E-Commerce Mobile Development: Costs, Timing and Factors

12 Mar 2020
Kate, copywriter
Millennials make purchases as they walk and eat, holding the smartphone in one hand and fork in another. Invest and you get their attention. 
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eCommerce mobile apps

So many people, so many minds, so many apps!

The usual day of the average person in 2020

  • 7:00. Good morning! Wake up with Alarmy app;
  • 7:30. Have breakfast with Carb Manager app – the one that counts calories;
  • 7:40. Check traffic jams in Google Maps to be in time for work;
  • 8:30. Organize your work with Trello. Plan your day with Google Calendar. Communicate with teammates in Slack;
  • 13:00. Order lunch in Uber Eats;
  • 16:30. Free time! Check Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube;
  • 18:00. Watching movies on Netflix;
  • 19:30. Order a present for mum on eBay;
  • 22:00. Let Sleep Cycle app monitor your sleeping activities. Goodnight!

Play Market and Apple Store back up our everyday tasks with all kinds of tools. There’s everything. From teaching English and improving memory, to playing arcades and planning your budget. And it all fits in one hand. Wondering why bring your eCommerce business on smartphone screens? Because it’s a lifestyle of your users.

A big shop on a small phone. Why investing in a mobile app for e-commerce?

Some customers prefer searching for products using computers. Others hate the Internet and shop the old way. Habits make a difference. As for the Millennials, they mostly have no time. So they prefer one-click purchases on mobile apps. This generation is replacing all others in the retail economy. Live online = buy online. Millennials make purchases as they walk and eat, holding the smartphone in one hand and fork in another. Because you cannot do it with the computer. Smartphones are convenient. The whole world onto itself.

Why people prefer apps to websites?

  • It’s convenient. You have the app on the menu of your phone. Just tap!
  • It’s fast. The app stores data in your smartphone’s server. The apps don’t automatically log you out as it happens sometimes with the websites. They even allow you to log in by fingerprint or face ID. Time-saviors.
  • It’s rewarding. The users state that bonuses, discounts, and privileges are one of the main reasons they use the app. This marketing strategy works!
  • It’s personalized. Because your phone is always with you. Logically, it stores more info about you than your computer. The recommendations become better the more data you give away. It doesn’t mean you should share your data uncontrollably. It also doesn’t mean you have to throw your phone in the river and go living in the mountains. Mostly, apps ask for permission for specific data retrieval. With it, they personalize and show only relevant info.
  • It’s offline. The most recently downloaded info will be available.
  • It’s synchronization-friendly. The usage of the camera can create a new online dressing room with AR. GPS helps to find the nearest shops.

All this attracts the users and creates brand loyalty. Also, with mobile apps, you can improve your marketing strategies. The costs invested in eCommerce mobile app development have high chances to go well. If these reasons are not enough, well, then it’s time to strike you by the last persuasive stroke. The number of users of such mobile apps like Amazon exceeds 100 million. Pretty large target audience, don’t you think?

The Fantastic Four of eCommerce mobile apps

Amazon (100 000 000+ installs on Play Market)

Just as you launch the app, it immediately shows you the Deal of the Day. In our case, it was an Ultra HD Sony TV-set with a 19% discount. As you keep scrolling, it shows you the Popular deals, Deals recommended for you, and Best Sellers. There are photos and voice recognition. On the menu, you have access to Home, Your Orders, Your Lists, Your Account, and Customer Service

eCommerce mobile app features

Zara (10 000 000+ downloads on Play Market)

The first thing you see when entering this app is a fashion photo of great quality. Just as it fits the leading clothing corporation. The menu filters the clothes for women, men, and kids. There is a search with voice recognition and a scanner. You can check if the item is available in a nearby store. What’s interesting is the gallery, containing the photos of ready-made looks. Then there are the prices for each item that has been in that look. 

AliExpress (100 000 000+ installs of Play Market)

The first page shows the main features of the app right away. These are Categories, Coins and Coupons, Freebies, Flash Deals, and Coupon Pals. Here you can also message the suppliers and track the process of delivery. 

eBay (100 000 000+ installs of Play Market)

Its initial page contains the sections of Saved, Categories, and Deals. It shows you the products that would be interesting for you. The categories are divided very precisely. From Antiques to Collectibles. From Coins and Paper money to Pet supplies.

Features you need for your eCommerce mobile app

In a perfect world, the coffee would refill itself, the traffic jams would disappear, and it would be possible to launch the complex app without an MVP. However, the reality strikes us in the face, and to create something big you need to begin with something small. MVP is a minimum viable product containing the features that can attract its early users. You satisfy the minimum demands of your customers. Then, you ad feature by feature to solve even more advanced issues of your target audience. 

For example, Uber could only accept payments and connect clients with drivers at the beginning. Initially, you could only take pictures on Instagram, post them, and add geolocation. Now, these two apps are used worldwide by millions and billions of users. However, they began experimenting, testing, and only then expanding. Likewise in E-commerce. Even if your app doesn’t work, you will dissatisfy only a small amount of users. The analysis of the failure will be less tense. To minimize the risks in the initial stage of development, Implement the most basic features, and make them good.

eCommerce app development factors

1) Registration. Today, the registration by fingerprint or face ID is especially topical. You can add the synchronization to Facebook/Gmail accounts. Entering passwords is overwhelming (and if they are safe – they are long).

