Augmented Reality Retail Applications & VR Store Solutions

AR only became popular when Pokemon Go came on the scene. But even after Pokemon Go lost its prime time, the interest in Augmented Reality has stuck around. Hate it or like it, this global craze game has introduced people to using AR technology through their phone, thus introducing a new shopping experience.

Retail commerce was quick to adopt the cutting-edge technology of Augmented and Virtual Realities. These days, innovation trends are the staple of a successful retail online marketing strategy. And since the retail competition is steep, Augmented and Virtual Realities can help a business hit it big. Among other benefits, a technologically-rich approach can add value to the retail shopping experience of a brick-and-mortar store.

How Does Augmented and Virtual Reality Retail Shopping Work?

Virtual Reality has been grabbing headlines these days. However, its relative – AR – is also well-known in the retail industry. In general, brick-and-mortar stores are a great place for implementing these technologies. Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions don’t need to be money-generating in retail commerce, since the cornerstone here is the customer experience. Thanks to Virtual Reality, customers can enjoy the perks of being able to see how the chosen items will look on them.


AR/VR Retail Statistics

The Grand VieW Research report tell us about the market growth by devices:



If we are talking about the potential market shares, retail is the sixth, with an estimated value of 1.6 billion dollars by 2025:

virtual reality market size


How to Increase Sales Using Virtual and Augmented Reality Retail

Immersive & Engaging Customer Experience

Customer immersion is a new engagement. By implementing immersive technologies, you can enhance the customer experience at any offline store. Specifically, Virtual Reality allows the consumer to be deeply immersed in the retail shopping experience. It also enables retail commerce to deliver unrivaled levels of engagement with their target customers. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience at an offline store, transforming the location into a customer-friendly space.


virtual reality immersive experience


Virtual Reality Retail Store Accessibility

Although Virtual Reality is still in its infancy in the industry, more retailers are applying this technology to simplify and customize the shopping experience. Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions are relatively straightforward in their use. As a customer, you don’t have to know nuclear physics to find your way in a Virtual Reality space. Although this technology remains shrouded in mystery to many retailers and consumers, most Augmented and Virtual Reality apps are user-friendly.

Read also: Virtual Reality Apps Development: 8 Problems to Overcome

Examples of Retailers Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Advanced In-Store Experience

Virtual Reality is a game-changer for a unique shopping experience at brick-and-mortar stores. Expansion into new tools and technologies is a proven marketing instrument and appears to be an affordable and effective way to engage retailers’ customers in a technologically-rich space. A good Retail UX also gives you the upper hand in making the in-store shopping experience even more fulfilling.

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In-Store Virtual Navigation

With a store app, customers can plan their next offline store visit. Using a navigation feature, they can get exact locations to the products they are looking for from wherever they are in the offline store. AR makes navigation a lot easier and can even provide a shortcut to the space to find the item faster.

Product Information

One of the apparent fields for applying AR solutions to a customer shopping experience is product information. Although it may seem too basic, product information is often a struggle to figure out. AR can ease this experience by offering an extended description or by comparing similar products. All of these make customer decision-making less stressful, thus adding to customers’ satisfaction criteria.


Product Search and Customization Assistance

Another potential AR area is product search. Although Augmented Reality solutions may seem a bit extra, they can streamline the buying experience by adjusting some features.

Additionally, Virtual Reality can revamp the product customization. Not only will customers choose a specific color, but they can also fine-tune some features to their liking.

Home In-Store Experience – “Try Before You Buy”

One of the most innovative applications is the ‘Try before you buy’ model. Before buying the product at an offline store, customers can virtually try the product online.

Augmented Reality solutions help online shoppers understand what they’re paying for —and how items will work for them. Such applications can be used for any online product that needs to be tailored to the online customer or experienced in another way.


Augmented and Virtual Reality Retail Examples for Housing & Furniture Fitting

Let’s face it. Most people don’t have enough time to handpick the right furniture at a store. And sometimes, the process of choosing the perfect furniture can turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, with the adoption of Augmented Reality, finding the ideal furniture online or at a store is hassle-free now.

Let’s have a look at the Swedish furniture giant that has perfected its ‘Try before you buy’ applications over the years:

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Fashion Retail

Online beauty and fashion retailers adopt modern AR technologies to stay ahead of their competitors and provide an outstanding shopping experience. With the advent of Augmented Reality applications, an increasing number of companies have embraced supreme product personalization. AR solutions offer a more seamless user experience and save time.

Immersive Product Catalog

Augmented Reality applications create the ability to visualize products in real life. They can clarify vague or insufficient product information at a store. Pop-up cards, try-before-you-buy, and product demonstration are just a few examples of AR power in the catalog immersion.


Virtual Reality Retail Stores

The other variety of the solution mentioned above is an entirely operational Virtual Reality store location. There, a graphic representation of a customer can check out new clothing pieces or any other product at a store.

While contrasting with the AR retail applications, the key component is missing right now – later on, a Virtual Reality retail Store may set itself up for particular kinds of items.

Thus, MasterCard, in partnership with Swarovski, has created a virtual showroom:


The APP Solutions AR/VR Usage Examples

At The APP Solutions, we believe that the way online customers look for products at a store is changing. AR and VR solutions are creating a brand new retail industry.

As for this industry, we see the following solutions that can be implemented with our help:

  1. VR Training Simulator – this solution is well-known in medicine. However, it can be applied in less specific areas like makeup studios to help beginners master the art.
  1. VR Shopping – we think the growing demand for tech-savvy solutions already makes the implications of Virtual Reality shopping substantial. Among other things, this can create an easier shopping experience at a store for physically challenged or older adults.
  1. AR Shopping Consultant – we think that companies should use the globalization of smartphones to their advantage. Additionally, AR solutions can solve the problem of short-staffed stores.


In Conclusion

Today, Augmented Reality, and the Virtual Reality shopping experience, are in high demand. You, as a retail person, can be ahead of the curve by making use of these technologies in your business. Although we cannot foresee the future of AR&VR in retail, we firmly believe that the best is yet to come.

