After the Covid-19 outbreak, every 10th consumer worldwide purchases food & beverages and groceries online. Since March 2020, the grocery industry has witnessed massive app downloads with huge profits. Instacart alone has experienced 218% growth in average daily downloads early in the pandemic with an estimated 9.6 million active users and was valued at $39 billion in March 2021. 

Before Pandemic, Loblaw Companies Ltd. was the leading Canadian food retailer in Canada. But when the Covid-19 pandemic hits, Instacart has won the market with its grocery delivery app, partnering with over 500,000 shoppers to provide the fastest grocery delivery. 

Inspired by the success of Instacart, many startups, and established enterprises are also looking forward to launching their grocery delivery apps in the USA and Canada. However, several major players like Walmart, Amazon, and DoorDash have made the competition fierce for grocery startups. But, the growing demand for new features and functionality has made a massive space in the industry for several other grocery delivery apps. 

If you wish to create a grocery shopping app like Instacart, then you’re at the right place. This blog is the ultimate guide to help you understand how you can create a grocery shopping app. 

But first, take a look at the latest statistics in the grocery delivery industry.

Online Grocery Shopping Business Growth statistics You Should not Ignore

Grocery shopping apps like Instacart, Walmart, AmazonFresh, etc., have experienced significant growth in app downloads and made the world spellbound with their sales and user engagement. Let’s check a few statistics:

  • According to a report from Mercator Advisory Group, online grocery sales in the U.S. reached $106 billion in 2020 and are estimated to make 22% of total grocery sales by 2025.
  • Online grocery shopping sales are forecasted to reach 187.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, as per Statista report.
  • US retail m-commerce sales grew at 41.4% in 2020 and are expected to reach $359.32 billion by 2025.

Looking at all the statistics mentioned above, we could say that the future of online grocery shopping will keep blooming. 

What is the Instacart On-Demand Grocery App Platform, and How Does it Work?

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery app that provides door-to-door grocery deliveries within customers’ designated time frame, i.e., within 1 hour to up to five days in advance. It has set its footprint in more than 5500 cities and acquired several small and large-scale grocery chains recently. Undoubtedly, the grocery shopping giant is leading in the market with its unique service model and is launching its Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Instacart Service Model:

Instacart is a well-organized app based on a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace model (a.k.a. Aggregator Model)where users could be the shopper or the customer. It consists of one app for customers and one for Instacart shoppers. Consumers can order groceries and food from any grocery store or restaurant listed in the app and schedule the delivery time. Shoppers, on the other side, can make money by accepting and delivering Instacart orders.   

Looking at the success of Instacart in just two years, many startups and established retail stores are rushing towards this new age of grocery shopping. So, what are you thinking? 

How to create an app like Instacart?

If you also want to create a grocery delivery app like Instacart, below is a step-by-step guide that can help you understand the entire development process of grocery shopping app development.

1. Discover & Planning Phase

It’s always mandatory to have proper planning before you start developing the app. First off, you must be aware of what type of grocery shopping app you want to build and what features and functionalities can meet your target audience’s needs and business objectives. 

In this phase, you are required to conduct customer and competitive research to analyze the demand in the market for online grocery shopping. Competitor analysis also plays a crucial role in evaluating the gap existing apps have left behind. 

Let’s understand it in detail:

  • Select a Business Model 

Once you are done with all the research, select an appropriate and potential business model that effectively reflects your business. There are multiple business models that one needs to know before starting developing the app. 

Some of them are:

  1. Inventory Model: In this model, the platform stocks the products from multiple brands, collects orders from customers, and takes care of the deliveries through internal and external networks.
  2. Aggregator Model: In this model, the platform allows consumers to order products from any store listed on the app and schedule the delivery time. Stores are responsible for handling the orders and delivery executives for deliveries. 
  3. Shopping Model: This model allows customers to select the products they want to buy from online platforms but can’t choose the shop. 
  4. Hyper-local market: This model works for a specific geographic location to deliver products at speed.

Instacart has selected an aggregator model (a.k.a. no-inventory model) to make the fastest doorstep deliveries. Instacart acts as an aggregator for multiple vendors, delivery contractors, and buyers, which has helped Instacart increase user engagement and revenue. If you are planning to build an app like Instacart, then choose the business model very wisely. 

