Best Platforms to Develop an eCommerce app 2023

Last time we discussed why an e-commerce application is crucial if you’re considering starting a business online. We ran you through the process of developing it. But we ended on the note that choosing the right technology will be the key to the success of developing an app for your business.

You already know that there is a wide selection of mobile commerce app development tools out there, but you can’t just choose any random tech stack. Why? Because the functionality and cross-platform app development play a huge role in if your customers will download and use the app. 

When you make a poor decision and choose the incorrect tool, it will not only lower the quality of your output but also waste a reasonable amount of time and money.

But there’s no reason to panic. As we promised, we’re going to help you with making the right choice!

 

Three ways of e-commerce application development

We personally believe that nothing can beat the quality and benefits custom development for e-commerce apps provides, but a lot of small and medium-sized businesses have budget restrictions. Keeping that in consideration, we have shortlisted our favorites in three types of solutions:

  • eCommerce SaaS Platforms
  • Open Source Solutions
  • Custom Development

 

Let’s jump right in so you can choose a platform that works for you! 

 

eCommerce SaaS Platforms

Who hasn’t heard of Shopify and BigCommerce in this digital era? They are among the most famous examples of an eCommerce SaaS (Software as a Service) platform and our favorite ones (we’ll talk about them in detail in a bit!). These platforms are perfect for small and medium-sized online businesses that don’t have a budget for full-fledged app development. 

Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of using eCommerce SaaS platforms for your e-commerce application.

 

Pros

  • Low cost – Businesses don’t need to invest in a developer; they simply need to sign up, set up a store, and pay monthly platform fees.
  • Easy to manage – As the platform has a set template and set features, minimal managing goes into it.
  • Saves time – Since signup and setup are straightforward, you save plenty of time working on the storefront.
  • Ready to use – Once you sign up and set up a store, it immediately goes online.
  • Several tools and integration for easy marketing – most eCommerce platform offers various features to make a simple and easy UI/UX. Integrations with social media apps and SEO plugins make marketing easier too. 
  • 24 x 7 customer service – if you face any troubles with the features offered by the platform or functionality of your store, you can get easy help with customer service.

 

Cons

  • Not much scope of customization – This is one of the biggest downsides to eCommerce SaaS platforms. Sure, with the help of a Shopify developer or agency, you can play around with the looks of your eCommerce store; however, changing features and other heavier customization isn’t possible.
  • Security at risk – The security of the entire platform is not in your hand. If the SaaS platform has a password breach or data leak, you can be a victim of it. 
  • No ownership of source code – By using the eCommerce SaaS platform, you don’t have ownership of the source code. This means, in the future, if you wish to change the platform or move away from your previous platform, it becomes very difficult.

 

Customization to provide a unique experience is crucial to branding. But if your budget doesn’t allow it, we understand. Here are our top two picks of eCommerce SaaS platforms that we often suggest: 

 

Shopify

 

eCommerce SaaS Platforms

 

Shopify is a superstar of all eCommerce SaaS platforms. We’re not the only ones who love Shopify so much. Even Kylie Jenner and David Beckham prefer it. Don’t believe us? Check out the infographic below to understand just how popular Shopify is:

 

Shopify statistics

 

Of the many e-commerce platforms, Shopify stands out from the competition due to the extensive dropshipping integrations it offers, which enable online sales without even the need for physical stock.

 

BigCommerce

 

eCommerce SaaS Platforms

 

Now Shopify is awesome, but we think you should know about BigCommerce too! The reason we have included BigCommerce here is it provides some great in-built marketing tools that help users attract more clients over time. This attributes to its growth despite increased competition during the past few years, with almost 50,000 retailers now active on the platform.

 

cumulative stores by quarter - BigCommerce's pricing plans

However, there’s a catch with BigCommerce’s pricing plans. They are structured based on the sales a store generates. So you need to update your plan as your user base grows. This means the more you earn, the higher paying plan you need to purchase!

 

Open Source Solutions

Now that we’ve discussed ready-to-use eCommerce SaaS platforms let’s talk about an option that gives you a bit more control, i.e., open-source solutions for Develop an eCommerce app.

We like to call open source solutions a median between off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms and custom development. Why? Because it provides you with all the resources to build a personalized app for your brand. However, let us have you know that you do need some technical know-how (or the services of a web developer) to use open-source solutions for app development.

Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of open-source eCommerce solutions so you can determine if it’s right for you!

 

Pros

  • More control over the app – Since you will be able to manage the source code, it gives you more flexibility to make changes to your app features when compared to the eCommerce SaaS platforms.
  • Community support – All open-source platforms have a community that creates and maintains it. You can get help with anything with blogs and forums. But remember, whether you go for paid or free license may affect the level of community assistance you get. 
  • No vendor lock-in –  Sixty-five percent of tech-focused businesses choose open source solutions to avoid vendor lock-in that eCommerce SaaS platforms put on making changes and customization. 

 

Cons

  • Security – The open-source nature of the solution means that the codebase will be public so other people can use it. While it is a great thing for the development of plugins and features, it requires you to be a bit careful about security threats, such as cyber-attacks and data breaches. And let’s not forget there’s always support from the community and the product owners to eliminate such issues. 
  • Limits to customizability – Yes, we know we said it gives you more control over the app, and open-source technology is constantly evolving, which means there will always be increasing options for customizability. However, at any point in time, you can only include as many options as there are available. Also, using too many features may keep your e-commerce application from functioning efficiently. Therefore, even open-source solutions can’t match the customizability that a custom development for ecommerce app provides.
  • Complexity and increased maintenance – You will increase the system’s complexity with each change you make to the source code, requiring regular updates and fixing bugs. This can be difficult and costly. This becomes a challenge when you’re working with open-source solutions by yourself or employing a freshman developer to save costs. When you choose custom app development, a team of experienced developers takes care of this regularly.

 

Here are our picks of open-source platforms for eCommerce:

 

WooCommerce

 

WooCommerce - eCommerce plugin

 

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin made to be used on WordPress websites. It is one of the most popular tools, as it powers 29% of all online stores across the globe! Surprised? You’ll know why when you see what it has to offer: 

  • More than 1200 themes
  • Rich with eCommerce features like product sorting and tax calculation
  • Processing payment is inbuilt.
  • Easy inventory management
  • More than 800 extensions
  • Great customer support

 

Magento

 

best eCommerce app design

 

Our next pick is Adobe’s brainchild, another open-source software for online stores that have many essential features ready to use. We specifically love Magento because it offers users over 3,000 paid and free extensions to let you control the UI/UX and make the best eCommerce app design. This makes clear why over 160,000 online stores around the world are powered by Magento. Some of the features of Magento we really care about are: 

  • It’s in-built CMS 
  • Great analytics and reporting features to keep track of store performance
  • Get a mobile-optimized store.
  • Easy management of your catalog
  • It allows you to accept international currencies.
  • Great tools for SEO-optimization 
  • Inbuilt Inventory management system

 

Custom Development

Now we come to the last option of mobile commerce app development. Let’s start here: you can either start an online store or initiate a vision of creating a multinational brand! If you aim big and mighty with a wish to scale endlessly, you can’t neglect the unique branding component of developing an e-commerce application.

With custom development for ecommerce app, you can give your audience exactly what they want and get 100% customizability. For this reason and many others, to Develop an eCommerce app with a user-friendly, intuitive, and standout from your competitors, you need to go for custom development for ecommerce app.

Want to see what’s to gain and what’s lose with custom development for ecommerce app? Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages:

Pros 

  • Caters to your needs – Custom development for ecommerce offers you to build an application around the needs of your users and your business. Every facet of the e-commerce application is the result of intensive study, rigorous testing, and collaborative effort.
  • Great performance – Custom applications employ tools and methods tried and tested by an expert software development business. They always outperform their prepackaged counterparts. We know it from experience and have confidence in these modern frameworks since they have been extensively tested under high volumes of traffic.
  • Better scalability – Since a team of experts is working on custom development for ecommerce, you can scale at your own pace. As a practice we follow, we recommend keeping your app as simple as possible. As you scale and need to add new features, your custom app developers can make quick adjustments and add new integrations or features as you want. 
  • High security – We develop all the applications with the latest security measures in mind, and they all undergo regular security reviews. Hence, we know when developers do that, custom development for ecommerce app ensures your information will be stored safely and appropriately. In addition, you can also get accurate and comprehensive data and use it in creating sales reports to assist the development of the company in the future.
  • Support – Yes, there’s support in eCommerce SaaS platforms and open-source solutions too. But with custom development for ecommerce app, you get a whole dedicated team that takes care of fixing all the bugs, maintaining the performance, and scaling!

 

Cons 

  • High cost – Custom software development is a comparatively more expensive option here. But understand it’s a small price to pay when you’re on your way to building a brand! You’re paying for high security, expert support, maintenance, and brand integrity. In the end, you need to look at it in terms of ROI. 
  • Collaboration – Developing a custom application is a task better left to experts! In fact, we suggest you get experienced tech support even for open-source technology.

 

Before we discuss our favourite tools for custom development for ecommerce app, we’d like to point out the tech stacks that will be required in the process:

  • Design tools: used to create the basic design of your application or website.
  • The core backend technology tools: implemented on the server side to create reliable and effective web layouts. 
  • Frontend tools: used to create the interface that users interact with on your e-commerce application.

 

We’ve compiled a list of tools we often use for each function. Let us walk you through the details of these tools and why we stand by them.

 

Design Tools

Our top choices of design tools are Figma and AdobeXD. While Figma is a web-based freemium tool, Adobe XD is a PC software that needs to be downloaded and has free and paid versions both. Both tools have pretty similar features, including:

  • Create attractive wireframes and interactive prototypes
  • Complete collaboration on the design of your app
  • Allows quick and easy prototyping and testing
  • Extraordinary abilities for enhanced customization of design
  • Adaptability in quickly making changes and completing tasks
  • Manipulate various designs with a 3D perspective
  • Get interactive UI/UX visual design with smooth animations
  • Create several variations of each element 
  • It even allows the designing of augmented and virtual reality

 

Figma

 

best ecommerce app design platform

 

Figma is the design tool #1 of this age! It is a cloud-based, collaborative design tool that makes teamwork a breeze. You just need to share a link with collaborators and can even manage access. In our opinion, it is the best ecommerce app design platform, and we’re sure that the 4M users of Figma would agree with us. 

Why do we love Figma? Because its capabilities are endless, with a huge number of plugins that allows us to make attractive designs. It also allows smooth integrations with other several other software, like Microsoft teams, Slack, Notion, Dropbox, and more. 

 

Adobe XD

 

traditional designing software for ecommerce app designing at Anglara

 

If you’re more confident with traditional designing software, then we recommend using Adobe XD. Unlike Figma, Adobe XD software must be downloaded on your computer. This limits access to a certain degree and also takes up storage space on your PC. Regardless, the system’s shared libraries and compatibility with Adobe’s Creative Cloud are a plus and aid teamwork.