What our clients say 

How to build an ecommerce website and make is successful: a step-by-step guide

E-commerce website development is similar to building a house. How many people will live there? How many rooms, bathrooms, and floors does the house need? Maybe you want a swimming pool in your yard? All these decisions will impact the final project’s total cost and time required to finish it. 

The same applies to e-commerce website development. In this case, much depends on your business model, the number and type of products you are going to sell, your budget, and other factors. 

Therefore, if you’re considering establishing an online presence for your existing offline business, or launching a new business online, you need to clarify all the details and be aware of how to develop an e-commerce website. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the main steps of creating an e-commerce website, core technologies, and online store development costs. This information will help you evaluate your online store’s requirements, shape the project’s vision, estimate your budget, and be on the same page with your e-commerce development team. 

How to build an online store in 5 steps 

Below, you will find more details on how to create an e-commerce website, essential steps to building an e-commerce website, and factors that will impact your decisions along the process. 

Step 1. Choose a business model 

Your business model and monetization strategy will impact your requirements for an e-commerce platform, its functionality, and payment tools. Let’s discover e-commerce business models which are popular among online retailers. 

If you have stock inventory, whether produced by a supplier or made by you, you will apply this classic e-commerce business model. It includes selling your products online and receiving money from customers directly to your bank account. With such a model, you can control the quantity and quality of your stock and ensure timely delivery while building brand awareness among your customers. At the same time, you will also be responsible for purchasing goods, fulfilling orders, shipment, and other management tasks. 

If you don’t have stock inventory, you can still receive money from your online store. For operating an e-commerce website without stock, you can choose among the following business models:  

  • Dropshipping website

Dropshipping is a tactic when you list products from other suppliers on your website’s catalog. Once a customer places an order via your website, you send this order to your supplier who will pack and send ordered products to your buyer. In this case, you perform as a middle man between buyers and suppliers. 

For such services, you can charge a service commission added to the products’ total cost. The advantage of dropshipping is that you don’t spend money on inventory or warehouse. You are also not responsible for packaging orders and shipments. 

The disadvantage is that you cannot build your own brand awareness selling products of other suppliers. Besides this, not all suppliers sell high-quality products. Thus, you need to double-check all your suppliers to ensure they sell high-quality products and pack all products responsibly.

  • Marketplace development

Operating an e-commerce marketplace means you attract sellers to your website who list their products, find buyers, fulfill orders, and receive money via your website. A well-known example of a marketplace is Amazon. 

As a marketplace owner, you can apply a bunch of monetization strategies, including: 

Product listing fees, when you charge buyers for placing their products on your marketplace.

Premium seller profile. Sellers pay fees to receive an option to list more products on your website.

Paid promotions mean promoting particular products and placing them on the top of the search in this category. 

Service fees added to the product cost listed on your website.

Payment fees are charged when a buyer pays for order via your website’s payment gateway.

Ads. You charge other companies for running their cost-per-click, cost-per-mile, or cost-per-lead banner campaigns. 

Step 2. Find a platform 

Your e-commerce project complexity and size will define your e-commerce platform. Now, let’s check the essential e-commerce platforms for building small, medium, and big online stores, operating costs, and pros and cons. 


woocommerce online store development

WooCommerce is not an actual platform but an e-commerce plugin for WordPress websites. WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that allows you to create a website, add to it, and manage its content. However, by using the WooCommerce plugin you can still set up and run a basic e-commerce website. Such an online store will have a product catalog, shopping cart, and payment gateway. 

WooCommerce is a perfect choice for running small to medium-sized online stores. Despite the fact that there are even addons that can turn your website into a marketplace, we suggest using a more robust e-commerce platform for such a business model. 


The best thing about WooCommerce is that it is open source. It means you do not need to pay fees for installing it on your WordPress website. WooCommerce also has free addons and pre-designed templates. But, to make your online store more personalized, you can buy one paid WooCommerce design from Templatemonster or ThemeForest


For setting up and running the WooCommerce website, you will need help from developers, unless you have experience with web development and coding. WooCommerce online store development requires buying a domain name, buying and integrating hosting and LLS certificate for secured connection, plugins for wishlists, email marketing, and more advanced user analytics. Even setting a design template will be challenging for non-tech persons. Thus, despite WooCommerce being free, consider additional expenses for initial online store settings. 


shopify online store development

Shopify is a SaaS e-commerce platform. This means you receive a pre-built e-commerce website for a monthly subscription. Shopify subscription tiers start from $29 per month for Basic Shopify. At this price you will receive all the necessary functionality for your online retail business: 

  • Unlimited product catalog 
  • 24/7 customer support 
  • Built-in payment gateway 
  • Abandoned cart recovery 
  • Two staff account of you and your online store manager 
  • Manual orders creation

And other features. 

However, to empower your e-commerce website with advanced reporting tools, third-party calculated shipping rates, more staff accounts, or inventory locations, you need to upgrade to Shopify ($79/month), or Advanced Shopify ($299/month). 


With a monthly subscription, you will receive a pre-build solution with free SSL, a built-in blog, ready for use. As a user, you need to choose your domain name, add your products, choose the design template, give your bank account details, and that’s all. You are ready to sell products online. 

Besides this, Shopify works excellent for the dropshipping business model. Using add-ons, you can integrate your shop with Oberlo, Spocket, or  Aliexpress, and list products from suppliers in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, Brazil, and your catalog. 


Shopify has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments. If you want to leverage another payment gateway, like PayPal, you must pay additional payment fees, 2%, 1%, or 0.5%, depending on your Shopify plan. 

The platform offers only nine free design templates. Thus, to develop an online store that suits your brand identity, you need to buy a paid design. Most of the advanced e-commerce plugins to optimize your online sales must also be paid for. To integrate online chat, social media sharing, pop-ups, or a mobile app version of your online store, expect to pay additional costs from $10/month per plugin. 


magento online store development

Magento is an excellent platform if you’re considering developing a marketplace, medium, or large-sized online store. The platform has several plans. The Magento CE (Community) version is open-source, so no additional payment is required. This Magento version has an open-source library of online store components your developers can add anytime you need new Magento functionality. Besides this, the free Magento version does not have any technical support. On the other hand, you cannot use it without experience in coding or a web development team. 