2) Different Payment Options. Give a variety of choices. Today there are so many payment solutions that most of your users will have a different one. Online wallets are gaining demand.

3) Social Network Integration. People share news, photos and videos. Why not share the products they buy and are satisfied with?

4) Product filter enables us to find a needed category of products.

5) Product search allows finding a specific product.

6) Reviews are showing how the users value the quality of products/delivery. Also, it is an important source of critiques for you to understand what to improve.

7) Shopping Cart. Users view all the products they consider buying and evaluate the sum.

8) Customer Support – in case the problems emerge. You can add the button with a phone number or chat.

Additional features

  • Comment section;
  • File uploading;
  • Profile editing;
  • Product gallery;
  • Augmented reality dressing room;
  • Wishlist;
  • Invoice search;
  • Returns;
  • Delivery tracking map;
  • Check return status;
  • Check item availability in the shop;
  • Product recommendations;
  • Membership option;
  • Loyalty program;
  • Discount system.

Convenience is the new black. Mobile E-Commerce trends in 2020

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Knock knock, who’s there? Here’s the science fiction movie plot coming true. This is the reason for the popularity of AR and VR. Children who saw it on TV grew and became today’s consumers. Give them the object of their childhood desire – get instant success. Also, AR and VR give the convenience of shopping home for things that need the visual estimate. Does this lipstick fit me? Check with the AR filter. Will this table fit my kitchen? Synchronize the camera and check. Who knows, maybe later they’ll create a visual simulation of the shop. Put on glasses, walk into the virtual shop, choose goods, order and get them delivered.


People prefer chatbots, and no, it’s the age of social phobia. It’s the opposite. To make time to communicate with each other, people need to save it. Convenience is one of the top priorities and the traditional type of customer support is time-consuming. For both users and customer support workers. There are complex cases where you can’t go without it. However, if the issue is about finding out whether there is a size M or if they can buy from Poland, then chatbots resolve it faster.


Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I will buy it. Interactive designs where you can influence looks – top website solution. When it comes to apps, include gamification. Quests, games, rewards, scores – people like the feeling of purpose and achievement, even when it comes to shopping. The retailer of good for kids Step2 has an interactive quest ‘BuzzBoard’. The users get points when they share photos on Facebook or write a review.

Search by picture

The Internet is a hub of information. Often the information is shared and re-shared so many times, the author or the owned gets lost. The same happens with photos. I see a great red dress on Pinterest and I want it straight away. However, my searches are vain. If there was a search by a picture in eCommerce shops…. There is! The function is long used by Google. In mobile eCommerce, it’s still a novelty. 

Costs and timing of eCommerce mobile app development

“Okay, mobile eCommerce rocks! Quiet down and take my money!” Wait, wait, wait! There are so many things you need to consider to choose the best option suitable for your budget and requirements. First of all, what defines the amount of Benjamin Franklins you will have to invest? Here are 6 main factors influencing app development cost.

price per hour for app development

1) The cost of the project depends on the requirements you have for the project. It includes the concept of the product, how many features you need and what platform you choose for initiation. At this stage, you will work with CEOs of the company and business analysts. They will gather the requirement and advise you on the best practices: the backend and frontend technologies and deployment process specifications (

2) Then we come to the design. The more complex – the more you will have to pay. Good thing is that minimalism is trendy now. However, the designers’ task is not only to make it all aesthetic. They also build user experience design which plays a great role in the success of the app. 

3) Then we come to the frontend and backend development. They concern different parts of the app. Frontend concerns bringing the design prototype to the screen by turning it into the code. Backend is responsible for the app’s logic, architecture, API and quality control.

4) Testing is an important part of the development process. Here QA managers check if there are no serious bugs that distort the user’s perception of the information. Or maybe it simply doesn’t work. If everything is good we can deploy.

5) Maintenance & Support – if there are any problems with servers or API or you just need new features – this is the necessary process of app development. 

As for the price, here we’ll talk about approximate figures. The price depends on so many factors that if we included and evaluated all of them, I would have to write 50 of such articles. If you want to find out how much does it cost at Sapient Pro – contact us! Here are the rough prices for outsourcing companies around the world.

Mostly the timing for the project launch is the following:

  • Design: 100-200 hours (depending on the complexity);
  • Android or iOS frontend: 150-200 hours;
  • Back-end development: 150-200 hours;
  • Non-development, meetings and requirement analysis: 150-200 hours;

Hence, if we take 35$ salary, for example, the average costs for app development will be the following:

  • 60 000 – 65 000$ for the basic app;
  • 80 000 – 100 000$ for the medium app;
  • 180 000 – 200 000$ for the complex app;

Investing in E-Commerce app development is a risky venture, still, it’s a necessity. As a consumer, I feel a strong need to have my shopping experience improved. When you work, socialize, study and make time for your hobbies, there’s no room for going to the mall. I remember the last time I wanted to buy something from the Internet. It was a book. I logged in to their website and it worked so poorly, I decided not to make any purchases. I think, if they had an app with offline backup and user-friendly design, they would get another 30$ from me. Do you see it? It is important. From the global perspective and on such a small scale as in the life of one person. 

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