How To Make eCommerce App for Small Business?

So you are a small business owner, and you would like to expand your presence to mobile apps as well? That's a good idea because the share of mobile users is snowballing. Mobile users share grown from 57% to 63% from 2016 to 2017 and continue increasing in 2018.

Basically, for most of the users, it is easier to get a phone from a pocket and open an app, rather than go to their desktop, wait when it will load, open a browser, find a website, and start purchasing.

If you don't want to lose those users as well, you might need an app that will help users to start using your services right from their phone. But how to create an e-commerce app for small business if you are not a developer? How expensive it can be, and how much time it will take? Let's try to figure it out.

Table of contents
  1. Home Page
  2. Categories Screen
  3. Search and Filter
  4. Product Details
  5. Cart Page
  6. Checkout and Payment page
  7. Registration and Login
  8. List of Previous Purchases
  9. Summary

How to Create an eCommerce App for Small Business

Let's say you already have your eCommerce website, that helps your users making purchases (if you don't - just let us know. We have best web-developers who can help you make an online store). But you also need to allow making orders from the mobile app. What to do in this case? Which sections should app have? Let's see which sections we need to develop to build an e-commerce application for small business:

  • Home Page with a list of featured products
  • Categories page
  • Search and Filter
  • Product Details page
  • Cart page
  • Checkout and Payment page
  • Registration and Login
  • List of Previous Purchases

Whether it is iOS or Android app, these sections should cover 99% of the user's needs. However, e-commerce mobile app development is never finished, and we can always improve, and add new features even after application release. Now, let's see how much can ecommerce app for small business cost.

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Home Page

eCommerce App - Home Page

When we create e-commerce apps, we always try to polish the homepage as much as possible to make the best first impression possible. The homepage is what your user will see when he opens the app. The better it looks like, the more chances he will want to proceed and buy something.

Usually, the home page shows featured products, new best deals, most popular products, and so on. You can manage which products to show from an admin panel.

When application will load, we will get the most recent featured products from the server and will show it to the user on the home page. Usually, featured products are displayed on the top of the screen in a carousel view: big and colorful images sliding from right to left. Below it, we could show the most popular products.

On average, home screen and admin panel can take up to 60 hours, with an approximate price of $2,100 ($35/h). However, depending on complexity and user interface design it can be decreased or increased.

Categories Screen

eCommerce App - Categories

After the Home Screen, we will need to think about the Categories screen. It will help a user to understand which types of products does your store sell and whether he can find something for him.

When the user selects a category, we will show him a list of products under it. It is a good idea to add search and filter here, but we will talk about it later.

Technically, to make Categories screen work, we will need to add code to both mobile app, and to admin panel (unless you already manage your products through some third-party services):

  • admin-panel: allowing admin to add new products to each category and changing categories.
  • mobile app: fetching and showing list of available categories, and products in each of them.

Admin panel is the most complex one here. It can take around 30 hours to allow admin to create products, and put them into a category. ($1,050)

As for the mobile app, it will be much simpler and can be done in 16-20 hours (up to $600)

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Search and Filter

eCommerce App - Search

Even though we divided products into Categories, it still can take a lot of time for a user to find what he wants, especially if you have hundreds of products in your database.

To make an e-commerce mobile app for small business, we will need to allow a user to find what he needs quickly. These days users won't be happy to spend a lot of time checking all those products you have - it will be easier to switch to a competitor's app instead.

Search and filter will depend on your eCommerce business type. If we are trying to develop an affordable app for small businesses, filter can be basic and simple, where a user will only need to select min and max prices, or can be something advanced and sophisticated, where the user will be able to select a price range, vendor, flavor, color, tags, and other parameters. Depending on it, we will need to add some new parameters to our database, new fields to admin panel for creating a product, and so on.

On a mobile side, we will need a new screen which will allow a user to view all available parameters, and fill desirable values for each of them. When it is done, we will just query the server, asking it to show us only products for this given filter, and will display a usual Products List screen.

Depending on filter complexity, this task can take from 16 hours to 40. For the sake of example, let's go with something in the middle: filer that will allow searching by price range, year of production, and vendor. In this case, development time will be around 25 hours and will cost ~$875.

Product Details

Product Details is a screen that will help you to sell, which is the main goal if you are creating an app for your business. The better it is done - the more chances users will want to buy something from a small online business website. It has to be beautiful, slick, colorful, and easy to use, with great performance. Most users won't be happy to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make an order.