Magento also has two paid tiers – Magento EE (Enterprise) from $22,000 per year, and Magento EE Cloud from $2000 per year. 


Magento is a powerful e-commerce platform that allows you to scale your business from 100  to 10,000 products and handle huge traffic loads without downtime. Besides this, Magento is the perfect option for implementing drop shipping or building a marketplace. Since this platform is trendy, you can easily find and hire a Magento development team for building an e-commerce website. 


If you expect to spend up to $10,000 on setting up an e-commerce website, you should look for another option, because setting up and running even a free Magento version is expensive. Let’s make some calculations. You need to spend 

  • from $100 to $250 per month on hosting
  • from $29 to $499 on the design template 
  • and from $50 on buying pre-built Magento modules

Besides this, also include the Magento developers’ hourly rate that can be anywhere from $50 to $250 per hour. 


custom marketplace development

[Custom marketplace layout by The APP Solutions]

If none of the previous options meet your business needs, consider custom ecommerce website development. In this case, you will need to find a web development team, experienced in PHP, HTPM, Angular, and other technologies. The team should also have custom online store development projects in their portfolio. If required, the team will also build a mobile application of your online store for iOS, or Android platforms, 


When developing a custom online store you receive total control over the design, customer journey, feature list, and integrations with your existing ecosystem. You also receive a custom-build design that matches your brand identity, customers’ needs, and unlimited third-party integrations. In this way, you will provide your customers with a unique shopping experience and provoke the “WOW” effect. 


The development of an online store from scratch requires both time and money. Thus, expect to pay for custom e-commerce design from $10,000 and $40, 000 on development. 

How long does it take to build a custom e-commerce website? In our experience, such projects require 4 to 5 months. This timeframe covers all stages of e-commerce website development. from writing technical documentation. to testing and bug fixing of all functionality. 

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Step 3. Add UI/UX e-commerce design 

Whether you are going to use a free design template, pay for one, or develop an e-commerce design from scratch, you need to keep in mind the main elements of modern e-commerce design that will be convenient for your shoppers. Here are some of them: 

White space

The era of over-designed online stores disappeared ten years ago. Nowadays, online shoppers expect to use online stores with a clear and concise design. Such a design looks cleaner and does not discharge shoppers from your products. 

ecommerce development homepage design

[Whitespace in Trendeo Home Page, developed by The APP Solutions]

Product categories 

To help shoppers navigate easily on your e-commerce website, you should group products into categories and subcategories. Label each type with a single word that describes this range of products so your shoppers can scan them and understand what products they will find in one or other group.    

E-commerce search and filters 

If your customers can’t find what they want, they will leave your online store. Therefore, you need to help your customers find the products they are looking for within seconds. The most popular option is a keyword search. Also, consider integrating search filters to narrow down search results by size, color, style, price, and other definitions. 

Apart from using standard keyword searches, you can integrate AI e-commerce tools with image recognition and allow shoppers to find products by images. 

ecommerce website development search filters

[Search filters on Trendeo website, developed by the The APP Solutions]

High-quality images with zoom 

The main difference between online and offline shopping is that you cannot touch the products you are wanting to buy. Thus, high-resolution photos are essential to show customers all the details of your products. Moreover, consider using addons that allow shoppers to zoom images to show them exactly what they are buying. We suggest using product images with a white background which helps the product stand out, and also works with almost any style or color scheme.

product page ecommerce development

[Product image on Trendeo website, developed by The APP Solutions]

Product description and sizes 

The product description should inform your customers about which materials the product is made of, its variations, sizes, and other details. You can also put a table of correspondence between clothing sizes and their values/measurements in inches or centimeters. 

Step 4. Add products 

Now it is time to add products to your catalog. If you have up to 100 items to add, you can do this manually. Thus, in the Admin panel, you need to fill in such product details, as: 

  • Product name
  • Category belongs to 
  • Product variations (color, size)
  • Price
  • Description
  • Photo 
  • Product delivery fee
  • Product images 
  • Tags

And other information your e-commerce platform will require. 

In the case of having more than 100 products, you can prepare a CSV file with product details and then import it into your online store via the Admin panel. 

Each e-commerce platform has its own setting and number of required fields for automated product import. Therefore, to import all your products successfully, check out your platform’s Help center. 

For example, here are the steps required to import a CSV file to the Shopify store. 

e-commerce shopify website development

At this stage, also consider that your CSV file may include only text. Thus, you need to upload all product images to your server beforehand. Once all photos are uploaded, you need to add all image URLs to products in the CSV file.  

Step 5. Integrate an online payment gateway

Unless you are going to use the Shopify payment gateway, you need to integrate a payment gateway into your online store. 

We suggest the following trusted payment gateways for simple online stores, dropshipping websites, and two-sided marketplaces: 

PayPal. This payment gateway accepts payments in more than 203 countries and supports all prominent credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Citibank, and more. To start dropshipping, you will need a business PayPal account. NOTE that PayPal is not supported in all countries. Its fees per transaction are 5.4% + $0.30.

Stripe. A US-based payment gateway available in more than 25 countries, supports all major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, and others. Stripe’s transaction fees are 2.9% + $0.30. This payment gateway is available in 33 countries and supports easy integration into WooCommerce online stores. Its transaction fees are 2.9% + $0.30 for e-commerce and dropshipping stores. Besides this, also expect to pay a $49 setup fee and $25 monthly gateway fee. 

How much does it cost to develop an e-commerce website? 

The cost to create an e-commerce website depends on its complexity, the number of features you want to integrate, your selected platform, the location of your development team, and requirements regarding the design. 

For example, you can develop a simple WooCommerce website with a free design template with developers from Ukraine from $10,000- $15,000. 

In comparison, a sophisticated two-sided marketplace with a custom design built by developers from the U.S. will cost from $150,000. 

