How much does it cost to build a shopping app?

In this article, we delve into specific approaches to understand what it takes to launch an e-commerce app in 2023: how much does it cost, how long does it take and what are the pros and cons of each approach.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Shopping App?

In this article, we delve into specific approaches to understand what it takes to launch an e-commerce app in 2023: how much does it cost, how long does it take and what are the pros and cons of each approach.

Considering launching a mobile app for your e-commerce store?

At IMSHOP.AI, with a track record of over 150 shopping apps across different retail sizes, we understand the intricacies involved.

Let’s break down all the sensitive questions about shopping app development:

  • How long does it take to launch an e-commerce app?
  • What's the cost to launch a shopping app?
  • What resources does an e-commerce brand need to create an app?

1. Hire an App Development Agency

Price: The cost can range significantly from $30,000 to $700,000, depending on the app's complexity, features, and customizations.

Time: Development time can take anywhere from 6 months for a basic ecom app to over a year for highly sophisticated shopping apps.

Team Required: A substantial in-house team is necessary, including a project manager, head of e-commerce, as well as design, marketing, and product specialists.

  • Freedom implement advanced features like AR, custom animations, and gamification.
  • Freedom to design a super-customizable app that aligns perfectly with your brand identity.
  • The ability to implement complex functionalities tailored to specific business needs.

  • Requires significant financial investment and a dedicated team on the retailer’s side.
  • The final cost often exceeds the initial estimates due to project scope changes.
  • After launch, you face ongoing maintenance, the need to update for new OS versions, and continuous development to meet customer needs, tying you to the studio indefinitely.
  • All processes you need to build from scratch.

2. Create App In-House

Price: Often more expensive than outsourcing due to the need for a comprehensive in-house team.

Time: Similar to hiring a studio, though potentially longer due to the learning curve associated with building a team and expertise.

Team Required: A large team of iOS/Android developers, app marketing experts, and other mobile-specific roles.

  • Complete ownership of the app without the need to rely on external agencies.
  • Flexibility to pivot and adapt the app development process as per internal timelines and strategies.

  • Typically more expensive as it involves hiring a diverse team of iOS/Android developers, as well as marketing and analytics experts.
  • Requires in-depth knowledge and competencies in mobile app development, which is different from web development.
  • All processes and workflows must be built from scratch, requiring a significant investment in time and expertise.

3. Turn to App Builders (e.g., Shopney, Tapcart)

Price: Monthly fees from $200 to $1,000.

Time: Quick; can be a matter of weeks to set up and launch.

Team Required: Minimal; possibly one or two individuals to manage the setup and content.

  • Fast and affordable for small and mid-size companies.
  • Good for testing market fit for your app.

  • Limited customization and capabilities;
  • User experience may suffer, revealing that the app is builder-made.

4. Use a Ready-Made Solution (IMSHOP.AI)

Price: $5,000 to $16,000 for launch, with flexible subscription plans starting from $1,600/month.

Time: Approximately 6 weeks to launch a native shopping app on both iOS and Android.

Team Required: At least one person in charge, a tech expert for website integration, and a marketer for content and communications.

  • Offers studio-quality app at a builder's price point.
  • Integration with existing CRM, CMS, and loyalty programs.
  • Ongoing support, updates, and new feature releases.
  • New features every week, such as targeted push notifications and personalized offers.
  • Personal product manager that teach your team how to grow your revenue through mobile channel.
  • Serves as an experimentation lab, allowing for rapid testing of new features without extensive time and financial commitments.

  • Cons:
  • Initial versions lack fully custom designs.
  • Requires some development work from your side for app-website integration.
To sum things up, each approach to developing a shopping app comes with its own set of advantages and limitations.

That’s why we developed IMSHOP to provide retailers with a studio-like app at builder's price.

To see how your e-commerce app will look and function, book a personalized demo with our team.
Our team will create a downloadable version tailored specifically for your brand, allowing you to see and interact with your app before making any commitment.