How to Build a Grocery Ecommerce App for Online Retail

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February 22, 2024

It’s great to live in a world where fresh groceries are just a click away. Online grocery shopping has made the lives of consumers much easier in the last few years, and the numbers reflect that. The number of online grocery shoppers worldwide was 471 million in 2017. Jumping forward five years to 2022, it had nearly tripled to 1.2 billion.

If you run a grocery business in 2024, then you need to know **how to build a grocery ecommerce app.**


Simply maintaining a digital presence on social media and your website is not enough. You also need a grocery ecommerce app to maximize the benefits of online shopping.

Read on to learn why and how to build a grocery app for online retail.

How ecommerce transformed grocery shopping

Grocery stores are one of the last bastions of physical retail. Despite the hassle of driving to the store and waiting in check-out lines, consumers would visit brick-and-mortar stores so that they could select only the freshest goods. In 2020, the global pandemic flipped the paradigm. Enforced social distancing rules meant neighborhood grocery stores went from bustling to empty, and online shopping took precedence.

Today, most of the U.S.’s largest grocery chains, like Walmart and Kroger, have their own online store. Other third-party service providers act as delivery aggregators, letting consumers shop from multiple stores and receive a single delivery at their homes. Customers and companies are gradually accepting the shift to digital grocery shopping. This year, the global online grocery market is expected to generate revenue totaling $786.8 billion, according to a report by Statista.

Build your own grocery ecommerce app

An easy-to-use platform for customers to buy groceries online can boost your business and attract new customers. Here’s what you need to create your very own grocery shopping app.

Why you need a grocery app

Recent inflationary economic trends have affected grocery shopping, too. A 2022 report from Statista found that 18% of U.S. consumers are spending more on groceries than in previous years. Meanwhile, a 2023 survey by Drive Research found that 16% of shoppers buy groceries exclusively online, which is set to rise higher in the future.

In this market, your grocery business must have some sort of digital presence to remain competitive. Integrating modern mobile technology with a traditional business like a grocery store is possible, but it needs to be done with care. Your app solution should add value to your business, not become a place for customer churn and unfulfilled orders.

If you don’t have an app for your grocery store yet, it’s time to start building one. Websites are no longer as effective. As m-commerce slowly replaces ecommerce, mobile apps are the best and most effective way to reach customers. Here are a few ways mobile apps are superior to websites for grocery stores:

  • Apps work faster than websites
  • Apps can use all the capabilities of a smartphone
  • Apps send users notifications about offers and sales
  • Apps can be personalized for each user

Types of grocery apps

Depending on the size and scale of your grocery business, your mobile app will look quite different. These are the common types of grocery store apps:

  • Single store app
  • Chain store app
  • Delivery aggregators

5 steps to build a grocery store app

Building a grocery shopping app takes time, effort, and money. You can begin when you are sure you have enough of all three.

1. Research

This is where you determine exactly what kind of app you are building. To do so, you need to gather data about your customer base, their preferences, and behavior. You will also have to strategize ways to make your app stand out from the competition, like value-adding features.

2. Prototyping

Once your basic list of features is ready, you can build a working prototype of your app. This involves wireframing (creating a layout) and designing the user experience and user interface (UX/UI).

3. Development

With a prototype ready, the next stage is building a minimum viable product (MVP). For a grocery shopping app, the MVP will need at least a customer-facing interface with payments enabled, a secure database with customer information, and a back-end for developers and administrators.

4. Launch

Bring your grocery app to users with a well-marketed launch. Conduct a competitive analysis to see how other grocery apps advertise themselves and position your app per your strategy. Raise awareness about your app’s features and how they can solve customers’ problems.

5. Ongoing Maintenance

After launching your app, the real work begins. Ensure the app is functioning smoothly by running constant maintenance, rolling out regular updates and security patches, and having your customer service team ready to resolve any issues.

Challenges of building your own grocery app

Having a popular grocery app can make life convenient for you and your customers, but it doesn’t come easy. App development can be a challenging process, especially when it comes to retail. Here are some of the challenges you will face:

Solving these problems requires two things during the early stages of app development: careful planning and smart budgeting. Knowing how to use the available resources to maximum effect goes a long way when building an online grocery store.

How much does developing a grocery app cost?

The cost of building a grocery store app depends on a few factors. These include:

  • Features list
  • Technology stack
  • Development team’s rates

The more complex you make your app, the more expensive it will be. The average cost for building a grocery store app can range from as low as $40,000 up to $200,000.

Wave Grocery: The ideal partner for online grocery stores

The best solution to the problems of grocery store app development is to bring in the experts. Wave Grocery is the definitive ecommerce platform for online grocery stores. It is ideal for large businesses as it offers a wide variety of sophisticated tools, using the latest trends of technology, but also for small businesses entering the digital space, as there are no upfront payments. You can build a grocery app for free and start paying only once it goes live. Wave Grocery is a smart and scalable ecommerce platform specifically designed for grocery stores.

February 22, 2024
Last updated
July 8, 2024
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