Digital Product Design & Engineering - Volumetree

What We Do

The process of turning your idea into a profitable product is cumbersome.
We make this process easy and worth your time and money by building creative,
scalable and sustainable digital products.

Web Apps

Websites and custom web applications

Mobile Apps

Android applications and iOS applications

Hire Dedicated Team

Our Team is your next dedicated developers

Quality Assurance

We are a full service Quality Assurance/Testing provider.

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Got a problem on your hands?
We can help you resolve it

We are curious, creative problem solvers who build disruptive, scalable and impactful solutions. We at Volumetree engage you to your outsourced team in a highly personalized manner. We believe in enabling real life problem solutions through tech.

We Empower Entrepreneurs

There is an entrepreneur inside every one of us. Some of us decide to go with the flow and augment a
family business, while there are others who turn the other way and start something new. So we will let you
do the talking so that we can find the best solution for your problem.

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Prototyping & MVP Development

Prototyping & MVP development: Building lean products, pilot products ...

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Customized Product Development

We help business build brilliant digital experiences...

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Dedicated Teams

Hire dedicated developers on contracts...

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Serving Your Industry

Our plug-and-play model enables you to jump start your journey into the tech world. Depending on the industry,
check-out our ready-made and highly customizable solutions to see if you'd want to start-off with them.

Health & Wellness

Education

SaaS

Social Impact

Logistics & Transportation

eCommerce

Customer Ordering Apps

Placing Bookings, Pricing, Payments, Notifications, promo-code

Service Provider Apps

Receiving Requests, Task Fulfillment, Real-Time Navigation, Booking Forms, Proof of Deliveries

Admin Panels

Catalogue management, User management, Automatic assignment, Map-based team/Task visibility, Rating/Reviews and much more.

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Our Partners

Our Work

Testimonials

EduPloyment

Mazen M. Omair

Mazen M. Omair says, “By choosing Volumetree as my technology partner was the best decision. They add value to my purpose and make my vision live in the proper way as per need. Great team, they have with a clear heart and proper transparency in their work.”

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Dennis Goldman

Volumetree was able to interpret our needs from the original coding we shared with them and produce a totally flexible solution. The team that was assigned was very professional, we would like to continue with Volumetree as we are very satisfied with their technical expertise and the product they have produced.

Lionheart

Chris Issacs

Volumetree helped us to design a Website and working with them was a very positive experience. We would recommend them!

Elby Bike

Al Sasnowski

Volumetree’s dedicated team is good in managing the app launch and delivery process. We recognize some synergies between our companies and would like to explore options for working together in the future.

Batho Pele Group

Duane webber

Volumetree has an extremely helpful, knowledgeable and professional team. Great company with a dedicated team, and visionary leadership qualities. Foresee great things from this company in the future.

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Ben Nuliah

I loved the passion, the motivation, and I love the energy that I see flowing at Volumetree. I’m already brainstorming on the next project. thank you team and everyone behind the scenes that made our dream a reality.

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Kate Gross

I love their agility and ability to turn a person’s idea into a useful product. They are a perfect solution for founders and entrepreneurs who want to build digital products that serve their customers well. Read More

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  • fitness app development

    Fitness App Development - Learn How to Get it Right the First Time

    Who doesn't want to get fit? I know that my couch-hugging, binge-watching, serial-coding, startup-enabling self definitely does. For most of us in the IT world, fitness was a resolution that had been pushed to the nice-to-have bucket—permanently. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, going out and hitting the pub each weekend—or every night became impossible. This is also somewhere around when we had a good look at our bodies and decided to devote this sudden bout of free time to fitness. Around this time, search volumes for how much it costs to make a fitness app increased dramatically—signalling an entrepreneurial beeline to create the next disruptor in the fitness space. Nearly everyone attributes fitness to spending hours in the gym. With this free time on our hands and gyms being out of reach, many of us started to download fitness apps to understand how we could fix our bodies after years of abuse and neglect.

    What are fitness apps? Are they still popular today?

