How to Develop an On-Demand Delivery App: A Comprehensive Guide

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In the wake of the pandemic, the demand for on-demand delivery apps has surged with the closure of restaurants and coffee shops. Notably, the first quarter of 2020 witnessed a staggering 169% increase in restaurants adopting delivery services. Presently, the food delivery market is outpacing the dine-in sector, exhibiting a growth rate of 300%. This presents an opportune moment for the development of your mobile app.

The food delivery app market is not only dynamic and fast-growing, but it’s also incredibly diverse. As they say, there’s room for everyone. Five major players—UberEats, DoorDash, Caviar, Grubhub, and Postmates—have staked their claim in the U.S. alone. The U.K. boasts Eat and Deliveroo, while Meituan reigns supreme as the most popular app in China.

So, if you’ve contemplated launching your food delivery app service, now is the perfect time to bring your ideas to life. However, it’s crucial not to dive in headfirst. Creating a delivery app presents its fair share of challenges, including selecting the right features, finding a trustworthy contractor, and devising a monetization strategy.

Unraveling the Mechanics of a Delivery App

A food delivery service intermediates between a hungry customer and a restaurant. Here’s a breakdown of how it operates:

While major food corporations like McDonald’s or KFC have developed their delivery apps exclusively for their respective restaurants, a diverse range of dining options is far more appealing to customers.

Strategies for Monetizing Your Delivery App

Now, let’s delve into the financial aspect. The delivery business is not only lucrative but also experiencing rapid growth. To put it into perspective, UberEats raked over $1.2 billion in revenue in Q2 of 2020. Just Eat’s revenue surged by 44% to €1 billion in the first half of 2020, compared to €715 million in 2019, processing a staggering 257 million orders since January. The following are the three most popular monetization models:

  • Commission Fee: Apps often charge restaurants a percentage for linking them with eager customers. UberEats, for instance, levies up to a 30% commission fee per order and constrains eateries from inflating prices to offset these costs.
  • Delivery Fee: In contrast, customers foot the bill for doorstep delivery. Fees can range from as low as $0.99 (as seen on UberEats) to as high as 30% of the order value, akin to Swiggy. While this model offers stable revenue, building substantial wealth solely on this approach is challenging. A blend of different strategies is recommended.
  • Ads (or Marketing Fees): Delivery apps often partner with restaurants to promote them, elevating their visibility on the platform.
  • Passes: This is a novel feature introduced by major players like Uber and DoorDash. Apps now offer monthly passes with perks like free delivery or additional discounts.

To ensure the success of your delivery app, it’s imperative not to rely solely on one revenue source. Mix and match various monetization strategies for optimal results.

Critical Features of Your Delivery App

When selecting your app’s core features, the initial step is to define your business model, target audience, and specific needs. To guide you through this process, we’ve compiled a list of pivotal questions:

  • How will you establish partnerships with restaurants?
  • Will you incorporate grocery stores into your platform?
  • Will you hire in-house couriers, engage a third-party delivery service, or leverage restaurant-owned drivers?

Once you’ve hashed out these details with your team, it’s time to develop your delivery app’s initial version. Most services opt for separate apps catering to customers, restaurants, and couriers, available on iOS and Android. Take your time with the prospect of managing six distinct apps. With React Native, we can expedite the development process and use a single JavaScript codebase and team for both platforms. This means we could create just three apps or even one with varying interfaces. We consult thoroughly with clients to find a solution that suits all parties involved. Drawing from our extensive experience, we’ve identified the key features indispensable for each delivery app facet.

Customer’s App

  • Sign up / Sign in page: Simplify the registration process to ensure users don’t spend more than three minutes on it.
  • Restaurant catalog with search functionality, filters, and ratings.
  • Payment settings: Integrate credit/debit card options, along with ApplePay, GooglePay, and Cash.
  • Delivery location: Allow users to choose their destination by dropping a pin on a map or manually entering an address.
  • In-app chat: Facilitate communication between customers and drivers or customer support for delivery instructions or last-minute updates.
  • Push notifications: Keep customers in the loop about the status of their orders and offer promo codes to boost retention.
  • Order history: Enable users to review their previous orders.

Courier’s App

  • Registration form (again): Streamline the process for couriers to get on board.
  • Live order dashboard: Display available delivery tasks for couriers to choose from.
  • Order status tracking: Provide real-time updates, such as “Ready for Pick-up,” “En Route,” and “Delivered.”
  • Order history: Allow couriers to view completed orders and payments.

Restaurant’s App

  • Administrative panel: Empower restaurants to manage incoming orders efficiently.
  • Push notifications: Alert couriers when an order is ready for pick-up.
  • Payment menu: Enable the generation of invoices within the app for seamless transactions.

Calculating the Costs of Developing a Delivery App

If you’ve made it this far, you’re undoubtedly convinced of the immense potential in the delivery app market. After finalizing your business model, monetization strategy, and core features, the question of costs inevitably arises. With on demand mobile app development company, the average delivery app development time is approximately 6.5 months. Let’s break down the costs:

  • UI/UX design, encompassing all essential elements such as restaurant profiles, reviews, order history, and more.
  • Frontend development: Leveraging React Native, we can create iOS and Android apps with a unified codebase and team, expanding your market reach.
  • Backend API development.
  • Project management.
  • Quality Assurance testing.

Based on our experience with similar projects, the estimated cost of developing a delivery app ranges from $80,000 to $100,000. This encompasses the complete development cycle, including UI/UX design, iOS and Android versions, and QA testing.

Identifying a Reliable Contractor

The query isn’t just “How to build a delivery app?” and “Who can execute the app?”. Selecting an experienced contractor can substantially streamline the process and offer you the best solutions available. We understand that identifying trustworthy outsourcers can be a daunting task for startups. To mitigate risks, consider these three precautions:

  • Conduct a Background Check: Googling the company’s name and exploring its website and client testimonials. Visit platforms like Behance and Dribble to scrutinize their design portfolio. Companies that value their reputation take pride in their online presence and showcase their capabilities. 
  • Time Efficiency Matters: Opt for a partner who works with React Native and prioritizes your time and budget. This framework enables the creation of two distinct apps with a single codebase, while native UI elements ensure optimal performance. Our experience indicates that React Native is ideal for testing a business idea, as it saves time and budget. Trust Your Instincts: After perusing a company’s blog and reviewing their past projects, listen to your gut feeling. If something needs to be fixed about a developer, it’s better to keep searching until you find the right fit.

In Conclusion

In 2020, food delivery services processed billions of orders daily. As the pandemic shuttered eateries, food delivery transformed from a comfort to a necessity. The market is expanding rapidly, making it the opportune moment to embark on your delivery app venture.

We’re frequently asked how to build a delivery app and where to start. The market is vast enough to accommodate everyone, but defining your niche, business model, and target audience is imperative. Equally important is devising a monetization strategy through commission fees, delivery charges, advertising, or a unique approach.

We’re poised to guide you through the process and assist in fleshing out key details. While most services opt for separate apps catering to customers, restaurants, and couriers on iOS and Android, you can handle managing six distinct apps. Thanks to React Native, we can expedite development and use a shared codebase, thereby creating apps for both platforms. Feel free to leverage our list of critical features or reach out for specific insights tailored to your upcoming project.

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