7 Tips for Building an E-commerce App In 2021

The world of tech is moving forward faster than ever. Today, most entrepreneurs are striving to make online shopping more accessible for their customers, and creating an app is one of the ways to achieve it. 

Here are some statistics proving the importance of having an android e-commerce app for your retailers in 2021.

  • According to Oberlo, the current mobile e-commerce market share is at 72.9%.
  • There are over 5.07 billion active mobile phone users.
  • An average American spends around 5.4 hours on their mobile phone every day.
  • The online share of mobile traffic is currently on the rise. Mobile data traffic is expected to rise by 700% between 2016 and 2021.
  • At least 79% of customers buy goods and services on their mobile phones. According to Pixel Union, 67% of customers like to window-shop online for fun.
  • There are over 6 billion active smartphone users, according to Statista.
  • In the last 6 months, at least 18.79% of smartphone users have made an online purchase using their phones.

These statistics all point to the importance of a small business investing time and money in building an e-commerce app. There is a lot that an e-commerce website can do to a business in terms of marketing globally and increasing sales.

If you are looking forward to building an e-commerce app for your startup, we make it easy for you here. Keep reading to find out why e-commerce app building should be part of your wishlist.

What Is an E-Commerce App?

An e-commerce app is a program that makes shopping available via mobile devices. The goal is to make online shopping easier for mobile users since a website can take longer to load. 

An iOS or Android e-commerce mobile app is very important to a small business that sells online. Customers can use it to:

  • Receive deals and offers.
  • Save time at a store.
  • Buy in the convenience of their phones.
  • Compare products and prices from different online sellers.

The number one reason most people install e-commerce mobile apps is to get offers from different sellers online. A subscription gives them additional privileges and gives access to perks no one else has access to. 

7 Must-Have Features of an E-Commerce App

If you want to take your online business to the next level, your e-commerce app should have the following features.

1. Registration process

A swift registration process is one of the most appealing features of a good e-commerce app. It is a factor to consider not only in e-commerce app development, but also for healthcare apps. If it takes a user too long to sign up for the app, it’s a sign of poor UI/UX. Therefore, when making a mobile app, ensure the payment process is smooth, simple, and fast.

Ideally, the registration process should include an email, a password, and a date of birth, like in H&M’s example below:

H&M App registration form


Additionally, you can offer the user to fill in some personal information to make product offers more personalized:

H&M App registration form


You also can add multiple sign-in options, such as a Google account and social media. But always make this choice based on your end user’s needs. 

On average, it should take less than five steps for users to register on the app. Also, avoid asking for too much information from customers to simplify the registration process.

2. Multiple payment options

A good e-commerce app should support multiple payment options. Since most users will pay for items while using the app, they should be able to make payments in a way that’s convenient to them. 

In our H&M example, the brand’s app offers all payment options accepted worldwide:

H&M app payment methods


Most app users are skeptical about online payments. This is because the process involves the exchange of personal information like banking details and physical address. 

However, if an e-commerce app developer includes only trusted payment methods, you will have fewer issues, and your buyers will know they are safe buying your products. 

3. Push notifications

An e-commerce app should also support push notifications. If you want your e-commerce app to drive sales, you have to ensure it comes with a push notifications feature. 

If any product is on sale or your business launches a new product, push notifications will remind your existing customers of this new deal. Just make sure you give your customers an option to opt out of receiving these messages:

H&M app push notification


Also, push notifications make it easier for users to learn about discounts and new offers. When an app sends push notifications to users, they are more likely to visit the app.

4. Custom branding

Branding is an important factor you should consider when developing an app for your e-commerce business. Simply put, an e-commerce app should have your business logo, name, and colors that represent your business. For H&M, it’s the iconic red-lettered logo and white user interface design:
H&M app branding


Branding also matters if you’re going to monetize your mobile app. Your logo and signature brand colors will be the necessary elements of your advertising campaigns, so put a thought into them. 

