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Grocery Delivery App Development: All-In-One Guide with Tips, Cost & Steps

27 min read
Guide to Grocery Delivery App Development

When was the last time you went grocery shopping? How much time did you spend?

An average shopping trip takes around 41 minutes. If you go grocery shopping at least once a week, it’s about 40 hours of your time per year. If you go shopping two times a week, the number will double.

No surprise why the food delivery market has grown significantly over the past few years. It saves A LOT OF TIME for consumers.

If you want to become a number-one grocery business, it’s time to think about grocery delivery app development. If you don’t know where to start, this guide will shed light on the key processes and technologies.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Why build a food delivery app & benefits for your business
  • How food delivery apps work
  • Types of apps you can build
  • Key features to build a grocery delivery app 
  • Step-by-step process of grocery delivery app development
  • Challenges of food delivery app development
  • Breakdown of grocery store delivery app development cost

Let’s find out how to make a grocery delivery app.

Why Build Food Delivery App

Should you build a grocery delivery app?

The answer depends on whether you want to grab a part of a lucrative pie or not. The online grocery shopping market has started growing with COVID-19 and hasn’t stopped yet. If you decide to build an on-demand delivery app, you’ll invest in a rapidly growing industry.

Grocery delivery apps provide you customers with easy access to your whole product catalog. The development of such an app can help you increase sales and attract new customers.

Online Grocery Market Growth Predictions

Let’s take a look at some interesting statistics:

  • 48% of grocery customers buy at least some of the products online.
  • Digital grocery sales in the USA are projected to reach $59.5 billion by 2023.
  • By 2025, online grocery sales will account for 21.5% of total U.S. grocery sales, more than doubling its current market.
  • The best online grocery stores in the USA are Walmart and Amazon. Walmart is expected to generate $37.6 billion in online grocery sales in 2022, while Amazon is expected to bring over $72 billion in online grocery sales.

Statistics show that the market of online grocery shopping will quadruple between 2019 and 2025. There will be a $177.17 billion increase in spending in just six years.

Customers love food delivery apps as they allow saving time on shopping while getting the best deals without leaving their homes. The most popular apps in the industry generate hundreds of millions of dollars. You can see some of the most popular food delivery apps in the table below.

 

  Availability Platforms Fees Subscription options Key benefits
Grubhub 4,000 cities in the USA; London iOS, Android Varies by restaurant GrubHub+ for $9.99/month
  • Wide availability
  • Delivers from local restaurants and national chains
  • Multiple payment methods
DoorDash 4,00 cities in the USA; Canada, Australia iOS, Android Varies by restaurant DashPass for $9.99/month
  • Monthly subscription reduces fees
  • Delivers from local restaurants and national chains
  • Good recommendation engine to explore new places
Seamless 4,000 cities in the USA; London iOS, Android Varies by restaurant Seamless for $9.99/month
  • Wide availability
  • Delivers from local and national restaurants
  • Multiple payment methods
Uber Eats 500+ cities in 24 countries iOS, Android 15% of the order subtotal Eats Pass for $9.99/ month
  • Integration with Uber
  • Real-time delivery tracking
  • Cashless payments
Instacart 5,500 cities in the USA and Canada iOS, Android Starting at $3.99 with a minimum order of $10 Instacart Express for $9.99/ month
  • Faster delivery with Instacart Express
  • Delivers from an extensive list of grocery stores
Caviar 28 U.S. cities iOS, Android $1.99 to $8.99 None
  • Real-time order tracking
  • Focus on local restaurants
Postmates 4,200 US cities iOS, Android Varies by the restaurant; surge pricing is possible Postmates Unlimited for $9.99/month
  • Wide availability
  • Delivers food and other products
  • No-contact delivery option
ChowNow 18 US cities iOS, Android Varies by restaurant None
  • Focus on local restaurants
  • Placing an order for food at local restaurants for personal pick-ups

Benefits of Grocery Delivery App Development for Your Business 

You can build a food delivery app to start a new business or to expand the operations of an existing one. Why is building a grocery delivery platform beneficial for your business? Let’s find out.

