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The essential guide to developing no-code e-commerce apps

eveloping an e-commerce app has become vital for businesses seeking to expand their digital footprint, and create seamless and personalized shopping experiences for their customers.

As the world shifts towards mobile-first interactions, it’s essential for consumer-focused shops to adapt and create engaging mobile device experience that caters to the ever-changing needs of their end users.

Simply put: customers don't just want an app from their favourite consumer brands. They expect one.

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So, how do you go about developing a successful e-commerce app that resonates with your target audience?

Let's walk through some essential strategic thinking behind developing an e-commerce app, with a laser focus on no-code solutions which can ultimately save on time, resources, and overall development and app maintenance costs.

After reading this, you should be able to:

  • Understand the process of e-commerce app development, define its purpose and features, and have an idea of how to start crafting a strategic plan.
  • Know the kinds of features and plugins to add to your app which can ultimately increase engagement and sales.
  • Understand what it takes to ensure the security and compliance of your eventual app, and remember to regularly test and optimize your app (and scale it as needed).

Understanding e-commerce app development

Mobile app development team discussing ecommerce app features

As the demand for mobile interaction has grown, so too have developments in e-commerce app creation.

Luckily, app development is a competitive business, which means many vendors, frameworks, and app building approaches are available to suit varied business needs and budget restrictions, including custom store apps, no-code app builders, low-code platforms, and commercial app development agencies.

But how do you choose an app development approach that suits *your* specific e-commerce business' needs? Well, to begin with, the entire process requires a clear understanding of your target audience as well as what is necessary to make sure it runs smoothly – from hosting, all the way through to the launch phase. A fulsome planning and development approach that takes development, publishing, maintenance, and marketing and engagement into account will ensure your customers' ongoing satisfaction (along with loyalty to your brand).

The initial phase of e-commerce app development involves setting concrete goals and objectives. For instance, you might want to increase customer engagement by 20%, or improve conversion rates by 15%. These specific targets should guide your development process and check in on success. If you consistently focus on these goals, your business can achieve these very tangible results.

What other measures of success and goals could you put into practice? You could focus on building a more user-friendly interface, or adding full-feature native plugins like push notifications or QR code scanning, or integrating personalized product recommendations or a loyalty rewards programs in-app. All of these can enhance customer engagement, conversions, and importantly: loyalty and repeat visits. And they're all measurable.

But, let's not forget: cost is a big factor, and developing an app from scratch (or even using an external developer) can be very, very expensive:

In-house app development costs between $40,000-$180,000 USD plus up to 2500 hours. Outsourcing app development can cost between $20,000 to $150,000 USD. The best and most resource-friendly option is to work with a trusted app development and services provider to convert your website into a full-feature native app ... for as little as $7,000 USD. -Source:

Ultimately, you'll want to choose an app building solution that holds the most value, and doesn't cost you a lot in future maintenance costs. It should:

  • Allow you to convert your website into an app (so you don't need to re-invent the wheel or duplicate your development efforts)
  • Have the ability to instantly transform your app in-browser, and provide you the option to develop it, add branding, and add the right plugins, all without knowing code
  • Offer ongoing services like publishing or app maintenance so you can focus on more pressing business objectives

Planning with a focus on cost-efficiency at each stage of the process will save you headaches down the road. This is especially crucial for e-commerce apps, which offer a convenient alternative to traditional shopping methods like physical retail outlets, making online sales more efficient and user-friendly. The last thing they'll want to do is lose customers (not to mention revenue) due to a poorly built app which could cost even more down the road if it needs to be rebuilt, or constantly maintained or fixed.

Crafting a strategy for your e-commerce mobile app

Market research and analysis for ecommerce app development

Formulating an effective strategy for your e-commerce app requires pointed, comprehensive market research, evaluation of competitors’ apps and interviewing users to identify potential opportunities and recognize the preferences of the target audience.

By becoming acquainted with the market your app is entering, you can discern user behavior patterns which in turn helps pinpoint special elements that make your mobile e-commerce application stand out from other similar services

TIP: A deep competitive analysis goes a long way in learning how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market! Look at competitor apps, identify their gaps, and fill those gaps in your own app marketing and app store descriptions.

