The Ultimate Guide to Courier Delivery App Development

The trend of digitalisation across various industries worldwide has not bypassed the delivery sector. The development of on-demand delivery applications has revolutionised supply chains and associated businesses. These applications have brought a high level of transparency among shippers and eliminated intermediaries for a more reliable supply chain process.

If you are interested in exploring the realms of on-demand courier app development, then you’ve come to the right place! This article provides an overview of the logistics market, the functioning and benefits of on-demand delivery apps, and factors that affect the costs of developing such applications.

Let’s step back to gain some perspective on the current state of the on-demand delivery services and app market to analyse the benefits you can gain by engaging in courier delivery app development.

The Market Share

Let’s talk about numbers because statistics in the field of logistics and transport reveal a compelling narrative. Courier delivery apps have had significant growth in recent years. The global digital logistics market, which stood at USD 18.10 billion in 2021, is poised for extraordinary growth – it is expected to increase to USD 77.52 billion by 2030.

A key force behind this expansion is the rapid growth of the e-commerce sector, which is projected to reach a staggering valuation of $36 trillion by 2030. This growth can be linked to several factors, including the increasing popularity of online shopping, the rise of the gig economy, and the need for contactless delivery options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So such consumers’ preference for online shopping has resulted in a corresponding increase in demand for streamlined logistics solutions. However, according to Strategic Market Research those solutions must meet customer needs in critical aspects such as order fulfilment, inventory management, and last-mile delivery.

The growth of the e-commerce industry is driving the digital logistics and delivery market to optimise delivery systems and increase the operating margins of e-commerce enterprises. By leveraging digital logistics solutions, companies can improve their supply chain operations, increase visibility, and seamlessly meet the growing demands of the thriving e-commerce sector.

Additionally, the global parcels market is valued at $349.89 billion, representing nearly 6% of the global logistics market. These statistics paint a promising picture for the future of on-demand delivery app development, pointing to significant market potential and signalling favourable conditions for software development companies entering this field.

Types of Delivery Applications

You have the flexibility to choose from a range of delivery and courier apps tailored to meet your specific business goals and needs. Presented below are prominent examples of delivery app development solutions that are currently dominating in the digital market.

On-Demand Delivery Apps

On-demand delivery apps establish a direct connection between users and local couriers or delivery personnel. These apps facilitate swift and immediate delivery of a variety of items, including goods, groceries, food, and other essentials. Users can place orders and track the real-time progress of their deliveries.

A proper example of this is Uber Eats, a food delivery app. It connects users with local restaurants, allowing people to order food for delivery. Then, they can track the food delivery progress and get their favourite meals delivered to their doorstep.

Another example can be Amazon Prime with a same-day delivery option. It focuses on delivering a wide range of products within the same day, which is particularly beneficial for urgent situations. It includes groceries, household items, electronics, and more, catering to Prime members.

International Courier Delivery Apps

Focused on global shipping, international courier apps specialise in facilitating seamless cross-border parcel sending and receiving. These apps collaborate with international courier services, offering users a reliable means to ship packages abroad with efficient tracking and delivery.

DHL Express and UPS, are globally recognised courier services with a strong emphasis on international shipping. Their apps enable users to track shipments, get shipping quotes, and schedule pickups.

Courier Aggregator Apps

Courier aggregator apps serve as centralised platforms that aggregate services from multiple courier companies. Users can compare rates, and delivery times, and choose the courier service that aligns best with their specific needs. These apps simplify the process of selecting the most suitable courier service for a given delivery.

An example of such an app is Shiprocket. It is widely recognised as India’s premier eCommerce software solution for logistics and shipping, exemplifying the effectiveness of courier aggregation in optimising shipping processes.

Tracking and Forwarding Apps

Such applications offer real-time insights into routes and delivery progress. They are more like aggregators that allow monitoring of all the parcels within just one app. It doesn’t matter what courier company you choose – everything is at your fingertips in one app.

These apps not only provide information about the whereabouts of your drivers but also ensure timely delivery of goods. If your business thrives on punctuality and efficiency, tracking and forwarding applications are key to maintaining a competitive edge.

Known as a tracking app, ParcelTrack sends timely updates on delivery progress, estimated delivery times, and any potential delays, offering users a convenient way to stay informed about their shipments.

Must-Have Features of a Parcel Delivery App

Due to the diversity of the delivery industry, I decided to focus on one type of application, in this case – a parcel delivery app (like DHL).

In this section, I will mention the core features that are crucial for any parcel delivery app, but the main focus will be on the unique features that can help you make your app exceptional.

