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How to Make an Online Shopping App Like Wish?

Online shopping is a growing market. An estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide bought goods online in 2017. Online retail revenue in 2017 was US $ 2.3 trillion, whereas, it‘s expected to reach US $ 4.48 trillion by 2021.

Within this growing online shopping market, mobile shopping apps are becoming increasingly important. In 2017, 11 % of online shoppers used their smartphones to buy online every week. Read more about these statistics in this Statista report.

If you are planning to make a mark in this market with your online shopping app, the time couldn‘t better! The prevailing technology ecosystem is a clear enabler. In this article, I will explain how to make an online shopping app lie Wish.

Contents

Features of an online shopping mobile app
Examples of online shopping mobile apps
How to launch an online shopping mobile app without coding
Custom shopping app development
The development team
Shopping app development costs

Features of an online shopping mobile app

An online shopping mobile app is a native app hence it can make use of all device functionalities. Any eCommerce entrepreneur can launch an app of this category to gain increased traction in an era when smartphones are ubiquitous. Anyone interested in online shopping can be a user of this app.

It’s a growing market, however, it‘s also highly competitive. To corner a decent market share, you need to offer competitive features, as follows:

  • The app should support popular platforms like Android and iOS.
  • Your users should be able to use it irrespective of their geography hence, language and currency compatibility is needed.
  • Integration of multiple stores is a desired feature.
  • Your business may grow hence, you will need an easy way to add more products to the app.
  • Very often, entrepreneurs launching an online shopping mobile app already have their eCommerce website. They already have existing shipping and payment methods set up. The mobile app should seamlessly integrate with the website, furthermore, it should integrate with the shipping and payment methods too.
  • An elegant yet simple ’User Interface‘ (UI) is a must in this highly competitive landscape.
  • Push notifications are important since online shopping mobile apps need to engage consumers in a sustained manner. There should be segmentation of push notifications so that appropriate messages can be delivered to right customer segments.
  • Secure, fast, and easy check-out is a ’Sine qua non’ in an online shopping mobile app.
  • Browsing products should be a fast and elegant experience. Search and filtering options are also important.
  • User account creation and user authentication should be secure yet easy enough for small mobile screens.
  • The app needs to have robust analytics capabilities to measure user engagement.

Read more about these desired features in the JMango360 Mobile Commerce Apps features page.

Examples of online shopping mobile apps

Review the following popular online shopping mobile apps to get an idea about their design and features:

Wish

Wish is a highly popular online shopping app. They have both Android and iOS apps. They offer their vast product catalog on their mobile apps, additionally, browsing and filtering are easy. The company also offers attractive discounts for mobile app-based shopping. An intuitive UI design, easy payment options, reward points, etc. are other key features. It‘s a free app.

Tictail

A popular shopping app, Tictail is available on Android and iOS. It‘s free, however, it provides all the standard mobile shopping app features. It‘s a vast marketplace that includes brands around the world. You can follow brands you like, furthermore, there are many interesting in-app messaging options.

Canopy

Canopy provides a very interesting feature. The community here helps users to find products on Amazon. Consumers can receive product recommendations from other users with similar tastes. Finding products by category and brand is easy. Users can follow their favorite brands. They have both Android and iOS apps, additionally, it‘s a free app.

LIKEtoKNOW.it

LIKEtoKNOW.it is an interesting app with a focused use case. When consumers want to know information about a product, they can take a screenshot of an image or influencer on Instagram or Snapchat. They can then directly purchase the products featured in the screenshots from the smartphone using this app. The app is available on Android and iOS. It‘s a free app.

GoodGuide

GoodGuide is a mobile shopping app for searching, browsing, and scanning safe and healthy consumer goods. There are ratings for many food items, cleaning items, and personal care items. Consumers can find highest-rated products. They can also find the nutritional value of food products, furthermore, they can check the health risks of household chemical products. This free app is available both on Android and iOS.

How to launch an online shopping mobile app without coding

Entrepreneurs without access to a skilled development team can also launch an online shopping mobile app quickly. They have the following options for that:

JMango 360 Mobile Commerce Apps

With JMango 360, you can convert your existing eCommerce website into a native mobile app. The company supports the conversion of the following types of eCommerce websites:

  • eCommerce websites built using the Magento open source platform;
  • Magento Commerce websites;
  • Lightspeed websites;
  • PrestaShop eCommerce websites.

The company offers a mobile app-builder. You need to connect your eCommerce websites built on any of the above technology to it. You will need to use a few intuitive steps to build your native app using this app-builder.

You can create both Android and iOS apps. The drag-and-drop design tools can be used to build an elegant front-end with user-friendly designs. The app will be able to support all languages and currencies, additionally, you can integrate multiple online stores. You can add as many products as possible, furthermore, the app can support a variety of shipping and payment methods. Products updated on your website will get reflected in the app in real-time.

The app will allow you to integrate push notifications, user account management, and a fast check-out process. The company provides a cloud hosting service in their pricing plan, and analytics to measure user engagement. Visit their features page and contact them for their pricing plans.

Appy Pie shopping app builder

Appy Pie is a provider of mobile app builders. They offer an online shopping mobile app builder. The app builder enables you to include all key features, for e.g., push notifications, payment integration, shopping cart, ability to reach out to customers, loyalty page, etc.

To use Appy Pie, you need to sign-up with them here. Their drag-and-drop app builder allows you to build your mobile app in simple intuitive steps. You don‘t need developers, furthermore, the company includes the cloud hosting in their pricing plan. Visit their pricing page to review their pricing. Remember that only their platinum plan allows you to include your own branding.

Custom shopping app development

The above approaches I described can help start-ups quickly launch their shopping app, however, to offer differentiated features they need custom development. Hence, in this approach, I will describe SDK and APIs. They save some time by addressing several common functions. You will need a development team to build the mobile app front-end. I recommend using a ’Mobile Backend as a Service’ (MBaaS) provider for the mobile backend, which will also save some time.

SDK/API options to develop a shopping app

Let‘s review a few SDK/API options to develop a shopping app.

Option #1: Shopify SDK/API

The eCommerce platform Shopify offers an Android SDK to create a shopping app. It‘s called the ’Android Buy SDK‘. With this SDK, your team can do the following:

  1. Securely access Shopify‘s Storefront APIs.
  2. Display products and collections in the app.
  3. Enable user sign-up and the overall user account management.
  4. Incorporate check-out and payment in the app.

The company provides a sample project for the developers. You can view this in their GitHub repository and make your own online shopping app. You need to visit their partners page and enquire with them for the price of this SDK.

Option #2: Shopgate SDK/API

Shopgate offers their mobile SDKs and APIs to create a mobile app for online shopping. With the Shopgate SDKs, you can create Android and iOS mobile apps. You can connect to the Shopgate m-commerce functionality this way.

You can include the following features:

  • Single sign-on (SSO);
  • Payment gateway integration;
  • eCommerce platform integration;
  • Marketing functionalities;
  • Backend functionalities.

Using their Cloud SDKs also takes care of your mobile backend hosting hence you don‘t need a separate MBaaS provider. You can also include several important features using the Shopgate platform, as follows:

  • Spotlight search;
  • Deep linking;
  • Facebook ads;
  • Daily deals;
  • Coupons;
  • Loyalty and subscriptions;
  • QR and barcode scanners;
  • Powerful analytics.

You can access the documentation about the SDKs and platform in the Shopgate developer portal, for e.g., you can access the following:

To get their price plans, request a demo from the company.

Option #3: Moltin Swift eCommerce SDK

Moltin, the company providing eCommerce SDKs and APIs, provides a Swift eCommerce SDK for iOS mobile shopping app development. There are numerous advantages to this SDK, as follows:

  • It‘s simple to use.
  • It‘s easy to configure the store for different currencies.
  • There is a full test suite.
  • No external dependencies.

You can find the SDK in their GitHub repository. All key m-commerce features can be included in the app, for e.g., shopping cart, payment integration, feature-rich storefront, etc. You can access their entire documentation in the Moltin developer portal.

You can find the API references here. The quick start guide can be found here. To get their detailed pricing plans, contact them.

Option #4: Moltin Android SDK

Moltin also offers an Android SDK for shopping app development. This SDK supports the features their Swift SDK for iOS supports. You can access their complete Android SDK documentation in their ’Getting started with Android‘ guide.

The development team

In this guide on how to develop an app like Wish, I will now touch upon the kind of development team you need. You need UI/UX designers with good knowledge of mobile navigation menu examples. You also need business analysts, Android developers, iOS developers, and testers. Finally, you need a project manager with a good knowledge of project management best practices.

I recommend the ’Agile‘ methodology for this development project. I also recommend you use the ’Scrum‘ technique hence your PM needs to act as a ’Scrum master‘. Read more about Agile in our guide “How to build an Agile development team?”.

Managing the mobile backend

I recommend that you use an MBaaS provider for the mobile backend. This saves you the effort of developing the mobile backend, additionally, you save the effort of managing it. MBaaS providers take care of infrastructure, database, persistent storage, user management, API integration, security, platform compatibility, etc. You can concentrate on the mobile front-end development and business logic.

There are several reputed MBaaS providers like AWS for Mobile, Google Firebase, etc. Consult our guide “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?” for more details.

Important tools for the shopping app development project

To execute this project smoothly, you need to use effective tools. Consider the following:

  1. A good test automation tool, for e.g., Tricentis Tosca.
  2. A build and deployment management tool, for e.g., AWS CodeDeploy.

I also recommend using a good project management tool, for e.g., JIRA. You can check our guide “The 10 best Agile project management tools in 2018” for more examples.

Additionally, you need to know the guidelines for publishing apps in ’Google Play‘ and ’Apple App Store‘. Check the respective guidelines here, and here.

How to manage the project

In the ’Scrum’ technique, your requirements of features for a ’Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) and further enhancements will be documented in a ’Product backlog’. Based on the estimation done by the team the project will need to be divided into iterations called ’Sprint’.

The project team discusses the project status in a ’Daily standup meeting‘ and resolve any issues that may come up. The sprint is approved by the project stakeholders in a ’Sprint review meeting‘, subject to features being implemented successfully. The project team also conducts a lessons-learned exercise after the sprint, which is called the ’Sprint retrospective meeting‘. Read more about this in our guide “How to build a scrum development team?”.

Shopping app development costs

The cost to make an app similar to Wish in this custom development approach has more than one components. You need to contact the SDK and API providers for their pricing plans, however, MBaaS providers display their price on their website. Development manpower cost depends on the complexity of the app and the local labor market.

This custom development approach is a full-fledged development project with considerable complexity. You might need professional help from a development company. Check our guide “How to find the best software development company?” in this regard.