Also: Be reasonable about the time required to build and go to to market with your app. Setting aside about three months exclusively for creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is highly recommended. This amount of time gives you the space to mine real-world data and understand need (like customer feedback), which is crucial in helping you decide what features your app should have.

Then: Choose an app development service that meets your needs. More and more businesses are opting for web+native hybrid apps, which allow e-commerce shops to power their apps with their existing website content, and create, test, and publish their apps in a matter of weeks. By leveraging your existing website content, your customers will instantly recognize your app's branding and content, and you won't be required to reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch with your app. (That's a lot of time and money saved!)

Designing a user-centric e-commerce app

User interface design for ecommerce app

When creating an e-commerce app, designing for the user is of utmost importance to make sure your intended audience can take advantage of its features. App UX best practices should be followed in order to create a product that appeals visually as well as providing an enjoyable experience when using it.

Facilitating interactivity with certain aspects such as card displaying, page layouts or giving priority to UX are some strategies employed which improve usability significantly on this type of applications. Additionally, gathering feedback from users enables you pinpoint where more work needs to be done. Refining the functionality according to what they need along with prioritizing development efforts makes up an effective approach towards tailoring the product just right for customers who will keep coming back due to their satisfaction with results.

Through analyzing customer remarks one can accurately decide what actions should be taken consequently forming a better overall user experience.

Key plugins to add to your e-commerce app

Adding native plugins to your e-commerce app can significantly boost both engagement and sales. These plugins, designed to work seamlessly within the app environment, can enhance the functionality and user experience of your app.

For example, a plugin for push notifications can keep your customers informed about new products, special offers, or restocks, encouraging them to revisit your app and make a purchase. Similarly, a QR code scanning plugin may simplify the shopping process, making it easier for users to find and buy products.

By integrating these and other plugins, you can create a more engaging, user-friendly app that not only attracts new customers but also retains existing ones, ultimately driving higher sales.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are a crucial feature in e-commerce apps that significantly enhance customer engagement and retention. These real-time alerts keep customers informed about new product arrivals, special offers, and restocks, encouraging them to revisit the app and make a purchase. According to OneSignal, a leading provider of push notification services and a preferred partner, these notifications can drive up to 88% higher app engagement.

They can be personalized based on user behavior and preferences, making them an effective tool for delivering targeted marketing messages directly to the user's device. By integrating push notifications, businesses can create a more dynamic, interactive user experience that not only attracts new customers but also fosters loyalty among existing ones.

Social Login

Social Login is an integral feature for enhancing the user experience by simplifying the sign-up and login process. It allows users to create an account or sign in using their existing social media accounts, such as Facebook, Google, or Twitter.

This eliminates the need for users to remember yet another username and password, making the process faster and more seamless. It can increase conversion rates by reducing the barriers to entry, and can also provide businesses with valuable user demographic data.

By integrating social login, e-commerce businesses can create a more user-friendly app that encourages more sign-ups and active users.

QR / Barcode Scanning

QR / Barcode Scanning enhances the shopping experience by providing a quick and convenient way for users to find and purchase products. In some cases, for instance, users can scan the QR or barcode of a product in a physical store or from another device, and instantly access the product's page in the app.

Not only does the feature simplify the shopping process, but it also bridges the gap between offline and online shopping, making it easier for users to find and buy the products they want. Such a feature can significantly boost user engagement and conversion rates, making it a must-have for any successful e-commerce app. The functionality has many uses, but is particularly popular with e-commerce shops.

In-App Purchases

In-App Purchases (IAP) play a pivotal role in the success of e-commerce apps, serving as a key feature that enhances user experience and drives revenue.

It allows users to make purchases directly within the app, whether it's buying physical goods, digital products, or accessing premium content and services. Integrating it can significantly boost user engagement and conversion rates, leading to increased sales and profits.

By offering a seamless and secure purchasing process within the app, businesses can create a more user-friendly shopping experience, encouraging users to spend more time in the app and make more purchases, thereby driving higher revenue.

App Review

App Review is a key feature in e-commerce apps that significantly influences user trust and engagement. It allows users to provide feedback on their experience with products and services, and share their opinions with other potential customers.

This facilitates informed buying decisions and promotes transparency, and integrating this feature can *also* significantly boost user engagement and conversion rates.