Fundamental Features

Fundamental features include everything needed for a seamless experience. Imagine your users open the parcel tracking app. They need to effortlessly register or log in to their accounts, easily place orders and track their progress in real-time. Next, a rate calculator has to estimate shipping costs, while payment integration will ensure smooth transactions. Push notifications will deliver timely updates, and the review and rating section will offer valuable feedback to the courier, providing a gratifying experience for future users.

Altogether, these features work harmoniously to elevate user satisfaction by bringing in convenience, transparency, and up-to-the-minute information.

Unique Features

Now, let’s move on to the features that add value to the user experience. Considering these features, it’s important to conduct market research, analyse competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and identify areas where your app can improve or provide unique value.

I prepared some examples that can inspire you on how to differentiate your parcel delivery app from competitors and provide innovative features that enhance the user experience. Though these examples may not incorporate all the ideas in one single app, they highlight different aspects of innovation within the industry. By exploring these examples and combining the ideas, you can develop a parcel delivery app that stands out in the market.

Smart Lock Integration

You can partner with smart lock manufacturers to provide users with the option to grant secure access to their premises for package delivery. This eliminates the need for users to be physically present to receive their parcels, enhancing convenience and reducing missed delivery attempts.

Amazon Key integrates such technology: customers can use this app to provide access to delivery drivers for in-home or in-car deliveries.

Delivery Community Network

Create a community-based delivery network where users can opt to become couriers for local deliveries. Users can sign up as delivery agents and pick up parcels along their route, earning extra income, credits or discounts for their own deliveries. This concept reduces overall delivery costs and provides faster and more localised delivery services.

It may not be suitable for all types of deliveries, but it can be particularly beneficial for urgent or time-sensitive packages, last-mile deliveries, or when users seek a more personalised and community-oriented experience.

For instance, Roadie (a community-based delivery network app) connects people who are already driving from one location to another with excess car space with people who need to send packages in the same direction. This platform uses unused capacity and provides a more localised and flexible delivery service.

Eco-Friendly Delivery Options

You can incorporate eco-friendly initiatives into your delivery app, such as partnering with electric or hybrid vehicle providers for green transportation. Additionally, try offering users the option to choose environmentally friendly packaging materials or consolidated shipping to minimise carbon emissions.

A delivery app Deliveree, for example, focuses on eco-friendly transportation solutions, where users can choose a more sustainable delivery option.

Personal Assistant Integration

Integrate with popular virtual personal assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa to provide voice-enabled tracking and delivery status updates. Users can simply ask their virtual assistant for updates on their packages without opening the app.

A great example of applying this feature is The Walmart Grocery app. It integrates with Google Assistant, allowing users to add items to their cart using voice commands. Users can also check order status, track deliveries, and receive personalised recommendations through it.

How To Generate Revenue with Your On-Demand Delivery Apps? Monetisation Models

With the rapid demand for digital delivery app solutions, customers now enjoy continuous access to online platforms, providing logistics and delivery businesses with multiple revenue streams for expansion and sustainable profitability. Below you’ll find several methods to generate income with your logistics app!

Delivery Fees

Customers who use your on-demand courier app may be charged a delivery fee for the convenience and efficiency of the delivery service provided through the app. This model is a fundamental aspect of the app’s revenue generation, covering the operational costs associated with order fulfilment and delivery.

Your app can adopt different approaches to delivery fees. It might implement a flat-rate system, ensuring a consistent charge per order, regardless of its value. On the other hand, you can introduce variable fees, considering factors like distance or order size to tailor charges accordingly.

For added flexibility, you can employ dynamic pricing, causing delivery fees to adjust based on conditions such as peak hours, increased demand, or specific promotional periods. To encourage larger orders, you may implement free delivery thresholds: when users surpass a specified order value, they qualify for reduced or entirely waived delivery fees.

Subscription Models

Subscription plans involve users paying a regular fee to access exclusive benefits and privileges. These plans are designed to enhance customer loyalty by providing additional value and encouraging users to consistently choose the app for their delivery needs.

In practice, subscribers to on-demand delivery apps typically enjoy several advantages. These may include reduced or entirely waived delivery charges on either all or a certain number of orders.

Moreover, subscribers often receive exclusive perks like special promotions, discounts, or early access to new features – a privilege not available to non-subscribers. Certain subscription plans may elevate the customer experience by offering priority service, ensuring that orders from subscribers are prioritised, particularly during peak hours or busy periods. The specific benefits, of course, vary depending on the nature and design of your on-demand delivery app.

Advertising Partnerships

To diversify revenue streams, you may want to consider partnering with businesses to display targeted advertisements in your app. Implementing non-intrusive ads that align with the interests of your user base can provide an additional income source without a direct financial impact on users. You have several options for placing ads in your app: from banner, interstitial and native to promotional partnerships and collaborations.

