How to Create a Mobile Shopping App on Android

Anna Hmara
Anna Hmara
Senior Technical Writer

99 Firms says that the e-commerce market is experiencing a significant rise like never before, and it is predicted that by 2040 over 95% of all global purchases will be made online. At the same time, the Pew Research Center claims that more than 51% of all shoppers make purchases through a smartphone, and that number will only grow. These statistics indicate that online shopping app development for smartphones contributes to business growth. That is why, in this article, we will cover several important topics and talk about what it takes to create a custom e-commerce application.

Table of contents

    How to Create a Mobile Shopping App on Android 1

    Why You Need a Mobile Shopping App

    The demand for mobile shopping apps is growing every year among buyers. Various independent studies show that more than a quarter of shoppers search for the product or service they want in the app without visiting the main website. Due to the notifications that applications send to the users directly on their screen, customers see the latest sales, promotions, and great offers. In turn, this drives buyers into the sales funnel.

    As you already learned, a significant percentage of users make purchases through a smartphone. But here are a few more key benefits in favor of creating a mobile shopping app:

    1. Grow your audience. One of the main goals of any online shopping application is to improve sales. Internal functions and built-in marketing campaigns allow you to quickly get an influx of new customers (for example, using affiliate programs).

    2. Increase customer loyalty. The creation of an application leads to an increase in your competitiveness because your potential users have smartphones. When you invite them to install your app, you make finding products and shopping more convenient. In addition, based on user behavior in your application, you can improve the quality of service by offering individual bonuses, special offers, and so on.

    3. Increase sales. The simpler the buying process is, the more likely users will make a purchase and not leave your sales funnel. So you can expect them to buy more products.

    4. Improve customer engagement. Customers will appreciate the opportunity to leave a product review, learn about new arrivals first, or receive personalized discounts. This way, you will improve your interaction with customers, motivating them to make further purchases.

    5. Availability of purchases. Many shoppers worldwide note that purchases via smartphones are much more convenient than offline or even via the desktop. So, they are more likely to prefer a store that can offer them a mobile app.

    6. Conversion rate. Most shopping is driven by emotion. The fewer opportunities users have to change their minds, the more purchases they will make. The mobile app allows them to unlock their smartphone and shop right away.

    7. Fast and secure payments. These technologies minimize the possibility of mistakes with the purchase or fraudulent actions by third parties.

    8. Advanced marketing capabilities. The smartphone can signal everything that you want to tell to clients. It is a great opportunity to set up effective marketing tools.

    9. Integration with social networks. The ability to share products or services through messengers is a great tool to popularize your application. It also contributes to increased sales. Customers share links to your products through messengers to their friends, who, in turn, can also become your regular consumers.

    Most Popular Mobile Shopping Apps

    How to Create a Mobile Shopping App on Android 2

    As you can see, there are pre-written functions and features to make your application better. Now let's take a look at examples of successful and popular applications that you can learn from.


    It deservedly ranks as one of the most popular apps, with over 88 million users. The mobile application provides all the same features like website navigation. It has a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Amazon is compared to a coffee break, it is viewed to distract and relax, and the application simultaneously motivates to make purchases.


    It is an online marketplace for selling handmade goods in various fields. The mobile application allows you to easily create your store and start selling products in a few clicks. It also has the convenient function of making a purchase locally. Etsy charges a small commission for the placement of goods while providing ample opportunities for the development of small businesses. Read more about how to start a website like Etsy.


    This is a fashion app for one of the world's most popular mass-market brands. Its main characteristics are minimalistic design and a user-friendly interface. That is why the app is downloaded so often. It is available in more than 100 countries, supports multilingualism, has a wide range of payment options, and shows the stores closest to the user.


    It's a handy auction right on your phone. The mobile application ensures that users will no longer lose the goods because they can not be near their laptop to follow the action’s progress. Interaction with the mobile service is quite simple and straightforward, so users can easily navigate the system.


