If your online store is only focused on desktop, you’re leaving money on the table.
Today, more people than ever choose to shop online via their mobile device. More than two thirds of all ecommerce sales come from mobile. If you don’t offer these people a great user experience, they’re likely to shop somewhere else.
If you don’t have the resources to go out and build an app from scratch, don’t worry. With the ecommerce mobile app builder tools available today, it’s never been easier for non-developers to launch an app.
Why You Should Build a Mobile Ecommerce App
Native mobile apps allow you to craft a user experience tailored specifically for mobile users.
User experience is more important for ecommerce stores than nearly any other type of business. A small improvement in conversion rate as a result of better mobile UX can add up to a huge boost in revenue over time.
And while responsive websites and progressive web apps offer an okay mobile UX, they pale in comparison to mobile apps.
The result is a 130% higher conversion rate for apps vs mobile websites.
Native apps also allow you to use push notifications on all devices. Push notifications are a powerful way to drive people to open your app more often. More app opens invariably means more sales.
They also give you an icon on your users’ home screens, and listings in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Both of which also drive further discovery and retention.
None of this you can do reliably with just a mobile website.
The combination of higher engagement, increased loyalty and increased return traffic makes building an ecommerce app a no-brainer.
Things to Look For in an Ecommerce Mobile App Builder
Here are some things you should look for when choosing an ecommerce mobile app builder.
Coding a mobile app from scratch takes a huge amount of time, and expertise. And that’s not even taking into account the added complexity of building an app with ecommerce features.
Most store owners don’t have this ability. And for those who do, it doesn’t make sense to toil for months, writing code and ignoring other aspects of their business.
You want an ecommerce app builder that allows you to build an app without having to write code. No-code app builders give non-developers the ability to create some pretty amazing apps, opening up the mobile app space to far more businesses and entrepreneurs.
One Shared Codebase Between Mobile and Desktop
Ideally, your mobile app and desktop sites should link back to the same codebase. This means when you update your catalog, product descriptions, or anything else, it gets updated on both platforms.
If you’re forced to build a completely new app, not synced to your original store, this means a whole lot more work for you and your team. From adding products to maintaining both platforms, you won’t be making the most efficient use of your time and resources.
“From our perspective, we were very constrained on resources so we didn't want the overhead of having to maintain multiple code bases for a traditional native app.”
- Jack Heaton, CTO of Moxey
Native apps offer some powerful features that you’ll be wise to take advantage of.
Push notifications are the big one. Enabling push notifications for your mobile app can have a huge impact on your ability to get people into your app, and ultimately making purchases.
While push notifications are great for all categories of apps, ecommerce apps benefit the most. A study from eMarketer showed ecommerce apps had a 278% increase in app launches from users who had push notifications enabled.
Push notifications have many uses. From alerting your customers to new products and exclusive offers, to providing customer service and delivery updates. These can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Full Service, Support and Updates
For ecommerce stores, any downtime, or bugs that hang around without being fixed, means you’re losing sales.
So you want an app builder that doesn’t stop with the first version of your app. Ideally, it will provide ongoing support and regular updates to keep your app working properly throughout the foreseeable future.
Online store owners are busy. There’s no exception to this. So the more hands-on service an ecommerce mobile app builder can provide, the better.
This lets you focus on marketing, product sourcing, and other areas that actually grow your business.
The 5 Best Ecommerce Mobile App Builders for 2023
If you think it’s time to build a mobile app for your ecommerce store, keep reading. We’ve outlined five of the best tools to help you build a shopping app. No need to code or hire developers.
App development through an agency or in-house team costs tens of thousands of dollars, along with taking months to complete. Using one of these app builders means a significantly shorter time to launch your app, at a fraction of the price.
Check out the best options below.
The best ecommerce mobile app builder for established online stores is MobiLoud.
MobiLoud makes it easy for any website or web app to go live with native mobile apps. The process takes weeks, not months, and comes at a fraction of the cost it usually takes to develop a native app.
MobiLoud takes your existing website and converts it to a mobile app, maintaining every piece of functionality across both platforms. That means your mobile app works out of the box - there's no need to build or manage anything new.
Any themes, plugins or custom functionality will continue to work on mobile as it does on your web store, which is not something you get from a lot of mobile app builders. You can also layer on mobile-specific elements, like tabs, navigation, and push notifications.
Additionally, the time saving element of MobiLoud can't be stressed enough. Coding an app from scratch takes months (at least), and even no-code app builders take some time to build, design and optimize a functional app. But as MobiLoud simply converts what you already have, your app is going to be up and running in a fraction of the time.
Best of all, you only have one codebase to manage. Your orders, inventory, listings, and everything else are consistent across desktop, mobile web and mobile app platforms, but you can offer a dedicated experience for each.
You’ll also get a listing in the App Store and Google Play, as well as an icon on your users’ home screen.
While there are many app builders that integrate directly with Shopify, if you have any special needs (from custom features, such as a custom checkout, to small things like the way you order product collections), MobiLoud will work better, as it's not constrained by what you can do with the Shopify API.
