Mary Yasensky Delivery Manager

    Ecommerce Development Services: How To Create Business-Focused Applications

    As the world shifts towards a mobile-centric landscape, ecommerce application development services have evolved beyond merely boosting sales. They now play a crucial role in forging long-term relationships, fostering customer loyalty, and enhancing communication with the audience.

    In the US, 35% of consumers already shop exclusively from mobile devices, and it’s projected that by 2024, mobile sales will contribute to 43%. This growing trend underscores the need for businesses to adopt an omnichannel approach – integrating web and mobile platforms to reach a broader geographic and demographic audience, and ultimately, unlock more opportunities.

    At Surf, we’ve been building ecommerce solutions for 12+ years, for both startups and leading international enterprises. We understand how to develop ecommerce apps that help companies grow. In this article, we’ll share our insights.

    Learn about Surf’s experience in mobile development

    About us

    Ecommerce application development services approach

    Our ecommerce application development company has been on the market for over a decade — we’ve learned that the stuff you do before diving into coding is just as important, if not more so.

    Preparing stage

    Whether you’re developing a B2C, B2B, or internal-use application, understanding the market, requirements, and the needs of your target audience will make all the difference. And these two points have the biggest impact on the speed and cost of the project.

    • Learn as much as possible about your audience. Prior to coding or design, gather extensive audience knowledge using customer interviews, client profiles, and customer journey maps.
    • Define clear business logic. Clear definition of the needs of your company is vital as well as recognizing your audience’s pain-points — it can help you narrow down the project scope and design the right feature set.  

    Here’s an example, where understanding customer behavior helped to develop one of the key app features.

    A men's clothing brand ecommerce app developed by Surf

    When we were tasked with creating the first mobile app for a high-end men’s clothing brand, we started with audience research, which resulted in a Customer Journey Map (CJM). Surprisingly, we discovered a new shopping pattern: women buying suits for their husbands and sons.

    So, we added a feature that lets users save multiple measurement profiles and filter the catalog based on them. It turned out to be a key part of the app.

    Cross platform. vs native approach

    This choice is equally important to research. Considerations like scalability, ease of maintaining the codebase, and availability of skilled developers will likely sway you in favor of one approach or the other.

    Native development involves building applications using a platform’s native language, such as Java, C++, or Kotlin for Android, or Swift for iOS. This results in faster performance, but maintaining multiple codebases means a bigger developer team, longer time-to-market and higher cost.

    Cross platform development allows you to build applications that can run on multiple platforms from a single codebase. This is achieved using frameworks such as React Native or Flutter. This approach means about30% shorter time-to-market, but there are nuances you have to be aware of.

    Surf is one of the top 10 Flutter developers in the world

    Browse our case studies

    One effective way to choose the right technology stack is to consider your business goals.

    An Flutter application developed by Surf for a pharmacy chain.

    For example, when a pharmacy chain with 3 brands approached us to develop a mobile app, we realized that native development would require us to create 6 separate codebases – 3 apps for Android and iOS each. 

    This would’ve been a nightmare for the client to maintain. Using Flutter, we developed a single codebase for all brands, simplifying the process.

    The features that can help to make your ecommerce app stand out

    The ecommerce landscape features many exceptional apps, leading modern consumers to expect top-notch usability, design, and product presentation.

    Ecommerce applications developed by Surf

    User-facing features

    This encompasses interface logic, design, and systems the users interact with. At the minimum,  a successful app should have a high-performance interface, streamlined steps-to-cart, and convenient payment options for customers. But advanced features can take it to the next level. 

    • Loyalty programs. Are a great way to increase repeat-purchases. We have a case when developing a loyalty program increased loyal users by 79%, and they accounted for 60% of all revenue.
    Two floating screenshots from a delivery automation ecommrece app developed by Surf
    • Order tracking and delivery optimization. Can enhance both internal processes and user experience. For instance, this case study shows how delivery automation and courier tracking increased a bookstore’s deliveries by 20% through optimized route planning and providing customers with a more convenient ordering method.

    Operational features and solutions

    Operational features are just as important as consumer-facing ones. They take care of your business logic and increase efficiency across the whole company. For example, in this case study, we show how an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system helped KFC to ditch paper-based processes in favor of a digital workflow. This resulted in a productivity boost across multiple departments, and more transparent accounting and time-management.

    A dashboard from a DSR app Surf created for KFC

    Other possible operational solutions include:

    • Headless product management. Brings product data to multiple shop-fronts via an API for easy scaling.
    • Document and invoice management. Can increase productivity and reduce the error rate in accounting, as well as simplify compliance by keeping track of taxes.
    • Warehouse management. Helps to account for inventory and improve user-experience by talking to other systems and helping to remove unavailable items from the digital store-front.
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Assists in monitoring leads and nudging them towards finalizing transactions — this is an invaluable tool for B2C companies selling high-value items like automotive businesses, as well as B2B enterprises.

    Wrapping up

    If you are looking for a trusted partner to help you create a business-focused ecommerce app and reach new audiences — consider our team at Surf. Let’s discuss your project first. Tell us about your goals in the form below, and we will get back to you with a  proposal.