eCommerce apps – allowing users to shop from their phones

eCommerce apps are a very popular method of online shopping across the globe. In South Africa, it’s grown enormously thanks to smartphone penetration being over 90% and many more people using their phones rather than laptops or desktops for browsing and shopping online.

eCommerce apps were, at first, developed and used only by online retailers like Amazon globally and Takealot locally. Recently, grocery stores in South Africa, like Checkers, Pick n Pay, and Woolworths, have created mobile apps for shopping of their own. These apps experienced massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, servicing customers who were unable or unwilling to leave their homes to shop for groceries.

How Checkers Sixty60 revolutionised ecommerce

The standout feature of Checkers Sixty60 is that it is the only ecommerce app in South Africa that offers delivery in 60 minutes or less.
Checkers Sixty60 operates out of hundreds of stores across South Africa.
Users are given the option to select alternatives for each item during the ordering process. Notifications are then sent in real-time as the order is picked so that customers have another opportunity to choose alternatives for items that are out of stock.
Unlike other grocery stores, Checkers does not have an option to order on their website. Ordering is done entirely through the mobile ecommerce app.

Features of ecommerce apps

When creating an ecommerce app, it’s important to do market research and understand your target audience, the niche your app is filling, the competition, and the expected traffic.
There are several features that all ecommerce apps should include:
Comprehensive search functionality, making it easy for users to find the products they’re looking for
Categorised product catalogue
Wish lists
Shopping cart
Multiple secure payment options
Search engine optimisation is vital for ecommerce apps. Whether you are catering for a niche audience, or you’re competing with other ecommerce apps, having your app appear at the top of search results will increase downloads and sales.
Security is a critical component for ecommerce apps, as there is sensitive customer data involved, as well as payment information.
The timeline for building an app like Checkers Sixty60 can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. However, the research required to get to the development phase can take years. It’s also important to note that these kinds of ecommerce apps can cost upwards of R500 000.

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