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7 Step Guide To Build A Grocery App Like Instacart/Grofers

What's Inside

What is the newest trend for on-demand service apps? Of course the Uber for X model.

This specific model, based on the business model of popular cab service app Uber, is now the ruling trend among the service app maker. The popularity of this makes it kind of obvious that even the grocery delivery apps are going to follow this trend.

Now, you may be just a normal Joe who wants to make an app or an experienced grocery app developer who wants a piece of this Uber for X ‘cake’ for their business. In any case, if you are wondering how to build a grocery app, then you are in the right place.

Before we dive deep into the grocery store app development and what it requires, take a detailed look into the Uber For X concept and what it means.  

Uber For X Concept in Grocery: What Does It Mean?

The on-demand app sector is being driven by this Uber For X concept, including grocery store apps. But what does this Uber For X even mean?

It’s simple really. The X in ‘Uber For X’ stands for any service the user requires. So, an Uber for X app is like Uber for cabs.

Once you book a cab on uber, you get your ride almost instantly, or within a set time. Just like that, and Uber for X app provides the customer the service they require, almost instantly, or within a set time limit.

Startups are using the Uber For X model to provide their users for various services such as Doctor on demand, Foodnow, etc. Grocery delivery apps are also under this business model.

how to make an app

But is it just instantness of it all that’s making the grocery apps so popular? What other reasons are there for their popularity? Let’s have a look.

Why Are Grocery App so Popular Among Millennial and Baby Boomers?

Let’s face it- grocery apps are life savers.

No one likes going grocery shopping. It’s tedious and boring and you’ll always forget at least one item on the list. And for people who are the busy bees, it’s a literal nightmare. 

However, before we tell you all about how to make your own grocery app, we are going to give you some detailed reasons for their popularity-

Saving Your Time

No need to go all the way to the grocery store, these on-demand grocery apps are bringing products to your home. You don’t have to spend time walking through the chilly aisles of a store now. 

how to build a grocery app and save time

It saves you from standing in a long queue at the check out as well. You don’t have to haul out your groceries from your car to your home anymore. With doorstep delivery, it’s that simple.

Saving Your Money

You don’t have to hunt for offers on groceries anymore. No need for trying to use expired coupons either.

how to build a grocery app and save money

With grocery store apps, you can get access to plenty of offers and sales on your favorite product. So as it turns out, grocery apps are not only saving time but money as well.

You Can Shop For Others Easily

Uusers can now shop for groceries that are not only for them but for their loved ones as well.

 build a grocery app and shop for others

Do you have a sick aunt who hasn’t been able to go for food shopping? No problem, just have some groceries delivered to her home. Want your brother to eat better than pizza? Just order some easy to cook groceries for him and have it delivered to his apartment.

No More Impulsive Buying

This one is for the shopaholics out there.

Maybe that bag of candy, or that extra carton of chocolate chip ice cream that’s not even on your list.

how to build a grocery app for millennial

Grocery store apps stop this from happening. So our mind does not divert, and we don’t end up buying stuff that we don’t even need on the first place.

Thus online grocery store stops our impulse buying, helping us to become healthier by ditching that bag of barbeque flavored chips!

Instacart: The Hero Of Grocery Apps?

Covering the grocery needs of numerous residents in LA, Miami, Washington D.C., Atlanta and New York City, Instacart is one of the top players of the online grocery app scenario.

The users can have their order delivered in an hour or they can choose to pick it up from their local store. The personal shoppers hired by the service help to complete the orders from whichever store the users pick.

Users can select from a long list of the store to place their orders from. Instacart lists popular stores such as Costco, Fairway, Petco, etc.

There is a premium membership available called Instacart express. With this membership, the users can sign up for a monthly or a yearly basis. The price for the annual membership fee to Instacart express is $99, and the monthly fee is $9.99. With Instacart express, users get free delivery for orders above $35.

Most grocery delivery app developer wonders how to make apps like Instacart. It is indeed an ideal model for grocery delivery apps.

So, Finally, How to Build a Grocery App?

We are going to reveal 7 Easy Steps that will help you develop the ultimate grocery app that beats the tops rivals.

Let’s explore them in details.

1. Types Of Grocery Apps – What Business Model You Should Go For

When you are thinking about how to create a grocery app, you must know that there are four different kinds of apps. And these are-


Marketplace apps have their own menus and delivery drivers to take orders and deliver the grocery to the doorstep. In case you don’t have a prior grocery related business but want to pursue a grocery app, then this is the most suitable type of app for you. The Bigbasket online grocery shopping app is one such example which is popular in India.


Aggregators list all the nearby stores and their menus. This kind of app lets the user order form these listed stores. They use affiliate drivers to deliver the products but the fulfillment of the product depends on the store. one such example is Instacart, popular in US and Flipkart grocery app which is running successfully in India.

how to build a grocery app like instacart

Grocery Chains

Big grocery store apps like Wal-Mart and The Kroger Mobile App have their own apps for their customers. With these apps, the consumers can easily order their groceries and have it delivered to their home.

Single Stores

Created by the single stores, these apps are specially for the regular customers of the store. The app building and management, taking orders and delivering them, everything is handled by the single store. This way they can get more business their way.  

2. Three Ends Of Grocery Apps- Buyers, Sellers And Driver’s

You can’t just create one grocery app and be done with it. When it comes to on-demand grocery app development, there are three sides to the app.

how to build a grocery app
  • The customer app
  • The administrator app
  • And the delivery person’s app.

What features are needed for these specific apps? Let’s see.

The Customer App

This is the app for the user. This version is going to be hosted on the app store for downloading and installing. The customer app needs to be full of excellent features and needs to have an amazing UI/UX design and layout.

how to build instacart like app screens

But before you start asking How to build a grocery app for the customers, there are some other features that the customer app needs are-

  • The user should be able to sign up and set their own profile. Add the log in via social media option to make signing up easier.
  • In the customer app, the user must be able to choose from which store they want to order from. List out all the stores your app is affiliated with.
  • With the location feature, the users can input complete address and their location to get the doorstep delivery.
  • The search and filter are going to help the customer to search for a specific product and filter out the product they do not want to see.
  • Easily add the chosen product from the list to the cart.
  • Once they are done choosing, they can move on to their cart section, checking out the total price of the products and moving on to the checkout.

Making Payment Seamless

  • Add a few different kinds of payment option for the customers to choose from. They can pay with card, or PayPal, etc.
  • The wallet is optional but a neat feature anyways. The customer can check out their wallet balance and recharge it if necessary.
  • In the case of faulty products, the customer should have a return and refund option.
  • The users should be able to schedule their order according to their schedule.
  • Real-time order tracking and to see it’s progress is a feature the users love.
  • A list to see all the previous orders and their delivery details.

Engaging User with Deals and Offers

  • The users should be able to provide ratings and reviews for not only the products but also for the delivery people.
  • The feature to add products to the wishlist for future preferences. The customers can be reminded to buy the products placed on the wishlist.
  • With the chat message feature, they can contact the delivery person for any queries.
  • Push notifications for delivery notification, promotional offers, etc will keep the consumer in the loop.
  • Various offers are going to make your customers more prone to shopping from your platform.

The Admin Side Of The App

The admin app or admin panel is the side of the app that is controlled by the administrator of the delivery app. This is the side that needs to be built with utmost importance because if something goes wrong on the admin side of the service, the customers won’t get their deliveries.

The features you need to include in the admin app are-

  • Managing orders: the admin should be able to view detailed order list and notify relevant stores about them.
  • The feature of managing inventory needs to be included. The admin should be able to keep track of their inventory and available products.
  • According to availability, admin should be able to accept or reject an order.
  • Stores should receive complete payment after a delivery is completed.
  • The admin should be able to view the reviews and ratings left by the customers on products and services.

The App For The Delivery/Shopper Person

This one is for the person who would be making the delivery. With this app, the trinity of grocery delivery apps is made complete. This is going to connect the customer with the seller and the delivery person, helping them to get perfect service.

how to build a grocery app for shoppers

The features the delivery side app needs are-

  • The delivery person can sign in using their email id and password.
  • The app should have a panel with a list of all the completed deliveries and ongoing deliveries as well
  • Push notification to let them know when they are receiving a new request of delivery, along with the details of the time.
  • The feature of turning off delivery status on or off, along with the ability to accept or reject an order.
  • Easy GPS navigation system to find out the location of the store and the delivery place.
  • Messaging feature for the user to connect with the delivery man regarding any query about the delivery or time.
  • Receive payment easily through the app once the order is complete.
  • With the addition of the wallet feature, they would be able to check out the amount received after a finished delivery and withdraw it to their convenience.
  • The delivery person should be able to see past order summaries along with transaction details.

3. Consider The Important Factors and Design Your App

Before the on demand grocery app development process starts, you need to consider some important factors. This will make it easier for you to plan your app and market it to the user. Along with that, doing this will make sure that your app stays more unique than your competitors.

A. Addressing The Pain Points Of The Customer

Like with the development of any other app, you need to understand and address the pain points of your user. Before you ask how to develop your grocery app, you need to ask why everyone is using grocery apps?