“The hybrid solutions on top of Shopify are just too limited. The Shopify API only enables certain things and all the major providers of hybrid apps for Shopify had limitations that the Shopify API would not let them get around.”
- David Cost, Rainbow Shops
MobiLoud also offers full service with building and customizing your app, as well as ongoing updates, maintenance and support, to ensure you don’t miss out on sales because your app is down.
There are few, if any, options better than MobiLoud for building ecommerce mobile apps. To check it out for yourself, schedule a free demo, or use our Preview Tool to get an interactive look at your ecommerce site as a mobile app.
- Works for all ecommerce platforms
- Can convert all your existing features to the app
- Zero coding, minimal effort required
- Includes ongoing updates, maintenance and support
- App store submission done for you
- Easy to maintain and update your app
- Doesn't allow you to build an ecommerce mobile app from scratch
GoodBarber is a no-code app builder that allows non-developers to build apps for Android and iOS. It boasts an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, combined with a range of templates to fit a number of different use cases.
Though GoodBarber has been running since 2011, they only recently rolled out a feature designed specifically shopping apps.
Their ecommerce app builder has all you need to manage the customer-facing side of your online store. Including one-click checkout and push notifications, as well as a web interface to manage the back end (such as orders, shipping and taxes).
The one downside is that it’s not optimal if you’ve already got an online store built on another platform. GoodBarber's shopping app builder is designed primarily for building apps from scratch. That means you’ll be managing two separate platforms between this and your existing store.
It’s better suited towards brick-and-mortar retail stores who want to launch a web/mobile store. And for this, it does a great job.
- Drag-and-drop UI builder
- Lets you build mobile apps from scratch
- Affordable price
- New to ecommerce app market
- Can't simply convert your existing features to an app
- Difficult to integrate with existing platforms
It offers everything you need from your mobile app, such as push notifications, dedicated mobile UI, deep linking and more. They also offer ongoing support, and theme redesigns on their higher plans.
The biggest advantage of all is that you can manage everything to do with your store from the Shopify backend, instead of taking care of two separate platforms.
The obvious disadvantage is that it’s exclusively for Shopify. You’ll need to look somewhere else if you’re on another platform, such as WooCommerce. And while it is a powerful option for Shopify sellers, their pricing includes a percentage of your sales, which is a cost that can stack up.
- Directly integrated with Shopify
- Integrated push notifications
- Shopify only
- Quite expensive
- Limited number of third-party app integrations
- May struggle to convert custom website features to your app
Tapcart is another ecommerce mobile app builder made specifically for Shopify stores.
This tool allows you to create a mobile app for your store in a matter of hours - no need to rebuild anything from scratch. You can customize the design of your app, and the product pages on your app, while maintaining the same database for your product info, orders, and everything else to do with your store.
The mobile apps offer a fully-native experience, with advanced mobile features such as scheduled and automated push notifications, and an optimized search experience.
Tapcart is incredibly powerful and intuitive, and is a great way to build and maintain a mobile app if you sell on Shopify. We should mention that it's not exactly cheap, though. Plans start at $250 per month. If you want a bit more design freedom, you'll need to upgrade to the middle plan, at $550 per month. While the most advanced features - automation and segmentation for push notifications - requires their enterprise plan, starting at $1200 per month.
It's definitely a tool focused towards high-end Shopify sellers, but if you can afford it, Tapcart is definitely worth the expense.
- Integrated with Shopify
- Intuitive UI builder
- Shopify only
- Limited by what you can do with the Shopify API
Our final option is Shoutem. Shoutem offers both a turnkey app builder you can use to build mobile apps yourself, and a managed mobile app development service.
Their app builder features pre-made templates for many different types of apps, including shopping apps. You can integrate your app with your existing store, or build and manage it as its own platform.
It’s not a seamless integration, though. So be prepared to do some work to keep your brand image consistent between your web and mobile stores.
Apps feature push notifications, and everything else you need from a mobile UX perspective.
Shoutem isn’t as intuitive and easy to manage long-term as something like MobiLoud. However, it is a solid option if you want a platform with a visual drag-and-drop builder to help you customize your app.
- Cheap & affordable pricing
- Integrated push notifications
- Quick to convert your Shopify store to an app
- Limited functionality for ecommerce apps
- May struggle to replicate your web UX in your ecommerce mobile app
Building a mobile app for your ecommerce store could be the best decision you’ve ever made.
By catering specifically to the large share of people who browse and shop on mobile-first, you’re going to see people spend longer in your store, and higher conversion rates from mobile shoppers.
Plus, with the incredible power of push notifications, you’re going to see more return customers and a higher average lifetime value for your store.
The easiest way to build your own ecommerce mobile app, as well as the best option to maintain your app long-term, is MobiLoud.
MobiLoud gives you everything you need to build a powerful and intuitive mobile app, without the hassle of managing two different platforms.
Get a free demo of MobiLoud today and see how you can transform your ecommerce store with native mobile apps.