Grocery Delivery App Development like Instacart [A Complete Guide]

Are you a startup with an idea for on-demand grocery delivery app development? Or are you an entrepreneur who needs a grocery delivery app to boost business? Well, as the world is chasing pandemics like coronavirus and other flu, you need to keep in mind the sanitization and other tips for online grocery app development.

Here, in this blog, we have discussed some of the major takeaways to build app like Instacart, top grocery apps 2023, and tips to expand your business in the flu season. Dive into it and get your retail store or grocery shop an online platform for round the clock business.

Whether you own a grocery superstore or a grocery delivery service startup, the idea of grocery delivery application development must have crossed your mind. If not, it should now.


People are getting busier and grocery store is getting, well, idler. People don’t visit the stores themselves. They get the groceries delivered to home. This trend is increasing day by day. Such on-demand services are the reason why Uber for X apps are so much in demand.

Gen Z finds it hard to juggle between taking care of their household chores and managing work tasks. Grocery shopping apps help to tick mark one important task on their to-do list: getting weekly groceries.

Especially with the amidst of COVID-19 and the like viruses/flu, people have started perceiving the social distancing practice. Thus, now there is even more possibility of consumer demographics to stay in their houses and make a purchase online via different platforms of food delivery, grocery shopping, and other household necessities on their fingertips.

Recently, at Space-O Canada, our research and development team came across a tweet by Laura Hensley, the national reporter at Global News, she has asked online users about their experience of grocery services.

grocery delivery app

People’s day-to-day lives have changed a lot as they adjust to stay home. So if you are looking for an opportunity to built a robust same-day grocery delivery service then for better logistics and scheduled deliveries you should consider developing grocery app.

Now, before heading towards the tips and takeaways let’s have a look at the online grocery market statistics to know the actual demand of the “grocery delivery to your door” app.

Online Grocery Shopping Business Growth Statistics

  • There is a significant growth in the grocery delivery app downloads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From February to mid-March, Instacart, Walmart, Shipt saw an increase in their user engagement.

grocery delivery app downloads during COVID-19

Source: Statista

  • The grocery delivery sales are forecasted to reach 29.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2021.

grocery delivery sales

Source: Statista

  • According to Business Insider, the grocery delivery online genre will see an increase in buying adoption from all the generations, including the baby boomers. It is expected that home grocery delivery might reach $117 billion in 2023.

Major players like Amazon and Walmart have also applied different strategies. Amazon has its e-commerce and fulfillment capabilities to offer a variety of online grocery services. Walmart, on the other hand, is using its brick-and-mortar footprint to its advantage. Others like Kroger, Aldi are working with third-party delivery providers like Instacart Canada.

Being a grocery store or a retail hub, if you are rushing to take advantage of the potential of groceries delivered door to door, you are stepping into a highly competitive market. Both the established and startups like you are curbing the pickup and delivery offerings. For better business opportunities you may go through our curated tips for your app development. 

Choose Business Model to Build Grocery Delivery App

Our grocery app development solution supports different business models as mentioned below, that will help you make your own branded apps like Instacart. Take a look.

  1. Single Grocery Shop: Create Your Own Branded Grocery Delivery Mobile App
    This is one of the easiest methods for opening a grocery store. Simply get an Instacart application for your grocery business to go online, and allow your customers to place orders at the tap of a button and get them shipped immediately.
  2. Grocery Marketplaces: Get Your Own Market Platform Like Instacart
    Another business model is to create an aggregated platform by listing several shops on the on-demand app for grocery delivery, such as Instacart or an Uber for groceries.
  3. Grocery Store Chains: On-Demand Grocery Store Delivery App Development
    If you want to evolve your existing business, this model is for you. Get an on-demand grocery store delivery app and manage all retail and supermarket distribution shop purchases and processes from a centralized dashboard.

Having Trouble to Pick One Business Model for Your Grocery Business?

Clear your all doubts from us. Get a free consultation to discuss your requirements.

Cta Image

Once you select the business model, then understand the process of developing an app like Instacart.

How to Create an App Like Instacart?

In the long term, planning ahead of time would save you time and money. So, to make an app like Instacart the correct way, follow these five steps:

How to Make Grocery Delivery App Like Instacart

Step-1: Select Business Model
The main factors to remember when discussing a business model are a supermarket, a single store, aggregators, and a supermarket chain, which will also assist in determining the most popular app concepts for companies.

Step-2: Analyze the Core Concept
Once you select the business model, we start by examining the project’s central vision and goal, as well as the product specifications and end-user. This allows one to determine which solutions will perform well, as well as estimate the time and human capital required to develop the product from the ground up.

