If you want to sell something online, the best way to do it is via mobile app, as most consumers prefer this communication channel. Further in the article we will tell you how to create your own e-Commerce application, what you need for this, and how much it will cost to develop it
Analysis of the application business idea
The first stage when launching any commercial startup is analyzing a business idea, how much it will be in demand in the market. Such an analysis can be entrusted to a consulting agency or carried out independently using various tools. Here's what you can use to analyze a business idea.
. Using a tool as simple as Google Trends
, you can check the development of Internet users' interest in keywords that characterize your business idea. To do this, just enter the name of the niche (for example, Audiobooks) and the region (for example, USA), after which the service will show the dynamics of search activity associated with the selected keyword.
Analysis of the dynamics of search activity associated with audiobooks
Look at the competitors
. If your project does not provide for the creation of a new market from scratch, then you can analyze competitors to understand how promising the chosen niche is. Here's how to do it.
Study the demand for Amazon and AliExpress
- The easiest way is to check the number of downloads and reviews on Google Play and the App Store. This can be done manually or using services such as Sensor Tower, appFigures, App Annie or their analogues.
- If the app has a website, you can study its traffic using Similarweb, SEMRush or Alexa. They will show the size and traffic sources.
- You can study brand mentions on the network (on sites, in social networks, on forums) using services such as YouScan or Brand Analytics.
- Social media pages can be analyzed using Sprout Social, Phlanx, Social Blade and other similar tools.
. If you are planning to create e-Commerce startup applications
for the sale of a certain category of goods, the demand for them can be checked with the help of large marketplaces. So, on Amazon, popular products fall into the Best Sellers section, on AliExpress, the number of sales is indicated in the product card.
On AliExpress, you can see at a glance how many people bought a product
Use the IdeaCheck service
. This is one of the services created specifically for evaluating business ideas. Entrepreneurs indicate in detail what the essence and advantages of their idea are, on the basis of this information, IdeaCheck compose a questionnaire, which is shown to potential audience. The survey results are analyzed and presented to the entrepreneur in the form of a report
In its analysis, IdeaCheck will show the willingness to buy your product, its novelty, etc
Seek experts’ advice
. Another possible source of useful information is sites such as LinkedIn
, Quora, or The Question. Of course, not all of the answers on these platforms will be useful, but these are free tools, and therefore should not be neglected.
. If you know exactly who your target audience is, you can directly ask them questions about your business idea and application. You can do this through social media surveys and Google Forms, or by using services such as SurveyMonkey.
Business models of e-Commerce projects
At this stage, you must decide on the value proposition of your project and how to monetize it. A value proposition is a simple and clear statement of the benefits that consumers will receive from using or purchasing your app. It depends on the business idea and niche.
A good example of value can be found at Stripe: "Online and Mobile Payments Built for Developers." With the help of one slogan, the payment service makes it clear what kind of product they have and who its target audience is. Another good example from Dollar Shave Club is "A great shave for a few bucks a month." A brand in its value proposition indicated both its product and its target audience and the most significant selling point - a low price.
Mobile apps make money in this way.
- Advertisements. This is a way by which you can monetize almost any application, the main thing is not to overdo it, since many users react very negatively to an excess of advertising, especially when they see it in the early stages of knowing the service. More on this in research from Hubspot, Business Insiderand Vieo Design.
- Attracting clients. You will earn every time a user downloads or purchases a product by clicking on the link located inside the application. This is how Podcast Addict earns.
- Transaction fee. This model is suitable for startups that operate in trade or finance. Kickstarter, Stripe, Airbnb, Uber, eBay, Amazon, Etsy earn on commissions.
- Selling virtual goods. In this scheme, you create digital products and sell them. These goods can be books, films, money (cryptocurrencies), or items in video games. A prime example is the sale of virtual goods (such as PokéCoins) in video games (Pokémon Go).
- Paid subscription. This model is usually used by SaaS projects and startups that provide access to paid content. Subscription monetization model used by apps and websites like Netflix, Shopify, Wigzo and Envoy.
- Selling data. If the application is going to generate significant amounts of data about the habits and preferences of customers, then it is possible that this data will be useful to other companies. This is the model used by Foursquare, which sells customer location data to partners based on their activity, habits and consumer behavior.
- Freemium. This approach assumes that the basic functionality of your application will be free, but you will be pushing users to buy additional services. This is how Duolingo and Dropbox make money.
Main functions of the mobile application
Main functions and capabilities of the marketplace app. Source
Functions on the user side
. A set of possibilities with which the user can solve the problem for which he decided to use your application. For most e-Commerce projects, this is:
Features that improve the user experience
- Registration and login. Mobile applications usually implement very simple registration via Facebook, Google Play and App Store accounts.
- Search and additional filters. They will help you find the product or service you are interested in. The simpler and clearer the feature, the better the user experience and the more likely people will continue to use your app.
- Cards of goods, services. Their interface and content depend on the trade niche. It is not recommended to build this functionality from scratch, as you can go against user expectations and thus scare them away. Examples can be seen from market leaders: OLX, Amazon, Airbnb.
- Support for multiple languages. An essential function if you are targeting multiple countries or a market where consumers speak two or more languages.
- Shop profile. Brief information about the store, listing of its products, discounts and promotions, as well as other important information for the buyer.
- Reviews, ratings. A useful tool that will help drop out unreliable suppliers of goods and services, as well as greatly increase consumer engagement. Examples of the implementation of this functionality can also be overseen from the leaders of your target market.
- Users should be able to choose between several payment methods: debit card, credit card, digital wallet, cash on delivery, gift cards, etc.
. This is all that will help the application you create to stand out from the competition, attract new and retain existing customers. This list usually includes:
Functions on the side of suppliers of goods / services
- Integration with social networks. This is not only registration and login, but also pulling up user data (photo, first and last name, date of birth, location, etc.), integration with chats and marketing tools.
- Enhanced application security. Cryptography, two-factor authentication, biometric confirmation and other things that will protect users' money and confidential data.
- Voice interface. Integration with Google Now, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana to control the app using voice commands.
- Most of the popular e-Commerce apps present their recommendations to users based on their profile, purchase history and user habits. For example, Amazon makes product recommendations, Netflix - movies and TV shows, Spotify - music.
- Improves user experience in applications where location is important. For example, when searching on the Internet (Google), ordering food (AmazonFresh), searching for a local business (Yelp), calling a taxi (Uber).
- Push notifications. Tell the clients about the latest product arrivals, offers, discounts and app updates.
. If you are creating a commercial multi-vendor application that will be used not only by buyers, but also by suppliers of goods and services, then you also need to implement:
- Registration, log in. This feature can be open to everyone, like in an Amazon store, or it can be a registration that requires approval or an invitation from an administrator, like in the Alibaba Gold Supplier.
- Adding a product or service. It is best if this process is divided into several simple steps, on each of which the supplier is "led by the hand" by various interactive prompts. This reduces the chance of error and improves the user experience on the seller's side.
- Marketing tools. Promotions, bonuses, discounts and sales, as well as various functions for communicating with consumers through emails, internal chat, notifications and chat bots.
- Reporting and analytics. Customer interaction statistics presented in a simple and visual form, for example, in the form of charts, graphs and tables or dashboards.