How to develop a grocery shopping and delivery app?


24 Mar, 2021


9 min read

delivery app

The traditional way of grocery shopping seems to be going out of fashion at a rapid pace. It would not be incorrect to say that the ubiquitous nature of the smartphone has brought online shopping into easy reach for most people across the world – more so in developed countries. Shopping for food and groceries online via dedicated grocery shopping apps has not only become a cool thing to do, but it has also become a basic necessity in today’s fast-paced world – you simply just do not have time to visit the grocery store!

In case you still have some doubts about how popular online grocery shopping has become, these trends will help to clarify matters:

  • eMarketer predicts that online grocery shopping sales in the U.S. will increase by 17.8% year-over-year in 2021.
  • Sales forecasts for grocery delivery apps show a reach of 29.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2021, as per a Statista report.
  • Apropos Business Insider, the on-demand grocery category will see an upsurge in users. The expectation is that online grocery delivery may reach $117 billion in 2023.

These statistics make it crystal clear that online grocery shopping is not only a massive and rapidly expanding business; it also is a lucrative one. It definitely is time to jump onto the bandwagon and carve out your slice of the pie. The easy way forward to tapping into this market is to develop a mobile app for grocery shopping. Now you may ask: How to build a grocery app? Read on as this article will not only give you an idea of the existing competition but also take you through the process of how an online grocery shopping app is developed.

Major grocery delivery apps

As there are many players already in the market, we have listed some of the notable grocery delivery apps for you to size up the competition.


Instacart can be considered the gold standard for grocery apps because it is the largest online grocery shopping service provider. This grocery delivery and pick-up service caters to customers in 5,500 cities in the United States and Canada. Customers can order groceries from participating retailers and have a personal shopper do the shopping for them. Instacart has partnered with major grocery stores and distributors, giving it a significant advantage over the competition. Users have access to a wide range of goods and can even compare prices from various retailers. Instacart has a membership service called Instacart Express; being a member waives the delivery fees on orders over $35.


Shipt is an American delivery service owned by Target Corporation. It allows members to receive same-day delivery via a smartphone app (available on iOS and Android platforms) or their website from a variety of retailers. Customers can order products from local retailers such as Costco, CVS, Harris Teeter, Lucky’s Market, H-E-B, Jewel Osco, Kroger, and Winn-Dixie with a Shipt membership. A fleet of over 50,000 Shipt Shoppers around the country shops and delivers customer orders.

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is a Seattle-based subsidiary of It is a credible grocery delivery entity that serves major cities in the United States, as well as places like London, Milan, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Hamburg, Tokyo, Singapore, and India. Amazon Fresh sells groceries as well as a selection of products from the main store. Depending on the time of the order and the availability of delivery slots, items ordered through Amazon Fresh can be delivered to your home the same day or the next day.


InstaShop is a domestic marketplace on-demand delivery app that began as a grocery delivery app in Dubai about five years ago and has since expanded. Apart from grocery stores, pharmacies, butcheries, pet shops, fresh produce markets, and other local retailers have been added. It is the leading firm in the MENA region’s on-demand delivery market due to the simplicity and convenience of the service.

Big Basket

BigBasket is an online grocery delivery service based in India. The company mainly delivers grocery goods found in convenience stores, home essentials, and foodstuff. BigBasket was founded in December 2011 and is currently owned by the Tata group.

Outmaneuvering the competition

The aforementioned summaries should have given you a good idea of the competition and some major features in their grocery delivery apps. In order to entice potential customers, your app will need some unique selling characteristics that differentiate it from other apps and services of the same category. Some features that customers may be expecting in a new grocery delivery app may be cost savings, a simple interface, and a large variety of products.

We can now go ahead with planning and process details concerning how you can build a grocery app.

General stages in the development of a grocery shopping delivery app

  • Choosing a business model
  • Selecting the right development company
  • Project planning and costing
  • Design and development
  • Maintenance and support

Choosing a business model for your grocery app

There are certain available business models specific to grocery shopping and delivery. You may choose one that meets your needs depending on your current setup and future plans. Each model has its own pros and cons.

  • Solo grocery store: This model creates an option for a single store to offer its products online. Customers place orders for groceries, and these get delivered to them by a store rider. The choice is limited to products of the specific store only, so there may be only a few products, unless it is a very large retailer, such as Walmart.
  • Combined platform: This business model has an aggregation of several partner stores included in the app. The customer chooses products from a wide variety of stores listed; selected products are then picked up by a store rider and delivered to the customer.
  • Marketplace grocery store: A marketplace grocery store is similar to a grocery aggregation app, but there is a significant difference. You must nominate your own delivery boys for your online grocery marketplace in order to deliver ordered groceries to customers.
  • Pick-up model: With this type of app, a customer can select various items from multiple stores, which are then collected at a central location for a customer to collect easily.
  • Hybrid model: As the name implies, this model can be a combination of any of the other business models mentioned previously.

Selecting the right development company

This is a critical step for successfully developing your grocery delivery app. The fate of your app depends on partnering with the right development team. You need to do some research and minutely scrutinize the credentials of potential grocery app developers.

To get a clear idea of a development company’s expertise and suitability, you can review their past projects, systems and procedures, testimonials from previous customers, and available technical experts. Share your idea and proposed business model with the development company and request a project proposal, including cost details. Once you have selected a grocery app development company and reach an agreement concerning the deliverables and cost, you must sign a contract.

