How Much Does Ecommerce App Development Cost?

Living in a time when digital transformation is happening left and right, you likely know that e-commerce has reshaped the retail landscape for good.

There’s no question about it. Trends show that the global e-commerce market will continue to be an ever-more lucrative avenue for businesses.

EADC: global ecommerce sales statistics

Source: Shopify

The more intriguing question is: how much would developing an e-commerce app cost you?

The cost of e-commerce app development can vary significantly based on the complexity and features required for the project.

  • For a basic e-commerce app with standard functionalities like a product catalog, shopping cart, and secure payment gateway, the cost may range from $30,000 to $60,000+.
  • For a more feature-rich app with additional customization and user engagement elements, the price can go up from $60,000 to $300,000+.
  • For highly complex e-commerce applications with advanced features, integrations, and scalability, the cost may exceed $300,000.

Why the wide cost range?

The variations can be attributed to the numerous factors that influence the complexity and scope of the projects. As such, before embarking on ecommerce app development, it is essential to understand the factors that influence its cost.

And this blog aims to do just that.

In this article, I’ll delve into the significant aspects every aspiring e-commerce business owner should consider to ensure a cost-efficient and worthwhile app development journey.

Let’s begin!

4 Major Factors Affecting eCommerce App Development Cost

1. Platform selection

Do you want to develop an iOS, Android, or web app? Perhaps, you are considering a hybrid one?

Developing an app that works on different and multiple platforms requires additional time, effort, and resources. This is because each platform has its own set of programming languages, development tools, and frameworks. Building separate codebases for different platforms increases development time and complexity, thus impacting the cost.

Additionally, different platforms require different developers’ expertise and skills.

For instance, iOS development often requires developers with Swift or Objective-C expertise, while Android development relies on Java or Kotlin knowledge. Hybrid platforms, like React Native or Flutter, may also require developers with cross-platform development skills.

Sounds too technical?

Let’s use actual stores as examples. Building a single corner store requires significantly fewer resources, expertise, and workforce than, say, building a chain of department stores.

The app submission and approval process differs between iOS and Android platforms. Think of it as establishing a franchise store where you need to get the franchisor’s approval first.

Apple’s App Store review process is known for being stringent and time-consuming, requiring adherence to strict guidelines and potentially leading to longer development cycles. This may result in additional costs associated with extended ecommerce mobile app development timelines and app resubmissions.

In contrast, the Google Play Store has a more straightforward approval process, reducing potential costs and development time.

These are just some of the crucial differences between ecommerce app platforms. I encourage you to check out our article about Native, Hybrid, and Web apps to know which is perfect for you.

2. App and UX design

If you think that a virtual store design is less significant than that of an actual store, think again. Research shows that 88% of online consumers will never revisit a site after a bad experience.

Investing in a well-executed app and user experience (UX) design is essential for successful ecommerce apps. It boosts user satisfaction, increases conversion rates, and enhances the brand’s reputation. This is why about 10-20% of a project’s total costs often go to design.

A well-thought-out UX design also helps define the scope of your project more clearly. When you better understand your user needs and business goals, you can reduce the chances of wasting money on unnecessary functionalities and costly revisions.

At Appetiser, all our projects begin with the design stage.

The process is somehow similar to planning and designing an actual store or establishment. But instead of blueprints and models, our product designers use sketches, wireframes, and prototypes to visualize your app’s structure and layout. I encourage you to also check out our article on shopping app development for in-depth insights on these steps.

By creating thorough sketches, we can provide you with a ballpark estimate for your e-commerce or retail app development project. Subsequently, our skilled designers create a wireframe of your product, facilitating a comprehensive understanding of the app’s UX flow and envisioning the design outcome.

As we progress through the design stage, you will have access to a world-class interactive prototype that can be utilized to secure capital for development.

This approach has proven successful for our numerous startup partners, including Youfoodz — Australia’s Best Food Delivery Service.

EADC: Youfoodz app screenshot

Check out Youfodz’s case study to find out how.

