ecommerce app development retail strategy

Ecommerce Mobile App Development : Retail Tech Trends

Trending technologies for scalable ecommerce mobile app development – react native, flutter, kotlin & Ecommerce serverless architecture

Retail industry is undergoing a massive digital transformation. 2020 pandemic has accelerated technology adoption and now, DIGITAL is the new norm. This is our third article written with a motive to make it EASY for retail industry executives to NAVIGATE the digital transformation journey.

In the retail industry trends 2021, Ecommerce App WINNING Strategy article, we have given an overview on how and why your retail digital transformation journey should prioritize UI-UX at all stages of technology adoption especially for developing data-led intelligent ecommerce applications.

In this article, we are going to acquaint you with efficient trending approaches, practices and technologies for retail ecommerce app development.  And these trends are global. These are as popular in the United States as in Australia, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Russia or India.

Retail Digital Transformation

58% of Google search is from mobile devices.

65% of paid ad-clicks are from mobile devices.

47% of digital sales are from marketplace apps.

41.8% of the total e-commerce transactions came through mobile wallets.

77% of the US consumers used phones in-store to gather data about the product.

Having quoted those stats, it must be obvious why mobile first strategy is a necessity for retail businesses.


Native App Development & Cross-Platform App Development

The critical decision here is to choose between platform-specific Native app development technologies and cross-platform mobile application development technologies for Android and iOS.

Java, Swift, C# are popular choices for platform-specific native mobile application development. React-native and flutter are popular for building cross-platform e-commerce application development.

Native apps are platform specific. They are developed using programming languages which are used for writing the native Operating System itself.

What do we mean?

Android OS is written using C, C++, Java, Assembly language, Python, XML etcetera. Similarly, iOS operating system is written using C, C++, Objective-C and Swift etcetera.

So, now businesses which want to develop native mobile apps would use one of the core technologies from the ones used to build these OS’s itself. In simpler words, for building native android applications, developers would use Java or Kotlin. And for building native iOS applications, developers would make use of Objective-C or Swift.

Cross-platform mobile apps are developed using frameworks like React Native and Flutter. These technologies avail native like performance and are a better alternative for developing applications which are not severely performance critical.

react native vs flutter mobile app development

What’s the difference between building Native mobile apps and Cross-platform mobile applications development?

As already mentioned, when you develop native apps, it only works on one platform. So, you have to develop same application twice i.e., one each for Android and iOS platforms. As a result, there are increased costs for development and maintenance of mobile apps. The benefit is PERFORMANCE. The con is higher costs and slower development.

On the other hand, Cross platform app development technologies enable developers to reuse the code. This code reusability feature translates into faster-time-to-marketcuts cost significantly and enables easy maintenance.

Flutter with 100k+ starsreact-native with 90k+ stars are the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks. The cons are related to the flexibility and access to native platform OS APIs and libraries.

We have discussed the benefits of choosing react native for cross platform app development in detail on our insights. Also, we have a dedicated insight comparing React Native Vs Flutter. Do read them.

What are hybrid apps and the technologies used to build hybrid mobile applications?

These too have reusable code features but unlike react-native and flutter these do not have access to native modules at all. Instead, these are web apps rendered in browsers i.e., webView for android and WKWebView for iOS.

This is only preferred when app performance is not a critical requirement neither is UX. For building highly scalable user-centric applications, Cross-platform technologies like react-native and flutter are always better choices than hybrid technologies like Ionic and Cordova.

Outsourcing Vs In-house Development

In the US alone, retail mobile commerce will account for USD 339 Billion worth of revenue.

You too can increase your retail revenues and profits by leveraging mobile traffic and mCommerce. You as a retailer should be omni-present to efficiently harvest the benefits of mobile-strategy. Esp, be where your customers are. We have covered in detail all the necessary technologies you need to leverage in our insight on RETAIL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.

Developing an ecommerce mobile app is just a small step towards embracing digital transformation. Small, but crucial. The question that boggles retail business owners and enterprise retail-chain executives is –

How do we develop a retail ecommerce mobile app?

Well, there are multiple options, the easiest one is to use out-of-the box SaaS third party platform tools like buildABazaar and storehippo. But there could be several hiccups in choosing these platforms. Plus, you would still need to hire or outsource developers for customization and maintenance. This solution is suited only for very small scale retailers serving a very small niche market.

To build a scalable ecommerce mobile application, retail businesses must consider either having an in-house development team or outsourcing IT development services.

In-house development team is a good choice when either you are good with tech or when you have experienced tech executives who could get into the CTO shoes. Also, you should have ample money to afford and employ experienced developers, testers, project managers, designers etc.,

Outsourcing is a good choice when you want to develop ecommerce mobile apps to test and find product-market fit. Choosing a right outsourcing agency, you gain access to a diverse set of developers with rich experience in mobile & web development. You as a business can focus on growing your business and your outsourcing agency would manage technological aspects of app development for your retail enterprise.

