Costs & Benefits of Building a Mobile E-Commerce App

April 10, 2021

In this day and age, various businesses are opting to utilize the digital space for broader reach. Considering everyone is always connected, regardless of where they are, this optimization is necessary for survival. Thus, with this increasing necessity, retailers are making buying and selling more convenient by conceptualizing and developing mobile e-commerce applications.

Throughout the last few years, the mobile retail medium has evolved exponentially.

With more and more people switching to digital, more convenient transactions, it may not come as a surprise that mobile apps can boost e-commerce sites even by quantum leaps. However, the absence of a concrete costing and evaluation of a mobile e-commerce app’s development can hinder this progression. Thus, business owners, big or small, who intend to expand and branch out into e-commerce must maximize mobile apps’ power cost-effectively and profitably.

Now more than ever, consumers increasingly look and switch to mobile applications to satisfy their needs. E-commerce sites seduce consumers with access to a vast selection of products and services that consumers can choose from, to answer the call for more convenient shopping, promoting and encouraging patronage.

Advantages of Building a Mobile E-Commerce App

In a 2019 survey, an estimate of 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online. In that same year, e-retail sales transcended 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. With the recent turmoil globally, tech experts expect more and more people to opt for the safer, more convenient mode of purchasing: mobile e-commerce. With the increasingly widening platform, the following are the advantages of building a mobile e-commerce app:

Direct to Consumer (D2C)

Since more and more people opt for online shopping, creating an e-commerce app is a huge opportunity to promote and provide people with a direct-to-consumer shopping option. This becomes particularly important for brands that sell through multiple retail channels. If you have already established your brand, it is vital to retain and replicate the design, logo, slogans, and identity you have found when transitioning or branching out onto a D2C platform. By maintaining consistent branding across all of your retail channels, you further reinforce your branding and enable more choice for your customers. Implementing D2C options typically bring a positive impact on all of your sales channels as it gives your customers the freedom to shop how they want.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are an easier way to connect directly to a user. With push notifications, users do not get caught in spam filters or simply forgotten in an inbox. Instead, app publishers can speak directly to them. As its name implies, push notifications to notify users to use an app, whether it gets used actively or not. With push notifications, brands can also:

  • Promote products or offers to increase sales
  • Improve overall customer experience
  • Convert unknown app users to known customers
  • Send transactional receipts instantaneously
  • Drive users to other marketing channels, such as social networks

Personalized Promotions Based on App Usage

Among the most popular e-commerce trends in 2021 is content personalization. Previously, in 2019, 80% of customers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that provided a personalized experience. Today, this trend holds, causing businesses to invest in personalized marketing strategies.

With state-of-the-art technology, businesses can examine and use their users’ data to send personalized emails based on their previous purchases. With AI technology, companies can also lead users to products that align with their interests.

Omnichannel Experience

In 2021, experts project that more and more businesses will make their stores a unified shopping presence to provide an omnichannel experience. This shift means they will integrate their physical stores, digital stores, and mobile apps. Creating a mobile e-commerce app can reach more customers and retain the existing ones to keep up with the market competition.

Faster Checkout

Amazon was the first to employ a single-click payment method. However, their patent on this technology expired in autumn 2017, giving way for other platforms to implement such features.

Among the enticing benefits that users enjoy in an e-commerce app is its undeniable convenience in checking out items. Specifically, users do not have to retype and ask for the same data every time they create a transaction. The single-click payments that e-commerce apps feature ramp up the number of impulse purchases on mobile.


Geofencing is a mobile e-commerce trend that promotes goods and services based on the user’s geographical location. With the help of GPS, geofencing allows the users’ location to be monitored and thereby produce insights on the actual intent of buying. For instance, specifying a requirement such as ‘within 800 meters of shopping centers’ allows you to reap the benefits of timing and potential customers’ buying intent. In fact, 53% of consumers visit a store after receiving a location-based notification from a store. Geofencing supports technologies to track location such as Wi-FI, GPS, RFID, and Beacons.

How Much Does Building a Mobile E-Commerce App Cost?

It is crucial to have a concrete cost of developing your mobile e-commerce app to ensure a return on investment. Despite having standard bases to compare the cost against, the actual cost of a mobile e-commerce app development still depends on the features you want on it.

In developing mobile e-commerce apps, a native app is most common and most useful. For the sake of example, the following is a rundown of costing aspects to consider in developing e-commerce apps:


The wireframe is the most fundamental aspect to consider in developing e-commerce apps. The wireframe is the visual framework that lays out the app’s plan, encompassing physical makeup, the order, and the pages’ arrangement, among other things.

Wireframe costs vary depending on the complexity of the app development and the number of pages. Usually, apps with 2 to 3 pages cost less than $500, whereas apps with more than three pages typically start at $1,500 and above, depending on the number of pages.

Design Cost

The next aspect to consider, secondary to wireframe, is the app’s aesthetics. Since users are more likely to choose apps with attractive designs, this aspect must be well thought of and funded adequately to boost usage chances. The design cost encompasses the screen design, the app icon design, and other factors. Design costing is also affected by the choice of platform and the type of app used. Specifically, an app on the iOS platform is the most expensive to design. Furthermore, based on the app type, native apps are the most costly to develop, while hybrids are the least expensive.

There are several elements to consider when it comes to app design. Thus, it is important to be meticulous and give considerable attention even to fine details. For example, e-commerce app developments by Android must adhere to the Play Store design guidelines to allow usage. As far as app design is concerned, there is no one-size-fits-all pattern.

Like the wireframe, the cost of app designs varies depending on the design’s flexibility and versatility. However, for estimation, the average app design costs range between $2,000 and $35,000.

Development Cost

After the framework and the design, the next aspect to consider in developing the app where coding occurs. Knowing the number of programmers who will do the coding is essential to determine the development cost. Furthermore, it is also important to consider the app’s range of functionalities. Lastly, consider the type of app.

When considering the type of app, it is also important to consider the different app platforms, such as Android, iOS, and others, as they give various user demographic variables access. After taking into account the app platform to reach your target audience, choose the type of app you want to create. There are three main types of apps: native apps, web-based apps, and hybrid apps. These types differ mainly on their accessibility, enabling native apps to get directly installed and worked on even without a network connection.

Alternatively, web-based apps need an active network connection, and hybrid apps contain both attributes from the two apps.

The type of app with the highest cost, native apps, is the most useful in e-commerce applications.

Depending on these parameters’ combination, an app development cost estimate ranges between $1,000 and $100,000. After successfully implementing the codes and the development phase in general, it is time to conduct a qualitative analysis of your newborn app. It is important to conduct an extensive quality analysis to test bugs and detect defects in the development stage. The quality analysis phase’s cost also depends on the type of app and its functionalities. For example, the quality analysis ranges between the amounts of $20,000 and $30,000.

Overall, the approximate total cost of a mobile e-commerce app development ranges between $30,000 and $170,000. As established, this approximation has several interplaying factors. The creation’s complexity, the app’s versatility, functionality, and the type of app used are all deciding factors. Additionally, the billing method and the total time to accomplish the e-commerce app’s development can also affect the entire costing scheme. For instance, Android apps are known to take the longest to get developed compared to other platforms. This discrepancy has led to the coining of the term Android tax.


The times have changed and are continuously evolving. It is essential to keep abreast of what is next to keep up with these ever-evolving changes. Given all the basics there is to know about building a mobile e-commerce app, creating one might be the next big step you have to undertake.

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