3. Features and functionality

If you’ve ever been to a Nike flagship store, you likely have seen at least one of these modern cutting-edge store features: virtual try-on experiences, interactive installations, and digital customization options for products.

EADC: Nike flagship store feature

Source: Nike

As you may imagine, setting up stores with such futuristic features costs the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

The same principle applies when building an e-commerce application.

The complexity and range of features incorporated into an e-commerce mobile app significantly impact its cost. More complex features require additional development time, and therefore a higher price tag.

This is why we always advise our clients at Appetiser to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). Focus on delivering the core features necessary for users to make purchases and experience the basic functionality of the platform. This allows you to launch your app quickly, gather user feedback, and iterate based on the received feedback.

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I encourage you to read our Ultimate Guide to Mobile Commerce for more best practices from our experts.

In our experience building successful e-commerce apps, the following features are often enough to launch a viable product:

  • User registration and login
  • Product browsing and search
  • Shopping cart and checkout
  • Payment gateway integrations
  • Order tracking and notifications
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Social media integrations

If you feel a strong temptation to plug in more “nice to haves,” remember that the first-ever Nike retail store in Portland, Oregon had a simple and straightforward design, typical of retail stores from that era — but it did its job and more.

We’ve rounded up more examples of MVP apps that thrive in another article. Check it out to learn about their strategies.

4. Development team

The size and location of your mobile e-commerce app development team, as well as the skill level and experience of developers, also contribute to the overall cost. As of 2023, the average hourly rate of developers in the US ranges between $36 and $62.

And often, the size and structure of your team are dictated by the complexity of your e-commerce app as well as your target timeframe.

To give you a better idea, I’ve added sample structures below. Note that actual details may vary depending on your app’s specifications.

Sample Standard Team

Suppose you are developing an e-commerce app without a tight deadline. Here’s what your app development team may look like:

Platform Type Team Size
Single Platform

(Web / iOS / Android)

1.0 Developer

0.5 Project Manager & Quality Analyst

Dual Platform

(Android & iOS)

1.5 Developers

0.5 Project Manager

1 Quality Analyst

Triple Platform

(Mobile & Web)

2.5 Developers

0.5 Project Manager

1.5 Quality Analysts

Sample Accelerated Team

Now, say, you’re targeting a strict timeline and want to accelerate the development. In that case, you may need to increase your team size. Here’s what your app development team may look like:

Platform Type Team Size
Single Platform

(Web / iOS / Android)

2.0 Developers

0.5 Project Manager

1.0 Quality Analyst

Dual Platform

(Android & iOS)

3.0 Developers

0.5 Project Manager

2.0 Quality Analysts

Triple Platform

(Mobile & Web)

4.5 Developers

1.0 Project Manager

2.5 Quality Analysts

So does this mean you should simply go for a smaller-sized team?

Not necessarily.

Your focus should be on what your project actually needs. A smaller team may cost you less upfront, but if it isn’t the right size for your app, it can have a significant impact on both the cost and efficiency of your project.

Aside from the obvious advantages in terms of expertise and faster development, having a larger team may lead to more overhead savings. The key is to strike a balance between team size, project requirements, and budget considerations.

Evaluate your project needs, timelines, and budget constraints to determine the optimal team size and location that aligns with your goals and delivers the desired results within a cost-effective framework.

And if you need help in that area, give us a call, and we’d be glad to provide you with a FREE consultation.

Make a worthwhile investment in e-commerce apps

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, the question of “How much does e-commerce app development cost?” has no one-size-fits-all answer.

From the intricacies of design and functionality to the skill and expertise of the development team, a myriad of factors influences the final price tag of web and mobile commerce apps.

However, amid this complexity lies an opportunity — a chance to create a tailored and innovative e-commerce app that caters to your unique business needs and delights your customers.

Embracing this journey with a clear vision, collaborating with a reliable ecommerce app development company, and understanding the value of investing in a robust app will lead to a transformational digital retail experience.

As the e-commerce landscape continues to flourish, remember that it’s not just about the cost, but about the potential to reshape the future of your business. So, dive in, harness the power of technology, and unlock the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.

Your e-commerce success story awaits!


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