The greater the choice, the harder it is to make it, especially when it comes to expensive and transformative decisions. This statement describes the situation in the custom software development segment perfectly as there are hundreds upon hundreds of companies offering seemingly similar services. And if you need to find an e-commerce application development company, you may find yourself facing too vast of a choice.
To select a fitting e-commerce app development services vendor, you will have to take decisive steps, assess your needs, and evaluate the options you have. Today, we are going to take a look at the five main steps for selecting a reliable e-commerce application development company for your next project.
1. Learn more about your e-commerce development partner
Insecurity about the future of your project can stall the development before it even begins. What you need is an e-commerce application development company that can guarantee the proper delivery of the project in accordance with your expectations and with respect to your budget. Oftentimes, problems arise because of poor communication, which causes misunderstanding and faulty delivery.
The problem that might arise here is the lack of competence on the side of an e-commerce app developer. As said, there are many e-commerce app development companies out there, and each offers an exceptional quality of services. How do you know whom to trust? Well, one thing that is for sure is that you should not trust overpromising slogans.
Ask the right questions to eliminate doubts
When looking for a reliable e-commerce application development company you have to see past the flashy slogans and verbal promises. Of course, each e-commerce developer wants to be seen as credible and reliable, but that takes more than pretty words. You need to ask the right questions to find out whether your potential vendor is up for the task. Here are some of those:
- What market segment do you focus on? Companies that offer e-commerce app development services don’t have to focus only on the retail and e-commerce market segments, but it surely has to be one of their priorities. Developing e-commerce and retail software solutions have to be a constant market focus for the company, and they have to have proof of it in the form of case studies.
- What is your development process? Of course, each project is unique, and each requires a specific approach, but an experienced e-commerce app developer must have a set of best practices for delivering such projects. Your partner must be able to provide technology consulting services too. With consulting services, you and your vendor can define the scope of the project, required tech stack, assess the solution design, and accelerate your digital transformation. They must also have a defined SDLC for e-commerce projects that allows for a structured approach to each project while taking all of its specifics into account.
- How do you ensure transparent communication? You will require a clear line of communication with your e-commerce app developers. They will have to provide regular reports on the project’s progress, possible issues, and all the aspects of the development. That is why you have to clarify the ways the vendor ensures seamless communication between your company and the development team.
- Can you ensure Intellectual Property protection? One of the fears clients deal with is the fear of their code being reused in the vendor’s further projects. You need a partner who complies with Intellectual Property regulations so that you can be sure your code remains yours and that it won’t be used by your competitors.
There are more questions you can ask pertaining to their development process, quality assurance and software testing practices, experience in the domain, and more. You have specific goals and specific questions, so go ahead. Do not be afraid to spend time digging for the truth, just ask whatever questions you feel necessary and see how they answer.
A quick tip: Go to ranking websites like Clutch to see what the previous clients have to say about the developer. A good idea would be to contact the vendor’s previous clients directly. If possible, talk to people who already worked with that e-commerce app development company and see what they have to say. Usually, a small conversation with previous clients can reveal more about the company than any slogans or interviews.
2. Select an e-commerce development company that respects your budget
When there’s money at stake, along with your product, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation, picking the right e-commerce app development company might cause serious concerns. Business owners deal with a number of complex questions that can really play on your nerves, so you need to address them one by one. You want everything to go according to plan, especially when it comes to expenses. Even though it can be hard to estimate the cost of development down to a dime, you need to have a degree of confidence in the budget estimates.
Your e-commerce application development company will help you come up with a clear project timeline and design a CI/CD pipeline, which will help in estimating the cost of the platform. This includes the price of the development itself, which you will have to negotiate with the vendor. It is important to partner with a reliable company that can develop your platform within a reasonable budget without cutting corners on the quality of execution. The total cost of the project will depend on the following:
- Hosting costs. By figuring out how and where your platform will be hosted (SaaS hosting, on-premise hosting, or other cloud hosting options), you will be able to put a number in front of the hosting costs.
- Payment processing costs. Using third-party payment gateways costs money, and you will have to account for those expenses.
- Custom design expenses. Custom UI and UX, will cost additional expenses as your vendor will have to spend additional time on designing and implementing custom design features.
- Security expenses. Obtaining security certifications for your platform might cost additional money. Partnering with a company that offers professional financial processing solution development services will help you cut those expenses.
- The cost of custom features. Each custom feature you use will require additional time and resources to implement. The more feature-rich you want your platform to be, the more expensive it will get.
- Maintenance costs. Continuous maintenance of your platform will also require investment on your part to keep it running smoothly and update it to match the changing market standards.
Avoid exceeding costs with thorough Product Discovery
Any expenses associated with the project delivery will be defined during the Product Discovery. This is a vital stage of the development process that produces a number of valuable deliverables:
- Final product vision and roadmap;
- Prototype or MVP;
- Solution architecture and technology stack;
- Security certification assessment;
- Delivery timeline;
- Team composition;
- Implementation roadmap.
Here at N-iX, product discovery is aimed to validate your project concept, define its scope and requirements, build a working prototype if needed, and test the usability of the product while ensuring its security and performance. With all that on our hands, we can provide precise budget estimates that will include all the aspects of product development as well as account for any possible deviations.