    Fitness apps are mobile (or wearable) applications that help you to stay fit by setting fitness goals, helping you monitor and log what you eat, and starting targeted fitness regimens. These apps have seen a sudden spurt in their adoption rates, with the number of fitness downloads rising by 46% worldwide. Developing countries like India saw fitness app adoption rates increase by 156% in 2020 alone, adding over 58 million users to the fitness bandwagon.  A survey by OnePoll found that at least 74% of Americans used at least one fitness app during the quarantine. Over 60% of these users enjoyed using these apps so much that they cancelled their gym membership permanently. With extended work from home timelines, the number of those choosing virtual fitness classes and home gyms has doubled, making it an extremely lucrative industry to be in. The online fitness and fitness app industry is growing at a healthy CAGR of 23.5% and may breach the $14b mark by 2027—or earlier! 

    Why should you build a fitness app?

    According to the WHO, nearly 39% of individuals over 18 are overweight—and over 15% are obese. The report also stated that 39 million children under the age of 5 are obese in 2020. This makes fitness a primary concern for the world—and fitness apps are a perfect way to address this concern. A report from Reports and Data expects the fitness app market to grow from $4b to $18 billion by 2028.  The revenue from fitness apps will cross $14 billion by 2021—with an ARPU of $22.21 per user, making it an extremely viable option for any entrepreneur. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, Strava, Step Counter, Six Pack in 30 Days, and We Do Pulse are extremely popular today, with downloads breaching the 3 million mark in April 2021 for Step Counter alone. So if you're thinking of developing a fitness app, this is the perfect time to do so!

    What problems do fitness apps solve?

    We have always strived to long a long, healthy life, and fitness apps help us to do just that from the comfort of our home. With no trainers to meet in person, fitness apps are perfect for those who wish to stay fit and stay at home at the same time. Social features in these apps have given rise to fitness events, virtual treadmill marathons, virtual cyclothons and fitness challenges that are immensely popular. 

    What are the various types of fitness apps?

    Entrepreneurs build fitness apps to suit specific requirements. Many individuals use just one app to stay fit, and some use a combination of apps to suit their various needs. Types of fitness apps include:
    • Fitness Coaching apps: These fitness apps provide their users with a workout plan, a controlled exercise technique and a meal plan—somewhat like a personal coach. Popular apps include FiiT, Daily Burn, Seven, and FitBod.
    • Workout management apps: Workout apps help users to choose and track workouts from a list. The app also provides activity related data and can even connect to smart wearables. Top workout management apps include MyFitnessPal, JEFIT workout planner, BodySpace, Cody and Nike+.
    • Nutrition apps: These apps focus on our dietary behaviour and help users to log their food consumption data. Some even provide diet plans for targeted weight loss, muscle building, and calorie data. Notable examples include Fooducate, HealthifyMe, Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker, and SuperFood.
    • Activity trackers: These apps track activities such as walking, running, steps, cycling, rowing and can offer data such as routes, calories burned, distance, time and more. Popular activity trackers include Google Fit, Apple Health, Strava, and MyFitnessPal.

    What are the top features of a fitness app?

    Fitness apps offer many unique features, which help them to become the top choice for their users. These features include:
    1. Wearable connectivity - As the adoption of wearables has skyrocketed, your app must connect to popular wearables such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung Watch, Huawei Watch and more.
    2. Goals - A fitness goal is essential to ensure that you're on the right path. Your app must help users to set goals, reward accomplishments and stay in shape.
    3. Workout lists - A wide range of workout types is essential to ensure that users like your app. If your app is restrictive in the type of workouts, it will become challenging to increase adoption rates.
    4. Calorie counter - Calorie counters are essential for fitness and nutrition-focused apps as they allow users to see how much they are eating and how much they burn. This feature takes 100 hours to develop.
    5. Push Notifications - Push notifications such as "Get up and move for 5 minutes" or "It is time to go to bed" are popular amongst fitness app and wearable users. These features make your app engaging and take about 120 hours to develop.
    6. Social media integration - Joining a vibrant community and sharing achievements is essential for any app user. Adding this feature will take nearly 200 hours.
    7. Gamification - For a fitness app, gamification means adding features such as badges, high scores, levels, challenges and other motivational means to keep your audience engaged. This feature can take up to 200 hours to develop.
    8. Logins and SSO - Creating user accounts, profiles, and social media login is a basic necessity for any app. These features help users log in using social media accounts or email accounts and create their user profiles. The app also uses this information to create workout regimens and recommendations. Login systems take 150 hours to develop.
    9. Educational content and video lessons - Fitness apps also feature instructor-led content and training videos that help users to follow instructions and exercises better. This feature will take nearly 200 hours to develop.
    10. Geolocation and maps - Most outdoor workout apps require geolocation data and map integration for route planning and analysis. Adding this feature will take around 200 hours.

