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an ultimate guide for creating ecommerce app

A step by step guide on how to create an eCommerce app

What’s eCommerce? Electronic commerce or e-commerce is the process of purchasing and exchanging materials such as products, services throughout the internet, transferring funds and data. Anytime a product or service is sold or purchased online it is defined as eCommerce engagement. Although this phrase is often used to point out the sale of physical products online, it can also describe any kind of sale of goods or services on the internet. 

To make the long story short, here is the deal if you want to create an eCommerce app:

  • Establish a business (Yes. you need to make one if you want to go eCommerce)
  • Choose a name for the business
  • Select an app builder
  • Define the features that you need
  • Launch it

But as you may know, It’s not as easy as this. First of all, you should know some things about eCommerce and its tools. In this article, we’re going to help you: because we are Dewzilla, and I can do it for you.

What is the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness?

While e-business refers to all the forms of an online business, e-commerce is used only to describe the transactions of services and goods. 

The first eCommerce sale of history was in 1994 when a man sold a cd by sting via a retailing site called Netmarket. This transaction proved the internet to be open and a suitable platform for business. There is no need to talk about the enormous growth of e-commerce ever since. In the mid-90s there was a massive rise of giant eCommerce faces like Alibaba or Amazon. Of course, eCommerce has changed a lot since then. There is no denying that it is a completely different experience for both parties now. Sellers can find their target audience way more easily. Customers can also find anything on the net these days, with a wide variety of products to choose from, and all these tools to ensure a safe shopping experience, shopping has never been as accessible as it is today.

The growth of eCommerce giants like eBay or Amazon has made a lot of businesses and physical stores vanish. By 2020, the global retail eCommerce sales have been calculated to hit twenty-seven trillion dollars. The statistics have also proved that from 1997 to 2016, employment in the eCommerce sector has gone up by 80%! All these data show that e-commerce, based on the fast and ever-changing internet nature, has a very competitive market and is highly reactive to customer behavior. Therefore, it is important to understand the basics of the eCommerce industry, before diving into it.  

Types of eCommerce

Generally, when we talk about e-commerce, there is a common thought of it as an online shop activity that transacts between a contributor and a customer.

Although the idea itself is adequate, specifically divided, there are 6 fundamental sorts of e-commerce: 

1. B2B

Business to business; including all electronic marketing of goods or services conducted between businesses. Producers and conventional commerce normally employ this type of e-commerce. A good example of this is when a business provides some software as a service to another one.    

2. B2C

Business to consumer; this type of e-commerce is based on the relations between businesses and the ultimate consumer. 

3. C2C

Consumer to consumer; this is when a customer -and not an organized business- sells a product to another customer. For example, when you sell something to another customer on eBay.

4. C2B

Consumer to business; this happens when a consumer sells a product or service of their own to a business. Influencers are perfect examples of this. This type of eCommerce is also very common in crowdfunding and crowdsourcing-based projects, where individuals put their products or services up for sale. Another good example of this is when many designers present several proposals for the company logo and only one gets purchased. 

5. B2A

Business to administration 

6. C2A 

Consumer to administration

How to create an eCommerce app for your business

Building up an eCommerce business can be very complicated. The internet is user-based and ever-changing; therefore, the market keeps evolving and it is of vital importance to make the right decisions at the right time. Here are some of the steps you should take listed, to make it easier for you. 

Decide on what you want to sell

There are endless options and ways to go when it comes to creating an e-commerce business from ground zero. Anything has its own market, and you should target yours. The good news is, the market is only getting bigger. A superb place to start with your business is choosing what you want to sell. 

There are so many types of things an eCommerce business can sell. Including: 

Physical goods

Ones that you have to deliver to your customer’s doorstep like clothing, paperback books, etc.

Digital goods

Online books, video games, one-time purchase software, etc.

Services

Memberships, courses, subscriptions, etc.

Of course, you can choose any of them, but the limit is your imagination. You can choose more than one, or offer a combination! You should then decide on your fulfillment model. Here are some of your options:

Holding your inventory: 

You should ask yourself if you have enough space, and if it is profitable or currently possible to be the party surely shipping the said products to the customers. Certainly, this will not be a problem for businesses offering digital goods.

Drop-shipping: 

In this model, you will not be storing any of your own goods, you will be some sort of a middle man. You will only provide the customer’s info and the order and the manufacturer does the rest. This model is certainly not an option for you, if you are making the products or if there are no dropshipping suppliers in your market. 

Having someone else fulfill the orders

This is the combination of the first two models. Here, you are the party who is making or getting the product but you don’t store them yourself. You send the goods to a fulfillment house, and they take care of the rest. This a good solution to all the hardship of actually shipping the product yourself. 

You should also consider if you want to be a wholesaler or if you want to go retail. Another important question is choosing if you want to sell locally, nationwide, or even internationally. 

Choosing your market and niche 

What does niche mean? The Webster dictionary defines niche as “a place or position that’s particularly appropriate for someone or something, especially due to being very specific and different from others.” To put simply: niche is your place in the market and where your target audience is. When choosing your target audience, a very common misconception is that you have found an untapped target audience, while that is simply impossible. The best way to choose your market is to think people based. Think about who might be interested in buying from you. Your components are endless, but some things make you special to a specific group of customers. You already do have a general idea of what you want to sell and where your market lies, what you only need to do now is to narrow down your group of ideal customers. Consider the geographical impacts, if you are planning to sell your farm’s groceries online, you probably don’t want to target an international audience. Use keywords to map your way through the internet. Find the spot most suitable for you.

Specifying what you exactly want to sell

You should understand your customers and their needs. You should discover what makes them make a purchase and how they choose and trust a business. Of course, these are different in every market. It is of crucial importance to understand your competition. Competition is great, you can learn from it and find ways to upper your game. Competition shows that there is money to be made in the niche.

Do your research. Look to see who are your direct competitors. Understand who plays the big game in your market, and who is the most famous? Analyze their approach. Take notes of what you like and what you do not like in their strategies and their websites. Learn, replicate, and make yours. Try to reach their customer base. Figure that and you will find out many good marketing strategies and ways to approach your market. To make it clear, the goal here is not to be a mirror image of your competitors in the market, but to learn from them. Look at their website thoroughly and see what is their best seller. Big sites like AliExpress, eBay, etc. are good places to look for the best sellers as well, social media is a great marketing tool. Find the relevant groups and pages that your customer base follows. Be up to date and even introduce yourself as part of the conversation. The more you engage with the community, the more accepted and trusted your business will be. 

Incorporating your business

Do you have to register your business officially? Well, it depends on where you live and the overall situation. What can you do with an incorporated business where you live? What route are you planning on taking to your business? In most countries, businesses can operate in a couple of ways:

Sole proprietorship

 in an oversimplified explanation, you operate the business in your name and continuously notify the government of your income. 

Limited liability

Available in most countries, the main advantage of this model is that you are not counted personally liable. Therefore, if something bad happens you will not be in charge. The main con to this model in most countries is that your taxes are doubled.

If your business is official, you can apply for accounts with credit card processors and payment providers. Important things such as working with suppliers and marketing partners will not be possible as well unless you are a registered business.

Now to name your business

This is my favorite part of it all. Although it is a very important part of the process of creating your brand, it is also somewhere you can express yourself and what you want to achieve. Names are of vital value, even ancient Egyptians believed that our souls would be diminished if our names were forgotten. Choosing the right name can have a huge effect on how your brand is perceived. A good name should be a good representation of your business. It should give an overall impression of what you sell and do. One of the amazing tools you can get some help from is the popular name generators. Open up your chosen name generator and enter the keywords that specify your niche and preferred market. The name generator will use the seed keyword to give you some possible brand names. Your brand name should include a word that gives an overall impression of what the brand is about, even if not clear. It’s best to include words that are not that common in everyday use as well. This will make you stand out. 

Picking a platform

An operating platform is the operating system of your eCommerce business. There are various options available out there and any of them is suitable for a specific business. If you’re looking for a general, do it all platform, you should consider one like WordPress. This is perfect if you’re just starting with your new store and are providing both shippable and digital items. If you are a seller of digital products only, you might want to check out platforms like easy digital and Gumroad. We will list some of our favorite web applications down below. 

Choosing your website design

Again, one of my favorite parts personally. Your store design is again one of those places where you represent your ideas and communicate your message. You can use your brand aesthetic as a tool to reach out even more to your niche. Doesn’t that sound just great? Picking a store design is not only about what you prefer visually, but you should also keep in mind what’s most likely to work in your market and grab the customers’ attention. Different messages communicate through different web designs. If you are a clothing store providing maximalist clothing to a target audience between fifteen to twenty-five, your website probably would not have a minimalistic design as well. This is again another good place to look at your competition. Go through their websites. How are they trying to come through? You can take their example and yet add your personal touch. After you have taken notes of what your niche responds to the best, it is time to look for WordPress or Shopify, or whatever other platform you are using themes online. Keep in mind though, as maximalist your brand may aesthetically be, never go overboard as it is hard to use a very complicated website. All those pretty details you love may only act as distractions to the actual products you are offering. That brings us to our next step which is:

Showcase your products

I do consider this as part of the overall web design, but it is so important that I thought it should have its own number. Here again, you can always look around to see how others are doing it. Their example will set your way. The page layout, the amount of information presented, and how it is presented are different in each niche. You will not see a very elite and expensive makeup brand pop its prices at your face like amazon or AliExpress does. You will also not see Netflix use long descriptions as IMDB does, do you? Finding the right language is key. You must think like your customers and speak like them too. Think about how brands like Forver21 are handling this. In the end, words are your ultimate tool and how you sell your products. Sounding boring will make you use the teenagers and using too much internet slang will not read through to the middle-aged audience. Sound too smart and some will bounce off your page, too casual and the elite will find it not their class. If you are selling a physical product, it is very important to have photos that make your customers trust you. A good photo should accurately represent what the customer is buying. A good set of product photos always include a general look from far away, one showing all the details up close, and the ones in actual use. You could use influencers’ or the photos customers send you. 

Important things that are often ignored

If you are planning on international shipping, you must keep in mind that the accurate calculation of shipping rates is often super hard. You will need to add shipping zones, and also additional shipping extensions so that you do not have to do all the work. If you are not selling physical products, but digital ones, or online services, you should think of ways to receive payment across the globe. Taxes are also another problem. You do not want to be shut down because of taxes of course. Fortunately, there are many great extensions out there that can help you with that. 

On promoting your business

It is hard and complicated, especially if you are just starting, but it comes down to two simple things: you can either invest time or money. Traffic can be bought upfront or be earned by putting a lot of time into it. My personal preference is the second one as it is more sustainable. But it all depends on you, and what is best for your business. Here are some of the ways you can achieve that:

SEO

No one can ever deny the power search engines have over our businesses. The keywords we identified earlier in this article have great importance in SEO. Do your research, SEO is way bigger than to be explained in between another article. 

You want to be seen, so appear where your audience might be. Instagram and other social media are great places to start. Other options include AdWords, podcast, etc. The options are endless.

What makes an eCommerce platform a good option for starter businesses?

Here we named five essential characteristics that every platform needs to have to service small businesses that are just getting started with selling online. 

We believe a platform that provides readymade online stores for small and medium businesses should have some essential features:

  • Easy to use
  • All-in-one
  • Easy to track
  • Integrable with other platforms
  • Fair price

Now, let’s describe what they mean:

Easy to use   

The app or the tool must be easy to use to enable anyone to create a stylish and good-looking shop. It’s mostly on the shoulders of the themes, but there are other options too. Having features like chat boxes make your website cool and trustable. There are some platforms that if you want to use them, you should be able to code are not the best options for most people. When we can use premade templates, we don’t have to recreate the wheel. 

All-in-one

The platform you use must let you sell what you want, where you want, and how you want. In other words. The platform should be capable of supporting different types of goods, whether they are physical or digital. 

The next thing that we expect a proper platform should support is that it must be able to integrate with different payment methods. The challenging part about payment is to handle the taxes. Yes. It should help you to operate all parts of the process. 

Easy to track

The platform must help you manage orders, ship the stuff, track the store, and everything about tracking and delivering. 

Integrable with other platforms

In this world of connections, everything must be connected to other things, so do digital platforms. Your online shop must be integrated with other services, marketplaces, apps, extensions, plug-ins, and any other tool that helps you provide more features for your customers.  

Fair price

You could use one of those fully customized done-for-you solutions, but you are not for a reason: the price. The tools could cost you thousands of dollars, but as a small business, many can’t pay that much. So, the tools we are going to introduce are offered at a reasonable price.

E-commerce web application

Selling online has never been this easy and you have so many options to choose from, depending on your needs. Here we have some of the best options you can choose to build your own online shop. 

The best eCommerce platforms:

  • Wix
  • Shopify
  • Ecwid
  • Square

Now, let’s have a closer look at them.

Wix

The main purpose of most eCommerce platforms is to make it possible for you to add a page, a contact page, and maybe a basic blog for your website. But if you want to make a full website, then Wix can be your best option. It has all the features a small to medium-sized business needs. Wix is a strong site builder that enables you to use every common feature you need to run an online shop.  

When you enter the website for the first time as a customer, there are some questions that you need to answer. After that, Wix automatically sets things up. You can choose from more than 500 premade templates to give your shop the look you desire to. There is even more! You can work with ADI or artificial design intelligence feature to get a little help from ai to create your shop.  

wix platform

This option is extremely effective and quick. There are some questions about the way you want your website to look, the features that you need, and, your pages. After answering these questions, the ai in some moments, creates a suitable website for your products. 

It is not the end of the story. You can import important data from Google, like price lists. You can add shipping rates, make your email list, and even the option to advertising on Google ads and Facebook. 

If these are not enough for you, there is something else that can trigger you to choose Wix. This site-builder also has a store for extra extensions that you may find useful. 