To receive a more precise estimate, use our project cost calculator

Developing an e-commerce website: final thought 

Before developing an e-commerce website you need to select your business model, monetization strategy, number of products you will sell, and create a list of essential features. Then, based on this information, you, together with your e-commerce development team, will find the most suitable platform and add all the necessary plugins to make the online store meet your business requirements. 

If you have any questions on how to build an e-commerce website from scratch, do not hesitate to write to us

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What Exactly is an Ecommerce Website?

So, what is an e-commerce store, and how it differs from traditional retail? The term “e-commerce” means electronic commerce, which is a bit too broad of a word for electronic trade through a site.

To be more specific, this term stands for any trade, which incorporates the transfer of data across the web with the purpose of selling or buying something. It relates to various businesses, from small retail websites to business trade between international organizations.

All electronic commerce sites have some peculiar features, yet they all employ the same fundamental functions, such as an acceptance of credit cards. Thanks to this opportunity, virtually all goods or services may be bought on the World Wide Web irrespective of time and distance.

FYI: Want to find out your web development cost? Try our web calculator.

Look at our Trendeo case for inspiration.

Why is E-commerce Important?

Electronic trade has snowballed over the past decade and is forecasted to proceed at the same level, or even speed up. Since more brick and mortar stores realize the significance of starting an e-commerce business and moving their trade onto the Web, soon the borders between traditional and electronic business will become completely blurred.

Decided to create an e-commerce site? It’s a perfect idea because internet sales are becoming more and more popular since buyers gain from:

  • Lower costs offered by websites for e-commerce in comparison with conventional retail outlets
  • The convenience of having any purchased goods at the doorstep the very same day
  • Ordering cheap goods from foreign vendors
  • The impressive assortment offered by e-commerce storefront
  • Comparison engines, which can recommend the most appropriate product or service
  • Internet auctions, where people can locate rare and exclusive items

Clothes, food, music, sales text – people buy anything online and benefit from lower costs and convenience. Once you start an e-commerce website, you’ll be able to give discounts since you will eradicate overhead (for instance, salaries and wages associated with a conventional store). These days, the convenience makes the difference! Shipping is so rapid today that once an order is processed electronically, it can usually be delivered the very same day. For instance, Amazon Prime has managed to build the entire industry around easy shopping and fast shipping.

Also, you can build an e-commerce app for a more significant impact.

Benefits of Electronic Commerce for Business

Benefits of Electronic Commerce

There are many reasons to have an e-commerce website:

  1. Lower expenses due to reduced labor, paperwork and other costs associated with conventional stores.
  2. Reduced time. A shorter period of payment, quicker delivery of purchased goods.
  3. Flexibility and better control. The capability to deal with complicated situations, clients’ profiles and an assortment of goods without the situation going out of control.
  4. Better relations with business partners. Constant dialogue between business associates leads to long-lasting relations.
  5. Better relationships with clients. Companies that need a website want to be closer to the buyers because the closer you are to the clients the more difficult it is for competitors to disturb your relations.
  6. International trade. The Web can expand any business into broader geographical settings.

How to Start an E-commerce Store?

Electronic commerce works through several steps employing the database, Internet site code, and third-party apps like payment gateway. Electronic commerce sites use an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to protect information that’s being transferred. 

Critical information can’t be stored within the site’s database except they use the appropriate Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

Read our article: “How to build an e-commerce store?” to know more.

When a customer has scrolled through an e-commerce shop and determined that he or she would like to purchase, you need to have a procedure accepting the purchase. In e-commerce, it’s recognized as a shopping cart. Apart from identifying an order, this software performs a few other things:

  • calculation of taxes
  • processing of different discount prices
  • capturing the billing and client’s shipping address
  • up-selling
  • guaranteeing client’s acceptance of conditions of sale
  • creation of codes, for instance, tracking or order number and so on
  • presenting clients with shipping options
  • forwarding buyers to a payment gateway
  • redirecting buyers to the download page if the purchased item can be downloaded

E-commerce can become an extremely lucrative venture, yet you can’t raise profit overnight. Before you launch your online e-commerce business, it’s vital to perform analysis, ask questions, and make decisions on different facts obtained from your study. We hope this article can help your company make a proper decision in turning your venture into a successful e-commerce business.

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Helping Startups Grow at the WebSummit

Our team recently got back from the WebSummit. Considering that this year the attendance was over 60,000 people, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s the largest concentration of people who are passionate about innovations, digital transformation for their business, and new ideas of how to make this world a better place.

It’s the third year the APP Solutions is a partner for the WebSummit conferences. This year, we’ve also decided to help a rising e-commerce startup in finding investments and one of our Business Development Managers, Mariia, became their representative at the event.

Here are their experience and our lifehacks that might be helpful to you or fellow startuppers.


Among the startups that come to the WebSummit, there are ALPHAs, BETAs, and START levels. Bizitome is currently developing their web solution, therefore they are at the ALPHA stage.

There are three main reasons for an ALPHA startup to come to the WebSummit:

  1. Get a proof of concept (in case there is no ready product to show yet).
  2. Talk to people to find out what kind of improvements can be made to the product in the future (since WebSummit, in a way, is a large focus group for innovations. Granted, this depends on the type of product you’re working on, but still.)
  3. Get investments.

You can never be overprepared for events like this (especially if you want to get investments), so it’s better to start a few months prior to the date of the conference.

Study the attendee list and set up meetings with people you think might be interested in your idea. The list shouldn’t be limited to attendees with a badge “Investor.” You don’t know who might want to invest in your business, so don’t disregard people based on the badges.

A word about attendees: the majority assigns their tickets right before the event. Below is the graph we’ve got based on registrations in the weeks leading to the WebSummit, so keep updating your data.

How many tickets were assigned each week leading up to the WebSummit

At the WebSummit

You’ve made it to the WebSummit. Congratulations. Now the hard (and/or fun) part begins 🙂

This year the conference lasted for three days and each day a new set of startups would have a stand day. Allocate your energy accordingly, so that you won’t die before the last day of the event.