We would soon do a detailed post on choosing the right outsourcing partner.

Application architecture is generally divided into presentation layer, data layer and business logic layer. Now depending on how you implement your application, architectures could be Monolithic, Service Oriented Architecture, Microservices, or Serverless. We would give you a short overview of all these architectural patterns. If you want to explore in detail, head to our insight on Serverless architecture.

Monolithic architectures are quick to develop but hard to scale. With a monolithic approach, developers maintain the same codebase i.e components and logics are interdependent and unified. Dependency on third party APIs are minimal and this makes the application fast.

But as the codebase for monolithic application scales, it becomes hard to maintain, developer productivity is reduced, release cycle speed slows down. And for the very reasons, Monolithic is considered a traditional approach now. But still, it is well suited for small scale applications. Monolithic is not agile-friendly.

Service-oriented-architectures (SOA), as the name suggests, is building functionality-focused niche components that cater to unique purposes. For example, in a payments application, verification of OTP could be a standalone service. Another example from ecommerce applications could be to have a separate independent component for adding items to a kart. These small services share the same database and communicate over ESBs i.e., enterprise service bus.

Microservices architecture is a further decoupled implementation of SOA architecture. Here each small service could be an independent app. These independent components communicate to each other via APIs and together build up highly scalable applications. Designing Service Oriented Architecture  generally focuses on the reusability aspect of services while microservices focuses explicitly on decoupling of components and services. Both are agile friendly but microservices is comparatively more  scalable.

business on cloud - cloud technologies

Serverless architecture is a cloud-first development approach. It is currently the most trending one in the tech industry. The best way to explain serverless is by relating it to outsourcing vs in-house ecommerce app development.

We discussed how outsourcing app development enables you as an enterprise to focus on growing your business rather worrying about technical aspects of app development and maintenance? Similarly serverless takes away some of the developer pain like managing and monitoring the server, database and infrastructure management and requires programmers to only focus on building your product i.e., writing fast, efficient, robust and secure code.

Serverless is all about FaaS and BaaS. What are they? Read our insight on Running your business in cloud with Serverless Architecture.

Modern E-commerce Applications need AR features, analytics capabilities, intelligent recommendation systems and an in-store experience approach to stand-out from the competition and deliver value to end-customers. We have discussed all these on our Codewave Insights.


This article was written with the help of our guest contributor Arnav.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. What types of eCommerce mobile apps can be developed?

There are several types of eCommerce mobile apps that can be developed, including, Online marketplace apps, which connect buyers and sellers; Shopping cart apps, which allow customers to purchase products directly from the app; Auction apps, which allow users to bid on items; Comparison shopping apps, which allow users to compare prices and products across multiple retailers; Subscription-based apps, which allow customers to subscribe to products or services; Virtual storefront apps, which allow brick and mortar businesses to create a virtual storefront for customers to purchase products; Mobile-specific marketplace apps, which are designed exclusively for mobile devices.

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

The cost to develop an eCommerce mobile app can vary greatly depending on several factors such as the complexity of the app, the platform(s) on which it will be developed, the number of features and functionalities included, and the location and experience of the development team.

On average, a basic e-commerce mobile app can cost around $20,000 to $50,000 for a single platform and a more complex app can reach up to $100,000 or more. However, these are just rough estimates and the final cost will depend on the specific needs of your project. It’s also important to consider the ongoing costs of maintenance, updates, and support.

3. What are the key technical considerations to keep in mind while developing an eCommerce mobile app?

When developing an eCommerce mobile app, it’s important to keep the following technical considerations in mind: Platform: Decide which platform(s) you want to develop the app for, such as iOS or Android, or both; Payment gateway integration: Ensure that the app integrates with a secure payment gateway to process transactions; Security: Implement measures to protect sensitive user data and transactions, such as encryption and secure socket layer (SSL) certification; Scalability: Ensure that the app can handle large amounts of traffic and data as the number of users and transactions increases; User experience: Prioritize user experience by making the app easy to navigate and use, with a clear and attractive design; Backend infrastructure: develop a robust and reliable backend infrastructure to support the app, consider using cloud-based solutions like AWS, Azure or Google cloud; Testing: Test the app thoroughly to ensure it is free of bugs and glitches before launch.

4. How long does it take to develop an eCommerce mobile app?

The time it takes to develop an eCommerce mobile app can vary depending on several factors such as the complexity of the app, the number of features and functionalities included, and the experience of the development team. On average, it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to develop a basic eCommerce mobile app for a single platform, while a more complex app can take up to a year or more. However, these are just rough estimates and the final timeline will depend on the specific needs of your project. It’s also important to keep in mind that the development time frame may change due to any new requirements and delays.

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