    With the developed competition in the retail trade sphere, Walmart has a significant advantage, allowing customers to save time on purchases. The service even takes care of its customers’ medicine and vitamins needs in the mobile application. You just need to scan the prescription through your smartphone.

    Why Does Your Business Need an E-commerce App for Android

    In this article, we will focus on describing how to create an online shopping mobile application on Android. The logical question is, why not for iOS? Building an application for both operating systems makes sense, but there are reasons why the development of Android applications is more expedient.

    Market Share

    Statcounter research shows that the global market share of Android mobile devices is almost 73%, while iOS takes just over 26%. This is a powerful argument in favor of developing an Android application that can bring you nearly three times more customers.

    Let's consider the statistics in more detail by region.

    • In the US, 60% are iPhone users, and about 40% prefer Android. In Canada, the smartphone market is almost equally divided, with a slight advantage for iOS. If your mobile application is targeted at users from these two countries, it makes sense for you to create an application for both operating systems.

    • In South America, more than 87% have Android smartphones, while only 12% of os users prefer Apple.

    • In Asia, the market is divided by 83% for Android and about 16% for Apple.

    • About 87% of buyers in Africa use Android, and only 10% prefer iOS.

    • In Europe, almost 67% are Android smartphones, and only 32% are Apple devices.

    Application Type

    There are two main types of mobile apps: native and cross-platform.

    1. Native applications are optimized for specific operating systems, so they are high-performance and have access to the smartphone’s hardware.

    2. Cross-platform applications are characterized by the ability to compile source code for two operating systems with minimal effort.

    Thus, in the case of native development, separate applications are created for Android and iOS. With cross-platform development, programmers generate code that is easy to optimize for both operating systems. Cross-platform apps are a good solution to build a workable product and save your budget. But if we are talking about a high-quality and reliable product, it should definitely be a native application.

    Native development for iOS occurs with such programming languages ​ as Swift and Objective-C. Kotlin and Java are used for Android app building. Due to the peculiarities of programming languages, native development for iOS costs 10%-15% more than Android.

    Must-have E-commerce Mobile Application Features

    Now it's time to define the functionality that needs to be implemented in your project. This isn't just about cloning a popular e-commerce app. It is about stuffing your product with functionality that will benefit your customers. Below we have compiled a list of tips and essential functions that any successful software should have.


    #1 User Registration

    Users should be able to register using email, social networks, or by phone number. This way, you can track your actual number of customers and send them personalized marketing tricks if necessary. However, let clients make their first purchase without registering. It is a good way to avoid losing customers. After, you can demonstrate that registration is necessary, as they will get access to substantial personalized discounts, bonuses, and so on.


    #2 User Profile

    This is where the user can update their information for a better shopping experience. For example, specify the delivery address, change the contact phone or email. The order history should also be reflected here.


    #3 Catalog

    This is a crucial function of any online store app. Your product should contain a catalog of products or services that your business provides. It should be accessible to clients and well-organized, so they could find what they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.


    #4 Search

    This is the main tool with which users can find the product they are interested in. Searching through the catalog will also allow them to familiarize themselves with the range if they are not looking for something specific. In addition, you should also take care of releasing filters by color, material, brand, and so on, depending on the goods you offer.


    #5 A Shopping Basket

    This is another critical step towards making a purchase. Customers should be able to add the products they are interested in, delete something from the shopping bucket if necessary, and the final amount should be recalculated automatically. The cart interface should be as simple and straightforward as possible so that nothing distracts users from shopping.


    #6 A Reliable and Safe Payment Gateway

    Customers always want to be sure that their money is safe and that no unauthorized transactions will be made from their card. Therefore, you need to choose a reliable payment gateway provider that will handle online payments. Since gateways work with buyers’ personal data, they must provide 100% security for the client's data. Consider such systems as Stripe, Authorize, and 2Checkout. It's good if users can pay through PayPal, Google Pay, or Amazon Pay.


