Starting An Ecommerce Business in San Francisco
Starting An Ecommerce Business in San Francisco
Ecommerce app development is one of the most lucrative business ventures of the decade – thanks to the pandemic that taught us we could order basics to luxuries from the tap of the button.

Since then, most retail businesses that had brick-and-mortar stores invested in an app-based business and were impressed by the turnover, while others only launched an electronic outlet for the products they wanted to sell.

If you too are planning to take a plunge in starting an ecommerce business, and that too with an app, here is a quick yet comprehensive guide covering: app ideas to ecommerce app development cost to the steps of development and finding a team of app developers in San Francisco for development and marketing.  

10 Ecommerce App Development Ideas 

  1. Ecommerce app for one brand and its product line like Nike 

  2. Ecommerce app for on-demand deliveries like McDonalds 

  3. Ecommerce app for general purpose items in a broad niche like gardening 

  4. Ecommerce app for sub-niche products like shoes and clothing in fashion and apparel 

  5. Ecommerce app for tech accessories 

  6. Marketplace app for different buyers and sellers and brands like Amazon 

  7. B2B marketplace like Alibaba 

  8. Highly niched down marketplace like Etsy for handmade gifts 

  9. Marketplace for digital downloads like Vecteezy and Envato Elements 

  10. Marketplace for specific digital download products like stock images 

Estimated Ecommerce App Development Cost 

  • A basic ecommerce app with a single seller profile and multiple buyer profiles costs between $35,000 to $50,000.

  • A multi-featured ecommerce app with online payment options, delivery tracking, GPS, and detailed product catalogs costs between $55,000 to $75,000.

  • A marketplace app like Etsy with multiple buyers and seller profiles will cost more than $80,000. 

  • A digital downloads marketplace app costs approximately $60,000 because it does not generally require delivery tracking. 

For reference, a major part of your overall ecommerce app development cost comprises the development rates, whether hourly or fixed price, you'll pay to the team of app developers. So, the reason I am recommending hiring from SF is that a team of app developers in San Francisco will not only offer competitive rates, but also provide full-cycle development services from discovery to testing, launch, and post-launch maintenance. This is one good way to optimize your cost because SF is a growing tech talent hub, and the niche is slowly getting saturated. 

How to Develop an Ecommerce App 

App development in itself involves complicated technical tasks – but when you are creating an ecommerce app, you have to be extra careful about user interface and user experience. You need a buyer-centric user interface and conversion-centric features. Here is a 5-step ecommerce app development process:  

  1. Create a development strategy and decide on app features

A development strategy is a rough document, a roadmap that will help you plan and carry out your overall development project smoothly. This document should outline the platforms you wish to develop for (Android, iOS, cross-platform), the tools and technologies you wish to use (React Native, Android SDK, Xcode, Flutter, etc.), your development timelines and your budget for development and marketing. Secondly, this strategy should outline the total number of features you wish to provide in your app. 

For example, typical ecommerce apps have the following features:

  • Product catalogs

  • User profile registration and guest signup

  • Personalized recommendations and ad viewing preferences 

  • Online payment methods 

  • Delivery tracking 

  • In-app messaging between buyer and seller

  • Wishlist, add to cart, review, and recommendation features 

  • Offline product browsing and add-to cart

You may add or remove any ecommerce features as you like depending on the scope of your project. 

  1. Hire an app development team

Now, this is one of the most crucial steps in the overall process, as your project's success partly depends on it. You need a team of at least four professionals, including a developer, designer, project manager, and QA testing processional for your app. 

While we have a; ready recommended how you can optimize development budgets, we recommend striking the right balance between hourly development rates, quality and quantity of services, portfolio, and social proof. Make sure that your developer has already worked on ecommerce apps before, the designer creates appealing UI and UX, and the project manager has a streak of timely launches. 

To get an idea of the quality of their services, you can go to your development team's portfolio page, see which apps they have created, download them from leading app stores and assess the experience.  

  1. Design the app's user interface 

The design part starts with creating wireframes. For high-scale commercial budgets that involve experimentation and testing, we recommend prototyping. But because ecommerce apps are getting common, you can create initial wireframes and sketches of app screens, then translate them into branded themed user interfaces showing how all features would look like. 

  1. Develop the backend, frontend, and integrate APIs

Once your design part is complete, use the app screens as the foundation for your code and programming. Your developer will first create the frontend, then program the backend, backend, admin panels, and dashboards, and last integrate APIs. Next up in the development phase is building a database and connecting these 4 layers together as a one-unit app. Typically, ecommerce apps have APIs of maps for tracking and online payment methods like Google Pay and PayPal. 

  1. Test the app and launch

The last stage in the technical development process is the testing and quality assurance part. This stage requires a professional app tester to look into areas like data security and privacy, functional performance, in-app experience, smooth feature performance on multiple types of devices, loading time and speed, bugs, viruses and app crashes, etc. 

Testing follows launch on app stores. Logically, the Android version goes to the Google Play store, and the iOS version goes to the App store. If you are launching a web version as well, that should work on browsers, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox especially. Once you have released your app in these stores, it's time to market it and look into its consumer-side performance.