If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the way we do business can change in an instant. However, while it devastated most businesses, the pandemic made e-commerce stronger than ever by forcing people to step out of their comfort zones and find new ways to shop. People are getting more accustomed to shopping online, and offering them convenience and flexibility is the top priority for any e-commerce owner.
Living in the ‘era of e-commerce’ means that the competition is fierce - and so are consumers’ expectations. Today, there are 12 to 24 million e-commerce websites, and new ones pop up on the market every single day. People have way too many choices, so it’s only natural that their expectations are getting bigger.
Not too long ago, e-commerce owners conducted their business exclusively through their websites. However, people now expect to have an app to use, right there at their fingertips, one that is perfectly optimized for use on their smartphones. Here comes the critical question - how to create one?
In the past, creating an app was reserved for app developers only. It required endless programming and knowledge of technological tools. However, this has become much simpler today - even for the ‘non-techies’. You can now create a mobile app without writing a single line of code!
Knowing this, this article will tell you how to create an e-commerce app without coding.
Understanding No-Code Development
A good e-commerce app is a mobile application that allows the owner to offer their products and services to users, but that’s not all. It’s also an application that allows consumers to easily find the information they need, and make purchases.
But, how is it possible to create such an app without programming skills?
The answer lies in no-code and low-code tools that allow people with little to no experience to develop applications, optimize, and manage them. Such tools have been around for a while, with the newer versions being far more advanced and easier to use.
No-code app development is a very popular process, especially in the e-commerce world. People use it to create a product from scratch, one that they’ll offer to customers and tailor it to their preferences. Tools that offer such development come with an intuitive interface, usually a highly visual one, that allows the user to create - and customize the software by selecting, dragging, and dropping. We are talking about pre-built templates and workflows used to create a web or a mobile app.
The benefits are obvious - you get a ready, unique app much faster and easier than if you made it the old-fashioned way - with programming. Not to mention, this is a lot more affordable compared to hiring a developer.
Now that you know what this means, it is time to jump to action. Let’s see how you can create a no-code app from scratch.
Market Research and Planning
The first step in creating a successful e-commerce app is research. Before you design anything, you need to know who you’re designing it for, what your goals are, as well as what your competitors are doing. Let’s go through this in more detail.
Identify Your Target Audience and Niche
Defining the target audience is one of the most important steps to making a good app. If you don’t target the right people, it doesn’t really matter how well you’ve designed it, right? With that in mind, it’s time to research the market and use the data you obtained so far to create buyer personas i.e. people who have the characteristics and needs of your users.
Analyze Competitors in Your Niche
You might not know this, but only 42% of marketers know the basic demographic information of their targeted audience, so having gone through the previous step, you already have a competitive edge.
Now it’s time to analyze the successful competitors in the niche to see what they are doing right - as well as the unsuccessful to see what mistakes you need to avoid.
Set Clear Goals for Your New App
Finally, you need a strategy before you develop anything. Here are just a few questions you should be asking at this point:
- What do you want to achieve with the app?
- Will it solely showcase products and services?
- Will users be able to make direct purchases?
- Will you monetize the app? If yes, how?
- Can they use it to talk to your support?
- When will you launch it?
- What features will you use in the app?
- Will you create an app for different stores?
Choosing the Right No-Code Platform
Which platform you choose will determine just about everything - the cost, the ease of use, the quality of your app, its scalability, etc. Among the most popular B2C ecommerce platform solutions is Sana Commerce Cloud, software that retains all the agility of cloud software, but also provides all of the necessary features to create an app without coding.
These days, the choices you have for no-code software are many, so do your due diligence and research all options before you opt for your favorite.
When selecting the app builder for your business, consider the following:
- Scalability: Every businessman wants their business to grow, so it’s important to find scalable tools that will grow beside it. You don’t want to end up creating new apps every time you need more features or capabilities.
- Features: Features are key when you’re choosing a no-code platform. Use the plan you created in terms of what you want your app to have, and go through the available features to make sure that it has all you need.