    How much does it cost to create a mobile fitness app?

    Creating a fitness app needs more than just a list of features. Here's what impacts the cost of your fitness app:
    • Requirement analysis and project management
    Considered one of the most important parts of the mobile app development process, our consultants and project managers will help you create a long-term vision for your app. We will then finalize a list of components and understand what your application's must-haves are. This takes nearly 100-200 hours. 
    • User experience design
    Designing an effective user experience for your mobile app is essential to ensure that users stay engaged from the get-go. User experience design involves multiple iterations to develop a UX that works best for your target audience. This can take nearly 100-250 hours.
    • User interface design
    Your app's user interface involves designing the various elements that make the app, including graphics, buttons, and other design elements. An attractive user interface or UI design ensures that your app looks appealing.
    • Development
    The time taken in the development of your app will depend on the number of features it includes. This will include back-end development, front-end development and readying the app for deployment to the app stores. Time taken to develop the app will vary. Add the number of hours indicated against the feature list. 
    • Testing
    Quality is an essential aspect of any mobile app. Our QA teams will ensure that your app is high-quality and bug-free so that your users enjoy using it. Testing can take up to 100 hours to complete.
    • Deployment and integration
    Deploying the app to the App store includes readying the app and ensuring that it adheres to all guidelines laid down by Apple and Android. Additionally, setting up the subsystems (DevOps) can take up to 100 hours. To get a ballpark figure of your app's cost, simply add the features and the time taken along with the fixed project costs (listed above) and multiply it with the going hourly rate of your development provider. The hourly rates of development providers can vary according to their geographical location. Note that these rates are for a single platform. If you wish to have an app developed for iOS and Android, your costs will increase. However, the fixed project costs will remain the same.

    How to create a mobile fitness app?

    Here's what you need to do to create an engaging fitness app:

    1. Perform market research and finalize features

    Performing diligence and market research is essential to develop a fitness app. Market research will help you to answer questions such as:
    • Who is your target audience?
    • What are their underserved needs?
    • What needs does your app serve?
    • How can you monetize your app?
    And more. Once your market research is complete, you will find yourself with a list of must-have features for your app.

    2. Get a good development team on board

    There are many ways to get a development team for your app. These include:
    • Hiring your personal team - This is the most expensive option as you need to hire project managers, developers, testers and support staff for your app.
    • Finding freelancers in your area - Freelancers can offer a good rate, but often are a one-person army that promises a lot and cannot deliver at par with an entire group of individuals. Best for small projects, but not for complex apps like a fitness tracker.
    • Outsourcing your project to a third-party development agency
    This is the most cost-effective option to help you find the right person for the right job without breaking the bank. World-class outsourcing companies such as Volumetree can help you get the talent you need to succeed.

    3. Analyze and discover requirements

    The discovery phase builds upon your market research to perform an in-depth analysis of your project. Here’s what it includes:
    • Analyzing requirements
    Project consultants and business analysts perform a detailed analysis to determine what your app needs. They analyze features, business goals, and the monetization strategy in place for your target audience.
    • Creating wireframes
    Wireframing is essential to see how one element of the interface interacts with the other and how the app “flows”. 
    • Performing pre-development QA
    Pre-dev QA analyses your requirements and wireframes to ensure that no logical or flow issues exist in the wireframe and nothing is amiss in the requirements.
    • Final quote
    Your development partner will create a final quote for you based on the discovery phase. If you choose to hire your own team, you will get a cost analysis to check if it meets your budget.