In case you’ve got a stand, the day when you present your idea to the WebSummit visitors is the most important day. Show up early, don’t forget to smile, and get ready to talk all day long.

If you don’t have a stand at all (or in the days when you don’t have a stand), networking can get you where you need to be as well. Talk to people, learn about their product, tell them a bit about yours.

There are also very useful WebSummit Mentor Hours for startups. The idea of these meetings is to connect high-level attendees with startup representatives to gain knowledge on how to start, grow, and scale a successful business. While our Mariia was representing Bizitome at the stand, the co-founders met with the mentor in order to learn valuable insights on how best to proceed with implementation of the project.

Get ready to walk a few miles each day. Below is one of the team member’s activity track (considering that she was mainly stationed at the stand.)

Walking around the WebSummit

Following Up

The conference itself might’ve ended for this year, but the work doesn’t stop here.

If you haven’t had a chance to meet with someone during the event, don’t give up. We’ve met one of the potential leads in the airport in the wee hours of the morning. He didn’t have a chance to meet during the conference, but here was the perfect opportunity to chat. Chances are that people to and from Lisbon around the time of the WebSummit are among attendees list, so don’t be shy and talk to them.

At the conference, our client’s team talked to hundreds of people, collected over 200 interesting contacts, and captured the attention of three investors.

The APP Solutions team is happy that we got a chance to help our startup client this year and we’re looking forward to helping more startups in the future – with web & mobile development as well as representing the companies at the events like WebSummit.

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Payment Gateway Comparison: Guide to Ecommerce Payments

When you’ve chosen your e-commerce platform, it’s time to determine the payment system to integrate into your business model. We’ve prepared a guide for payment gateway comparison, which we hope you’ll find helpful. And you can solve for yourself the “eternal” question: Paypal vs. Square?

Our lives are bound and defined by our buying ability. And this demands a variety of payment options in the quest for performing a purchase. Modern times require the inclusion of every possible opportunity. That’s where it starts getting a bit complicated.

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What’s the deal with online payments?

Payment gateways in eCommerce are tricky. They are right in the foundation of any eCommerce platform because there is no other way of performing transactions online unless you’re an underground guerrilla with your payment system at hand (if you are one of them — please contact us). Because of that, you can’t build a successful eCommerce platform without providing a variety of payment options.

square vs paypal

One of the main challenges is that all gateways work differently and various limitations make a particular option more preferable than the others in certain situations.

While some of it depends on the chosen business model, there are still many factors merchants can’t influence. The amount of options is disorienting, and the way various payment gateways present themselves isn’t helping. The fact that there are too many options to choose from and it is hard to tell which are better and why is a challenge for any eCommerce Businessman.

Last year we worked on an eCommerce marketplace (like eBay). It was a big long-running project that offered many challenges to our team. One of them was selecting and implementing various payment systems to cover the broadest possible audience. Our developers and project managers had performed extensive research on the subject, and this is its recreation in a narrative form.

For your consideration — a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the top payment systems (Square vs Paypal).

To make things easy to follow, we have chosen to structure the list according to the following structure:

  • General Description
  • Purpose
  • Advantages
  • Integration
paypal ecommerce online payments in paypal account

PayPal Paymenths

If there is one payment system that is arguably the most technologically advanced and at the same time the most accessible — it is probably PayPal. No wonder — it started as an Elon Musk’s startup a long time ago — it couldn’t be anything else.

PayPal payments seems like a standard option for any eCommerce business. Paypal users’ reach immense (aside from a couple of notable exceptions), as is user trust. It is perfect for both general-purpose marketplaces and niche shops.

According to the recent study of Nielsen’s Online Buyer Insights — online stores with PayPal accounts paying option to generate a higher conversion rate than those who don’t — the number goes up to a staggering 44%.

To integrate PayPal, one needs to

  1. Create a business account and PayPal Facilitator account
  2. Activate Instant Payment Notifications (IPN)
  3. Set a URL for IPN Listener to create a notification feed to keep track of transaction events as they go

If you would like to integrate PayPal into your website, you’ll need a business bank account (for other in person transactions, you can use a personal one.) PayPal business account fees are quite affordable – for online sales within the US it’s 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, and for international sales, it’s a 4.4% transaction fee plus a fixed fee based on currency received. Check out the PayPal integration invoice fee as well as other fees on the website.


Supported platforms:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
Stripe monthly fees

Stripe: PayPal Competitor

The issue users are most concerned about is security. Stripe was designed to hush their worries and offered several innovative solutions to monetary transactions. According to G2Crowd payment gateway research, Stripe is so good at doing its job, it became Paypal’s biggest competitor.

Here’s how it goes: digital transactions go as usual but upon confirming it — the information about the payment passes internal data store and goes straight to secure internal servers the secure servers. There it goes through extensive checks on credibility and fraudulence.

Stripe integration thoroughly documented and is relatively easy to do. Also, it should be noted that Customer support is extremely responsive.

By the way, Stripe, as well as PayPal, make great process payments of mobile gateways.

In terms of fees, Stripe’s credit card processing fee is 2.9% + 30¢, international fees add another 1% on top, and there are also other payment methods.


Supported platforms:

  • Bigcommerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
chargeback fees in Square ecommerce payments


Square app (formerly known as SquareUp) is a bit player in comparison with the other payment systems, but it compensates its lack of reach by very flexible customization of API and a wide variety of available types of online payments. It is also a perfect choice if you need to make a custom solution.

Square’s most significant advantage is that it provides very flexible payment customization. It is also very comfortable for medium-scale employee management. Another great thing is thorough reporting that gives you a very clear big picture of what is going on with the online payments in the store.

Square Point of Sale app is a very flexible tool for small-scale payment operations, which makes it a convenient WooCommerce payment gateway (since often, WordPress’s e-commerce platform doesn’t need huge online transactions). In the meantime, Square for Retail provides a full set of tools for large-scale payments.