- Pricing: No-code platforms can cost you almost nothing - or cost you a tooth and nail. It depends on the quality and reputation of the tool, the features and capabilities it offers, as well as the size of your business. Make sure to go through all the above steps first and choose the price once you have a short list of choices that meet your needs in terms of scalability and features.
Designing Your E-Commerce App
Now you’re ready to start designing the actual app! Here are three main steps to focus on:
UX and UI
Start with the aesthetics and the usability of your app - this is what people focus the most on. Make sure that your app has intuitive navigation i.e. that people can easily go through its features and find what they are looking for. Opt for layouts that are visually appealing and simple - you don’t want to overwhelm the customers and make it harder for them to shop in your e-commerce store.
If you want to achieve a better customer experience, you need to embrace UI and UX design principles.
Customize templates and layouts
The best ecommerce app builders will offer you a wide range of layouts and templates you can use to impress the user. Make sure the templates you use align with your brand’s identity and style. You can easily personalize fonts and color schemes, and even add images for a more engaging storefront.
Above all else, prioritize responsive design. No one wants to wait around for your pages to load or spend all of their time trying to figure out what to click on. In May 2023, mobile phones generated over 65% of global website traffic, so you really need to optimize your app for a better experience.
Product Catalog and Inventory Management
Once you have the template and layout, it’s time to add those products! When you do this, make sure to:
- Add high-quality photos - and videos, if possible
- Create detailed descriptions
- Set up categories and tags for a more efficient navigation
Useful tip: With the right no-code tool, you can find a variety of inventory management features that will help you optimize your offering.
Payment Gateway Integration
What will you be using to process - and secure payments? It’s now time to add the payment gateways to your app. With that in mind, research and find the best payment tools to incorporate into your store.
Useful tip: Ideally, you should offer your customers more choices, but safety should be your primary concern.
Shopping Cart and Checkout Process
You want those users to eventually put the items into your shopping cart and buy the product, so now it’s time to design an intuitive, user-friendly shopping card. It’s your task to enable customers to easily place an item in the cart, as well as review and modify their offers when needed.
Useful tip: Streamline the checkout process to minimize the fraction on your app, and make sure to implement features like confirmation emails and order tracking to keep your customers informed.
User Authentication and Security
Returning users are e-commerce’s favorite type of consumer. With that in mind, it’s time to set up user accounts and profiles. This will make your app more personalized and give your customers a chance to view their past orders, track their progress, and get personalized offers based on their searches and purchases.
Useful tip: Personalization is amazing, but data privacy is very important to consider here. Make sure to adhere to data privacy regulations and protect customer information.
Marketing and SEO for Your E-Commerce App
The next step is to develop a marketing strategy to promote your e-commerce app. It’s not enough just to create it. Sometimes the best apps don’t succeed because they aren’t well marketed.
To optimize your app, utilize all the tools at your disposal - your website, social media channels, email marketing, and more. Make sure to use keywords and meta tags, and optimize your descriptions to boost the app’s search engine rankings.
Analytics and Insights
It’s important to keep track of how your app performs over time - this is how you can improve it - as well as your ecommerce store. Leverage analytics tools to track user behavior and monitor traffic. This type of data can help you improve the app’s performance.
Customer Support and Feedback
You should also implement a customer support system where you address queries promptly and encourage people to provide feedback. Their direct feedback is the best data you have to improve your app.
Launching Your E-Commerce App
Do you feel ready to make your app available to the consumer? Before you launch it, test it to find any issues. It’s much cheaper, not to mention more professional, to fix any glitches before your app goes live.
Extra tip: You might want to do a survey and send your app to a few participants to get feedback before you make it available to the general public. You can also use a product launch arsenal to promote your app faster and more efficiently.
Building an e-commerce app without coding is one of the beauties of modern technology. This has enabled every e-commerce owner to create their app without spending a fortune on development, not to mention it has allowed them to design something to their taste.
Even though it’s much simpler than traditional app development, no-code apps are still not easy to create. Take your time, do your research, and analyze continuously - these are three vital steps in creating a quality app for your e-commerce store.