    Above, we described 6 main functions, which are enough to bring an MVP (minimum viable product) to the market. Now let's see what it takes to create a complete product.


    #7 Customer Support

    Buyers constantly have questions about products, delivery methods, returns, and so on. For MVP, it is enough to have a page with questions and answers, but a full-fledged product must have complete support aimed at helping consumers. It can be a separate page with a form for sending emails, a telephone connection, or an online chat or chatbot. In an online chat, you will need support specialists to monitor it 24/7, while a chatbot can automatically respond to some user requests.


    #8 Wishlist

    Another handy tool to increase sales and improve customer service is a wish list. Customers can add products that they would like to purchase in the future and make pre-orders.


    #9 System of Recommendations

    The recommendation system is what helps to keep the user's attention. Here's how it works: by analyzing user behavior and purchases, the system invites them to purchase items or products similar to those they have already viewed.


    #10 Shipping

    One of the secrets to the popularity of Amazon is its lightning fast delivery. And this is what almost all consumers need now. While developing your project, make sure that it has a convenient and reliable network of warehouses and that you can easily track the parcel’s movement using the developed functionality or shipping API.


    #11 Notifications

    Notifications have several purposes, including reminding the user that there are unpaid items in the cart. It is an opportunity to inform customers about new products or discounts. And if a user hasn't logged into the app for a long time, you can use an alert to motivate them to make a purchase. So it is an indispensable feature for your business.


    #12 Reviews

    Reviews are another tool to help shoppers complete a purchase. Similarly, various studies show that testimonials increase sales. Feedback from other customers allows users to learn more about the product and make your mobile shopping application more reliable.


    #13 Optional Features

    A high-quality application with a clear competitive advantage has essential features such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Augmented reality includes functionality for 3D previewing items or even interactive fitting. Artificial intelligence allows you to more accurately determine customers’ preferences and offer products that will interest them.


    Not sure what essential features to include in your product? Contact our specialists, and we will help you make an informed decision.

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    How to Create a Mobile App For Online Shopping on Android

    How to Create a Mobile Shopping App on Android 3

    In this section, we will talk about the necessary steps that you and your team need to take to develop an online shopping application.

    Research the Market

    Building a cool app starts with an idea. Next, you need to carefully study the market to understand which applications in this area are popular, who the competitors are, and their advantages and disadvantages. Find out as much as possible about your target audience. In the end, an application will be successful if it addresses specific user needs. That is why you need to know almost everything about your clients, their place of residence, interests, education, gender, and so on. The more information you collect, the better you will be able to satisfy customer needs.

    Choose an App Type

    To answer the question of how to make a shopping app, you first need to consider its type. There are native, cross-platform, and hybrid apps. The essence of a native application is that the source code is written separately for each operating system using native tools, so the app is more productive and gets access to the built-in smartphone functions.

    Cross-platform applications are characterized by the fact that the written code can be relatively easily converted for more than one operating system. Having created a cross-platform application for Android, you can then use the same code as the basis for creating an iOS product. Such applications are slightly less productive, but the development cost is significantly lower compared to native ones.

    Hybrid apps combine web and mobile app features and are the fastest way to build a product.

    Prepare Design

    Once you have determined the basic set of features for your product, you need to create the design. It should reflect your brand idea. Work on designing multiple layouts for the same pages to choose the most effective option. Elements and navigation tools within the application should be placed to be convenient for the user to interact. Simplicity and minimalism are some of the key features of successful apps.

    App Development

    The next step is the technical part, which consists of creating the source code for the application. As we already said, it makes sense to create an MVP first. It is a good solution for startups or companies with limited funds. The MVP will help you evaluate how effective your idea is and what steps should be taken next to improve the product. After the prototype is released to the market, you can start working on the full version.

    Building Marketing

    In parallel with making an online shopping app, start preparing material for your marketing campaign. This is where market analysis results come in handy. Develop customer acquisition strategies and ways to increase customer retention.


