How to Build a Mobile App For Shopify: A 4-Step Process

It’s almost mid-2023, and the mobile commerce app trend has shown no sign of stopping yet. When built properly, on average, a mobile app helps convert product viewers three times better than mobile websites.

But mobile apps’ benefits don’t just stop at improved conversions. With their native natures, mobile apps also help nurture customer relationships, reduce churn rates, boost customer retention and loyalty, and so on.

But the real question is How to build a mobile app for your Shopify store, then? In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to do so with a method that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg or swallow a bunch of your time.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Why Do You Need a Mobile App?

Still ask yourself questions like: “I already have a mobile-friendly site. Why build a mobile app?” or “A mobile app is cool, but is it really necessary?” Well, let’s spend a minute or two learning more about how a mobile app can benefit your online store in all possible aspects.

In a hurry? Have e a glance at some impressive stats on mobile app’s importance:

A mobile app is one of the strongest weapons to fuel your sales growth

Now let’s take a look at the huge benefits of mobile apps for your Shopify store’s growth:

1. Improve your store conversions

Did you know that product viewers on your mobile app are 3x more likely to be converted than on mobile websites? This is impressive but unsurprising since 85% of customers said they loved shopping on mobile apps more than mobile sites.

This means in the long run, a mobile app will help you grow steady sales without you having to pour money into paid ad campaigns non-stoppingly.

2. Enhance your customer experience

Customers love shopping on mobile apps so much because mobile apps offer them utter convenience that mobile sites can’t even come close to. To name a few:

  • Accelerated checkout: With a mobile app, your customers can add to their cart and check out in seconds with pre-filled shipping and credit card info and no distractions. While on a website, their journey would look something like this:

Search product on Google > Visit your site & 10 other sites > Add your product to cart (maybe) > Check other websites > Forget about you and abandon their cart.

  • Native mobile app’s features: Besides an expedited checkout experience, many other features can elevate your customer experience to new heights. For instance, you can allow them to create a custom wishlist or join your loyalty program.

3. Boost your customer retention

According to a recent report, app users are 2x more likely to return and shop with your brand than mobile website customers.

Plus, with a mobile app, you can leverage powerful push notifications to nurture your customers. Push notifications have an average click-through rate of 28%, much higher than traditional emails.

Final verdict: So, is a mobile app a must? Nope, but it’s a plus, a big PLUS, indeed.

Now that you know the significance of mobile apps and what they can bring to your Shopify store, let us show you how to build a mobile app without the sweating part!

How to Build a Mobile App For Your Shopify Store?

You may think creating a mobile commerce app must be challenging and require a lot of coding. But don’t worry, unlike other lengthy articles that go on and on about technical stuff, this guide will show you how to build a mobile app the easy way.

Basically, in this tutorial, we’ll walk you through four main steps of building your mobile app:

  • Step 1: Make your Shopify website mobile-friendly first
  • Step 2: Choose the method that best suits your demands and budget
  • Step 3: Customize your mobile app
  • Step 4: Submit your app

Let’s dig down into the details of each step!

Step 1: Make your Shopify website mobile-friendly first

Before you rush into making a mobile app for your Shopify store, you need to optimize it for mobile devices first. Since the app you create will use “webviews” to display your website’s content, your website’s mobile optimization will be crucial to your app’s success.

Webviews are like a mobile app browser displaying a live version of your website’s content. Most of your app’s user interface will come from your mobile-optimized website. So, designing your website to look great on mobile screens will be the key to developing a stunning and functional mobile app.

how to build a mobile app
Make sure your Shopify website looks great on mobile devices first

You can move to the next step if your store is already mobile-optimized. However, if it isn’t, take your time to ensure that every minor element on your site looks and functions perfectly on mobile devices.

As most online shoppers now use their smartphones to shop, having a mobile-optimized website is critical anyway. Actually, it’s one of the key factors Google uses to rank your website.

Step 2: Choose the method that best suits your demands and budget

After optimizing your website for mobile devices, the next step is choosing the method to build your app. According to our market research team, there are three most popular methods that Shopify merchants use to convert their Shopify stores into mobile apps:

  1. Build your mobile app from scratch.
  2. Hire a mobile app development agency.
  3. Use OneMobile to build your app (recommended)
  • Method 1: Build a mobile app by yourself

If you have a team of app developers or are familiar with coding languages like Python, JavaScript, Golang, etc., you can create a mobile app on your own. However, even with the most tech-savvy merchants, building a mobile app manually will eat into your limited time budget.

  • Method 2: Outsource a mobile app development agency

So what about hiring someone “pro” to develop an exclusively-made app for your Shopify store? We’d highly recommend you do so because your app will be taken care of by human experts who know their stuff. However, hiring a Shopify expert can be extremely pricey

On average, to build a basic app from scratch, an agency or Shopify expert will cost you at least $5000. This can go all the way up to $20,000 for further customizations, functions, and integrations.

  • Method 3 (recommended): Use OneMobile: A No-code Mobile App Builder

So the best method is using a no-code mobile app builder like OneMobile to save you both time and money. 

Once you install OneMobile to your Shopify store, you just have to pick a theme in the extensive mobile app theme library and customize it (with no coding). Then their Customer Success Managers will take care of submitting your app. (we’ll show you more details below).

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Step 3: Customize your mobile app

After installing OneMobile to your Shopify store, you can build your mobile app from various themes pre-built for your niches and demands.

how to build a mobile app
Choose a theme to quickly build your mobile commerce app

Click Customize on the theme you prefer. Then you’ll be directed to the mobile app editor screen, as shown below.

Herein, you can easily customize your app’s looks and works with an intuitive user interface and easy-to-use editor.

You can touch up your app’s homepage, collection page, product page, etc., with miscellaneous customization options like multimedia-rich content (images, videos) to product-oriented sections like product slider, collection grid, etc.

how to build a mobile app
With OneMobile, you can build and customize your mobile app with ease

Depending on the complexity you want for your app, this step can take from 30 minutes to an hour or two.

After you’ve finished, click Save.

Step 4: Submit your app

Now that you have a fully-optimized mobile app, let’s publish it to Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Though the submission process can be tough, with OneMobile, all you have to do is Click Set up in the App launch section > Fill in the required information > OneMobile Customer Success Managers will publish the app for you.

how to build a mobile app
After you’ve finished customizing your mobile app, the OneMobile team will submit the app for you

And that’s how easy it is to build a mobile app with OneMobile.

Ready to Build Your Mobile App Today?

All in all, a mobile app can be a lifesaver if you truly want to improve your conversions, customer retention, average order value, customer lifetime value, and any metric that matters to your Shopify store’s growth.

But you shouldn’t waste months or thousands of dollars to build your app. Instead, choose from OneMobile’s top-industry themes to quickly customize and launch your mobile app.