Building better relationships with your customers

Converting a new customer is at least ten times harder than converting an existing one. If you want to build a loyal customer base, grocery delivery app development will help you with the task. With the help of food delivery app software, you will be able to provide customers with a personalized shopping experience based on their previous purchases, send push notifications to tell about upcoming special deals and discounts, and suggest alternatives if some products are unavailable.

Boosting loyalty programs

A grocery delivery application is a great way to attract and retain customers by offering various reward programs and special deals. Here’s a few of the possible options:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Cashback
  • Free delivery
  • Daily sales
  • Soon-to-expire sales
  • Buy two, get three
  • and so on

Getting better insights into customer behavior

A mobile application provides you with data you would have never been able to get anywhere else. Here is a list of some questions that you can get answers to thanks to launching a food delivery application:

  • What is the preferred shopping time?
  • What are the best-selling products?
  • What products cause money losses?
  • What is the preferred payment method?

Based on the data you get from app analytics, you can segment your customers into different groups and create a personalized experience based on their behavior and shopping preferences.

Attracting the busiest customers

With the current pace of life, more and more customers are shopping online. The busiest customers are unlikely to dedicate a few hours to visiting your store to get some groceries. Instead, they go to an eCommerce app, add the needed products to their shopping cart, choose a delivery time slot, and pay for the purchase while commuting to work or without leaving home. If you build a grocery delivery app, you’ll be able to attract even the busiest customers, expanding your customer base and increasing revenue.

Exploring the idea of grocery delivery app development?

Get in touch with us to chat about your app idea. We’ll provide you with a free preliminary project estimate and help you decide on the next steps

How Does an On-Demand Grocery Delivery App Work? 

A grocery delivery application usually consists of an app for end-users, an admin dashboard, and a separate app for couriers.

After a customer places an order in the app, the store receives it and prepares for delivery.
Customers may either pay for the order as soon as they place it or when the order is prepared for delivery, depending on your business model. After the order is ready, a driver picks it up and delivers it to the customer. Upon receiving the order, the customer can rate the shopping experience and provide a review. 

In the illustration below, you can see how a food delivery solution works.

How Grocery Delivery Applications Work

The final list of features depends on your business model and specific business requirements.

Build Food Delivery App: Business Models

Grocery delivery app development can help you create solutions for different business models. You need to decide on your business model before starting the development process since the app structure, and features will depend on your decision. 

You need to choose a business model carefully. Making a wrong decision means you’ll need to make costly changes in the middle of the development process.

There are two main types of business models for an on-demand delivery app:

  • A company has its own store with the products they deliver
  • A company partners with a few stores and makes deliveries for them

To better understand the difference, let’s take a look at real-life examples.

Costco partners with on-demand delivery services like Instacart to make delivery for it. After you partner with a company, you get access to their product catalog, inventory information, and prices.

It’s also possible to use the business model when customers place an order without specifying their preferred store. Your task is to find the products in different stores, pack the order and deliver it. From a business point of view, this model involves a lot of difficulties, as you need to provide your product catalog, product photos, etc. However, Instacart, along with some other giants in the industry, follows this business

Walmart, on the other hand, has an application and delivers products from its own stores.

Build a Grocery Delivery App: Key App Types

Grocery Delivery App Development: All-In-One Guide with Tips, Cost & Steps

Depending on your business model, you can build different types of grocery delivery applications. Let’s review five of the most widespread types of such apps.

Aggregator app

The applications of this type connect grocery stores and customers. Buyers can select a store where they want to shop for groceries and place an order. The store carries out order packaging and delivery. Basically, an aggregator app acts as an intermediary between customers and grocery stores.

Best for app owners who want to connect customers with grocery stores without managing product deliveries.

Marketplace app

This app type is similar to the previous one. The main difference is that the company owning the app manages and performs the delivery of orders.

Best for businesses that want to carry out deliveries from grocery stores they’ve partnered with.

Single store app

If you already have a grocery store and want to expand your business online, grocery delivery app development is the next step in your journey. This type of app is also called a while label grocery delivery app. The business takes care of orders processing, packaging, and orders delivery. It’s also possible to partner with third-party delivery companies for ordered deliveries.

Best for individual grocery stores.

Grocery chain app

This app type is similar to the single-store app. The only difference is that a grocery store chain manages the app and orders delivery from the chain of its stores at multiple locations.

