Skip to content
Commerce & engagement
App development

Guide to E-Commerce App Development: Steps, Key Features, and Trends


In a relatively short time frame, e-commerce apps have become almost commonplace. These applications provide a convenient and user-friendly way for customers to browse, select, and purchase items. More than half of consumers will look or shop online first before stepping into a physical store. 

Copy of WEB_14092023_Vincit_249

The appeal of convenient access with a few simple taps is irresistible.

In a nutshell, e-commerce apps have become a pivotal component of modern retail for super savvy consumers who expect you to meet their expectations where and how they want. From pizza orders to shopping for window installs or a pair of shoes, if you need to build an app or improve features and usability of an existing one, what are the the essential steps, key features, and current trends in e-commerce app development to consider?

Some Well-known E-Commerce Apps

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is known for its vast product catalog, quick shipping, and customer-centric features like reviews and recommendations.

Shopify’s platform makes it easy to create an e-commerce store for D2C companies. 

Walmart's e-commerce app allows customers to order groceries, electronics, clothing, and more with options for delivery or in-store pickup.

Why Develop an E-commerce App?

It’s a smart move for several reasons:

1. Expanded Reach: An e-commerce app provides the opportunity to reach a wider audience, including mobile-centric consumers who prefer shopping on apps.

2. Enhanced Customer Experience: E-commerce apps offer a convenient, seamless and personalized shopping experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Data and Analytics: Collect valuable data on customer behavior, preferences, and trends to make informed business decisions.

4. Competitive Advantage: Stay competitive by offering the convenience of online shopping to your customers.

What Are the Minimum Features You Need in an E-Commerce App?

  • User-Friendly Interface: Enhance the user experience with intuitive and visually appealing designs.

  • Product Catalog: Develop a well-organized catalog with detailed product listings, including images, descriptions, prices, and user reviews.

  • Shopping Cart: Allow users to add and manage items before checkout.

  • Payment Gateway: Provide secure and diverse payment options, including credit cards, digital wallets, and more.

  • Order Tracking: Add real-time order status and delivery tracking.

  • Search and Filters: Help users find products easily with robust search functionality and filters.

  • User Accounts: Capture order history through registration and logins for personalized experiences. Offer 'guest' sign ins so you don't ever lose an order.

  • Security: Protect user data with SSL certificates, data encryption, authentication and secure payment processing.

  • Reviews and Ratings: Build trust with user-generated feedback. 

  • Push Notifications: Set up promotions, order updates, and personalized content delivery.

Steps to Building an E-Commerce App

  • Market Research: Identify your target audience, competitors, and niche. Understand customer preferences and industry trends.

  • Planning: Create a detailed project plan, including a budget, timeline, a feature list and strategic roadmap.

  • Define the Concept: Outline your app's unique value proposition and features.

  • Design and Development: Design the app's user interface, wireframe screens, and plan the user journey. Code the app, ensuring it's responsive, scalable, and secure.

  • Testing: Thoroughly test the app for functionality, security, and usability.

  • Deployment: Launch it on app stores (iOS and Android).

  • Marketing and Promotion: Attract and retain users through smart omnichannel marketing strategies.

  • Maintenance and Updates: Regularly improve and update the app based on user feedback and business growth.

What are the Current Trends in E-Commerce Development?

AI-Powered Recommendations: Machine learning algorithms enhance product recommendations.

Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: Virtual product try-ons are trending such as beauty brand Bare Minerals' virtual shade finder matches skin tone to foundations while Warby Parker lets you visualize eyeglass frames that best suit your face. In store shoppers at Lego can lift a box to a screen to see an animated completed version of the Lego set. Ikea provides interactive shopping experiences to visualize home products in real environment before buying .

Voice Commerce: Integration with voice assistants for hands-free shopping.

Chatbots and AI: Use AI-driven chatbots for customer support and personalized recommendations.

Mobile Wallets: Simplified and secure payment options.

Sustainability and Ethical Shopping: Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental and ethical impact of their purchases.Highlight eco-friendly, cruelty-free, socially conscious products and supply chain best practices.

Omnichannel Shopping: Seamless integration between online and offline retail experiences including social commerce.

Costs and Timeframe for Building an E-commerce App 

The cost of developing a custom e-commerce app in the US can vary significantly depending on the app's complexity, your team's experience, and the desired features. A basic white label app might start at $10,000-$20,000, while a custom, more advanced and scalable app could cost up to $200,000 or more. The timeframe typically spans from 4 to 12 months, considering design, development, testing, and deployment

E-commerce app development is a strategic move to drive business growth.  By understanding the essential features, following a systematic development process, and staying up-to-date with industry trends, you can create a successful e-commerce app that exceeds user expectations and offers a seamless and satisfying shopping experience. 

Embrace the opportunities offered by e-commerce app development for your brand to flourish in the world of online retail.