Technically the screen is simple, but will need a lot of time due to a number of components:

  • slider with different photos
  • name and description
  • product rating
  • list of reviews or comments
  • and much more;

Depending on design and features that you would like to have here, time can differ from 16 hours to 30+. Let's take something in the middle: a screen with name, description, photos, tags, and ratings. It could take something around 20 hours and would cost approximately $700.

Cart Page

eCommerce App - Cart

When user decided to purchase something, we usually need to store that product and allow the user to continue shopping. In case he is done - we will need to show him what is included in his current order. It is impoartant to allow user to edit it: replace some products, remove from cart, or change its quantity.

When making apps for small business owners, we have two options here: syncronize cart with the server, so the user will be able to continue ordering on the desktop, or on another device, or we can just store the order information locally

Depending on it, development time can take from 24 hours to 36 hours, with prices from $840 to $1,260.

Checkout and Payment page

eCommerce App - Payments

When the user is ready to finalize his purchase, we will have to ask him for his payment details. Instead of making our own payment gateway, which would take months, developers use third-party services like Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, and others. They allow to easily integrate credit-card and bank payments into small business app, add payouts, manage different issues, and more.

For an average eCommerce application, integration with Stripe is more than enough. It will help us to accept Credit Cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay payments. The integration can cost around $1,225 and would take about 35 hours to add all the user interface, back-end integration, and to make sure everything works correctly.

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Registration and Login

eCommerce App - Registration

To make the experience more personalized, it is always a good idea to allow users to register. You will know much more about your audience and each user, which products they view, how often they make purchases, add more advanced analytics, and more. Basically, knowing your average user will help you to sell even more than you do now.

Registration can be done in different ways, and depending on implementation, the price can differ:

  • Phone registration: the user will sign up with his phone number, and instead of a password, he will use a confirmation code from a text message that we will be sending him. This way user won't need to remember a password, but it can be slightly slower because he will need to wait for a confirmation text message. This method can take around 16 hours to implement and can cost approximately $560

  • Email registration. This is a classic registration/login scenario where we ak for email. password and additional cutom fields that project owner wouldl ike to track. It can take around same 16 hours ($560), but might need additional time for features like "Forgot Password."

  • Social Networks login. This will allow the user to login with his existing social accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Weibo, and others. Each integration will take a different amount of time due to differences in API and overall complexity. On average, it can take ~8 hours to implement one social intergration for authoriztion.

However, during first stages of e-commerce app development, registration can be skipped - it is not the key feature for eCommerce app launch. Saved money could be used for marketing, advertisement, and so on. We can always add regitration a little bit later, when we will see that users really need it.

List of Previous Purchases

If we will allow customers to sign up, the very first thing that we could add to improve user's experience is previous orders tracking and history. Basically, it will allow the customer to see what did he order in any period of time, view the order details, its status, and much more.

Technically it is an easy feature to implement. We already have all the info about previous orders, we just need to build a user interface to show the list of them, and allow the user to open details about each particular order.

Depending on user interface complexity, developing this feature can take around 20 hours, with approximate costs of $700.

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Summary: how to make best ecommerce App for small business

We just tried to understand how to develop an ecommerce app for small business, which features each eCommerce app might need, how much time they can take, and how much it can cost. Depending on a project, a set of features can be different. For example, projects that use Shopify might not need an admin panel. Or projects that use PayPal for payments might not require Stripe integration, and so on.

If you have questions or would like to understand how much your project can cost - just drop us a line at, or tell us more about your idea, and we will get back to you with more info! But for now, let's see how much a described project can cost (for one platfrom, whether it is iOS or Android), and how much time developers would need time to write the code, test it, and make sure that project is release ready:

Feature Hours Costs
Home Page 60 $2,100
Categories Screen 50 $1,750
Search and Filter 25 $875
Product Details 20 $700
Cart 24 $840
Checkout and Payments 35 $1,225
Registration and Login 16 $560
Orders History 20 $700
Total 250 hours, or 8 weeks $8,750

Whether you would like us to help with your eCommerce project, or with any other mobile or web application possible - just let us know. Whether it is just an idea, or you already have wireframes or designs (or even started writing some code) - write to us at, and we will try to figure out how we can help you make a successful application and release it to the App Store and Play Market.

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