Best for grocery store chains.

Personalized grocery app

Applications of this type are designed to provide customers with the best user experience. Such applications offer all the features for smooth shopping – from the ability to create shopping lists to share them with other users, order fridge-stocking delivery services or subscribe to a regular delivery of specific products.

Best for grocery store owners and for delivery businesses who partner with those stores.

Food delivery is not the only industry you can create an app for. Learn

How to Start with Medicine Delivery App Development

explore key steps and what it takes to build a successful solution.

Grocery Delivery App Development: Key Features

The functionality of an app depends on a number of factors – your business model, whether you’re building an MVP or going for a full-fledged product, your unique selling proposition, etc. 

Let’s review some of the must-have and additional features you can adopt for a grocery delivery application.

Customer app

Customers application enables customers to browse product catalogs, make orders, pay for them, and order delivery. Here are a few must-have features to include in such an app.

  • Social signup/login – users can create an account by signing up with social media accounts, such as Facebook, Google, etc. You can also allow users to create an account with the help of a mobile number or email address.
  • User profile – a place inside your app where users can add their personal information, such as payment details, delivery address, phone number, user photo, etc.
  • Product catalog – the list of all products that customers can buy divided into product categories.
  • Product filtering – the functionality to sort products based on some predefined parameters.
  • Order editing & cancelation – users need to have the ability to edit the order they’ve placed or canceled it if their plans change.
  • Advanced search – the ability to search for products inside the app. It should be typo-tolerant and provide a query auto-complete feature.
  • Add to cart – users can add products they want to buy to the cart.
  • Nearby stores – users can search nearby grocery stores to compare prices or to order food from the preferred grocery stores.
  • In-app payments – customers can make online payments with a preferred payment method, such as credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.
  • Order history – provides an overview of all completed orders and deliveries.
  • Order status – tells customers about the status of their order.
  • Notifications – notify users about the changes in the order status, upcoming special deals, and offers, etc.
  • Ratings & reviews – users can share their experience on the use of the app, the quality of provided services, and the products they bought.

Aside from some basic features, you can also try setting your app apart by implementing some advanced and unique features:

  • Live order tracking – thanks to GPS integration, customers can track the location of their order in real-time.
  • Reordering – useful feature for busy customers who have the same order list and don’t want to waste time navigating the product catalog and instead want to buy products in a few clicks.
  • Customer loyalty programs – a great way to retain customers and encourage them to come back to your grocery delivery application. You can give out coupons and bonuses, offer seasonal discounts, free delivery, and special gifts. 

Admin panel

Admin panel is an integral part of any delivery application. Let’s take a look at some features you’ll need to develop for your platform.

  • Super admin – the main admin of the app who can create accounts for other admins of the app.
  • Order management – tracking and management of all orders palace within the app.
  • Stores management – admins can manage which stores will sell products through your app.
  • Product management – the ability to create new products and product catalogs, edit existing ones, delete them, or hide them for some time.
  • Customer management – admins have the ability to manage customers.
  • Transaction history – information on all the transactions made through the app.
  • Content management – the ability to product information, such as images, description, ingredients, etc.
  • Reports & analytics – in-app reports that provide insights into your sales, revenue, orders, etc.
  • Loyalty programs – admins can create and edit special offers, discounts, coupons, etc.

Aside from the above list of features, you can also add some advanced ones, such as management of delivery providers, orders dispatching, referrals for attracting partners, and many more.

Driver app

Delivery applications may have different features depending on your business model. Let’s look at some of the features you might want to add to your grocery delivery app development

  • Profile – after signing up, drivers can create their profile, add personal data and information from their vehicle.
  • Availability information –  drivers can specify their availability days or hours, and set their status as offline.
  • Delivery push notifications – as soon as customers place an order and the company packs it, drivers get a notification that the order is ready for pick up. Push notification can also be used to notify drivers about any changes in an order.
  • Orders management – when a new order arrives, drivers can either accept or reject it.
  • Delivery information – drivers can view all the information about the order, such as the delivery location, time of delivery, the phone numbers of customers, etc.
  • Payments history – drivers can track and manage all the payments their receive through the app.
  • In-app navigation – this nice-to-have feature allows drivers to get directions for order delivery without leaving your application.