Additionally, our team will help you ensure the security of the platform in accordance with international regulations, cutting the need for third-party security solutions. For instance, N-iX complies with international payment security standards, regulations, and compliances. We build secure e-commerce solutions using biometrics, 3DS protocols, tokenization, and end-to-end encryption to comply with numerous regulations and policies:
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – the industry’s benchmark for the protection of personal data and payment information used both in the EU and the US;
- 3DSecure 2.0 (3DS 2.0) – authentication protocol for payments that enables financial institutions to check the user’s identity before the transaction;
- Revised Payment Services Directive (RSD2) – regulation for payment services and payment service providers across the EU and its economic area.
3. Choose e-commerce app experts with the relevant skills
One of the most common fears among business owners who look for an e-commerce application development company to partner with is the fear of the unknown. That is especially true if you don’t have prior experience working with software e-commerce application development companies – you just don’t know what you will get, and that is totally reasonable.
You need to be careful when picking the right partner providing e-commerce app development services and pay attention to their expertise. You will have to check out their portfolio to see what kind of projects they already worked on and what kind of success stories they have in their record. This will take some time to research the potential partners, but that is what you’ll have to go through.
Act with confidence by knowing your options
Thorough research is the most effective tool for dealing with the fear of the unknown. Go to the specialized ranking platforms such as Clutch and apply filters to find the companies specializing in e-commerce app development services. There, you will find a selection of potential vendors with customer satisfaction rates, average rates, a number of experts on board, and all the essential information you’d need to form a first impression.
A quick tip: Focus on the companies that have a high rating, and most importantly, the real experience behind their back. Select e-commerce app development companies that have been on the market for at least 10 years. Also, turn your eyes to the companies that have many projects under their belt, preferably in different industries. The more hands-on experience the company has, the more likely it is to have worked on similar business cases in the past. It means that they will know what to do with your project too.
Look for companies with a good reputation, a strong portfolio, a considerable talent pool, and experience in e-commerce app development. Equipped with that knowledge, you can begin to create a short list of the e-commerce application development companies one of whom could potentially become your partner for the upcoming project.
4. Opt for a partner who provides full-cycle e-commerce app development services
Any software might experience either minor or major problems throughout its lifetime and you don’t want to be left alone when problems occur. The problem here is that many e-commerce app development companies provide a solution but do not follow on that commitment throughout its lifecycle. In such a case, the client is left with an e-commerce platform that might work just fine for the first couple of months. However, as time passes by, the platform may experience some unplanned technical difficulties that can snowball into serious problems.
Besides, even the best and the most reliable software will require updates and some sort of maintenance as time goes on. Outdated software can cost your business considerable expenses as it fails to satisfy the needs of your customers. Additionally, you may lose numerous business opportunities if your e-commerce platform crashes.
Sign a well-defined Service-Level Agreement with your partner
The best way to address that problem is to partner up with e-commerce app developers who can provide full-cycle development services, which include post-launch support and maintenance. This is a simple solution to a whole slew of problems, and by working with a partner who can support your product throughout its lifecycle, you can guarantee its smooth performance over the years.
The e-commerce application development company you partner with must have mature CI/CD practices to make sure your platform performs and improves continuously over time. An Agile approach allows any e-commerce app developer working on your project to continuously contribute to its development and improvement, even after the market launch.
Here at N-iX, we can take your project from the ideation stage up to the post-launch support. Our e-commerce app developers will take care of your platform and deliver all the necessary updates and fixes. That way, you won’t have to worry about your platform crashing or needing updates – all of that will be delivered by a reliable e-commerce app development partner.
5. Pick an e-commerce partner who complies with data protection regulations
Working with a vendor providing e-commerce app development services means transferring some of your business-related sensitive data to a third-party company. That is where the anxiety of your sensitive data being leaked comes in. The other problem here is data theft – can you really trust your partner on this one?
As for data theft, the simple solution is to simply work with reputable e-commerce app development companies who have good credit with their clients. These companies put their reputation above any potential monetary gain, and that is why they won’t be trying to use your sensitive data in an unlawful way.
Insist on proper data protection agreement
First and foremost, you need to sign a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) with any partner who would have access to sensitive data within your organization. This is the most important step to guarantee the security of your data, and any DPA should describe the rights and responsibilities of both parties concerning the use and disclosure of data. Well-established software development companies usually have a legal department that helps in the creation and verification of such documents.
Another essential point to keep in mind is to partner with a GDPR-compliant vendor. Compliance with regulations means that the vendor follows international and regional data protection laws and can be held legally responsible for any infringement with your personal data. Partner with an e-commerce app development company that has no history of data breaches. This can be checked by a simple Google search. You can also contact the vendor directly to see if the company follows through on commitments and makes a reasonable effort to protect its client’s sensitive data.
Ensure your e-commerce product’s success with N-iX
Most fears related to software development stem from the lack of confidence, and we are here to give you that confidence you need to successfully drive your project home. N-iX is a software development company that has been on the market for more than 20 years providing e-commerce app development services to the world’s leading businesses in retail.
Our team of 2,000+ experts leverages a wide range of tools and solutions to deliver solutions that match the unique needs of your business and test the validity of those solutions both from the technology and business standpoints. With hands-on experience in e-commerce app development, we offer the skills, experience, and confidence you need.