Step-3: Design UI/UX
We switch on to UX/UI design after the pre-design stage is completed. We design user flows and stories by keeping in mind product specifications, user personas, and their pain points. Then, we set up the visual aspect of a smartphone app and show it to our clients using wireframes and samples.

Step-4: Develop
During the iterative creation process, all of the design achievements are turned into reality. We design a specific piece of app functionality at each iteration, which is then thoroughly tested and submitted to the customer. You can hire canadian app developers to develop a mobile app like Instacart.

Step-5: Maintain
Maintenance is the final stage that begins after the launch of your on-demand grocery delivery app. We provide support for unanticipated problems and vulnerabilities that can arise when users begin to use the solution. Client feedback may reveal which features require fine-tuning and which are not needed at all after the release and the first weeks of use.

Looking to Hire a Grocery Delivery Solution Development Firm?

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To help you make your grocery delivery app unique from competitors, we have listed some of the features you may consider while making your grocery delivery mobile app.

Unique Features of Grocery Delivery App like Instacart

With the power-pack features, on-demand applications always have a stable and fully scalable approach. So, let’s discuss all the unique functions.

Customer Grocery Shopping App Features

Grocery Shopping Customer App Features

  • On-boarding: Easy login process is a must for all the apps, so allow your users to log in with Facebook, Google, or Twitter accounts to get into your grocery app.
  • Browse Products: Enable your consumers to select from a variety of food and grocery items by providing comprehensive product details.
  • Payments: Your grocery delivery service can allow customers to pay with a debit card, credit card, or wallet. It enables consumers to make purchases from their smartphone applications in real-time.
  • Real-time Tracking: To know the exact status of the driver or rider, a real-time tracking feature helps your users to keep up the trust.
  • Offers: If you offer some discounts and other promo facilities on products provided by different nearby grocery stores with your grocery store management software, it encourages your users to shop again. It increases customer retention.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Empower clients by allowing them to rate and review products; this can go a long way toward ensuring quality continuity and capturing new buyers.

Riders Grocery Delivery App Features

Riders Grocery Delivery App Features

  • Accept/Reject Orders: Instacart app like grocery delivery platform notifies the riders in real-time for pickup and delivery jobs with details.
  • Navigation: Using on-demand grocery app solutions, navigation by Google Maps feature makes it easier to get to your destination.
  • In-app Chat: The grocery delivery app solution’s in-app chat module allows delivery agents and customers to connect anytime they need to.
  • Invoice Generation: Using on-demand app solutions, the agent and riders can generate an invoice and obtain a consumer signature after the groceries are shipped.
  • Earning Dashboard: ​In an on-demand shopping app system, riders also can keep track of all pickup or delivery jobs they’ve done, as well as their earnings.

Admin Panel Grocery Business Management System

Admin Panel Grocery Business Management System

  • Assign Orders: Admins will see recent, approved, or dispatched orders with specifics, as well as orders placed via the customer app or website, and delegate them to other riders as required.
  • Manage Drivers: To fully monitor the grocery delivery app solution, the admin can easily manage the drivers: connect, remove, or block them anytime it requires.
  • Manage Customers: Admin panel with the app solution can also manage clients, including their ratings and order history. This way the customer queries can be resolved on time and can provide a better user experience.
  • Manage Categories: On retail distribution management tools, an admin will handle the various grocery categories you choose to sell and manage the entire business at a one-stop solution.
  • Analytics and Reports: With this feature, admins can create a report for a driver’s results or measure efficiency over a specific period of time.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Grocery Delivery App?

The cost of grocery app development like Instacart is calculated by a number of factors, but it typically ranges from $30,000 to $90,000. This is a rough estimate. The following are the other factors that go into determining the cost:

  • App features
  • Development team size
  • Platform choice
  • Place of developing the app
  • The complexity of the app and the time taken

To measure the time for your app solution, you can follow the below table where we have mentioned the rough time that is spent by developers to build grocery shopping apps like Instacart. Take a look.

Project Estimate Summary of Grocery App Development
FunctionApprox Hours
UI/UX design60 Hours
Front-end and Back-end development400 Hours
Technical documentation40 Hours
MVP testing80 Hours
Polishing and bug fixing40 Hours

Technology Stack for Grocery App Development

Making good grocery apps necessitates the use of the right technology. So, here we’ve listed the tech stack below to help you move forward with online grocery app development. Take a look.