What is the app offering them that the store can not?

Once you understand why apps are more preferred by the user, you need to make it better. Plan and figure out how you can make their shopping experience even better? By doing this you are not only going to give your users a better experience but set yourself ahead of your competition.

B. Analyzing The Strength And Weaknesses Of The Competitors

No app is unique today. Which is why you need to consider your competitors before you even begin the planning phase.

grocery app revenue - how to build a grocery app

Install and use the competitor’s apps for a while and see what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. What are the best features of their apps? And what is the worst? Why people like their app, or hate it? Once you have the answer to all these questions, you’ll know you are ready to start planning your app.

C. Attractive UI/UX Design And Layout

An Attractive UI/UX design goes a long way when it comes to on demand grocery app development.

how to build a grocery app with best UI UX

When you have finally started on your grocery store app development, you have to make sure that your app has a good UI/UX design and layout. The more attractive it is, the more enjoyable it’ll be for the user to use it. And the more they enjoy using the app, the more people would start using your app.

Just because you are selling vegetables doesn’t mean you don’t need a good layout for your app. A beautiful layout is absolutely necessary to keep the users stuck to your app. Talk with an experienced UI UX design agency to manifest your grocery app idea.

make your grocery app habit forming - secrets

D. Personalized Experience To The Users

“One size fits all” sounds only good as an expression.

When it comes to grocery store app development, personalizing your app to the user is kind of a big deal. This is going to give them a feeling that the app owner, which is you, really cares about their needs and wants as shoppers.

But how can you personalize their experience? Simple, you can use machine learning to make sure that the app learns about their shopping preferences the more they use the app. You can offer them special deals based on the products they frequently buy.

Suggest them products they frequently buy. You can also give them a favorite feature where they can add their liked products for quick access. Personalizing the app according to the user’s need is only going to make them more loyal users.

4. Necessary Grocery App Features To Implement

If you are hiring grocery app developers should know that every grocery store app needs some necessary plus customized features. These features are supposed to make shopping easier for users.

So what are these features?

Creating A Shopping List

How many times has it been that you’ve gone shopping, but forgot what to buy cause you didn’t write a shopping list?

how to build a grocery app with shopping list

Too many times. Same goes with online shopping. There is a good enough chance that you might forget to add one or two items on the cart. Which is why you need a shopping list feature.

With this, the app user can create a shopping list of all the things they need and search accordingly. Bonus points to your app if they can just directly share their shopping list with the vendor through the app placing their order simply.

Quick And Easy Search

It’s hard to search for an item in a store, isn’t it?

Which is why people moved to online grocery apps so swiftly. It’s an awful waste of time wandering through the aisles looking for your favorite kinds of cookies. On the grocery apps, however, it’s awfully easy. All you gotta do is to search for it.

how to build a grocery app search option

But if it’s not easy to search and find products on your app, then there is really no point in using it. Customers need to be able to find their products easily on your app.

Make sure that all the products are categorized well on your app. With a proper category, you can make it easy for the user to find their products. It’s not going to work if they find eggs under the vegetable category. So use the categorization feature well.

Add To Cart

It’s an obvious feature in all and any shopping app. The Cart.

It is symbolic of shopping for stuff. So it is no wonder that ‘add to cart’ is a feature that you need. Allow the users to add things in their cart. They might buy it right then, or maybe later. But once they add it to the cart, they won’t forget to buy it.

Popular And Favorite Items

You can add the suggestion section where you can show the user popular and their favorite items based on their recent purchases. With this section, you can help the users to access the products easily.

how to build a grocery app add to cart

Special Deals, Offers, And Rewards

Whether a shopper or online grocery app developers, you should know that giving the users special deals and offers on their frequently purchased product is a feature that’ll have a positive effect on your app. With such deals, you can make sure that the users return to your app for buying their groceries again and again.

Push Notifications

To let the users know about the deals and offers going on in your app you need the feature of push notifications. Not only for offers and deals though, but the users can also set up reminders to buy certain items or to notify them when a certain item is on sale. Push notifications can go a long way to make your app become the new favorite to the users.

Order Tracking And Status

Once the order has been placed, let the user track its progress and status. With this feature, they would be able to track the progress of their orders and see how long it will take for it to get to them.

Secure Multiple Payment Options

When going through grocery shopping app development it is important that you have multiple options for payments in your app. With the ability to pay directly from their phones, users are going to have a better shopping experience.

You can also add different payment methods like Paypal, PayU, Quickpay, etc. by adding these payment methods. Adding these methods is going to make it more convenient for the users to shop from your app.  

