What to Consider When Building Your Online Store’s Mobile App

Global mobile commerce sales are expected to reach a jaw-dropping $3.56 trillion in 2021 and account for almost 73% of these ecommerce sales.

This is solid proof of how building your app can get you boatloads more of sales and profit. 

Besides that, mobile apps can expand your competitive advantages. You can get a greater online presence, customer engagement, patronage, and many others.

These benefits are more than enough reasons to develop your store’s mobile app. So if you’re all set to doing that now, here are six things to consider:

1. Defining your app’s purposes and targets

Building your online store’s mobile app begins with a concrete app development idea. Spell out what you intend to achieve with it. Doing this gives your project a definite direction, helps determine its appearance and features, and tells you what to track later.

Start by articulating your app’s primary purpose and top goals, which must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART).

Next, ask yourself, “Who is my target user?” This question refers obviously to your customers, but you can further clarify whether or not you’re reaching more particular groups and demographics.

Then, indicate what you want the mobile app to do overall. Align this with your business services. Is it primarily for shopping, appointment setting, or others?

Include competitor research in the process, especially direct brand rivals with their own apps already. Study their app and see how yours can be distinct or better than theirs.

2. Identifying your app’s general makeup

Once you have those essentials in place, you can proceed to plan your app’s appearance, interface, and functionalities.

Doing this allows you to flesh out your app idea and your developer to understand what workflows to apply.

Your app’s interface should naturally reflect your branding. Its design should be consistent with your logo’s and website’s appearance. Incorporate the same branding colors, font styles, and other elements.

Identify next what customers should be able to do with your mobile app — from general to specific. These can include:

  • Account management: register, log in, change password, adjust settings, save a delivery address
  • Shopping: picking the correct item size and color, filter product selection, add items to carts and wishlists, etc.
  • Checkout: choose preferred payment modes and shipping alternatives, input or autocomplete payment details, display order summary, and others.

Remember that these should all be intuitive and straightforward — whether you’re targeting older or younger customers. Coordinate with your developer to ensure streamlining your app’s functions and features. 

This ensures keeping your app experience seamless, user-friendly, and customer-centric and encourages customers to linger and return.

3. Finding your ideal app developer

You need to find the right app developer to turn your idea into a reality  — whether in-house, outsourced, or an agency. Consider these attributes in your selection:

  • Has a genuine interest in your company’s app idea and corresponding goals
  • Proactively gives expert input on what’s best for your app
  • Understands the big picture and tiny details involved in the project
  • Easy to contact and coordinate with
  • Timely submission of agreed outputs and progress updates
  • Holds an excellent portfolio with reliable references
  • Can give a competitive quote that balances price and excellent output quality, etc.

4. Testing your app before deployment

This step is highly critical before launching your app for your customers’ use. Do a test run first to see if it’s running as smoothly and quickly as intended. Find out also if any bugs or heavy features impact the app’s normal operations and performance. 

You can do that by downloading and using your app like your customers usually would. Here are some ways to test it:

  • Check its speed and responsiveness during installation, chatting, update downloads, loading of pages, photos, choices, and other actions, etc. (on regular and peak periods).
  • Examine your app’s performance consistency when numerous users log in, when it’s under stressful circumstances, or handling volumes of information. 
  • Test for how long your app will function optimally within normal loads.
  • Try using your app from different devices, operating systems (e.g., Android, iOs), network standards (2G, 3G, 4G) and configurations (GSM, TDMA), among others.

Although app testing is crucial, it’s also tedious if you take manual approaches. So, leverage hyper-efficient automation testing programs to streamline your trials. 

These tools can systematically execute several different tests to ensure your app’s overall top-notch performance. They can also provide substantial data results and reports uncovered from the assessments.

5. Backing up your code and data

Security is another mega-critical aspect to consider when building your mobile app. Cybercriminals are always looking for new, vulnerable apps that they can hijack and exploit for ill-gotten gains.

Once they penetrate your app’s systems, they can corrupt your files, steal your business and customer data, modify the code, etc. Besides other unfortunate repercussions, all these can lead to an immediate or eventual permanent shutdown of your app and online store.

Protect your app by regularly backing up your code and data with robust mechanisms. When duplicating them, forgo manual methods and automate instead. 

For example, if you created your app on Microsoft Azure DevOps, use online platforms such as Backrightup. It instantly runs Azure DevOps backup activities and gives updates every day. 

All you need to do is check your dashboard to see which repositories, wikis, work items, and other entities Backrightup duplicated in a safe, cloud-based storage location.

Through automated backups, you can reduce your app-related workload, whether during the development or operational phases. You can also focus on more productive tasks and have peace of mind about your app’s and business’ security.

6. Content and marketing campaigns

It’s vital to leverage your app to promote your products and generate more sales and income from it. So, carefully plan the content you’ll put into your app and the associated marketing campaigns you’ll implement with it.

Depending on your app, this can mainly include product photos and descriptions, promo announcements, and FAQs. 

For your media, be mindful of their sizes. For instance, you need to learn how to speed up your videos since it can slow down your app, so limit their use and optimize them before uploading. You should also integrate high-mobile-ranking keywords into your descriptions, alt texts, and others.

Organize these processes ahead with your team through systematic workflows and helpful tools, such as a content management platform. This particular software helps you collaborate smoothly in your production, publication, distribution, optimization, and other tasks.

Build a top-notch mobile app for your online store now

Developing your store’s mobile app can sound like an enormous venture, but it’s an investment worth making to boost your competitive advantage. With these practical tips — plus competent partner tools and experts — you can now dream, sketch, and build your app for more tangible, profitable returns.

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