By providing a platform for users to express their satisfaction or concerns, businesses can not only improve their services based on the feedback but also build a community of loyal customers who feel valued and heard.

Key features of successful e-commerce apps

Personalization features in e-commerce app

By using certain features that successful e-commerce apps have, you can make yours *even more* engaging and effective: personalization and user profiles, a streamlined checkout process, push notifications that keep customers informed of deals or promotions, the ability for users to create wish lists, big data algorithms so the app can optimize performance based on customer’s behavior and preferences, customizable carts, review and rating sections, and search bars (to name but a few).

In order to really maximize your e-commerce app’s potential success, it is essential that all these components be taken into account when building an application targeted at specific audience needs while also providing enhanced security measures in place for compliance issues. Doing so will help guarantee an effortless yet enjoyable journey throughout their stay, creating loyalty among customers who appreciate a quality user-experience over others they could encounter elsewhere online.

Personalization and user profiles

Personalizing user profiles is integral to the success of e-commerce apps since it allows businesses to customize each individual’s experience.

With tailored content such as product recommendations, discounts, and deals specifically designed for their target audience, you'll be able to create an engaging app with greater CSat levels. Creating personalized accounts which users can access for easy shopping boosts convenience by giving them a way to add items into carts quickly, as well as track orders easily from within their account itself.

The advantages gained through personalization in e-commerce platforms cannot be underestimated. They provide customers with top-notch experiences while also providing insight on consumer behavior so that marketing strategies can be accordingly refined and targeted appropriately towards audiences who would appreciate those offerings most effectively. This Leads ultimately enhanced engagement rates along with more conversions & sales growth opportunities too!

Seamless checkout process

A streamlined checkout process is essential for e-commerce applications, as it ensures a comfortable and pleasant shopping experience which helps to boost conversion rates and consumer satisfaction not to mention return rates!).

Businesses should streamline their checkout flow by making the design elements mobile-responsive, optimizing their websites specifically for portable mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, incorporating trust signals into the page, and showing a clearly visible checkout bar with multiple payment options available.

Having an noticeable ‘checkout’ button prominently on the screen doesn't hurt, either. Small features like this go a long way in creating an efficient customer journey that encourages users to make purchases easily and continually return to shop more frequently.

Lastly: Think ahead on common e-commerce sales barriers and address common grievances encountered during the check-out process – be they confusing navigation menus, hidden or unexpected fees, or a lack of diverse payment methods – so customers never feel frustrated or discouraged from completing a transaction on their preferred device(s).

Building customer loyalty through e-commerce apps

For businesses looking to remain competitive and ensure the ongoing success of their e-commerce app, cultivating customer loyalty is essential. A good way to get started is to incentivize by providing customers with benefits like discounts, memberships, coupon codes, or birthday gifts. Personalizing offers based on customer preferences and purchase history is another way to show appreciation.

Maintaining a smooth user experience that includes fast loading times and instant customer support is also crucial. For the latter, consider AI chatbots: they can help increase retention rates by providing personalized experiences, real-time support, and product recommendations at all hours. By using AI app technology, you can create an engaging yet efficient e-commerce application which will keep users engaged and coming back for more.

Prioritizing security in e-commerce app development

Ensuring security and compliance in e-commerce app development is another important aspect. Creating an e-commerce app that is secure and compliant should be a top priority for businesses. This will protect users’ personal data from unauthorized access and ensure that the e-commerce app development adheres to industry regulations. Plus: it will help you avoid the PR crises that arise with customer data breaches.

Some quick tips for securing your app include utilizing encryption, using HTTPS protocol, having secure APIs in place, and implementing strong authentication mechanisms. These measures guarantee the security of customer information while enabling user confidence when engaging with your business through their e-commerce application.

Ensuring that compliance standards specified by law are met is crucial; this pertains both to data privacy protection laws, and payment safety policies. Having these in place not only ensures your business won't be penalized; it also helps build trust with your end users, who won't have any concern about the handling of their personal information when they interact with your business.

Testing and optimizing your e-commerce app

When developing a mobile commerce app development itself, testing and optimization is an essential step to ensure that any flaws are rectified before the market launch. To guarantee customers experience a working system which complies with their expectations, businesses should analyze various ecommerce apps available on the marketplace.