Tech Stack
Programming Languages
  • Objective C
  • Swift
  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • Xcode
  • Android Studio
  • Mongo DB
  • Redis
  • Google Analytics
  • Visual Website Optimizer
  • Mixpanel
  • Mixpanel
  • Google Analytics
Deployment platforms
  • Cloud
  • iOS
  • Android

Now, moving forward we have studied one of the competitors and curated some takeaways that will help you to develop a grocery home delivery app.

3 Takeaways From Instacart App For Grocery Application Development

  1. Including new and unique features

    An uber for groceries has some basic features like

    • List of local grocery stores
    • A search option to find items
    • A shopping cart
    • Scheduling a delivery
    • Payment gateway integration

    Apart from these, if you wish to create a delivery app that stands out from your competitors, you could include some unique features.

    For instance, Instacart mobile app has a feature to save shopping lists and reorder items from previous purchases. Another feature lets the user view nutritional information and filter the items by gluten-free, organic or vegan diets. In fact, users can also get recipes that they can try at home. They may even talk to their shoppers right there in the app.

    In this fast-paced generation, you should plan to make an on-demand grocery delivery app. An app that delivers grocery on the same day.

  2. Make profitable partnerships

    When a business is online, it becomes extremely important to make partnerships that generate profit. Instacart owners understand this very well. They have been able to make successful partnerships with various other companies.

    Let’s take a few examples of Instacart to understand this

    • Instacart partnered with ALDI in September  2018and Instacart users have been able to get ALDI groceries right at their doorsteps since.
    • We also saw a once in a blue moon type of partnership between Postamates app (another groceries delivery app)and Instacart to deliver goods during peak hours. This happened only for San Fransisco.
    • Very recently, as reported by TechCrunch, Sam’s Club decided to club with Instacart grocery mobile app to deliver alcohol the same day. This made it an Uber for alcohol also.

    Not just flawless features of grocery ordering app development, but even partners are important to make your uber for grocery delivery app.

  3. Strategic monetization

    The main aim of any business is to make profits and for that you will need monetization strategies. Here we have mentioned a few monetization strategies for your online grocery delivery app.

    • Delivery fee: A specific amount as a delivery fee is taken from the user on every delivery. This varies according to the amount of the order.
    • Membership fee: Many grocery shopping delivery apps offer a membership fee either monthly or annually. Instacart Express is an annual membership offered by Instacart.
    • Mark up prices: Many stores sell their products at a higher price than normal. The revenue generated from this is used to pay the delivery personnel.
    • Surge pricing: Just like Uber, the concept of surge or busy pricing can work even here. There is an increase in delivery charges during popular delivery times and peak hours. This depends on the business of shoppers.

Next, we have listed some tips that will help you to expand your grocery mobile app.

4 Tips to Expand Grocery Delivery App in COVID-19 and Other Flu Seasons

grocer delivery app development

  1. Tie-up with online groceries platform

    When you are in your initial phase, you will need a secure delivery time and efficiency in online grocery curation. It will also play the role of trials where you can collaborate with the giants of online grocery delivery and witness the response of your target audience.

    By doing so you will also build consumer loyalty and brand retention for a long period. We at Space-O Technologies have developed Uber for delivery in different service genres from groceries to laundry. We manage everything from delivery scheduling to managing communication with the customers.  

  2. Curbside pickup for groceries

    What if the user wants to pick his groceries while heading home? Or wants to pick up his order than to make it deliver at his door? Your grocery delivery app must have options for such curbside deliveries.

    Individuals have started to stock up their places by preparing a long shopping list of vegetables, fruits, snacks, meat, dairy products. Apart from these items, there is a high demand for other beverage stuff like alcohol, beer, wine, which the alcohol delivery app amid the outbreak is capable of delivering the bottles at any location or to the residents as per their requirement.

    There are many supermarkets and online stores dealing with such practices. Some are also providing shopping hours for old adults or seniors with special discounts. You can also have such categories and time-bound offers in your Uber delivery app for members. This will engage more audiences to visit online and offline stores.

    Expert tip: For better user experience, you can integrate “virtual grocery stores” through AI technology, wherein people can have actual store understanding and clear their doubts on fresh vegetables, storage, nutrition info and other hygiene issues.
  3. Supplement with grocery subscription boxes

    Such subscription boxes deliver fresh produces to one’s doorstep by mail each week. These are simply a convenient way to get extra fresh food, in different box sizes according to the requirement. Such integration will allow you to schedule orders in advance with a fixed supply of items. You can also opt for another local alternative: tie-up with a farmer to offer consumers with fresh produce for pickup or delivery.