    4. Develop the app

    This is the easy bit. Once all the bits and bobs are in place, developers, testers, designers and DevOps engineers work in tandem to create a world-class fitness app for your users. That’s it. Once you develop, test and deploy the app, you can roll it out to your users. Additional tasks that follow or work concurrently with development include marketing activities, audience outreach, building hype for your app and creating a community of early adopters. 

    Why choose Volumetree to create your mobile app?

    Choosing Volumetree as your development partner has several advantages. Being a truly global company with offices across three continents, we can offer you a price-quality advantage that few can match. With our vast industry experience of creating apps used by millions of people every day, along with a vast talent pool to choose from, we know what it takes to create an awesome app. What’s better is that we have the workforce to make it happen for you!  Contact us for a free consultation today to know more about how much it costs to make a fitness app. Our project managers and consultants will help you to create an app that fitness enthusiasts will love!  

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  • How to make a Local Buy and Sell App Like Offerup

    An Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating a Local Buy and Sell App Like Offerup

    I used to classify myself as a hoarder, and I still have parts from my first PC, an old school diary, and many other things my parents called junk. My problem was letting go of old stuff while I still wanted newer ones—causing storage issues. Although my dad would happily give off those things for recycling, I knew that a lot of stuff I had was in a perfectly usable state—and could quickly sell to someone who needs it. When I couldn't find buyers in people I knew, I turned to the internet—with websites like Craigslist and mobile-friendly options such as Offerup and Letgo apps. I sold a lot of my stuff in the first week itself—including my old CRT TV that someone wanted to use as a security monitor! I understood how much space these things were hogging after I had sold most of my old stuff off!

    Are local buy and sell apps popular?

    Entrepreneurs love finding solutions to common problems, which often leads them to create apps like OfferUp, LetGo, OLX, and Quikr. Operating in the US$3,284,927M e-commerce market space, the customer-to-customer or C2C vertical is showing solid signs of growth at a healthy CAGR of 5.3%. Additionally, C2C buy and sell apps benefit from rising user penetration rates of nearly 50%. The user traffic of top US-based C2C or buy and sell apps crossed 28 million in Q3 2020, showcasing a healthy growth trend that continues to grow.

    How do buy and sell apps work?

    Buy and sell apps like OfferUp and Letgo owe their popularity to their simplicity and the capability to help people buy and sell things they want quickly. Here's how these two-way apps work:
    • Sellers take pictures of things they wish to sell along with a description of the product. This adds the listing to the product's appropriate category using filters. 
    • Buyers looking for those items can see them in their search, where they use similar filters to search for products. 
    • Once they have seen the sellers ad, they can ask boilerplate (pre-set) questions, negotiate the price and purchase the product directly from the seller.