Where to search for a company providing grocery app development services

Certain specialized websites compile lists of service providers based on specific criteria such as prior client reviews and technical expertise. These vetted lists make finding reliable, professional expertise a breeze. Companies providing grocery app development services may be found at the below websites:

Project planning and costing

Before starting work on your dream app, it is prudent to be aware of the minute details, allocate a proper budget, get technical feedback and consider the applicable options. It is also critical to establish a realistic timeline so that the development agency knows when they are expected to deliver results.

The estimated cost of developing a grocery app

App development is by no means a simple process, with the cost and timeframe based on a number of factors. It usually ranges from 50$ per hour all the way to over 120$ per hour, while the time required may be anywhere between 500 hours to over 800 hours. This is just a rough estimate as several factors go into determining the cost. Major ones are given below:

  • Complexity and time taken
  • Features
  • Number of required developers in the team
  • Choice of platform
  • Location of the app development company

To improve customer convenience, you may wish to add certain features such as order tracking. These technical features have a separate cost. Here is a more detailed costing to help you in planning.

Design and development

After the planning process, designing and development can start. This is the most time and resource-intensive stage. The development company will design the structure and flow of the app as per your requirements. The visual aspect should be shared with you at each stage using wireframes and samples. Normally each piece of functionality is developed and shared as a separate iteration. Once the app development is complete, it is tested and then launched.

Features of the customer version of a grocery app

  • A sign-up process that often allows entry via social media accounts such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Comprehensive product viewing system with easy browsing and details.
  • Payment systems are often linked to credit or debit cards or some sort of e-wallet.
  • A delivery tracking option is expected by customers to keep up to date with their delivery.
  • Special offers may be utilized to attract new users.
  • An option for customer testimonials can help increase the reliability of your grocery app.

Features of the rider version of a grocery app

  • Riders will need some sort of notification system and the option to accept or reject an order.
  • A navigation map will enable the rider to reach a customer’s location easily.
  • In-app communication channel so that the rider and customer can contact each other when required.
  • Bill-creating option so the rider can obtain customer verification after order delivery.
  • Rider’s earning dashboard to keep a record of pick-up and delivery and amount earned for each.

Features of the administrator version of a grocery app

  • Recent, approved, or dispatched orders with specifics, as well as orders placed through the customer app or website, should be visible to administrators, who can delegate them to other riders as needed.
  • The admin can easily manage the riders in order to fully monitor the grocery delivery app solution; they can connect, delete, or block them as needed.
  • The admin panel should also allow you to manage client details, with their relevant data displayed, such as their ratings and order history. Customer questions will be answered more quickly, and the user experience will be improved.
  • An admin can handle the different grocery categories you want to sell and manage the entire business with retail distribution management tools.
  • Admins can use the analytics and reports feature to create a report for a rider’s results or to track efficiency over time.

Maintenance and support

Last but not least, after launching your grocery delivery app, is maintenance and support. The grocery app development company will provide support for any unexpected issues or vulnerabilities that may occur as users begin to use the solution. After the initial release and even after weeks of use, client feedback lets you know which features need to be finely aligned.

Differentiating your app from the competition

Adding new and unique features

A delivery app for groceries has some elementary features such as:

  • A list of partner grocery stores
  • A suitable search option to look for items
  • A shopping cart
  • Delivery scheduling options
  • Integration with payment gateways

Aside from these, you could add some special features to make your app stand out from the crowd.

Some grocery apps, for example, have a feature that allows you to save shopping lists and reorder items from previous purchases. Another feature allows users to view nutritional information and filter items based on whether they are gluten-free, organic, or vegan. In fact, users can also obtain recipes that they can try at home. They can even communicate with their customers via the app.

In today’s fast-paced world, you should consider developing an on-demand grocery app that can deliver groceries on the same day.

Super easy navigation and simplified user interface

The interaction between the app and the end-user needs to be extremely simple and fun to use. Users cannot finish their shopping tasks or find the information they need if the information is not clear and concise.

It is critical for a grocery-ordering app to cater to small screens, too, so that shoppers can easily switch between product categories and return to the home screen.

Make profitable partnerships

When your business is online, it becomes extremely important to develop partnerships that generate additional profit. Many grocery delivery apps have ended up being a part of successful partnerships with other companies.

A few examples of partnerships:

  • German retailer ALDI partnered with Instacart in 2017 to launch an on-demand grocery delivery service in the U.S.
  • Costco delivery is available in a few states via Instacart. To order from Costco on Instacart, you do not need a membership, but there are shipping fees, and the prices may not be the same as costs in a Costco warehouse.
  • Costco announced a partnership with Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, in March 2017. Shipt, unlike Instacart, charges a membership fee of $99 per year or $14 per month in exchange for free delivery on orders over $35.

Monetization strategy

The primary goal of any business is to make money, which necessitates the use of monetization strategies. Below we have listed a few monetization options for your online grocery delivery app.

  • On each delivery, the user is charged a specific amount as a delivery fee. This varies based on the size of the order.
  • Many grocery shopping delivery apps charge a monthly or annual membership fee. For example, Instacart offers an annual membership called Instacart Express.
  • Many stores charge a higher price for their goods than usual. The money made from this is used to pay the delivery people.
  • Surge or busy pricing, similar to Uber, can work here as well. There is an increase in delivery charges during peak hours and popular delivery times such as holidays.

Are you ready to start developing your grocery shopping delivery app?

As you can see, online grocery shopping is inexorably overtaking conventional shopping. The time is ripe for you to kick-start the process of building your very own grocery shopping delivery app. Hence, go ahead and capture your share of this lucrative market.



Spanning a diverse range of content, our Editor keeps a close eye on all published materials while publishing and making edits to existing posts.


Pull the trigger!

Initiate your project
the moment has arrived.