Grocery store app

If you choose the business model of an aggregator platform, you’ll need to include the creation of an app for grocery stores in grocery delivery app development.

  • Profile – grocery store owners can create their profiles and provide contact information, address, the products they sell and prices.
  • Product catalog management – grocery stores can create product catalogs, add prices, upload images and add descriptions.
  • Driver’s tracking – stores can track drivers in real time to better understand when they will show up to pick up the order for delivery.
  • Offers & discounts management – grocery stores can create and customize discounts, provide customers with special offers, etc.
  • Orders management – employees of a store can view orders and information about them, such as the delivery time. They also have a full overview of all orders, including ongoing, dispatched, scheduled ones, and those ready for pickup.
  • Push notifications – stores receive push notifications about new orders, any changes to orders, when the order status is changed, its shipping and delivery, the payment is received, and other updates.
  • Payment history – information about all the payments received through the app.

Grocery Delivery App Development: Step-by-Step Guide

Grocery delivery app development involves various experts working together to create an application. The process comprises multiple stages and steps to ensure you get an app that meets all your business grocery app requirements. Let’s explore how to make a grocery delivery app from both the business and technical sides.

1. Analyze the Market & Define Your Niche

A lot of stages are involved before the actual grocery app development starts. First of all, you need to analyze the situation in the market, identify the best grocery delivery applications, understand your main competitors to find your USP and niche.

The data collected during this stage will help you document the grocery delivery app development strategy. You can organize all the data into a one-page summary – Business Model Canvas – to cover all high-level details of your future strategy.

2. Choose a Unique Value Proposition

You might be wondering how to make an app like Instacart while you need to think about how to make your future solution different from existing applications.

Identifying users’ pains will give you a better understanding of the direction you’ll need to move. Don’t try to clone existing solutions. Analyze what they are offering and come up with your unique features to address pain points.

3. Find a Mobile App Development Company

When you understand what app you’re going to develop, it’s time to find a software development company.

There are thousands of companies all over the world providing such services. You can choose a company based on its unique specialization, location, and hourly rate.

European countries stand out thanks to providing development services of outstanding quality at relatively low prices. If you choose a company charging $50 per hour, you’ll be able to save up to 60% of your grocery delivery app development budget.

Here’re a few things to consider when choosing a development vendor:

  • Number of years on the market
  • Similar project in the portfolio
  • Seniority level of developers
  • Positive reviews from former and current clients
  • Availability of ongoing development and support

During the initial project discussion, ask about the company’s experience, how they approach the development process, what services they provide, and so on.

4. Grocery Delivery App Development & Design

On-demand grocery delivery app development consists of two major steps: discovery and development.

Grocery Delivery App Development Process

Discovery stage

The main goal of the discovery stage is the finalization of your app idea, preparation of functional specifications, and creation of UX/UI design creation.

When designing the app, concentrate on the user-friendliness of its interface, a great look across all devices and operating systems. The app for Android must follow Google Material Design Guidelines, and the app for iOS must follow Human Interface Guidelines by Apple.

Development stage

Development is the next stage of grocery delivery app development. You can either build an MVP or a full-fledged project. In most cases, companies start with the creation of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to avoid unnecessary financial risks.

MVP development’s primary goal is testing and verifying an app idea. After the concept is successfully verified, you can start working on some advanced features.

MVP vs Full Product Development

The technology stack for grocery delivery app development can be very different. The final list of technologies will depend on a number of factors, such as app type, targeted platforms, third-party integrations, etc.

The table below shows an example of a tech stack.

Mobile platforms Android, iOS
Programming languages Kotlin for Android. SwiftUI for iOS
Location

Google Place API, Google Maps, MapBox

Navigation API, MapBox Geocoding API

Delivery time Google Matrix API
Database PostgreSQL, Firebase
Cloud environment Azure, AWS
Payment gateways Braintree, PayPal, Stripe, etc.
Real-time analytics Datadoe, Kafka, Prometheus, Grafana
Utilities Twilio, Firebase, Google SDK, and Facebook SDK

As for the required team, you’ll probably need the following experts:

  • Project manager
  • Business analyst
  • UX/UI designer
  • iOS and Android developer
  • Backend developer
  • Quality assurance engineer
  • DevOps

App Launch & Promotion

After the app is ready and developers upload it to app stores, the next stage begins – app’s promotion. During this stage, you need to get first users, gather their feedback, and plan further app development and support.