    A list of some popular buy-sell apps

    There are dozens of buy-sell apps in the world today; however, not all have found favour with customers. Here's a list of the top 5 buy-sell apps today:
      • eBay
      •  Everyone knows eBay—the largest online marketplace founded in 1995 as AuctionWeb. The app has nearly 200 million users worldwide and offers users the option of selling by auctions and fixed-price listings. This allows sellers to get the highest possible price for their product and buyers to get a bargain when they see it, as sellers are contractually obligated to sell the item if there is a winning bid. eBay is immensely popular worldwide and made news when a gigayacht designed by Frank Mudler was sold for $168 million, making it the most expensive item ever sold on eBay.
      • Craigslist
      •  What started as a hobby project where the founder, Craig Newmark, would describe upcoming events in the bay area through emails grew into a multi-million dollar company called Craigslist. People have been selling and buying products on Craigslist since 1998, making it one of the oldest and most iconic C2C sites around today. With over 20 billion page views per month in 2010, Craigslist is immensely popular and earns revenue through paid listings where buyers and sellers meet to sell, buy and post job listings.
      • Vestiaire Collective
      • Vestiaire Collective is the world's most well-known pre-owned luxury fashion C2C portal. Growing at an immense 530% YoY, this app is exceedingly popular with those wishing to buy used luxury goods at low prices. With nearly 10 million active users and over 30,000 items submitted each week, Vestiaire Collective is exceedingly popular and made headlines when Dello Russo used their services to sell off her personal fashion collection at rock-bottom prices. The site makes money by charging up to 25% in commissions per sale. Items sold are first shipped to the company for inspection before being shipped out to the buyer.
      • Letgo Letgo started in 2015 as an app that made selling and buying things easier for the world. With over 400 million listings, 100 million+ app downloads and nearly $1B in funding, Letgo's popularity caught the eye of their competitor—Offerup. OLX-owned OfferUp purchased LetGo in March 2020 for $120M. Letgo (now Offerup) makes it easy to buy, sell and look for items through their highly intuitive interface.
      • Offerup
      • Launched in 2015, OfferUp is a wildly popular buy-sell app and website duo with more than 24m visits every month. With a highly intuitive interface and a large user base, OfferUp is a part of the $1.21B OLX group. Offerup has designated community meetup spots that are unique to the app. Any long-distance transaction that involves shipping incurs a shipping fee and a 12.9% charge from offerup. The app acquired Letgo in March 2020 for $120M. Both companies access each other's customers and bring nationwide shipping to Letgo users as a combined entity.

    What tech stack should I choose to build apps like Letgo and OfferUp?

    Although the options in the app world are nearly infinite, here is our pick on what you can use to create apps like Letgo and Offerup. Note that these are not the only technologies we work in, and decide the final tech stack during consultations with our tech team. We've sorted the tech stack according to the requirements of an app like OfferUp:
    • Development platform: This depends on whether you wish to launch the app on both the Play Store (Android) and the App Store (Apple iOS) or on one store to begin with. 
    • Technologies for server-side development: You can choose between Express.js and Node.js to build server-side components of your app. Most of the background processing occurs at the server end, also known as backend development.
    • Front-end or client-side development: You use technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Bootstrap to develop the front end of your app. This interface is what your users will see when they open the app.
    • Web Frameworks: You can pick between Angular.js, Backbone.js or React.js.
    • Programming Languages: You can choose between Swift/Objective-C for iOS apps and Kotlin/Java for Android apps.
    • Database: Databases store persistent data such as videos, images, user profiles and more. You can choose from MongoDB or MySQL.
    • Cloud architecture: AWS
    • Payment integration: Payment integration services facilitate online payments. You can pick from Braintree, Stripe and PayPal.
    • Web server: Web servers serve web pages and applications to your users. Popular servers include Nginx and Apache.
    • Other tools: You can pick from AWS S3, Confluence, Swagger and many more depending on the features you choose for your app.

    Must-have features for your buy-sell app

    Here are the most important features that your buy-sell app must include to be a hit with users:
    • Creating a profile
    Creating profiles is essential to both buy and sell items. Additionally, you can keep track of your favourites and active posts through your profile.
    • Filters and categories
    Filters and categorization help buyers search for items easily. Sellers require categories to place their products effectively so buyers can find them easily.
    • Camera
    Access to the camera is vital for sellers to put up images of products they are trying to sell. Sellers can take a picture, add a description and post the ad!
    • Chat
    Chat allows buyers and sellers to interact with each other, exchange quick notes and item pickup locations.
    • Advanced Search
    The advanced search capability offers buyers a way to fine-tune their listing so they can narrow down the available results to their liking.
    • Geolocation
    Geolocation is important for hyperlocal buy and sell apps such as Offerup. Users will see local listings that help them pick sellers from areas close to them, avoiding travel and shipping expenses.
    • Rating and feedback
    Seller and buyer ratings are an excellent way to ensure that users stay away from fraudulent buyers and sellers.
    • Push notifications
    Push notifications are essential for messages, price changes and other important updates from users and the app.
    • Delivery and shipping
    Integrating logistics services such as delivery, shipping, and pickup allows users to send their product to the buyer in remote locations. 
    • Payment integration
    Offering a payment system completes your app by ensuring that buyers can easily search, negotiate, pay for, and deliver the item to their home with minimal effort. Although the list of features in such apps can be endless, it is good to ensure that you include the must-haves so that your users love what you've made!