Scheduled Delivery Times

You can’t stay at home all the time just cause there is a delivery pending from a grocery store app. Which is why it is better to integrate the scheduled delivery times feature into your app. With this, the user can schedule the delivery time for their groceries.

They can have the groceries delivered to their doorstep at a convenient time for them.

Ratings And Reviews

With this feature, consumers can leave ratings and reviews on different products and shops from where they ordered the product. They can also give reviews to personal shopper or deliveryman. This will help them pick only the best for them.

Nutritional Value Of What You Are Offering

For the health conscious this is a neat feature. They can check out the nutritional value of the food items they are ordering. You can also add a quick suggestion feature based on the specific diet they must be following. This feature will bring more health conscious crowd to your app.  

Plan A Meal Order The Ingredients

Planning a meal and cooking can become easy with this feature. The users can plan a meal upload it on the app, and the app can simply list all the ingredients required to make that meal. This feature is extremely handy for those who love to cook but barely have enough time to go for shopping.

Emergency Delivery Of Products

What happens when you are making a dish, and have forgotten to buy one ingredient. With the emergency order and delivery feature, you can help the users solve this problem easily. In case of emergency, the user can order something to be delivered quickly, from the closest source available. This can be a life-saving feature for your grocery store app.

5. How To Monetize Your Grocery Delivery App?

Every app needs to be monetized. Because after all, everyone needs an ROI on their app. But the monetization strategies change along with the kind of app you are building. When it comes to grocery delivery apps, many wonder how to use apps like Instacart to make money.

So before you start thinking about how to make your grocery app, make sure to take a look at these monetization ideas.

Upcharging The Item

On a grocery delivery app, you can always upcharge the item. It is a usual monetization strategy used by all grocery store delivery apps and you can utilize it for your platform as well.

Delivery Charges

The delivery charges are another obvious way for you to monetize your app. Many grocery apps charge their users for delivery. You can, however, offer free delivery to people located near you or if their order exceeds a set amount.

how to build a grocery app and make money

Comision From Orders

This works well for the aggregator model. You can ask for a small commission from all the store listed on your app for bringing more business to them through your online platform.

Premium Advertising Service

You can place special ads for a specific store and get revenue from it. However, if you have a warehouse model; then it won’t work out for you.

6. What Tech Stack You Need To Make Your Grocery Delivery App?

You need to know the tech stack first to implement features mentioned above into your app.

But what is the tech stack for building your grocery app?

In the following points, we are going to tell you the technological details you need to know to build a grocery app like Instacart. So gather your pen and paper.

Developing Your Code And Deploying It

To make a complete app, you need proper codes. And writing these codes and deploying them properly is part of the app development tech stack.

Apps like Instacart use Github to develop and deploy their codes. It is easy to share, deploy and comment on the code over Github, which is why it is being used by many Uber for X startups to build their first app.

Programming Languages To Use

In case you are developing an app just for android, then the programming language you need to use is Java. for iOS you need Swift. You can also use Ruby on Rails framework to build the front end for the initial iOS version of your app.

For a web application, you can use C++ or C#. for the website frontend, you should use, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The backend of the app can be built using PHP or Python.

How To Pay? The Payment Gateway

You need to use a safe technology to add a secure payment gateway to your app. The most used technologies by the app developers are Stripe, Braintree, Paypal, etc. to give a seamless payment experience to the user, make sure to implement more than one kind of payment gateway to your app.

Delivery Timing: When Will The Grocery Arrive?

It’ll be amazing if you could let your clients know when their productswould be arriving.

And with the machine learning algorithm, you can do just that. The algorithm considers all the factor like the delivery location, order volume, dispatch time. With this, the app will give the user an estimated time for the delivery of the groceries.

The Navigational Support

You need GPS navigation for your delivery app. It is an important feature to have in your app.

For the location of the delivery, you can use Core Location Framework for iOS and  Google’s Places API for Android.

For the driver tracking and giving them right navigation details, you can use, MapKit for iOS and Google Maps API for Android.

7. Cost Of Developing A Grocery App

The grocery app development cost in India and the US, depends on many different aspects, such as the platform and the kind of business model you choose to go with.

The time frame of the app development process also has a big effect on the app building process.

Here is a brief timeframe of an on-demand grocery app development. The time frame can, however, change depending on the kinds of feature you want to include in your app.

