications about new promos. This is one great factor behind modern-day brand loyalty.
Types of Ecommerce Applications Software Development
- Niche-specific ecommerce development
These are super-specific ecommerce stores and can be made on light Shopify merchants to high-end mobiles. Here, you choose a specific line of product for a specific target audience. For example, you can launch a book store, and further niche down by targeting academics, educators, fiction or non-fiction book lovers.
- B2B and B2C marketplaces
These too are online shopping stores, on web, mobile apps and browsers, but these cater to different audiences. These marketplaces host hundreds and thousands of products from different sellers and present to thousands of buyers.
B2C is common, where small, medium and large-scale businesses sell to consumers. Popular examples are Etsy and Amazon.
Now B2B mostly works like wholesale, with bulk order quantities and mostly it’s manufacturers on one side of the deal and vendors, product hunters, middlemen and distributors on the other side. These businesses perform international trade too on these apps. This means that these apps have better capabilities in terms of foreign exchange calculators, data processing, GPS locations, shipment information and so on.
- Mid-level mobile commerce app
These are the most common ecommerce apps that you’d find. A brand can shift from an online Shopify or BigCommerce store and turn it into a flutter app for mobile users.
- Enterprise-grade ecommerce software
The other digital ecommerce option is to develop and deploy a large-scale software with integrations of PoS (Point of Sales) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.
Product corporations like Unilever have these ecommerce SaaS programs in place, that manage leads and conversions, perform automated marketing, and generate electronic invoices with full sales and purchase details.
Ecommerce App Development Cost
- A basic mobile commerce app, cross-platform and built on Flutter, costs an average $45,000.
- A mid-level, multi-featured app, with medium capabilities of AI and ML and sends out personalized recommendations costs $55,000.
- A native Android or iOS ecommerce app costs between $50,000 and $75,000.
- An advanced digital marketplace like Amazon, Etsy and Alibaba, costs between $65,000 to $80,000.
- A full-service, ecommerce SaaS solution for corporates with POS and CRM integrations can cost anywhere between $90,000 to $250,000 depending on its featsures and advancements.
While these figures do look like price tags, they are investments that pay off. To optimize your budget of ecommerce development, you can take either of the following steps:
- Launch an MVP before a large-scale product to test the waters in your market.
- Seek investments from venture capitalists, build and launch your product, then repay the debt and buy back shares if you have dealt in equity.
- Hire locally. Choose regions like Austin and Dallas. That’s because a typical mobile app development company in Austin or Dallas would offer you more competitive, in fact, economic hourly development rates than Miami, LA or Washington DC. Austin, to be more specific is the growing tech talent hub. The market is gradually getting saturated and so, you can expect to save some investments for marketing when you outsource full-stack project.
How to Develop an Ecommerce Application Program
Now that you know the ins and outs of the market, and development trends, here is a quick 4-step process to walk you through ecommerce applications software development.
Creating a business plan before you go all in the process is ideal and proves beneficial when you go ahead and hire technical and financial resources for your project.
In the strategy phase, create a document outlining the roadmap covering these areas:
- Target audience and features of the app
- Platform you wish to release the app / software for
- Development, testing and marketing budget you are ready to put in
- Timeline for completion of development and launch
This document will be a guideline on what you exactly want in your digital product.
Moving ahead of strategy phase, you need to hire a developer – basically a development team with at least 3 professionals including a UI and UX designer, programmer and app tester. Check NDAs and talk about the ownership of source code before signing a deal.
- Design and development
When you already have features and the target audience, it is easier to translate your vision of this digital product into a visual asset – a prototype or wireframes or app screens.
Translate this UI and UX design into front-end, back-end and APIs. Stay updated about the progress of development throughout the process and ask for changes as and when you feel.
- Testing and QA
Testing includes device testing, functional testing and security testing. While these are suggestive of the purposes from their names, it is ideal to break down the whole testing part in different stages and for different audiences.
After completing the testing stages, especially the penetration assessments to recheck the security of the program, the app or SaaS is ready to deploy and be used by the target audience. Now once you have changed your ecommerce idea into a digital reality, it is time to moderately market it, and perform other business operations like taking vendors on board for maximum success.