Supported platforms:

  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce
  • OpenCart
Braintree gateway in cash app


User reach and security are not end all be all priorities for the payment system. Sometimes eCommerce platform needs more functional diversity, and that is what Braintree is more than capable to do.

Braintree is part of PayPal, but it offers a slightly different experience. Aside from standard contactless payments — it also accepts from a variety of digital wallets (including but not limiting to Venmo, Coinbase, Google Pay, Apple Pay).

Braintree provides a thoroughly written API that makes integration an easy task for any online store.

One of the main advantages of Braintree — instant separate transfer. Single checkout with multiple items in a cart from different sellers.


Supported platforms:

  • Bigcommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Shopify
virtual terminal in Wepay ecommerce payment


What is WePay? WePay is one of those payment systems that offer more of the same features but in a more refined and elaborate form. Its main difference from PayPal is that WePay does the same thing without messing around. Unlike PayPal transactions which involve redirects to a third-party site — WePay keeps all in the house (something that costs additional 10-$35 on PayPal).

In many ways, WePay is perfect for smaller-sized businesses and crowdfunding campaigns. It is also a go for general purpose online-based transactions. In the case of increased money flow — it becomes increasingly clumsy.

In terms of integration, WePay is probably the most flexible of all reviewed payment systems. The API is well-written and fits like a glove on any online store.


Supported platforms:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
international payment processing in payments


If there is one contender for an old-school electronic payment system — then it is Authorize.Net. It also allows merchants to use third-party platforms for incoming payments with lowered fees.

Its advantage is simplicity. is miles easier to master the likes of PayPal and Stripe. It takes just a couple of clicks to set up the right threads with the eCommerce platform. is compatible with every universal shopping system.


Supported platforms:

  • Bigcommerce
  • Shopify
  • Volusion
  • WordPress
  • Magento
phone support in 2checkout payments


2CheckOut is a twofold service. It can act both as the payment gateway and merchant account. From the usability standpoint — it is probably the easiest to use — you need to register, verify your account, and you can start accepting payments.

2CheckOut’s advantage is the number of options available for the user — you can customize the subscription plan to minuscule detail, you can make your in-site checkouts.

The most exciting thing is demo mode where you can test out customer’s buying experience with a variety of settings. This thing can seriously help refine the user experience.

2CheckOut provides a simple API that embeds payment processing right into your site.


Supported platforms:

  • Magento,
  • ZenCart,
  • Drupal Commerce,
  • Ubercart,
  • OpenCart
selling online in mangopay ecommerce payments


MangoPay is a payment system designed explicitly for eCommerce marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms. Its biggest advantage over the other payment system is a dashboard with an intuitive interface that makes the handling of transactions seem like a no big deal.

MangoPay offers a variety of options that allows merchants to set up automatic payouts through an electronic wallet for every participant of the process — from sellers to buyers. It also uses Know Your Customer processes and anti-money laundering checks.

Because of its customization features, it fits best for international markets.


Supported platforms:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce

instant access in Worldpay ecommerce payments


Since the United Kingdom is a bit of an “an-sich” lately it is reasonable to add a payment solutions specifically for that country. WorldPay is a UK-based service that provides fast and safe transaction on standard fees. It offers a wide variety of paying options adapted to different countries and specifically for the UK.

One of its primary advantages is automated billing and card updates, customizable loyalty cards, etc.

Another essential element is the option of expert advice and personalized reporting. It is also helpful that there is a whole lot of useful information on their blog.

As for integration — it is all simple and fits every primary shopping system.


Supported platforms:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Spree Commerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
partial payments in dwolla ecommerce payment gateway


Dwolla is a fast-growing payment gateway service designed to make bank transfers smoother and more comfortable to digest. And it manages to do that through a nice and easy API with numerous features and an even more satisfying user experience via the dynamic interface.

Among other goodies, Dwolla has to offer are flexible customer management and proper account verification. Many features allow multi-layered sequences of payments and invoicing.

Overall, it is a good fit for enterprises of large scale, medium and small business owners.


Supported platforms:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce

When you’ve read about the most popular gateways it’s time to check out our guide on app payment system integration.

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In Conclusion

We love to shop – whether it’s for groceries or clothes or technology – and the purchasing ability, as well as the availability of buying options, makes this process even more enjoyable.

Besides the offline stores and window-shopping experiences, people shop online more and more and this is why online payment services matter so much. 

While it might look as if there are way too many options for an e-store owner, each gateway and platform has its own pros and cons. In case you need help with narrowing down the options, we have done extensive research about them and can help. 

We hope this comparison will be helpful to those who want to understand which payment system is a better fit for their eCommerce marketplace.

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Ecommerce UI/UX Design: Principles and Elements

Good e-commerce user experience is the key to success of an online shop. Besides good design, your store should be convenient for the users. Let’s talk about it.

Ever since The Internet became a thing, there was an urge to make a profit out of it. The most obvious way was to establish digital versions of the general-purpose and niche-specific stores. The logic behind is simple: if it a thing in the real world, why shouldn’t it be a thing in the digital realm?

At the very start, it was a gamble on every turn. The whole thing was an undiscovered country with no established conventions or winning formulas. But soon enough it became obvious that people love buying things online. More and more online shops appeared. And thus started the great industry known as eCommerce.

But for every eBay, Amazon, and OLX success story, there are numerous smaller e-commerce marketplaces that didn’t make it, even though the market segment was chosen aptly, the demand was high and the ambition was in the right place.

Why so? Part of the blame is definitely on the business strategy. But the other half definitely lies in the way those marketplaces were designed, the way their interfaces and user experience were composed. There was something missing in the design scheme that was putting off the potential customers at one point or another.

Considering that the competition in the eCommerce industry is intense and not exactly known for letting such things slip – it is usually utterly destructive to the nascent business project.

Let’s explain why it is so.

The Role of E-commerce User Experience

The design is reigning over our lives. Even if we are not really paying attention to it. Everything is divided into a grid of patterns that make our daily activities absolutely effortless and unnoticeably easygoing.