    How to create an app like Offerup and Letgo?

    Creating an app has many prerequisites. Here's what you must do before you start developing your buy-sell local app:

    1. Do a market analysis and a feasibility study

    Understand what you're trying to achieve and see if the market is ready for your app. If you have created something that has no need, it might not find favour with your prospective users. It is best to create an app that is both feasible and needed by the market. Your app must fulfil the underserved need of your customers.

    2. Analyze your competition

    If you are a first-mover in your vertical, you may need to work harder than the others to find takers for your app. With no one to turn to for inspiration, you must develop a truly innovative idea to make it big in the app world. Analyzing your competition is a great way to see what is lacking and how your app can fill those gaps, making it a win-win situation for you and your target group.

    3. Think of monetization options

    Figure out how your app can make money. An app is only viable if it can make money and sustain itself in the long run. A solid, sustainable business model will help you stay in business and keep your customers happy.

    4. Finalize the initial feature set for your app

    Finalizing features helps you to prioritize your development needs and find a team that can build them for you.

    5. Find a suitable development partner or hire a development team

    Hiring the talent you need is essential to creating the app of your dreams. With an experienced development company such as Volumetree by your side, you can rest assured that your app will be all that you wanted and much, much more!

    6. Choose a tech stack

    Choosing the right tech stack is essential. If you do not know where to begin, it is better to use the services of a world-class development company such as Volumetree so you can choose the best tech stack for the job.

    7. Finalize metrics and business intelligence

    Setting up data points and business intelligence channels for your app is essential to gather valuable insights about how your users are using the app.

    8. Set up marketing channels

    Setting up information and marketing channels is vital so that your stakeholders can stay in the know. These channels will help you build traction and find a community of your first users.

    9. Customer service/ Support

    Set up support systems so your users can contact you in case they run into a problem. You can have phone support, mail support or live chat within the app. You can also use this channel to figure out what your customers need the most from the app.

    10. Maintenance/updates

    Building an app is not the end of the game. Ensure that you proactively set up updates and maintenance cycles so that you can address any issues your quality team did not find in their tests.

    How much does it cost to build a buy/sell app?

    Analyzing the development cost of a buy/sell app like Letgo is difficult as the requirements for your app may change throughout its development process. However, we've put together the development timelines for some basic standard features of a local buy/sell mobile app. You can use this to estimate the number of hours required to develop your application and use the going development rate to get a ballpark figure of your app development cost. 
    • User registration
    Today, most apps require user registration and profile management to provide better analytics, track their activity, and curate offerings tailored to the user's needs. Design time: 10 hours Backend development: 20 hours Front-end development: 40 hours
    • Vendor registration
    If your app has third-party vendors, it is essential to create vendor profiles and vendor registration pages to facilitate Job listings and other such services. Design time: 10 hours Backend development: 15 hours Front-end development: 30 hours
    • eStore and shopping carts 
    It is crucial to add an eStore and shopping cart functionality for customers to pay for what they purchase online. Design time: 7 hours Backend development: 15 hours Front-end development: 20 hours
    • Tracking and map integration
    If you are shipping a product, users should track its progress with ease. Design time: 5 hours Backend development: 15 hours Front-end development: 10 hours
    • Contact screens/feedback
    Users need to be able to contact the developer or the platform owner. Contact screens and feedback sections act as a customer touchpoint and an information-gathering tool. Design time: 5 hours Backend development: 8 hours Front-end development: 10 hours To estimate the cost of your app, just add the number of hours listed here and multiply it with the hourly rate of your development provider. If your hourly rate is $50, an app with all the features listed above will cost approximately $100,000 to build. Note that these costs may reduce or increase depending on the number of features you need in your app.

    Popular Business models of local buy and sell apps like Letgo and Offerup

    There are many ways you can monetize your buy and sell app. Some apps like Craigslist are free to use, and others such as OfferUp and eBay charge a commission to let users sell products on their platform. You can choose your monetization plans according to what your users prefer and what your long-term goals are. Popular business models include:
    • Transaction charges and commission
    Charging a commission for each sale made is a popular way for many buy and sell apps to make money. Sellers usually add a small markup to cover the charges, and the buyer pays a fixed, flat fee.
    • Ads and promoted posts
    Sellers who are eager to sell their product can pay to have their listing appear on top of search results at particular hours, which boosts their chances of being sold manifold.
    • Delivery charges
    Many companies also charge for delivery to cover costs and open another avenue to monetize their app.
    • Premium memberships and subscriptions
    Selling subscriptions and premium memberships open up additional sources of income.
    • Third-party services
    Offering third-party services such as job listings, gigs, and other benefits can open up a world of opportunities to monetize your app.

    How can Volumetree help you in creating a local buy and sell app?

    The design, development, project management and product management teams at Volumetree have spent many years helping individuals, governments, and large enterprises build intuitive, user-focused apps that consistently one-up the competition and have a community of loyal users. If you have an innovative local buy and sell app idea, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of our product experts to see how we can help you make it big in the app world.

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  • Advantages of minimum viable product

    Advantages (and Disadvantage) of MVP - The Good, The Bad & The Essentials

    As a startup founder, I believe that innovation is the only key to success, and the first step towards creating a truly innovative, groundbreaking product is to create an MVP. Most innovations stem from frustration due to loss of productivity, lack of performance or having competing products consistently outperform yours. Startups encourage this spirit of innovation that helps them consistently reinvent themselves until they hit a sweet spot and reduce frustration levels to a minimum. Innovators must also understand that nearly 70% of startups fail in their first year. According to a report by CBInsights, the reasons for these failures include:

    •         NO market need: 42%
    •         Underfunded: 29%
    •         Didn’t get the pricing right: 18%
    •         Did not have a business model: 17%
    •         Ignored customer requests: 14%
    •         Lacked the passion: 9%
    •         Suffered a burnout: 8%
    •         Could not pivot in time: 7%

    Why is an MVP important for startups?

    An MVP for startups is a way to attain product perfection and reduce chances of failure—one iteration at a time. An MVP essentially solves a particular problem in the simplest way possible without the added fluff of a full-fledged product. This helps startups to collate validated learning about their customer’s preferences without much effort, making it a win-win situation for everyone!  MVPs bring your company into the limelight quickly—often giving you the first-mover advantage for specific markets. Being out there is better than endlessly planning your product to perfection. Many startups used the MVP method over the years to test the waters before they launched their final product. Companies such as Airbnb, Groupon, Amazon, and Dropbox started with an MVP and took several iterations before transforming into their current avatars. Interested to know more? Here's a list of some popular MVP examples and how they used to look during their early stage. Dropbox began with a demo video that showcased their concept to people. Groupon began with a simple WordPress landing page. Amazon began in a garage through a small web page offering books for sale at prices lower than the competition, and Airbnb began as a simple ad-like web page. All these companies went through various iterations to become what they are today.

    What are the advantages of creating an MVP?

    MVPs offer many advantages to startups that conventional product development cannot. From understanding customer behaviour to getting the first-mover advantage, MVPs make it easy for startups to understand if their idea is viable in the long run and make adjustments to it accordingly—without breaking the bank. Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why MVPs are an excellent option for any startup:
    1. You get to the market faster than the others

    MVPs often take very little time to develop, enabling you to quickly bring your product to the market and get the first mover’s advantage. Additionally, MVPs can also help your startup evaluate your idea and its value proposition before creating an actual product. This helps you to iterate and create a better product for your customers.
    1. You can easily perform market validation

