Developing an Online Shopping App: What do you need to know?

6 min read
Updated: Mar 14, 2023

In recent years, online shopping has become an integral part of many people’s daily lives. While people used to prefer to buy in stores, now more and more people prefer to order online. Accordingly, developing an online shopping app has become a very urgent task for many businesses that want to provide convenient and fast access to their products. That’s why so many people are interested in how to create an online shopping app

What Is an Online Shopping App?

It is a mobile app that allows users to order online, browse catalogs, select and add items to their cart, place orders and pay for them, and track the status of their orders. Users use them to search and compare, read reviews and ratings, and receive notifications of sales and special offers. 

Development of Online Shopping App Before and After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in the number of online shopping app users as people began to prefer online shopping to traditional shopping for safety and convenience reasons. As a result, many online shopping companies have seen a significant increase in demand.

They were the most downloaded apps in the U.S. and Europe in the first quarter of 2021, according to analytics company App Annie. In America, for example, downloads of such apps were up 15 percent over the previous year. There were also record sales during the holiday season.

On the other hand, development has also come under greater scrutiny from governments, due to growing concerns about user data security and privacy. This has led to stricter rules and regulations governing commerce and increased demands for the security and protection of personal information.

COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the development of online shopping, attracted new users, and increased competition. In the future, we can expect to see further growth of this market and the development of new technologies and features to satisfy increasingly demanding users.

Why Online Shopping Apps Are Relevant

There are several reasons such projects remain relevant and in demand:

  • Convenience and accessibility: allow you to shop wherever they are, at any convenient time. 
  • Wide range of products: a wide range of products. One can easily find and buy what they need, including products that may not be available in local stores.
  • Convenient payment, using a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, e-wallets, etc.
  • Better prices: no extra costs for store rentals, transportation costs, etc., and groceries can often be cheaper.
  • Bonuses and discounts. 

Types of Online Shopping Projects

There are several types of platforms, which can differ in functionality, focus, as well as in type.

  • Marketplaces — bring together buyers and sellers on the same platform. Marketplaces offer a wide range of products and services regardless of location. 
  • Mono-brand stores are designed to sell only one brand. Can offer a wide assortment of a given brand. 
  • Food and meal delivery services — provide food and meal delivery services. Can focus on food delivery from restaurants as well as food delivery from stores. 
  • For tickets — ticket ordering services for various events such as concerts, sporting events, and theatrical productions.
  • For furniture and home products — offer a wide range of products for the home, such as furniture, textiles, dishes, and other interior products. 
  • These are just a few examples that may exist in the marketplace. Each project can be unique and offer its own features and types.

Popular Examples of Online Shopping Apps

There are many online shopping apps that provide their services. Some of the most popular examples are:

  • Amazon — The world’s largest online retailer, providing a wide range of products.
  • eBay — An online marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to interact and trade.
  • AliExpress — An online retailer specializing in sales from China around the world.
  • Zara — provides a selection of clothing and accessories.
  • Ubereats — a restaurant food delivery service that operates around the world.
  • Nike — selection of sportswear and footwear.
  • Etsy — An online marketplace that specializes in selling handmade and vintage goods.
  • IKEA — furniture and home goods.
  • Sephora — cosmetics and perfumes.

Required Features of Online Shopping Apps

Online shopping apps should have certain functionality and necessary features to provide a convenient and safe experience. Here are a few examples of functionality and features you might need:

  • Search: the ability to quickly search and filter by category, brand, price, size, etc.
  • Shopping cart: the ability to add to a cart, edit, and checkout.
  • Tracking: Possibility to track order status and get delivery notifications.
  • Payment: enabling secure online payment with various payment methods, such as credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.
  • Reviews & ratings: the ability to view reviews and ratings from other customers.
  • Recommendations: Get personalized recommendations based on your history.
  • Notifications: the ability to receive notifications about discounts, promotions, new arrivals, etc.
  • Support service: the possibility to contact the support service to get help and solve possible problems.
  • Multi-language: the ability to use different languages depending on the country and region.
  • Social functionality: the ability to share feedback with friends on social networks.
  • The final set of features and functionalities depends on what you’re selling and what needs you’re meeting.

The Process of Online Shopping App Creation

Creation involves several steps, which can vary depending on the specific requirements of the project. Here’s the general process:

  • Market research and definition of project requirements: conducting market research, competitive analysis, and defining project requirements.
  • Interface design and layout creation: interface design and layout creation.
  • Functional and backend development: functional and server-side (backend) development.
  • Testing and debugging: testing on different devices and operating systems to identify bugs and errors.
  • Launch and publication: App Store and Google Play publication and launch.
  • Monitoring and updating: tracking performance and releasing updates to fix bugs and add new functionality.

Also, user security and privacy should be considered during development, especially about storing personal data and online payments.

How to Monetize an Online Shopping App as Your Startup?

There are several ways to monetize your online shopping app. Let’s learn some of them:

  • Commission-based: one of the most common ways to monetize, which involves receiving a commission for each sale.
  • Paid services: the ability to provide paid services, such as advanced functionality or personalized recommendations.
  • Advertising: you can place advertisements for other companies or sell advertising space.
  • Affiliate agreements: establishing partnerships with other companies to receive a commission for each sale.
  • Subscriptions: you can subscribe to unique offers, discounts, and other exclusive features.
  • Expansion of the range.

The choice of a particular method of monetization depends on the goals and needs of your startup, as well as on what functionality and features will be presented. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that monetization can change over time and needs, constant optimization and refinement.


Sophia Rodreguaze


Sophia is the contributing editor at She writes about anything and everything related to technology.

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