Testing is also par for the course if you want Apple and Google to approve your app for use in its stores. For quick reference, check out these Android app testing tips here, and get up to speed on Apple's app testing requirements here.

Conduct comprehensive tests such as system integration testing, device testing, performance evaluation, usability researching, and security verification. By factoring user feedback into account during this process, you'll be able to better prioritize development objectives while making necessary modifications for the betterment of customer engagement.

The cost of conducting these processes can vary significantly, typically ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, depending on the complexity of the app. Maintaining effective user engagement relies heavily on regular updates. These updates should include bug fixes, performance improvements, new features, and enhanced security protocols, which keep users consistently engaged and interested in returning to the app in the future.

Scaling and maintaining your e-commerce app

The scalability and maintenance of an e-commerce app are essential for its long-term success. This involves employing regular updates to keep the app compatible with the latest iOS and Android operating systems, bug fixes to ensure smooth user experience, and feature enhancements to keep the app relevant and engaging for the users.

As the user base grows, the app infrastructure should be able to handle the increased load. This means planning for scalable server resources, efficient database architecture, and possibly integrating cloud-based services for data storage and processing.

Regular app maintenance is also crucial. This includes monitoring app performance, resolving user-reported issues, and conducting regular security checks to protect user data. It also involves optimizing app features based on user feedback and analytics to improve user experience and engagement.

Also, businesses should have a plan for introducing new features or updates over time. This could involve integrating with new payment gateways, adding AR/VR shopping experiences, or integrating with IoT devices.

Lastly, businesses should have a contingency plan in place for any potential issues. This could involve having a dedicated customer support team, a robust data backup and recovery system, and a system for timely communication with users in case of any major issues or updates.

Marketing your e-commerce app

It’s essential to get the word out about your e-commerce app in order to drive downloads, captivate users, and elevate sales. Employing effective marketing tactics such as App Store Optimization (ASO), social media promotion, and influencer collaboration can guarantee that your app gets seen and downloaded.

When it comes to App Store Optimization, an important factor for publicizing any mobile app, pay attention to how various aspects of your app listing page are optimized. This includes optimizing with keywords, stunning visuals, and robust reviews; all of these go a long way in persuading end users to engage with your app, increasing download rates, organic traffic, and promoting conversions.

Harnessing the power of major social media platforms and networks is another tactic frequently used when advertising e-commerce apps. Tactics here could include engaging target audiences on their preferred channel(s), presenting them with timely and exclusive deals, delivering helpful content pieces on a regular basis, running targeted or seasonal campaigns, and working with influencers who have a robust and loyal (and relevant) following online.


Different websites such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Wix are available for creating successful websites that can be leveraged for web + native mobile apps.

Creating a winning e-commerce app entails having an in-depth knowledge of your target audience, executing a well thought out app development process well, and concentrating on providing customers with the highest quality user experience. By following this guide’s recommended think-ahead strategies and best practices, businesses can create an engaging e-commerce application that meets users’ requirements, thereby raising engagement levels as well as conversions and profits.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to develop an e-commerce app?

The price tag for developing an e-commerce app can vary widely, with costs ranging anywhere from $10,000 to a half million dollars. These figures depend on the complexity of the commerce app being created. Speaking of development cost of basic apps, Developing an app in-house can cost $40,000-$180,000 USD and take up to 2500 hours. Outsourcing can range from $20,000 to $150,000 USD. However, a cost-effective alternative is to use a trusted service like to convert your website into a full-feature native app for as little as $7,000 USD.

Is there an e-commerce app without coding?

It is possible to create and build an e-commerce app, without any coding thanks to's no-code app-building platform and services. Your webview+native hybrid app (leveraging your existing web content) can then be published on both the Google Play and Apple App Store, guaranteed.

What are some popular no-code app builder platforms in 2023?

In three years, the most widely used app builder platforms are App Studio from,, and Thunkable.

What are some key features of successful e-commerce apps?

E-commerce apps require the inclusion of features like customizable carts, a user-friendly checkout process, plus personalized elements such as push notifications for product updates. These are all rounded off by wish-listing capabilities and review sections to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience (and an opportunity to provide you with product and customer experience feedback).

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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