    MVPs are built for learning and understanding your product’s acceptance in the market with actual customers. You get to introduce your product and create some buzz for it before the launch, and this even helps you to nurture a community of potential buyers for your product.
    1. Feedback-based development

    Entrepreneurs favour MVPs for rapid, iterative development. This means that you get your MVP out there, get inputs from customers and quickly make these changes to create a product they will appreciate and love.
    1. Iterate until you get it right

    Almost no one gets it right the first time around. MVPs help you iterate, pivot and create a learning-driven product that can easily match the expectations of your potential customers. Remember Airbnb? It took them a few tries to finally get it right.
    1. Build products without breaking the bank

    MVPs help you create exceptional products without spending thousands (or millions) of dollars in development and marketing costs. As the entry cost is low, you can easily create multiple iterations of your MVP till you can finally build the products your customers need.

    Are there any disadvantages? Let's see

    Not everything is good about MVP development. Here are some drawbacks of MVPs that can cause you to go back to the drawing board more often than required or abandon ship. Here are the top disadvantages of the MVP approach:
    1. Loss of focus
    It is easy to lose focus while developing an MVP. Iterative development regimens require focus, commitment and being extremely tactical and targeted about what you want your end product to be. Else, you might end up spending more than you bargained for.
    1.  The competition may catch up
    Understand that others might have the same idea as you and your competition might catch up faster than you expect. Others might also see your product, find its shortcomings, improve it and create a niche product for themselves that is better than yours and make you lose market share.
    1. The wrong tech stack for the job
    You may take time to find the right tech stack and architecture for what you set out to build. Often, this experience can be harrowing, expensive and cause unexpected delays.

    The difference between POCs, MVPs and Prototypes

    You may know what an MVP is, but you may not understand the difference between an MVP, a PoC or proof of concept and a prototype. It is essential to understand the differences between the three before you begin. An easy way to understand these is that you first create a Proof of Concept from your idea to figure out the technical feasibility of your idea. Once you’ve figured that out, you create a prototype to see if your product is desirable from a user’s perspective. Once you’ve sorted that bit, you can create an MVP to get feedback from customers about your product. So PoC > Prototype > MVP is the general progression of an idea.

    An MVP is not a PoC

    You create MVPs after you have developed a PoC and understand that there is technology available to help you create a solution to solve the problem you’re trying to address. A proof of concept validates that you can transform your idea into a product. You will know whether that product will be viable or not, will customers like it or not, and is there a demand for it before it transitions into an MVP.

    An MVP is not a prototype

    A prototype showcases the “flow” of your product. Prototypes help you implement design concept validations and get immediate feedback if any changes are needed. Software prototypes are clickable wireframes that demonstrate how software may work. Prototypes do not necessarily transform into viable products without research, user validation and thorough groundwork.

    An MVP is—well, an MVP

    This sounded a bit cheesy, but I thought I'd go with it. An MVP is that version of a product that has enough features to attract early adopters and validate a product idea early in the product lifecycle. This product has already seen a Proof of Concept, been prototyped and developed into an actual product. In short, once you create a version of your product that customers are willing to pay for, you have your first MVP ready. Who should go for an MVP? If you’re an entrepreneur who has figured out an innovative solution to an actual problem or an underserved need of your customers, you’re ready to build your first MVP. If you’ve created a prototype for your product and need to develop an actual working solution for early adopters, you’re ready for an MVP. If you’ve found out your product’s purpose, its ideal users, and thought of a format to build it with, you’re ready for an MVP.

    And Volumetree can help you build your MVP

    We’ve spent years helping first-time entrepreneurs and experienced businessmen launch their first MVP in the market. Our global reach and access to a vast talent pool ensure that we have all the resources your idea needs to succeed. What’s great about our approach is that we throw in a free 15-minute consultation with our product experts to help you understand if your idea is viable or needs more research. We built our collaborative approach to form a long-term relationship with our clients so we can be a part of your success story. Team Volumetree is proud to be a part of the success story of many first-time startups, established businesses and government initiatives! Let us help you create a world-class product that we can be proud of!

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