Users should be able to associate the app with your business.  But while focusing on branding, don’t forget to develop an app from a customer’s point of view if you want to boost the user experience.

5. Social media integration

Most people are probably going to learn about your app through social media. It means social media is one of the largest channels to market your app and company in general.  

When you have social media integration on your app, users can share the app details on social media and encourage others to install it on their mobile devices.

Social media integration on an e-commerce app is not all about users sharing coupons, discount codes, and other offers. It also helps users post any app achievements, creating awareness and inviting more people to download the app.

6.  User experience

User experience is another important factor you should consider when developing the best e-commerce app for your business. 

There are thousands of e-commerce apps in app stores, and before users install your app, they want to know it has what they are looking for. For this reason, it is important to always consider user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) when designing and developing your e-commerce app.

The only way to make people stick with your application is to provide the UX they won’t find anywhere else. The user interface in your app doesn’t have to be too elaborate. Take our H&M example from before – the app uses a lot of negative space and only includes the functions needed to browse products and complete a purchase.

7.  Easy Checkout

Finally, a mobile e-commerce app should have an easy checkout process, which means your end-user should complete the purchase without having to provide a lot of information.  

There are plenty of options to make the checkout shorter. You can ask for shipment information when the user signs up for your app. Alternatively, you can also adopt the single-click payment method. 

Always make sure your users don’t spend a lot of time making payments. This way, you can reduce abandoned carts and take your business to the next level in terms of sales.

Other features your e-commerce app should include:

  • Offline mode. It should be easy to use the app even without internet access. Users should open the app without the internet and view whatever they have downloaded in the background mode.
  • Navigation. It shouldn’t be hard for a user to navigate between the pages on your app. Buying a product via the app should not seem like solving a puzzle.
  • Fewer clicks. Make it easier for users to get all the information they are looking for in just a few clicks.

Top 7 Tips for Building an E-commerce App in 2021

Now, let’s discuss the most valuable tips you can employ to build a successful e-commerce app that engages users and drives sales. 

Tip #1 – Create an app with user experience in mind

As discussed before, you should always ensure your e-commerce app is designed to create an amazing user experience. 

What should be the first thing users experience when they open your e-commerce app? Should it be the range of products you are offering or the brand behind the app?

When coming up with the best UX design for your app, you should focus more on how users can access your app. Understand how smartphones operate. This can help you choose an ideal app version for all mobile phone screens. 

Here are some UI/UX trends in 2021 you should not forget to include in your e-commerce app:

  • Set the app content, button, and menu in a way that looks uncluttered.
  • Add some flexibility to your sign-in form. You can apply the Lazy Sign-in plugin that allows users to try an app before signing in.
  • Consider including other external sign-in options in your accounts.
  • Include the search by barcode, text, voice, and image in the e-commerce app.
  • Add the “browse by category” feature to improve the way of grouping products intuitively.

Most likely, you won’t have the ideal app version right away, and the UX will probably need fixing along the way. To minimize your app development expenses, do trial A/B tests using the MVP version of your app. 

Tip # 2 – Choose in favor of a clean and simple design

Simplicity is the key to choosing the best e-commerce app design that increases user engagement and improves the experience. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Avoid lots of text and animations in the app.
  • Use a single typeface.
  • Focus on spacing. Use dividers to emphasize different sections on the screen.
  • Apply whitespace on the app and make paragraph widths and columns not too wide. Whitespace helps boost readability and UX.

Other principles of clean design include texture overlays on visuals, subtle textures, and drop-shadows. The less stuffed your iOS app design looks, the better experience your end-users will have. 

Tip # 3 – Provide several login options

It should be easier for every user to login and start using the app. It should take customers less than a minute to sign up for the app and start placing their orders. 

