We recommend MobiCart as the best app maker retailers. We chose MobiCart from dozens of app makers. To understand how we chose MobiCart, you can find our methodology and a list of app makers on our best picks page.
MobiCart offers both free and paid plans starting at $28 per month. It lets you build iOS, Android and HTML5 apps. It also comes with email support and a wide range of help resources, such as how-to guides, tutorial videos and community forums.
We like MobiCart because it offers the best value for retailers that are looking to create a mobile presence and set up a mobile storefront. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store, an online store or both, MobiCart offers an affordable, easy-to-use app maker that's packed with features to help you boost sales, increase customer engagement and grow your small business.
App makers that are designed specifically for retailers typically cost hundreds of dollars per month. This is because they usually work with advanced e-commerce and mobile commerce (m-commerce) systems that small merchants typically don't use. They also pile on a ton of enterprise features you likely won't use, either.
MobiCart, on the other hand, caters specifically to small retailers. A free plan is available, and paid plans start at $28 per month. It works with smaller e-commerce and m-commerce providers and also offers different packages based on the features your store's app needs.
For instance, the $28 per month plan is limited to just 100 products, which is perfect for startups. The downside is that it only lets you create Android apps. If you need more products and to also build iOS, iPad and HTML5 web apps, you'll need to subscribe to the $68 per month plan or the $98 per month plan (based on the number of products you need).
We really like that MobiCart offers a free version, so you can give it a test drive before spending a dime. The free version is limited to one Android app with up to 10 products.
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Ease of use
MobiCart also wins when it comes to user friendliness. It offers a no-fuss app builder that starts with information about your store, and then lets you create your app in just a few minutes.
The first step is to register for a free account. When you first log in, you'll be greeted by a step-by-step wizard to guide you through setting up your account and proceed to the app builder. You'll need to complete your account settings with your contact information and store details, such as your payment gateways and e-commerce services you currently use before you can start creating your app.
Building an app was also very fast and easy. Like setting up your account, the handy step-by-step wizard will walk you through the design process and setting up your mobile storefront and the rest of your app. Just choose your layout and change the color scheme to match your brand, and then upload your logo, select your background image and start adding content and products.
One thing we really like about MobiCart is that you don't have to add products manually. This is a huge time-saver that takes the tech work out of creating your app. Just select which e-commerce provider you currently use and it will automatically populate your app with your products and payment systems. This definitely beats having to individually upload images and type in product information one by one, such as product names, descriptions, inventory codes, pricing and details like colors and sizes. You also have the option of uploading a .CSV file or, if you're a more advanced user, take advantage of the MobiCart API.
Another reason we like MobiCart is that it comes with a bevy of features at no extra cost, so you can get the most out of your investment.
Here are some highlights that make MobiCart stand out from other app makers for retailers:
- Third-party add-ons. From e-commerce software to shopping carts to payment systems, MobiCart works with dozens of add-ons that your business likely already uses to make your app and the app-building process as seamless as possible. MobiCart supports the more integrations, by far, than the other app makers we tested, and you can find a complete list here. It includes big names such as Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento, as well as smaller cart services like Ubercart, JooCart and more.
- Website integration. MobiCart also works even if you don't use any of its supported add-ons. Just link the URL to your online store and the builder can automatically populate your data to start building your mobile storefront and set up your payment system.
- Mobile payment systems. Your existing mobile payments system also works with MobiCart, saving you time and money from having to set up a new one just for your app. This way, customers can buy products directly from your app instead of being redirected to your website or a third-party service. Supported systems include PayPal, Stripe, 2C2P, ZooZ and ipay88.
- Push notifications. MobiCart offers an advanced push notifications system that gives you more control than its competitors. For instance, you can schedule alerts, create groups and set up location-based notifications. You can even automatically import your Twitter or blog feed and send them out as notifications to better engage with customers (we couldn't find this feature with other retail-based app makers, so that's definitely a plus).
- Cross-platform apps. Whereas other retail app makers limit you to Android, iPhone or Android and iPhone apps, MobiCart also lets you create iPad and HTML5 Web apps to help you reach a broader audience.
- Pages and content types. Many retail app makers solely focus on creating a mobile storefront. We like that MobiCart also lets you add different types of content, such as about pages, contact information, blog feeds and other useful information to help customers find and reach your business.
Although we really like MobiCart, it has one major limitation that may be a deal breaker for some small businesses: the additional costs of publishing an app and accessing customer support.
Publishing an app. Unlike many app makers, MobiCart doesn't let you publish your app to app stores for free. If you have the free account, you'll have to go the DIY route and submit your app yourself (MobiCart does offer a how-to guide to help you with this process). Otherwise, you'll need to pay an additional $9 per month to have MobiCart submit one app to Google Play or $29 per month to submit up to four apps to both Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Customer service. MobiCart offers two types of customer support: community forums and email support. Obviously, this is very inconvenient if you need live help. The type of support you get also depends on your subscription plan, a model we're not a fan of.
The free plan and $28 per month plan only come with community support, meaning you'll need the $68 per month plan to access the email support team. You'll also need to purchase the more expensive $98 per month plan if you want priority email support. We don’t like that you have to pay extra just to get help, so this is a big negative and a major factor to consider before signing up with MobiCart.
We were impressed, however, with MobiCart's response time and how accommodating they were, despite us not having a paid account. After signing up for free, we contacted customer support via the contact form on the MobiCart website and were able to receive a reply within half an hour. We posed as a prospective customer and spoke with customer service. We had many questions about setting up our mobile storefront and building our app, which the rep was more than happy to answer. She also went the extra mile by walking us through setting up our account and payment system.
MobiCart further redeems itself by providing other help resources on its website, such as a FAQ section, help manuals, getting started and how-to guides, YouTube video tutorials and social media support via Twitter and Facebook.
Ready to choose an app maker? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- How to Make an App: A Guide to DIY Tools vs. Developers
- Best DIY App Makers for Small Businesses: 2016 Edition
- GoodBarber Review: Best App Maker for Businesses Overall
- BuildFire Review: Best Do-It-Yourself App Maker for Beginners
- MobiCart Review: Best App Maker for Retail and Shopping
Editor’s Note: Looking for information on mobile app makers? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need: