Exactly 17 years ago, Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake built a tiny online store for selling snowboarding gear. Little did they know that it would become one of the largest commerce platforms in the world. Yes, we are talking about Shopify - the widely popular low-code/no-code platform that hosts 1,750,000 businesses in 175 countries today.
A low-code/no-code commerce platform like Shopify lets anyone build an app via a simple graphical user interface instead of hand-coded computer programming. The end result - accelerated development process.
Interestingly, low-code/no-code platforms have been around for ages, even before the birth of Shopify. In the 90s, low code platforms were called fourth-gen programming languages(4GL) - an apt name for a solution that was considered to be way ahead of its time.
The vision behind low-code/no-code solutions
If you travel back a few years, you would find that the app development ecosystem was dominated by open-source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, NopCommerce, and Magento. Businesses loved their flexibility and the powerful features they came bundled with for building an application tailored to their needs.
But today, their market share is dwindling. Low-code/No-code platforms have gobbled up most of their customer base because of their ability to democratize e-commerce. Thanks to them, an e-commerce entrepreneur no longer has to be a tech entrepreneur to be successful in his/her business. On that note, here are the various cogs of the vision around which low-code/no-code solutions like Shopify are built -
Thanks to low-code/no-code platforms, businesses do not have to empty their coffers to build a commerce application for themselves as they can save on human resources. This is because low-code/no-code platforms result in high productivity and decreased cost of development as they can develop more applications in less time. Also, a study shows that around 70% of organizations believe that low code platforms are more affordable than conventional development.
Saga, the leading healthcare provider in the UK saw an increasing demand for elderly in-home care. They wanted to offer a home-care scheduling system that will take care of their needs. Unfortunately, most of the conventional app development companies charged a bomb and gave a development timeline of 3 years. That’s when Saga decided to partner with a low-code/no-code platform, which not only helped them develop the app in 6 months, but also charged way less than what the original providers had quoted.
Free your developers
Thanks to low code solutions, resource-strapped businesses can use the existing developers to focus on other mission-critical projects. According to a study, around 80% of businesses are confident that low code solutions can free up developers and allow them to work on higher-level projects.
Using a low-code/no-code platform, Logitech had built 90 apps with a team of just 4 developers. That’s half of what they had before using such a platform. Even after the apps were launched, the team size remained small as they had time to not only manage the existing apps but also develop new ones.
The speed-to-market of a commerce application that is developed via low-code platforms is way higher than the ones developed via conventional development. Gone are the days when you had to wait for months to get your end product according to your needs.
Vajro, a Mobile App Development Platform, helped a client launch their Android app in an incredible one hour’s time. However, this was back when Google did not take a lot of time to approve new apps. Even if that’s not the case today, you can still launch an app within 7 days through a low-code/no-code platform!
Another classic example is Schneider Electric, the global powerhouse in energy management. They wanted more agility and efficiency in their business processes. By partnering with a low-code/no-code platform, they transformed their entire IT landscape rapidly by producing more than 60 new apps in the first 20 months.
A survey by Forrester states that the speed of application development by low code platforms is about ten times faster than traditional development methods.
Low-Code/No-Code Solutions for M-Commerce: The need of the hour
Here is a surprising fact -
In the 3rd quarter of 2019, 81% of traffic and 71% of orders on Shopify stores came from mobile devices, up from 77% and 67% in 2018.
Clearly, the world is slowly transforming itself into a mobile-first ecosystem weaved around a mobile app. However, even today, there is a faction of businesses that are still hesitant to build a mobile app for themselves. They cannot be fully blamed; app development was always considered a cumbersome and expensive process in the past. Right from infrastructure cost to app hosting cost, everything leaked money, taking a major toll on the ROI.
This is where low-code/no-code platforms help. First of all, most of these platforms charge a monthly subscription fee to develop and maintain the app, which is just a fraction of the cost you would pay an app developer.
Secondly, low-code solutions offer great flexibility in terms of designing mobile apps. The easy visual interfaces offered by low code platforms help developers focus on the aesthetics and user-friendliness of the app - a very basic necessity of a mobile application. This is possible because most of the backend work is taken care of by the platform itself, freeing the developers to craft the other aspects of the app.
The demand for low code platforms is surging among small and medium-sized businesses, which were always dependent on the traditional development practices in the past. Switching to low-code applications quickened their digital transformation journey without compromising on the quality of the final product. Clearly, low-code applications will lead to the popping of more businesses in the coming days who are now confident of developing applications on their own without worrying about the cost and without worrying about writing code!
About the Author
Baskar Agneeswaran is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Vajro, a technology company dedicated to enhancing the mobile app experience for small to medium businesses. Leveraging his years of experience in AI- and software-driven solutions, Vajro is becoming one of the global leaders in live video commerce technology.