Shopify

Shopify has been helping businesses to get started for more than 15 years. The number of stores that they have helped to get started is more than a million. They know how to do it and that’s why people love it.

The ai here is called the classic “wizard”. It asks you about the appearance of your website and after answering some questions and setting your preferences, you can connect your domain to the newborn shop.  

Shopify uses one of the simplest interfaces that you can hardly get lost in the process, even if you never had created a website before. For example, you can add the products to your store as simple as clicking on them. Add the name, price, and other details if needed, then change its status to active. It’s in your store.  

This tool is very powerful, but you need to know that is not free. Of course, there are 10 free themes, but everyone wants more and you have to pay to access the paid themes -that are way prettier. 

Shopify is very popular, so there are many features you can find online to add to your store. You can choose one and ask a designer to customize it for you. But it’s not just about the themes, you can add many features by using plug-ins or other available third-party services.  

Ecwid

If you’re low on budget, Ecwid helps you start free. The free plan enables you to start selling the first ten physical products and when you need to sell more, it’s really affordable to upgrade tires by paying only $15 per month for extra features. 

After signing up, Ecwid lets you integrate your store and your existing website. It supports different platforms like WordPress, Weebly, and Drupal. Then you are ready to go. 

There are other free options to build your online shop, but there is something that highlights Ecwid and that is its wide range of options to customize it. There are dozens of themes that you can use the one you like the best. Alongside, there are many features that you may find useful to add to your online store.

This tool is free, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t integrate it with other channels like Facebook and Instagram. You can sell directly to your followers and also list your products on Amazon or eBay. 

Square

Some shops want to have the option of selling in-person. For these businesses, Square is the best option. All of your online and offline orders are organized under a single dashboard, so you can manage them well. 

In 2018, Square bought Weebly, so when you set up your store, you may see the URL is directed to weebly.com. Do not worry about it. 

Square enables you to use some of the best features for an online shop. Like many other site-builders, after signing up, you have to fill in a quick questionnaire about your business and what you expect from your shop. You can set up a full online store or a single booking page. Depending on what you need, Square creates your online store. There are also some default themes for you to choose one. Yeah. Unfortunately, Square is a little limited in the manner of designing, but you can hire a designer to customize your online shop. 

Best eCommerce mobile app 

As the preference for using mobile apps instead of desktop usage grows, nothing matters as much as their importance.

In this section, some good examples of e-commerce apps are reviewed.

1.  Glasses by Warby Parker

Warby Parker is an online retailer of glasses. This highly successful business made some innovative risk-free ways for their customers to be able to choose and buy glasses. Their online distribution model lets people order and try glasses based on their own taste before actually buying them. Although they started web-based, due to their enormous success they developed mobile apps for their business, which led to an award-winning iOS app.

2. Sephora

Sephora is a cosmetic and beauty retailer with thousands of shops across countries. Though the brand has always been a successful example among all beauty brands, it has lately got more loyalty and popularity due to its digital makeover. Their iOS app comes with many features for their customers to have a shopping experience just as good as shopping in-store.

sephora ecommerce

The ios app gives access to other clients’ reviews and ratings, make-up tutorials, product info, latest launches, and so many other features that customers find useful. 

3. Wayfair 

It is an e-commerce company with several home furnishing, housewares, and décor items. With their mobile app, they give the shoppers all they need when buying furniture. The app allows you to view a product in your room and decide about whether to buy it or not. This feature is what makes Wayfair different from any other online shop for home goods. 

4. Nike

Nike’s digital presentation has unbelievably evolved its customers’ shopping experience. The Nike app allows you to know what’s available at your nearest Nike store. And if you become a plus member, discounts and partner rewards are waiting for you. Plus members can also have extra information about a product, like available sizes and colors, and most importantly request a try-on.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 

How do I develop an eCommerce mobile app?

 if there is one thing that the coronavirus has proved to us, it is that the world is mobile. Now more than ever, it seems like a great idea to develop an eCommerce mobile app of your own, to take your online store to the next level. Even most of Amazon’s sales this year were achieved through mobile purchases. An eCommerce website may not suffice to grab the customer’s attention as many of the giants are offering easy-to-use apps.   

How much does it cost to build an eCommerce? 

The obvious answer is, it depends. The development prizes can start from ten thousand dollars or less to five hundred thousand dollars or more. The platform you use, the features you need, where you live and the people you work with can all change the price. Some of the other main elements that will affect your prices are data imports, marketing and SEO, and integration.

What is an e-commerce mobile app?

To put it simply, an eCommerce mobile app is your online store in the form of a mobile application. It leads to an easier experience in this digital native world. With an eCommerce app, the customer’s experiences can be personalized and more sales can be achieved. Through a good eCommerce mobile app, you can expand your reach and you can manage your business way easier.

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