 

Backend Tools

Backend tools are the backbone of an application. The backend tools in application development can be compared to the heart in our bodies, the powerhouse of all its functionality. For this reason, you cannot compromise on the tools you choose. Here are the best platforms to develop an ecommerce app backend choose from in 2023:

 

Firebase

 

best platforms to develop an ecommerce app backend

 

Being a Google-backed platform, we know that Firebase is the quality choice for backend tech for any app development. It’s not just us who believe in Firebase’s capability. Companies like Lyft, Venmo, The Newyork Times, and Alibaba have also put their faith in it. Here are some features that we think make it in our list of best platforms to develop an ecommerce app backend

  • Can be easily included in existing Android, iOS, and Unity environments.
  • A huge number of user-friendly SDKs, back-end services, and UI frameworks for enhancing the login process of end users and security
  • The real-time database constantly refreshes with new information
  • Google implemented technical solutions like Google Ads, AdActive, AdMob, Liftoff, and more to monitor and adjust to a business’s KPIs
  • Compatible with Google Analytics allows for the smooth collection of user activity data
  • Cloud storage allows developers to store files like images and videos on the cloud

 

Node Js

cross-platform development frameworks

 

Does your comfort zone lie with Javascript? Then our suggestion for you is Node.Js! It is based on the JavaScript runtime used by Google Chrome. You know Node.js is meant to make it in this list when you know that many well-known organizations, like Walmart, Uber, PayPal, and Netflix, are its users. Let’s look at some of its main features:

  • Easy to use and maintain with just the basic knowledge of Javascript
  • Because Node.js uses Javascript, it shortens the duration of the development process and helps businesses save resources.
  • Scalable as your business grows since it can process a large number of connections at once without sacrificing performance
  • Provides great speed and efficiency in the development process
  • Availability of over 1M open-source packages 
  • Solid backend with C++ and C languages
  • Supports cross-platform development frameworks

 

Laravel

 

PHP web application framework

 

Just like Node.Js, we find Laravel super easy to work with when you want to develop a supportable backend for an e-commerce application quickly and efficiently. This is due to its model-view-controller (MVC) structural architecture. Let’s look at some of the exciting features of Laravel that make us recommend it to you: 

  • Streamlines authentication by letting users establish roles with efficient authorization rationale and grant access to resources
  • Quick and straightforward setup of caching backend solutions for enhanced app performance
  • Send notifications or reminders to users by email, SMS, and IM using Laravel, and users can send emails via both local and cloud-based services
  • Excellent PHP framework for dealing with problems that may influence user satisfaction
  • Offers features for automated testing, guaranteeing proper functionality after updates
  • Provides high security from threats to the application

 

Front End Web App

Frontend development can be of two types: web apps and mobile apps. Mobile apps can be downloaded from the app stores of your smartphone OS, whereas web apps may be accessed on a web browser without additional software. Here are the two platforms we usually work with when developing web apps:

 

Next.js

 

custom frontend development for ecommerce app

 

We think that when it comes to a framework for creating React-based web apps, Next.js is unparalleled. Some popular eCommerce businesses using Next.js are Target, Ticketmaster, Staples, and Mashable, to name a few. Here are the features of Next.js that makes it our top choice for custom frontend development for ecommerce app:

  • Comes with necessary structural and optimization capabilities
  • Automatic image optimization for SEO
  • It has native i18n (internationalization) routing support
  • A genuine lighthouse rating based on actual user activity and detailed page analysis
  • Completely hands-off setup due to zero configuration and one-click compilation, and bundling
  • Extensive testing at Facebook’s massive size ensures a quick and stable live-editing experience
  • Successful SEO optimization options in the framework mean much fewer marketing efforts
  • Supports CSS imports from a JavaScript library, making the developer’s life simpler

 

Nuxt js

 

Vue-based framework

 

Nuxt.js is a Vue-based framework that helps developers create robust and feature-rich Vue apps in a streamlined, efficient, and well-structured manner. Businesses like Trivago, Alibaba Travels, and Upwork use it to power their website. It may fit your project too if you’re attracted to the following features:

  • Import Vue APIs, auxiliary functions, and composable automatically and use them everywhere in your program
  • Offers a module ecosystem for enhancing compatibility with any third-party packages
  • Supports route rules and hybrid rendering
  • Nitro, the Nuxt.js server engine, is powerful and offers many cool features, such as Node.js compatibility on several platforms
  • Allows file system routing with Vue router
  • The SSR-ready features of Vue and Nuxt.js enable you to pull data from any source directly into your components and pages

 

Front End Mobile App

When it comes to developing the front end for mobile commerce app development there are two ways to go about it: Native and Cross-platform.