  4. Expand business via “Dark Store” concept

    To fulfill timely deliveries and pickups, as a retailer you can automate the process by expanding your picking process. You should take the picking process out of stores in the so-called dark store. Such dark stores will avoid chaos in the main store and the consumers or delivery guy can easily pickup their online purchased goods.

    Also, there is no need of hiring employees in the dark store, as it will only consist of the curated and scheduled orders of individuals. Customers are not allowed to go inside and thus, it is isolated storage of orders. For instance, Walmart grocery, recently opened a pickup point, a 40,000 square foot place outside of Chicago at a former grocery store. Consumers can drive up to the spot and wait for their parcel at their designated parking place. A Walmart worker loads up their truck with online filled order. They also make deliveries from that location.

    Such a method will give a seamless momentum to your online as well as offline ordering management system. You will eventually be able to deliver and manage more orders at a given point of time by meeting the food chain demand-supply.

Have a Grocery Delivery App Idea in Mind?

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Best Grocery Delivery Apps 2024

We have listed the top grocery delivery apps with their features and app stores links in the following table. So, it becomes easy to understand the characteristics of each grocery ordering app and helps you in what should you consider for your app development like instacart.

App NameFeaturesApp Store LinkPlay Store Link
  • Enter zip code and choose products from nearby stores
  • Schedule delivery in real-time
  • Reorder items directly from the history
  • Group carts facility to shop with friends, family&relatives
  • Filter products according to its organic, vegan diets, by viewing the nutrition info
App storePlay store
  • Easy switch among the available stores
  • Schedule deliveries according to the available dates for a store
  • Access to reorder button anytime via past order history
  • Save favorite food items in a cart
  • Seamless payment system
App storePlay store
  • A user can curate his own meal kit
  • “Order Genius” feature allows the app to analyze the user buying behavior and suggest for future purchase accordingly
  • Its Express shop provide users to type their shopping list and submit it for better online communication
  • Delivery options are as per the convenience of the users
NAPlay store
Whole Foods
  • Create a shopping list and browse weekly sales at your favorite location to find the latest deals on products
  • View and edit shopping cart anytime, anywhere before placing the order
  • Integration with Alexa shopping list
  • One can add products by tapping, typing, or through voice assistance device Alexa
App storePlay store
  • Schedule same-day delivery, fast payment, and tip for the delivery guy
  • Access to member exclusive savings
  • Reward programs and mPerks
  • Save time and place orders with go-to grocery lists
NAPlay store

Let’s check out these top grocery delivery apps in detail.

  1. Instacart

    Looking for an app for grocery delivery? This grocery app provides same day delivery service from a variety of stores like Costco, Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, and more, depending upon the individual’s selected location. Some local specialty stores like fishmongers have also partnered with Instacart to expand their business online.

    grocery delivery app

    Source: Instacart

    Let’s have a look at the pros and cons to know better about features and functionalities of Instacart grocery application.

    • Easy to order items and get its delivery by adding a zip code
    • Satisfactory delivery options in the form of delivery or pickup from the respective store
    • Chat with the shopper when he is curating your order
    • There is no seamless navigation for users from one feature to another
    • Individual cart checking with respective stores is not possible
    • There is no intuitive functionality for users in the app
  2. Inabuggy

    Instabuggy delivers food and alcohol in the GTA, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver. It is an app like Instacart, where shopper shops your respective grocery items from the selected store and is delivered to your door. The only difference between these two apps is the price or delivery fees of the placed order.

    grocery delivery app

    Source: Inabuggy

    Before moving towards another app let’s have a look at pros and cons of Inabuggy grocery app.

    • There are seamless app navigation and functionality
    • Allows users to track orders in real-time
    • It helps deliver the orders just by using postal code
    • It has multiple stores to choose from and easy item replacement or alternatives
    • The user interface is not upto the mark.
    • The delivery fees is not viable for consumers
    • Selected time slots have a limited number of food items to be delivered
  3. Peapod

    The Peapod app has filters that analyze consumer’s frequent purchases and recommends items according to it. This helps the app to engage more audience. It also offers meal kits, so one can order all the groceries with respect to a particular dish. They have also kept pick-up locations in selected areas. And the new members also get 60 days of free delivery service as part of the app retention tactic.

    grocery delivery app

    Source: Peapod

    Let’s have a look at the pros and cons to know better about features and functionalities of Peapod grocery app.

