Building a mCommerce App in 2021: Key Features, Time and Cost

Mobile commerce development is one of the fastest-growing trends in the retail industry. Mobile commerce apps are offering an added advantage for businesses and help promote online shopping. Yet, to best harness the power of mCommerce, businesses should take the most cost-effective and expedient strategy, the one that starts with researching the cost of eCommerce mobile app development. Without further ado, let’s cover this sensitive topic.

Basic Features of eCommerce Mobile App

Cost evaluation of any software, including mobile apps, starts with defining features and the time needed to develop each of them. The more features the app needs, the more complex it becomes. Not only because more features need more time to develop, but also because all features need to be synchronized with each other in a way that doesn’t interrupt the work of any of them. A mobile commerce app needs a number of specific features, even if it is a minimum viable product (MVP). Here are some common features of a standard mCommerce app:

  • Onboarding is the process of getting users familiar with a new app. It is the feature that immediately shows how much a business cares about its customers. Onboarding helps customers to get past the initial learning curve and lowers the abandonment rate.
  • Sign Up/Login. To make this feature quick and easy, add login not only via a phone number or email but also via a popular social media, e.g. Facebook.
  • Admin panel is the place where new content (including products) can be added and various activities can be monitored and controlled, e.g. dashboards, promotions, or payments.
  • Customer profiles that allow adding a delivery address, payment data, items to a wishlist, and viewing orders history, active orders, and their statuses. It can also have a waitlist where customers can save products that are out of stock but will be restocked.
  • Customer support. One of the three top reasons for customers to churn is poor customer support or its absence, which makes this feature vital. For starters, implementing an in-app chatbot can be enough.
  • The product catalog should be appealing and include categories, search, filters, sorting, and quick links to each product page. Autocomplete suggestions for search functionality will make shopping easier. It is better to place products that are promoted or are on sale at the top of each category.
  • Product details page. Each product page should include some visualization or even video-presentation of a product, e.g. if you sell some physical products, add product description and characteristics, and reviews. It is also a good idea to add recommendations here and display a few similar products.
  • Cart to hold products before and during the checkout. It should include adding, editing, and deleting functionalities.
  • Payment options. Nowadays, there are a lot of payment options available, so you can start by covering at least the most convenient ones, e.g. credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.
  • Push notifications. They are an effective and engaging marketing channel if compared to emails and SMS. They can notify customers about forgotten carts, restocked products, and sales.
  • Physical store locations, preferably with built-in maps.
Image Source
  • Social media sharing. Integration with social media will simplify and encourage your customers to share their wishlists and reviews. It also serves as a marketing tool that can help increase business visibility.
  • Reviews and ratings give customers the possibility to share their impressions and feelings about the products they’ve purchased. For businesses, reviews can work as an indicator of products’ performance and enhance mCommerce credibility.
  • Promo codes and coupons. It is hard to imagine any modern store that doesn’t have some coupons and promo codes, e.g. tied to holidays.

Now that we have listed all the basic features, we can move forward to estimating the time needed to develop them.

It is also recommended to invest in the discovery phase. It usually takes 2–6 weeks to conduct the discovery. It helps to define the future product through its specification, architecture, and design and determines the project’s estimated cost. The discovery phase implies regular and profound communication and discussions about the future product. The client can get to know their development team better.

The overall mCommerce app development time can reach around 900 hours. So if we take $50 as an average price per hour, the app will cost up to $45k. Still, there are a few more factors that impact the total cost of the mobile commerce app.

Factors That Determine the Cost of eCommerce Mobile App Development

iOS or Android app development cost is not limited to the hourly rates and development time only. It depends on such factors as the complexity of the product, the team location, and post-release maintenance. Let’s have a closer look at each of them.

  • App complexity. Here we compare the simplest app with the most complex one just to show you how the ultimate price may vary, but surely there is a wide range of apps in-between.
  • The team location can significantly affect the cost of eCommerce mobile app development, so let’s look at the rough estimate of the average prices by region.
  • Maintenance. Typically, to estimate the maintenance, it is recommended to add 20–30% to the final estimated cost (that already includes features, complexity, location, and other factors). All the platforms often update their systems, so for any app to operate correctly after such updates, maintenance is needed.

The Takeaway

As we can see, the mCommerce trend now shapes and transforms to provide customers with a more convenient and relevant experience, especially in the realm of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is already a vital part of the omnichannel shopping experience where the customer journey can start with a smartphone and end up either with a laptop or in a physical store.

Thus, such a powerful channel as mCommerce can be a great asset for retail businesses. Especially when there are more advantages to mobile commerce apps than disadvantages.

Hopefully, this article has answered the key questions about mobile commerce apps’ price formation and what it comprises so it will be easier for you to decide how to develop your own retail app and plan its budget. If there are more questions you need to be answered, feel free to contact Onix — we’re just one form away!

Onix-Systems provides IT services in website, mobile app and emerging technologies software development. Check our blog ->