MobiCart offers free storefront builder for iOS and Android

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With the rise of the App Store phenomenon, it’s natural that e-commerce sites will want to roll out their own native mobile apps, but the cost of doing so – outsourcing or otherwise – may be prohibitive for boutique-sized and independent online traders. Enter MobiCart, a new UK startup that is offering a platform to build native storefronts for Apple’s iOS and Android at a cost of free. Yep, that’s right, zilch.

It also re-defines the notion of so-called ‘cookie cutter’ apps, as MobiCart offers a fully customized storefront that can operate standalone or tie into a website’s existing e-commerce content management system via the startup’s open API. In other words, it’s a lot less trivial than pulling in an RSS feed.

What’s more, MobiCart is aiming to be a fully-fledged platform/ecosystem with its own add-on marketplace. Developers can extend MobiCart’s functionality to fill in any missing gaps and these add-ons can also be offered for free or, alternatively, paid-for. It’s ambitious stuff.

But where’s the business model, I hear you cry. MobiCart’s attempting to borrow from the open source model of charging for additional services around the core (and free) product, in this case handling the App Store submission process and additional partnerships/support. Though not stated, I suspect they’ll also take a cut of any add-ons sold through MobiCart’s marketplace (they’d be silly not to).

In terms of competition, MobiCart is obviously up against bespoke mobile app development houses for hire as well as similar more automated app e-commerce storefront creators, such as e-commerce platform Magento, but these usually charge for their wares. In that sense, MobiCart has adopted a potentially very disruptive but risky and perhaps limited revenue model. On that note, the company hasn’t received investment, reports Venturebeat, instead relying on funding from a $80,000 private loan.

  • CatchyTech a popluar open source cart also has a mobile module here

  • Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine

    Thanks Steve for the great article on MobiCart.

    @CatchyTech – Thanks for the info but the solution you mentioned is nothing like MobiCart. What you have listed is a mobile CSS theme. What MobiCart offers is a native app, one that can be downloaded from iTunes for example.

    A native app works natively on your phone and does not require a web browser. However we are actually busy working with some NopCommerce community members to integrate NopCommerce with MobiCart (as with every other 3rd party cart) using our API.

  • MobiCart exits Beta to let anyone build a free iOS-powered store

    […] First unveiled at the DEMO Fall conference held in San Francisco in September, MobiCart offers a fully customized storefront that can operate standalone or tie into a website’s existing e-commerce content management system via the startup’s open API. But unlike similar offerings, the service is potentially disruptive because of its headline price of free, which could see lots of independent or boutique shops flooding Apple’s App Store and soon to follow the Android Market. […]

  • ecommerce storefront

    Once you have a business in mind, setting up the Ecommerce storefront should be relatively easy. You can use ecommerce software to assist you in putting your own creative ideas to use on the site. Alternatively, you can work with a business that will assist you in the design. Make sure that the site you set up is easy to navigate and friendly on your reader’s eyes. A good design can often make the difference between a good business and one that fails. You want yours to work.

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