For example, the way you push buttons on your phone to get this or that result has a pattern. It is thoroughly thought-through, tried, and tested to be as smooth and seamless as possible. The same thing, even to a bigger extent, applied to web surfing in general, and eCommerce in particular.


Because we like when things are comfortable when every element of the page is conveniently placed and you don’t even need to think for a second to understand where is what and how to use it.

That is the way how human psychology works. And you can’t really go against it. You just need to embrace it. Even if it sounds like a darn truism. Because the opposite approach is… let’s say you definitely have yourself to blame for customers not purchasing products from your marketplace because they can’t understand how to do it.

We consider such things as marketplaces to be convenient by default. It is obvious, they are interested in customers making purchases and not thinking about how to get to the cart and finalize the deal. Customers like their service to be invisible and efficient. They don’t like to put any effort into things that are supposed to be smooth and seamless by default.

That where double-headed fella UI/UX comes around.

For example: look at one of our e-commerce cases custom b2c e-commerce marketplace.

How Does UI/UX work in eCommerce?

Do you know how Amazon and the likes make you buy things? It makes it easy to do and absolutely unnoticeable. That’s how it works. Ta-dah! And there is a method to this madness.

The way customers interact with the elements on the page is informed by certain patterns that make the process of consideration and eventual purchase engaging, satisfying, and ultimately fruitful for every involved party.

User Interface AKA UI is the key element in making everything fitting like a glove and ticking like clock. It is what the user sees on the screen when he’s doing things. It is what he can do on a particular page.

Overall, there are three major elements:

  • Input controls
    • Checkboxes
    • Lists
    • Buttons and toggles
    • Text fields
  • Navigational elements:
    • Search field
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Pagination
    • Sliders
  • Informational elements:

The perception of UI and its effectiveness is defined by User Experience AKA UX. These two terms go hand in hand. They represent two sides of the coin. Well-made UI makes UX so effective it is essentially a performance by the notes – exactly as it should be.

User experience is the hardest thing to pull off in any project. You never know how certain elements can be reacted upon. It also comes through tries and fails before the right combination is reached. Interface itself can be nice, but at the same time, it can impenetrable and confusing, which adds needless irritation to the mix and cuts off a considerable part of potential customers. It all brings us to the fact that continuous e-commerce UX audit is critically important because some things might work and some might not, and you need to know what works.

The thing is – the whole journey from landing on a marketplace page, starting looking at things, considering something, and an eventual purchase is divided into several points, each of them specifically designed from one into another – step by step. It is a narrative of sorts. And it needs to be easy to follow in order to effective.

Key Elements of Effective UI/UX in eCommerce Marketplace

While the whole process of figuring out the right composition of User Interface and sequencing of User Experience is highly dependent on a variety of factors and requires a considerable amount of testing, there are certain elements that require special attention. Below are the e-commerce UX principles you should pay attention to.

Landing Page Impression

That’s the place where the user journey starts. Your mission is to ensure that it will continue without missing a beat. In order to pull this off, you need to make a nice first impression.

Keep in mind, that the term “landing page” is not strictly about the homepage. It can be any other page – from the product page to a catalog listing. Because of that – everything should top-notch.

You need to make sure that potential customers will understand how’s, what’s and why’s of the page instantly. In order to test out the efficiency of UI, you can play out this scenario:

You are the user, you are looking for some product. For example, You land on a product page. What do you see? Do you understand what is this place? Do you understand how to operate it? How to move forward with the purchase or go back to the catalog listing? Do you understand the way the product page is organized?

Simple Navigation

Navigation is the thing that does not require a reinventing of the wheel. Even if you try, that will be an utterly pointless waste of time. Because you can’t beat the habit and years of homogenized navigation patterns. You just can’t. It is the way it is because it works.

But there is a catch. Navigation can be clumsy or confusing at times.

Here are several general points:

  • Every step must be justified – there must be a reason to do this or that;
  • Navigation logic should be obvious and easy to perform;
  • Every element should be easily identifiable;

Short and reasonable paths from one destination to another guarantee uninterrupted consideration of the purchase.

Familiar names of actions and destinations secure smooth and seamless movement from one step to the next. This means that you should refrain from using phrases like “Thou shalt buy this plate” or other Old English. Just let your BUY button say “Buy.” 

Call-to-action Buttons

As a continuation of navigation, it is important to differentiate simple navigation controls from a variety of call to action buttons. Why? Call to action works when it is clear and present. If it is not, you end with no effect.

It also helps when the call to action buttons are clearly defined, well-positioned, instantly recognizable. In fact, if it is so, chances are they are going to be used properly.

Keep in mind that there must be a strict hierarchy of elements. If the CTA button is connected with the purchase – it must look one way. If it presents some additional information – it must look different. If it is a special offer of sorts – there must be yet another design. Customers must instantly differentiate where is what and how urgent it may be.

If done right, CTA will serve as a shorthand for the customer. It will map out the customer experience and thus raise the conversion rates significantly.

Search Bar

There is a reason why search bars look like white bars with a looking glass in the corner and situated at the prominent spot of the top center of the page. They are easier to spot that way. And you are interested in people being able to search for specific kinds of products on your eCommerce Marketplace.

Why so? It is obvious if a person looks for something specific, it means that person has an intention to buy it. And you can’t deny this opportunity.

Aside from a prominent position on the page, the search bar needs to recognizable as such. Aesthetic-wise, it means it should be contrasting with the rest of the page.

Also, don’t forget to add customization for the search request. That might help to narrow the scope of the search results thus make the process of spotting the right product easier.

The Checkout Screen

The checkout page is the nexus point of the entire site. It is where all the action happens and because of that, it is important to make it as effective and possible. How? By turning it into an engaging, instantly accessible, and streamlined process.

There are two options – fit everything into one page or break it down into a journey over several pages.

Let’s look at the pros and cons for both.

A major advantage of one-page checkout is that everything is here at once. It is faster to load that way. That’s about it with the advantages.

One of the biggest problems with one-page checkouts is the sheer amount of information you need to jam-pack into one page. Not only it is challenging to fit in a coherent manner, there is also a very legitimate threat that the customer will skip some element or make some mistakes. And that can be detrimental to the experience and ultimately harmful to your business.

Multi-page checkouts are trickier but there is more room for maneuvers. It is an all-around safer bet. Yet, it doesn’t mean you can stretch it out into a Moby-Dick. Keep it limited to essential two-three screens.

Division of the e-commerce checkout UX process into several steps can minimize the probability of the customer skipping something or making a mistake.

Here’s how it may be:

  • Login
  • Payment
  • Shipping (may be combined with payment page)
  • Review
  • Confirmation

The downside is that some customers can be irritated by sprawling checkouts which may result in them dropping off at some point.

Feature-wise, there are several elements that need to be present:

  • Simplified login – separate registration to the marketplace is a thing of old. It is a needless complication. Today it is far safer and much more comfortable to log in via email or social networks. In addition, keep registration is a foolproof thing, not every customer likes to do it due to a variety of factors, one of which is privacy.
  • Multiple payment options – modern times mean a multitude of choice options. In terms of payment, it means there must be as many payment gateway options as possible. You need to provide every possibility to the customer. It is important to keep the logos of all available payment gateways on a visible spot so that customers will instantly see them.
  • Security seals – online shopping is a very sensitive thing. Because of that, it is reasonable to provide every possible sign that your service is taking care of it.
  • Money-back guarantee / free refund – when it comes to money, anything can happen. That means you need to count on the bad stuff and as a countermeasure, such things as the money-back guarantee and free refund. It is always a sign of care for the customers.
  • “Save to cart” option – this one is mandatory. Just like the “Watch Later” playlist, “Save to Cart” allows sending the product to the cart without proceeding with the purchase from the get-go. This little feature allows uninterrupted user flow in the catalog and may result in bigger purchases.
Dog at a checkout

[Source: GIPHY]

Page Layout

Information needs to be presented in order to be perceived. Otherwise, it may go unnoticed and that may result in some sort of unfortunate situation, such as dropping off-site or not making a purchase.

Since the very way the pages are laid out affects the perception and subsequent actions of the customer – it is reasonable to keep it to the point without even the slightest chance of the user getting perplexed at any stage.

What does it mean for various types of the page?

For catalog and search result pages it means balancing out textual and visual elements. Sure, the picture must be big enough to be recognizable without an effort but the text also should be depicted in full so that there will be no mistake over the products. Also, if there is some sort of information (the product is sold out, out of stock, discount and so on) that must be addressed – it must be instantly visible and not hidden somewhere instead.

Product pages are trickier to handle as you need to find a way of putting the product images and list their technical specification in close proximity. The challenge is in keeping it readable while not taking over too much space. The product description is also often problematic as there is too much information that is often ignored even if it is something critical about the product.

Overall, there are several guidelines to keep in mind.

  • Important information goes to the front.
  • Each segment of the product page must be titled accordingly: title, size, technical specification, date of release and so on.
  • Each segment must be visually distinctive and not blend into one mess.
  • If there is some information in the product description that needs to be additionally stressed – use bold text. Instantly gets into attention.

In order to better understand how certain pages are viewed, it is better to study the patterns.

The last principle Page Reading Patterns

There are several patterns in which people read and browse certain pages. And that is something that can be used for the benefit of the website. The thing is – these patterns are fine shorthand in composing a layout for every page. They exemplify certain tendencies of page reading and show what can be done to counter it. For example, users are usually viewing left part of the page more often than the right. It makes sense to put there the information that matters.

Basically, what matters are the first lines of the texts, titles, subtitles. They receive the most attention and they usually play a decisive factor in users staying or leaving the page.

The most common is an F-shaped pattern. In the context of eCommerce marketplaces, it most commonly occurs on the catalog and search result pages. Here’s how it works:

  • Horizontal movement 1 – covers the upper part of the page, often includes navigation buttons and early parts of the content, including Title, lead-in paragraph;
  • Horizontal movement 2 – after that user moves down the page a little and reads across. The area is usually smaller than in HM1 but it is usually aimed at the “IT-factor” of the page that will decide whether the user will bounce off the page;
  • Vertical Movement – after quick run-throughs user more or less settles down and starts more thoroughly scanning the entirety of the page. Sometimes the movement can be cyclical with one round being fast and the other being significantly slower.

The problem with the F-shaped pattern is that it is unfocused and users mostly skip large chunks of information even if they are looking for it. Its meandering nature means you need actively disrupt it by inventive page layout.

Here are several page reading patterns that often occur on the product and checkout pages:

  • Layer-cake pattern. The user scans titles and subtitles and ignores the regular text (except for the visually distinctive elements). It is called like that due to a similarity of a heat map to the alternating layering of the cake and frosting.
  • Spotted pattern. This pattern is very tricky. It consists of jumping over chunks of text and scanning for something specific (for example, certain words, linked content, etc). Can be controlled by inventive layout and accentuation of certain bits of the text.
  • Marking pattern. This pattern involves keeping the eyes focused in one place as the scroll occurs. It is mostly a mobile phenomenon, so if you’re creating an app for a store – mobile e-commerce UX should be your guiding light.
  • Bypassing pattern. Instead of a thorough reading of the text users deliberately jumps to the thick of the text in search of valuable information. It is also a very common thing with the lists with many repetitive speech figures.
  • Commitment pattern AKA holy grail of reading patterns. It happens if you have managed to engage the user with the content to the point he is interested in methodical digesting of every single bit of it. Requires good content and adequate layout.

Knowing and countering these patterns is half the battle for a better user experience won.

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In Conclusion

Despite not being directly connected with the business side of things, UI / UX design is one of the defining factors in the successful development of an eCommerce marketplace.

It shapes the way the platform is used on every stage – from initial overviews to the purchase process. And as such, e-commerce UI / UX must be taken seriously, as their refinement or neglection can result in the marketplace’s subsequent growth or demise.

UI / UX done right is a fine foundation for growth and development while done badly it is a death sentence even for the most perspective idea.  

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