    • Wide range of organic and local specialties
    • One can filter the items as per his dietary needs for faster shopping
    • Save more deals by bulk-buying
    • Discount offers depending on the day and time
    • Slow processing and word auto-correction annoys online users
    • No back button functionality
    • The category wise browsing is not responsive and thus it hampers the in-app shopping experience
  4. Whole Foods

    This supermarket is a great example for retailers. It is affiliated with Amazon and thus provides Amazon Prime members special discounts and sales price. Both the parties are enjoying the benefits of the last-minute delivery service. Amazon wanted to enter the grocery online store and so partnered with Whole Foods. Whereas this grocery store expanded its business online with timely delivery service in the form of Amazon shipping.

    grocery delivery app

    Source: Whole Foods

    Before moving towards another app let’s have a look at its pros and cons of wholefood grocery app.

    • Prime members get special offers and extra 10% off on weekly sales
    • Provides order convenience via quick tap, type, or voice assistance
    • Latest recipes with proper information to guide the users during their cooking process
    • There’s a checkbox for when items are in the cart, but to delete from the list a user has to select each item
    • No functionality to see the whole in-store inventory
    • The user is not able to switch his shopping list from the website to the app. Thus there is no proper sync between the two online platforms
  5. Shipt

    Shipt grocery application is available in major cities of Southeast and Texas, Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio. Shipt is a major delivery service provider that offers products from grocery chains like Publix, Kroger, Fry’s, and H-E-B. It provides a team of local shoppers to handpick online users items ensuring the fresh produce. The user also enjoys mPerks and Costco membership for encouraging their loyalty.

    grocery delivery app

    Source: Shipt

    Let’s have a look at the pros and cons to know better about features and functionalities of Shipt grocery app.

    • Provides consumers with rewards programs and Costco memberships
    • Allows users to leave special instructions for shoppers regarding specific item requirement
    • 24*7 customer support team
    • It provides alcohol delivery after validating identity proof
    • No functionality to talk to a shopper when he is shopping
    • The UI of the app is not satisfactory
    • There is no cancelation of the membership and it auto-charges on the card

diet app development

FAQ About Grocery Delivery App

  1. What is the best grocery delivery app?

    Here are some of the best delivery groceries app:

    • Instacart
    • Inabuggy
    • Peapod
    • Shipt
    • Whole Foods
    • Fresh Direct
  2. How to shop for groceries during the coronavirus pandemic?

    While practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of the virus, one needs to order groceries online. There are other store precautions like wearing masks, gloves, washing hands and rinse the product after bringing it from the outlet. But the best option is to avoid going out and stay home ordering all the necessary household items.

  3. How are the groceries delivered?

    Here are the steps that online grocery delivery services follow:

    • A user selects the products online through app according to his needs and adds it to the cart
    • The user makes payment and the delivery guy is notified about the order
    • The shopper goes to the respective store and curates the order placed by the user
    • Brings the delivery at the scheduled time and day to the user
  4. Which grocery stores do home delivery?

    Here are the major grocery chains that deliver groceries home:

    • Walmart
    • Whole Foods
    • Safeway
    • Costco
    • H-E-B
  5. What are the tips to expand grocery business online?

    Tips to expand online grocery delivery business:

    • Tie-up with online groceries platform
    • Curbside pickup for groceries
    • Supplement with grocery subscription boxes
    • Expand business via “Dark Store” concept
  6. How to start a profitable grocery shopping business?

    • Think about your requirements
    • Register your business
    • Set up a delivery system
    • Choose payment method
    • Create grocery delivery app
    • Market your services
  7. How to start a grocery delivery service?

    • Contract with a nearby store to fulfill customer orders
    • Create a relationship with a supermarket wholesaler
    • Customers send you a shopping list, and you accompany them to the supermarket
    • Deliver food items to restaurants that don’t want to hire their own drivers
    • Deliver pre-measured recipes for individual meals in meal kits
    • Stick to a specific market segment
  8. How to start a mobile grocery store?

    • Plan your Business
    • Analyze the market condition
    • Approach grocery app development company
    • Design and develop a mobile grocery store
    • Test and launch


Ready to Create Your Grocery App Like Instacart?

In this blog, we have explained the unique features, the importance of profitable partnerships, as well as monetization strategies that can help you with your Uber for grocery shopping app. What you need next is a grocery delivery app development company.

You can cross-verify your idea with us as we are a leading web and mobile app development company in Toronto, Canada. We have experience in developing apps of various categories for both Android and iOS platforms. Have a look at the following results provided by our app developments.

app development

If you have any doubts regarding the on-demand grocery app development cost, process or timeline, update regarding your app store version, feel free to contact our technical expert. All you need to do is fill the contact form in the footer and we will get back to you within 48 hours. Also, this will be 30-minute free of cost consultation.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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