  • Decide on the Key Features

When you plan to create a grocery app to stay ahead in the competition, your app must have some unique features. Let’s look at the features a grocery shopping app must include for buyers, delivery drivers, and administrative personnel. 

Essential Features for Customer App

  • User registration & profile
  • List of stores (Aggregator Model)
  • Browse Products
  • Add to Cart 
  • Shopping Cart page
  • Multiple Payment Options
  • Scheduled Delivery
  • Order status & history
  • Notifications
  • Quick and easy search
  • AI Chatbot
  • Ratings & Reviews 
  • Customer Service Helpdesk

Essential Features for Delivery Person App:

  • Profile
  • Accept/Reject Order Deliveries
  • List of orders (showing items and delivery addresses)
  • Map for navigation
  • In-app Chat
  • Earning Dashboard
  • Order Invoice Generation
  • Help and support
  • Voice recognition

Essential Features for Admin Panel:

  • Order Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Riders & Customers Management
  • Customers & Riders data
  • List of stores (In case of Aggregator Model)
  • Categories Management
  • Customer Support
  • Analytics & Reports to calculate revenue

2. Design UI/UX

User experience and user interface are crucial in determining the flow of the application and how it will function. At first, a wireframe/mockup is designed by UX designers analysing various aspects like users’ persona & their pain points, product specifications, and business objectives. Then, a prototype is created by the developers to understand the app’s navigation and flow better. Once everything is discussed with the focus team, a final UI is designed by expert UI designers to proceed further in the development cycle.

3. Develop 

In this phase, the coding part takes place. The expert developers create a specific functionality and then test it before deploying the code during this process. Well, the app development goes smoothly if you pick the right technology stack for the app development. 

So, let’s have a look on the technology front:

  • Technology Stack for App Development

Here is the list of technologies that can be used to build a grocery shopping app like Instacart for different platforms.

For Frontend Development:

  • Java, Kotlin (Android Platform)
  • Swift, Objective C (iOS Platform)
  • JavaScript, CSS, HTML, WebAssembly (Web App)

For Backend Development: PHP, Java, Python


  • React Native, TypeScript, Xamarin (Android, Cross-platform)
  • Flutter (iOS, Cross-platform)
  • React, Angular, Ruby on Rails, Django (Web) 

Database: MongoDB, Cassandra, MailChimp Integration, Redis, Hbase, PostgreSQL

Server: NGINX

Cloud Environment: Google Cloud Platform, AWS, Azure, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2,

Payment Method: Braintree, eWallets, PayPal, & Stripe

Real-time Analysis: IBM, Cisco, BigData, Spark, Apache Flink, Hadoop

API Integration: Twilio,, Nexmo, Freshchat, 

GPS Navigation & Tracking: Core Location Framework, MapKit (For iOS ), Google’s Places API, Google Maps API (For Android)

Professional developers with extensive experience in app development can help you pick the right technology stack for your app development needs. Once the tech stack is finalized, you can develop the product based on the app architecture to make the app scalable and future-proof. You can achieve this by outsourcing expert designers, developers, testers, and architects.

4. Testing & Deployment

Undoubtedly, developers first unit tested the code, but thorough testing is a mandatory step in software development for quality assurance. Hence, it is essential to perform various types of testing before deploying the app. Quality Analysts run several tests like functional, regression, security, integration, and performance testing to detect and fix bugs. Once all bugs are fixed, the app can be launched to compete with other players in the market.

How Much A Grocery Shopping App Development Costs? 

The market is very welcoming for online grocery shopping, notably after the corona outbreak. So, it’s the best bet to invest in grocery shopping application development to become a hit brand like Instacart. So, now you have the app idea, but not sure how much it can cost. 

Several factors, such as the type of platform, business model, and app complexity, affect the app development time and cost. The timeframe for the development can also vary based on the features and functionalities you want to add to your app, and so does the cost. Therefore, the exact app development cost is hard to calculate. Only an app development company with expertise in app development can help you with the costing part. 

So, if you are looking for a reliable company to help you develop an on-demand app for grocery shopping, then fret not! Instead, please share your ideas with us. We are here to help you with your app development requirement and will give you a cost estimate. Feel free to contact us anytime!