How to Develop a Shopping Mobile App Like Wish?

You probably wouldn't be surprised to find out that Wish is one of the real e-commerce stars in the mobile market sky. According to Flurry survey, the usage of shopping apps has been growing faster than any other application category recently. The average session length both on iOS and Android devices has been risen by 174% year-over-year.

No matter what we are looking for, there is a particular mobile app for online shopping that changes the way we find something, choose it, and make a decision to buy.

Take a look at the behavior patterns that all we have acquired as consumers:

  • 81% of purchases from our smartphones are spontaneous (according to the Google study Zero Moment of Truth – or simply ZMOT);
  • 90% of us move between devices and screens to complete the purchase;
  • 30% of us will abandon a transaction because of the disappointing mobile experience;
  • every 100msec increase in load time decreases the chances of sales by 1%;
  • 51% of mobile transactions are expected to be more comfortable than offline or desktop ones;
  • 61% of us form a better opinion about brands based on positive mobile experience.

All these stats brought over $115 billion revenue in 2015 and climbed to the mark of $142 billion this year, as stated in Forrester Research.

Here's what the US retail mobile market looks like in 2018, according to App Annie report:

What is the Wish app about

Opportunities offered by mobile commerce are hard to overestimate. Alternatively, minded developers decided to extrapolate the interactive wish list properties with clear monetization mechanisms to the application based on purchases of real goods. Here comes the Wish app!

See also: How to Use Machine Learning in Mobile App?

The Wish marketplace co-founder Peter Szulczewski explained his goals as: “We want to be Google AdWords for the retailer,” and they are getting closer to their goals so far all over the US market:

  App Publisher Store Rank Change
1 Amazon Shopping Amazon Mobile LLC 1 =
2 Sales, Deals & Discounts! Buy & Save with eBay eBay Mobile 7 -1
3 OfferUp - Buy. Sell. Offer Up OfferUp Inc. 4 =
4 Wish - Shopping Made Fun Wish Inc. 3 =
5 letgo: Buy & Sell Used Stuff, Cars & Real Estate letgo 2 =
6 Walmart Walmart 5 =
7 Slidejoy - Lockscreen Cash Rewards Slidejoy - -
8 AliExpress - Smarter Shopping, Better Living Alibaba Mobile 10 =
9 Groupon - Shop Deals, Discounts & Coupons Groupon, Inc. 6 +1
10 Etsy: Handmade & Vintage Goods Etsy, Inc 31 =

Wish app connects merchants with customers around the world. Currently, there are over 500 million customer accounts and 1 000 000 merchants that are selling roughly 200 million items for sale (as of summer 2018). What is good about Wish is their pricing. You can find there everything from smartphone cases and clothes to wearables with the price 50%-80% lower than average. Many of these items are unique, and you cannot find them easily on Walmart's shelves.

The monetization model is also not too intricate. Wish cuts 15% of the price from each deal. For comparison, other marketplaces like Alibaba don't charge their merchants. The reason for this fee is extra services that Wish provides to help sellers set up commerce processes and communicate with clients.

The Wish guys have found and implemented a few key insights that helped them to succeed:

  • They were mobile-oriented first.
  • From the screens of their smartphones, the users will likely to buy low-cost items rather than expensive ones. That’s why guys provided the shipping directly from the distribution centers and factories thus reducing the cost. Also, the platform offers a broad range of discounts.

To better understand the intricacies of e-commerce marketplace app development like Wish, let's consider its essential options.

To Use a Wish, You Need an Account

First, when you open an app, you need to create an account. You can easily do it by connecting your Facebook profile. Now the application knows some basic characteristics about you like age, date of birth and gender. Without registration, you can`t see any deals and commit purchases. Now all offers are relevant to your demographic portrait.

There is an interesting feature of this step that helps to sell more. Wish actively pushes the social media channel. And they have few reasons for that. First of all, it makes relations between buyer and seller more clear and transparent. Also, according to Forbes, 40% of consumers are purchasing goods after liking them on Facebook. People are feeling more comfortable buying things when they know a friend or colleague made a similar purchase successfully.

Authorization feature is usually implemented by direct interaction with client-server API. For logging in existing social media account, you can also use open authorization protocols.

Use Push Notifications for Communication

After you logged into Wish, the app asks you to allow sending push notifications. This feature is essential for shopping app development. You create another communication channel with your customers. Now you can send all discount notifications and triggers notes right to the screens of users, and there are few chances they can miss them.

Read also: 10 Ways to Build a Bulletproof Push Notification Strategy

Shopping Surfing

The next step of the Wish app experience is to choose the categories you are interested in. This information together with your data provides the application with the info for more personification.

To develop Wish app clone, the APP Solutions has researched the app in detail, and we have our set of personalization instruments. These retail-oriented tools can help analyze customer preferences and offer the goods that are the most attractive. 

This SaaS solution can increase sales by up to 12%. Implementation of this tool would also increase the shopping app development cost, but it is possible to add this solution after you've launched your project's MVP and established connections with merchants and customers.


While surfing through the universe of different goods, the customer has two options: to add a product to the wishlist and to put it in the shopping cart.

There are also some other cool features to implement in your app like Wish, though:

  • Virtual fitting rooms. With an augmented reality technology with a brand new and exciting shopping experience. Just imagine: your users can try on a pair of new glasses before purchasing them with the help of the front camera in their smartphones. Read also: Benefits of Using Augmented Reality for Business
  • Reviews from real people. Photos of goods from real life also help to make that hard decision "to buy or not to buy." I should note that Wish uses this feature, so, don't fall behind!
  • Style boards. Girls going to love this feature. It can look like a more sophisticated wish list, where your customers can create the looks combining existing items with desired ones.

Take My Money! (Or, Monetization Options)

Ok, I want all those lovely things from your app-that-is-just-like-Wish-but-better. How can I pay money to the merchant? This is a critical task for your app developers. You need to provide secure payment options to both your customers and merchants. Also, it is also important to take into account such cases as order cancellation, cashback options, etc.

To provide reliable payment options, we usually recommend our clients to stick to the native app development with means having a custom application for every operating system like iOS or Android.

The most common ways to submit payments is via PayPal, payment card, direct bank transfer or cash on delivery.


Speaking about the Wish app, shipping has always been the weak side of the service. Wish insists that the delivery to the US for less than two weeks and up to 25 days worldwide, but you can google for plenty of feedback saying that always takes much longer.

To provide excellent service, you can with the third-party delivery that already has its network and enough human resources. Also, don`t forget to let your customers track their orders so they can see, where is their package in real time.


The key features that you should consider in your marketplace application are:

There are also some other great ideas you can think about:

  • Customer support
  • Products comparing
  • Option to divide payments into parts or to credit customers
  • Calculator and currency converter
  • Bloggers choices
  • Add to favorites
  • Gift cards

The next question after “How to develop an app like wish?” should be the one “What unique I can suggest to my customers?” By answering this question, you can also figure out the cost to make an app similar to Wish. You can contact our managers for more detailed information and estimation of your dream project.

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