    Test your application at every stage of introducing new functionality. This is an important step that cannot be ignored. If your application is unstable, users will abandon purchases, and your release will fail. Therefore, before the application hits the market, it must be thoroughly tested. This is the job of quality assurance professionals. They develop all sorts of product use cases to simulate the actions of real customers.

    App Deployment on Marketplaces

    At this step, you need to perform actions related to publishing the application in the Google Play Store; usually, the software developers do this. Also, in parallel with this process, launch promotion campaigns. Some businesses roll out their marketing even before the app hits the market. To publish your application in the Google Play Store, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $25. 

    What to Consider When Selecting a Development Team

    The modern IT market offers many companies providing software development services and freelancers. However, the quality of cooperation will not always be high, so you need to consider various factors before hiring contractors.

    Skills & Experience

    New technologies are emerging for first-class e-commerce software development with great user interfaces and even augmented reality. Your team should certainly be experienced and able to carry out business tasks efficiently. Ensure that the company you want to partner with has the necessary experience to build products like yours.

    Organizational Structure

    It is also important that there are a clear structure and well-defined processes within the team. Otherwise, even experienced developers will fail. A seasoned and reliable project manager should run the application development process. This person also needs to have strong technical knowledge to promptly guide the team and make correct decisions. Besides, they act as a liaison between you and the team, so the PM must respond quickly to your requests during working hours. Much of the project’s success lies with the project manager and how they set up internal development processes.

    Development Methodology

    One of the most effective and optimal project development methods is Agile. Check with the contact person about which strategy the team uses. With Agile, the development process is divided into iterations, showing the ready functionality every week or two. This approach provides transparency in the development process, improves strategic planning, and effectively manages both simple and complex projects.


    If you are hiring full-time developers, they should devote their entire time to building your product. Thus, they must maintain constant contact with you and report on the tasks completed. You can organize daily or weekly online meetings, depending on which type of interaction is more convenient. In general, when communicating with the team, you should not experience discomfort or distrust.


    A successful project is accompanied by accurate documentation that allows you to track any functionality and helps new team members submerge into the project faster. Ask the team what project documents they will prepare. Note that documentation is a step that significantly reduces team misunderstandings.


    At KeyUA, we have over 12 years of experience in building mobile applications for various business areas. We adhere to efficient project management methodologies and ensure complete transparency of the development process.

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    How Much Does It Cost to Make an Online Shopping App

    How to Create a Mobile Shopping App on Android 4

    It is quite tricky to name the final cost to build a mobile shopping app since the price depends on many factors, namely the complexity of the functionality, the quality of the design, the technologies used, the development of marketing, etc. Therefore, the cost for each project is calculated individually, depending on its needs and scale. But let's take a look at the averages so that you can better navigate the pricing.

    Most of the team and freelancers work at an hourly rate. On average, it takes about 300 hours to build an MVP (this is 1-3 months, depending on the team’s size). It will take 3 months or more to build a complete product. To calculate the final development cost, you need to multiply the developer's hourly rate by the planned hours.

    On average Android developers from North America charge $170 per hour. The developers from Australia expect to get $100 per hour of development. In the United Kingdom, they may require $70. In Eastern Europe, the hour rating is $40. $20 will be charged in South America and about $15 in India. But a low price can be fraught with various risks and poor quality of the final result. $40-$60 is the most optimal price for developing a high-quality and productive Android application.

    Final Thoughts

    The evolution of information technology has significantly influenced the way people do shopping now. As you now understand, the development of a shopping application for Android brings significant benefits for business. It is your way to keep up with your competitors and even outrun them in some aspects.

    If you think market research, design, or coding is a little tricky, the KeyUA experts are always happy to help you. We can quickly build products of varying complexity. Our services cover prototyping, UX/UI design building, product development, and promotion.

    Let nothing stop you from building a top-notch mobile app. Hire an experienced team to grow your business.

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