Here is an overview of the possible marketing activities to explore:

  • Paid ads – launch ads on Facebook, Google, Instagram, and other platforms when your app enters the market.
  • SMM – social media marketing is a great way to connect with your target audience.
  • Influencer marketing – don’t underestimate influencer marketing as it can help you promote your solution to a wide audience.
  • Partnerships – you can ask your partner stores to promote your solutions.
  • Content marketing – creating and publishing useful content can help you with SEO efforts.

Feeling overwhelmed by all the stages involved in app development?

Get in touch with us for a project discussion. Our team will help you navigate the troubled waters of the grocery delivery app development process.

Challenges of Grocery Delivery App Development & How to Overcome Them

To build a grocery delivery app, you’ll need to navigate the difficulties that might arise on your way. 

Complex product catalogs

Grocery delivery applications offer hundreds, if not thousands, of products. Finding the right food might be quite challenging without a properly designed product catalog and search system. Categories and tags, advanced filtering and search options, AI-powered recommendations system will help customers find products faster.

Order location tracking

To avoid situations when users call you to find out the location and status of their order, implement a system to track orders. You can even create a solution that will allow customers to track the location of the orders in real life.

Personalization

Personalization is one of the reasons why grocery delivery apps are so popular, as it allows you to provide them with an unprecedented shopping experience and increase your revenue.

You can use AI solutions to analyze customer behavior and previous purchases to offer the most relevant products.

Product representation

The main disadvantage of grocery apps compared to in-store shopping is the inability to ‘touch’ products. Still, you can create a great experience by providing 3D models of the products.

Onboarding

Onboarding should be a skippable option. In many cases, customers don’t need a guide to help them make a purchase within an app. Unless you’ve created an app providing some one-in-the-world solution that users have never seen before.

Technical issues

On-demand delivery platforms deal with vast amounts of data that should be synced between different system parts. In addition to building a solution to handle the data, you must ensure that your app works fast.

Grocery Store Delivery App Development Cost

The cost to build a food delivery app may vary from $50,00 to $160,000. In some cases, $50,000 will be enough to create an MVP for a single operating system – iOS or Android. Sometimes grocery store delivery app development costs can reach $500,000 and even go beyond this number.

Hourly Rates of Food Delivery App Development Companies

A few factors influence the final cost of grocery delivery app development

  • Type of team – the decision to hire an in-house development or work with an outsourcing company will influence the final price.
  • Location – if you decide to work with a vendor, its location will impact the development costs. For example, cooperation with a company in Europe can reduce costs by up to 60%, while development in the USA may be the most expensive option.
  • App type –  you can build a brand grocery delivery app, an on-demand delivery platform, an aggregator solution, etc. The choice you make will impact the final cost you’ll need to pay for grocery delivery app development services.

Why Build Food Delivery App with Addevice

If you’re looking for a reliable mobile app development partner, our team will be happy to help. 

We’re a team of experts dedicated to building modern solutions that meet business requirements of our clients.

Get in touch with us to discuss your project.

How much does it cost to build a grocery delivery app?

Grocery delivery app development may cost you anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000. Development costs vary based on the targeted platforms, app type, features and development team, etc. If you need a project estimate, get in touch with us.

How long does it take to develop a grocery delivery platform?

Grocery delivery app development process may take from 3 months for the simplest solution for one system (iOS or Android). The development can take around six months if we’re talking about more advanced features. If you decide to target two platforms and create a complex solution, development timelines will start at 9 months.

What parts does a grocery delivery app consist of?

A grocery delivery platform usually consists of a few parts: an app for customers, an app for drivers, a platform for stores and an admin panel. However, the final app architecture will depend on your business model and the type of app you’re building.

Should I develop an MVP or a full-fledged product?

Many companies choose to start by building an MVP. The creation of a minimum viable product allows you to test your idea at minimum financial risks. With an MVP, you can get feedback from real users before investing into the development of a full-fledged product.

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