 

Native

Native mobile commerce app development means Develop an eCommerce app in a way that is exclusive to one platform. This means the software you will be developing will be done with platform-specific programming languages and tools either for iOS or Android. So, for example, you can use Java and Kotlin to create a native Android app, whereas Swift and Objective-C to create an iOS app.

Native applications are renowned for their superior performance and outstanding user experience. But when developing two or more platforms, we know that the hefty expense of developing a native app is a major problem for entrepreneurs.

Solution: Cross-platform Development!

 

Cross-platform Development

Cross-platform mobile commerce app development ensures that a finalized software would function properly across many platforms. By adopting cross-platform app development frameworks, developers can cater to both the Android and iOS user bases. Using a good cross-platform development framework for your project will ensure you save time and money!

Our favorite cross-platform development frameworks that we highly recommend are Flutter and Ionice. You’ll understand why once you read ahead about these two cross-platform frameworks.

 

Flutter

 

open-source UI software development kit ecommerce development at Anglara

 

Flutter is backed by the tech giant Google, which means it’s got great support. Because of the extensive library of widgets that are included in Flutter, applications built with it have a beautiful user interface and user experience. This is why Flutter powers over 400,000 applications globally, including the Alibaba group, BMW, Google Pay, and more. Let’s look at some of our loved features of Flutter:

  • The hot reload feature allows instant application of any changes
  • A huge number of widgets are available for Android, iOS, and Google Fuchsia thanks to Flutter’s wide and diverse library
  • Flutter is built on top of the simple programming language Dart, which means prototypes and apps may be developed by programmers with even rudimentary coding skills
  • One of Flutter’s best features is the extensive community backing it up. This community helps users of the many plugins hosted on Flutter’s official plugin repository, pub.dev.
  • Flutter provides solid Integrated Development Environments (IDE), and Firebase support
  • The Skia Graphics Library, a cutting-edge open-source package with a powerful backend, is included in Flutter
  • Flutter has its own robust rendering engine, allowing developers to accomplish a lot more with their applications than is feasible with other SDKs

 

Ionic

 

best platforms to Develop an eCommerce app frontend

 

We love Flutter, but we also love Ionic, a framework by Drift CO. It comes in next on our list of list best platforms to Develop an eCommerce app frontend. With over 5 million developers across the world using it, Ionic has quickly become everyone’s, including ours, go-to platform for building mobile apps. Let’s take a look at some of the features and advantages it provides:

  • An extensive collection of tools and functionality includes a large array of predefined UI components
  • Based on industry-standard web technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Angular, and Java Script
  • Based on the SaaS UI framework and provides a large number of add-ons to increase the capabilities of any smartphone
  • Core functionality relies on WebView, which makes it possible for mobile apps to use any supported web technology, such as Angular.JS, React.JS, Vue.JS, and HTML
  • Using native SDKs, Ionic is able to include device capabilities and native app UI standards to create an experience that is eerily similar to that of a native app

Want to know about some other favorite cross-platform app frameworks we love? Check out our article 5 best cross-platform app development 2023. 

 

How can Anglara help?

With this, we conclude our two-part guide to eCommerce Mobile App Development. We hope this part helps you choose the right platform for Developing an eCommerce app. At Anglara, we know how crucial application development is going to be for your business. With over five years of experience in this field, you can put your trust in our team of experts to keep up with your business as it scales. We also understand the budget and time restraints different businesses face, which is why we’d be more than happy to help you choose the best approach to developing your e-commerce application. Simply contact us today and set up a consultation with one of our experts.