To make your users’ experience with the iOS app more enjoyable, provide multiple login options. Regardless of the option you choose, make sure all users can safely log in to your app. Here are some crucial elements to consider:

  • Allow passwords to have at least eight characters, an uppercase letter, a symbol, and a number.
  • Provide remote session termination for the app.
  • Use a fingerprint scanner as a login option.
  • Speed up authentication with facial recognition.

If possible, provide a page within your app to explain to your users how you protect their personal information. This way, you’ll avoid many misunderstandings and gain trust.

Tip # 4 – Prioritize one-hand input

We’ve already talked about the importance of user experience in e-commerce applications and mobile app development. One way to achieve a positive UX is to prioritize one-hand input for users. 

What are the benefits of one-hand input options for your e-commerce app? 

  • Average mobile users will check their mobile phone at least 58 times a day. 
  • Some research also shows that 70% percent of mobile interactions do not exceed 2 minutes. 

One of the ways of implementing one-hand input is opting for the
Dvorak layout design for your app. This keyboard layout is designed to reduce finger motion and increase typing speed. It is also suitable for both left-hand and right-hand users.

Tip # 5 – Make it easier to complete a purchase

Most people are using your e-commerce app to access your products faster. The app should help them locate the product and place an order effortlessly. 

While focusing on making checkout smooth, you should also ensure customers can find what they are looking for on the app in seconds to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Here are some tips to help make it easier for users to complete the purchase:

  • Include thumbnail images for every product that customers add to the cart.
  • Include a search bar on your web app to optimize search.
  • Integrate Google Autofill in your web apps.
  • Ask shoppers to pay only after they are done browsing your products.
  • Let customers know when they add a product to the cart.
  • Make it easier for users to switch between home and cart screens to reduce time spent making purchases.

The goal is to make a product purchase process as easy as it is on your website. Otherwise, your app users will bounce. 

Tip # 6 – Include item auto-suggestion

It’s not always enjoyable looking for the product you need on an e-commerce platform for long. That’s why it is important as a project manager to make your online store browsable – a quality you can achieve by including item auto-suggestion in your native app. 

Autofill is a popular feature in e-commerce websites. At least
96% of all major e-commerce sites use the complete auto feature to facilitate search and increase UX/UI. 

The auto-complete feature helps users articulate search queries and smoothen the payment gateway. It gives users a helping hand in coming up with a search query and noticing what they are looking for in the shortest time. Item auto-suggestion also helps users easily locate a product they want to buy on the app in real-time. 

A soon as a user clicks on the search box, the auto-suggest feature brings out relevant keyword suggestions and products. This feature saves them time and effort while shopping via the app.

Tip #7 – Put security first  

Security is a factor any app development company would consider when designing an app. How do you make your e-commerce app more secure and suitable for different operating systems? 

Most online shoppers are concerned about confidentiality and would do anything to hide their digital footprints. So, how do you ensure users maximum security when they are on the app?

  • Perform an A/B Test on your e-commerce app and identify all the vulnerabilities in the app functionality and backend. This way, you can learn which version of your website improves UI design.
  • Ensure all the shopping app data is backed up with a reliable server.
  • Scan the app for major vulnerabilities whenever you make changes to the app.
  • The software development team should ensure the app is secure before launching it. Enforce security features in the app at the development stage.
  • Ask users to choose strong passwords when registering on the app. You should have a strong password policy to prevent unauthorized login.
  • Employ two-factor authentication (2FA) to double-check user identity when they sign in.

Strong app security means better protection, which should be your main concern when outsourcing. Prioritizing security also brings you closer to your customers and helps build trust. 

Final Thoughts

An e-commerce app is a useful tool to engage more users, boost sales, and make online shopping more accessible.  When designing or building an e-commerce app for your target audience, you should focus more on usability. 

There are hundreds of apps in app stores that users can access, and that means your development team should offer something unique for them to use your app.

Create the best e-commerce app alternative for online shoppers and grow your customer base. Follow this ultimate guide if you’re planning to develop an app for your small business in 2021.