How Do You Design The Best E-commerce App?

The savviest high-street and online retailers have an e-commerce app for one very good reason - they increase sales.

From small chain stores to global empires, the benefits of e-commerce apps are apparent - as long as you design it well. At ADAMAPP, we’ve had years of experience of creating e-commerce apps, so we're going to share with you the most important elements to ensure you're get the best e-commerce app design to meet your customers needs - and to maximise your profits.

Why Build a Mobile e-commerce App?

We could beat around the bush and say it's for any number of laudable reasons, but the truth is that when done well, e-commerce apps are money-makers. They keep your loyal customers coming back and help raise brand awareness from new customers - and in both cases, they help increase sales.

"Based on our extensive experience as e-commerce app makers, at ADAMAPP, we've seen our clients customers increase spending by three times as much when using the mobile e-commerce app, compared to the website. "

As mobiles get smarter and more people gain access to fast mobile networks, the market will continue to grow. In the past year, mobile phones have surpassed desktop and tablet usage, with people now spending 55.4% of their time online on mobiles, compared to just 41.96% on desktop and 2.64% on tablets, according to statcounter. And the data isn't being skewed by any particular market. In countries across the globe, mobile usage is outstripping desktop and laptop usage.

And what are people doing on their mobiles? They're using apps. Over the past year,TechCrunch reports that users have spent 80% of their time on mobiles using apps, an increase of 30% from two years ago.

This means there's a huge - and growing - potential for mobile e-commerce. When customers use an online retailer app - as opposed to the website - if it has been well-built and utilises the best e-commerce app design users are less likely to click away and more likely to complete purchases. When on a website, other open tabs and windows compete for a customer's attention, but when in your app, they are fully immersed in your world.

How Do You Design The Best E-commerce App?

If your goal with your e-commerce app is to increase revenue by improving leads, loyalty and conversions, then you need to ensure you have the best e-commerce app design.

Each high-street and online retailer app will have its own unique structure, but at a minimum, it should feature full portfolio of the company's products, work seamlessly across iOS and Android, integrate with analytics tools and include voice control and accessible functionality.

Beyond the absolute essentials, at ADAMAPP, we've found that including most or all of the elements below in your mobile app e-commerce design significantly increases the profitability of e-commerce apps.


Easy sign-up, log-in and registration
Don't ask for too much information to get them set up.
Offer easy log-in using Facebook and Gmail integrations to make the sign-up and log-in process even faster.

Personalised homepage
Connect the app with their loyalty card and website information to show personalised shopping suggestions.
Show their name on the homepage so they know they are receiving a personalised experience.

Live chat in-app
In-app chats are an increasingly popular way for customers to interact. Offer this at all stages of the process, from their first interaction, through to their shopping with product and delivery queries, and on to aftercare.


Image zoom and 3D product visualisations
Most people want to look at what they’re buying more closely, so be sure to include strong imagery and the ability to zoom in and turn the item around to view from all angles

See product in-situ for items such as furniture, or create a virtual reality changing room.
Augmented Reality technology can help users see what something looks like in their own home or when they are wearing it, helping secure faster sales.

Keep text short, but ensure all key details are included.
Customers need all the key facts about the items they are buying, such as dimensions, weight, materials, ingredients, nutritional information, etc.
They also want to see a brief ‘why buy’ description- what makes this product right for them?


Extensive, but easy-to-use, filtering options - the fewer steps the better.
Try to think of everything that might help a customer narrow down their search to small groups of items and include it as a fast and easy filtering choice. Too many options can be overwhelming and take too much time to scroll through.

Shop similar products with app-image search
Include the capability for users to upload a photo from their phone and the app to user image-search functionality to find the item or a similar one to buy.

Shopping list/pin items capabilities
Make it easy for users to add an item to their cart or favourite it to look at later.

Similar item recommendations
Always show alternative items, in case the one they’ve clicked on isn’t right for them.
Use AI-powered technology to ensure the app keeps learning what users want, then adjusting the feed to deliver the most suitable ‘You might also like’ items. This is more effective and efficient than requiring the website team to select and group items manually.


Loyalty scheme
Make it easy for them to sign up to your loyalty scheme in the app or to integrate if they are already in the scheme.
Offer exclusive loyalty discounts and coupons in the app, to be used in the app, online or in the real-world shop.

Notifications for deals, dispatch, order arrival, back in store.
Ensure users understand how to easily opt in or out of these, but notifications can be highly effective and valued by many customers.

In-app promo codes
Offer app-exclusive promo codes to encourage them to browse and buy within the app.


Check-out single-step process
Offer to save user details so that check-out is in a click.

Easily apply discounts at checkout
Ensure it’s clear where and how to use discounts so that customers trust your brand and feel compelled to come back to find more deals.

Secure in-app payments
Don’t make them leave the app to pay. Every time they leave your eco-system increases the risk they will click away.


Order tracking
Make it easy to see what they ordered and when delivery is expected with homepage links and app notifications.

Refund process via app – free returns
Don’t make returns a hassle. Keep them free and simple in the app, where you can then serve them alternative deals and products that might better meet their needs.

Help Centre
Make the Help Centre obvious and easily accessible, with commonly asked questions and a link to the live in-app chat for more complex queries.


Save lists and shopping baskets across all devices
Whether shopping in the app or on the website, ensure favourites, save for later and shopping baskets are synced.

Click & collect options
Allow an option for collection at your high-street shop, where the customer can see more merchandise they might like to purchase while collecting their item.
Consider offering a discount for this option to incentivise it.

Link to your store data
Include an option for customers to check stock in a nearby shopso they can see the item in person.

Stores’ receipts/invoices
Encourage use of the loyalty functionality of the app so high-street shopping receipts from your stores automatically appear in their app for ease of access.

Top E-commerce Apps

What do the best-performing e-commerce apps have in common? They provide customers with much more than a simple list of products. By making it as easy as possible for customers to buy, and incentivising them with offers and special features, such as augmented reality,they keep customers coming back to their apps time and again.


One of the most popular e-commerce companies in Europe, ADAMAPP developed the shopping and loyalty apps for Tesco for seven major European markets. The apps allow customers to automatically collect loyalty points, syncs with the websites if customers want to switch between both, and sends tailored notifications of deals and offers that are appreciated by customers.

The personalisation and intelligence of the notifications has led to a remarkable 25% conversion rate on notifications.


Among the earliest e-commerce brands to harness the power of AR, Ikea created the Ikea Place app to help customers with their shopping experience. Customers can choose an item of furniture from the shop, then hold their phone up in their own home to see what the piece of furniture might look like when it’s in position.


The power of AI has helped boost Amazon’s sales. It was among the first companies to start showing You might also like products and Other users bought, and by remembering not only what customers put in their basket, but also what they browsed for, they can deliver tailormade suggestions on the homepage and in notifications.

E-commerce Apps at ADAMAPP

At ADAMAPP, we've been developing e-commerce apps for more than eight years. Our clients have seen remarkable returns from the investment in their e-commerce apps, including customers spending triple in the app compared to the website, and a 50% decrease in marketing costsfor the brand.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help you develop your e-commerce app.

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