  • The customer mobile app- for iOS and Android- 20-30 days
  • The admin app- for iOS and Android- 30 days
  • Delivery app- for iOS and Android- 30-40 days
  • API and synchronization- 30-35 days

The exact grocery app development cost can be hard to estimate. However, the cost of an on-demand grocery app development can depend on the platform, the features and it’s functionality. If you have listed down your features, we can give you an estimate! Shoot us a mail and we will reply with an NDA.

Now that you Know How to build a Grocery app, Asses the Market Competition

Now that we have given you a crash course on grocery delivery app development and told you about the king of grocery apps Instacart, it’s time to assess other competition in the market. Similarly, there are many grocery shopping apps in India like Grofers and Bigbasket which are getting high revenues and popularity.

It is always important to look at the competition to see what they are doing, what they are doing differently and what they are not doing at all.


For the amazon prime members, there is no need to even look at any other grocery apps as they already have Amazonfresh available for them.

how to build a grocery app like Amazonfresh

For the amazon prime customers based on a major city, AmazonFresh i9s offering to deliver their groceries for $14.99. The customers can select products from over 500,000 items and get the delivery on the same day. The selection includes fresh produce, home essentials, and many more essentials.

The products from Whole Foods Market are also available for easy purchase since the acquisition by Amazon. AmamzonFresh offers a 30-day free trial for their customers to try their service before charging them. The amazon grocery app’s Indian variant is also very popular which is also called Amazon Prime Now grocery shopping app.


Shipt, launched in 2014, caters to people over 250 major metros throughout the US. the users can also get their groceries delivered to a friend or a relative.

how to build a grocery app like Shipt

With a network of local shoppers, Shipt makes it easier for the customer to get their apps from local stores. The app has a messaging feature which lets the customer contact the shopper.this is incredibly useful in case the shop runs out of a specific order item. The shopper can ask whether the customer wants to get a substitute or just pass on that product.

The monthly membership is $14 and yearly membership will cost $99. With Shipt, consumers can get same-day delivery of their groceries and other essentials.


With their motto of “wholesome food at wholesale prices.” Thrivemarket is curating high-quality organic and non-GMO products at 25%-30% discount rate. Annual membership is $59.95, the monthly membership is $5. Orders above $49 ships free.

how to build a grocery app like Thrivemarket

The users can register for free on this platform. With their first purchase on Thrivemarket, the users can begin their 30-day free trial with the healthy selection of products, Thrivemarket is definitely a strong competitor on the grocery store app segment.


More popular among the east coasters, Freshdirect is providing its customers with home and office deliveries. Freshdirect offers their services in locations such as New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. they also deliver to the jersey shore and Hamptons during summer.

how to build a grocery app like Freshdirect

Freshdirect has a partnership with local farms, dairies, and fisheries. Which means the food they offer is fresh. They offer 3,000 products to choose from. The available items also change according to the seasons.

Freshdirect is more concentrated on the food items than home essential items. As a customer one can place their order a week in advance or the night before they need the delivery.

The delivery fee is $5.99 per order along with a tip to the driver who delivers the order. But if someone uses the service frequently then they can opt for the Deliverypass option. At $79 for six months and $129 for a year, the users can get unlimited free deliveries, timeslot reservations, and exclusive perks.


Starting way back in 1989, online grocery delivery service Peapod is one of the oldest and most experienced competitors. Peapod now serves 24 U.S. markets such as New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington D.C and even Wisconsin.

how to build a grocery app like Peapod

Peapod is probably one of the most efficient delivery services. It’s filtering feature helps the user find out that they really need to buy. With the order genius feature, the customer can have their frequent purchases analyzed. This will generate suggestions for future purchases.

One of the most popular features of Peapod is the meal kit service. With this, the user can just order all the groceries needed to make a particular dish.

The users can add items to their cart anytime they want. The items can be delivered to the doorstep, or the user can pick up their deliveries from pick up locations in selected areas. All new customers get 60 days of free deliveries.

Grocery Apps: Worth It Or Not?

So, is on demand grocery delivery app development really worth it?

The final verdict will be, yes, they are. With the improvement of streaming technology and a focus on healthy eating, more and more U.S. natives are turning towards home-cooked meals. But at the same time, they don’t really have a lot of time to hit up the store. And that is why grocery shopping service apps are going to rise in popularity.

With the grocery delivery apps like AmazonFresh, Instacart and Peapod, people now have an easier way of getting groceries at home, increasing their tendency to cook meals than go out for dinner. No wonder over 80% of American meals was homecooked in 2017.

how much does it cost to make an app

So if you want to develop a grocery store delivery app, now is the time. With the right strategy, your app can become a new favorite among the health-conscious crowd who would rather have a home-cooked meal than eat take out.

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