These are just three of the many monetisation strategies for your on-demand delivery app. The range of options to generate revenue is extensive, giving you the flexibility to choose multiple sources of income that suit your business goals.

For a thorough exploration of successful monetisation strategies, I suggest reading Katarzyna’s insightful article. In her role as the Head of Marketing at TeaCode, Katarzyna delves into the complexities of app monetisation strategies, offering in-depth insights into their unique features, advantages, and possible limitations.

White-Label Solutions in On-Demand Delivery Services

A white label app is a ready-made software that can be customised to match a particular business and its brand (with brand colours and logo). It operates as a SaaS (Software as a Service) model, meaning that users can access and use the software by paying a fee. White-label solutions empower companies to establish on-demand delivery services swiftly and efficiently, leveraging existing platforms under their own brand identity.

By adopting these solutions, businesses can enhance brand visibility and customer loyalty while minimising the time and costs associated with app development.

The scalability of white-label platforms enables companies to expand their delivery operations seamlessly as demand grows, with the added assurance of technical support and feature-rich functionalities tailored to meet their specific needs.

For example, within the delivery and courier sector, envision a white-label solution crafted for a last-mile delivery app, offering companies efficient tools for coordinating and managing their final delivery step. This adaptable solution might encompass features like real-time parcel tracking, route optimisation for different modes of transport adjusted to last-mile delivery (e.g. focusing on bicycles or scooters) and proof of delivery. However, the white-label approach extends well beyond last-mile logistics.

Consider the potential for a white-label app designed for international courier services, providing features like streamlined custom documentation, real-time shipment tracking, and automated notification systems in a chosen language. This tailored solution empowers courier companies to seamlessly integrate the app into their global delivery networks, enhancing efficiency and ensuring reliable services.

Furthermore, in the realm of business-to-business (B2B) logistics, a white-label app could be customised for freight and cargo management. Features may include freight booking, shipment tracking, and documentation management. By branding the app with a corporate identity, logistics companies can project a professional image to clients while benefiting from advanced tools to optimise their cargo operations.

The adaptability of white-label solutions in the delivery and courier app domain extends to various segments, offering companies an opportunity to elevate their services, foster operational efficiency, and present a unified brand image.

On-Demand Delivery App Development Process

In the dynamic business environment, implementing an on-demand delivery app can be significant for a company’s growth and adaptability. You may choose a white-label solution as I mentioned before, or build your own app. I won’t get into the intricate specifics of each step in crafting an on-demand delivery app, I’ll just give a brief overview of the process. If you seek a thorough understanding of the development lifecycle, Gabriela Jarzębska has an exclusive article providing detailed guidance on the entire process – feel free to explore it.

The development journey for a delivery app can be divided into four stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline.

The first step starts with the discovery phase, where you need to align the development team with the end user, project vision, goals and scope of the work, and identify potential threats. The next step is creating an engaging user experience (UX) and intuitive user interface (UI) through design iterations and feedback loops.

Then developers bring the app to life, test and deploy the app to app stores, with continuous iteration based on user feedback and market dynamics for sustainability. During the launch, marketing efforts are often intensified to create awareness and attract users to the app.

Throughout the whole development process, constant feedback from users is essential to understand their evolving needs and enhance the app.

In this context, I’ll also underscore the importance of starting small and adopting the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) strategy.

Cost-Effective MVP Approach in Delivery Apps

The Minimum Valuable Product (MVP) concept is a strategic step aimed at validating assumptions and assessing the demand for a new product with minimal financial and time investment. There are three aspects that should be considered: non-development, MVP mindset and the very first version of a working product. I’ll discuss them in short. For more information, I recommend you to read Gabriela’s article…

Non-development MVP

Non-development MVP is not a product but a tool. It’s focused on verifying the market demand for the product and can have various forms. It’s more like market or user research than building an app.

To validate your idea you can use various methods like social media posts (and advertising) to reach the right audience and evaluate the response. You can build a simple landing page with a subscription form to see how many people sign up. Finally, you can even invest time in something like a concierge MVP when you personally will realise the service the way the app is expected to for the same price to verify whether there’s a match between the concept, demand and price.

The main goal is to evaluate the idea and estimate the potential demand before you invest a penny into software development.

MVP mindset

When you know that there’s room for your app and a group willing to pay for it, you can start thinking about bringing the idea to life. However, before you dive into the development process itself, you should start with setting the MVP mindset.

Simply speaking, it’s the way you approach your project, what objectives you set and how much you focus on details. In short, applying the MVP approach to digital product development, you agree that the very first version of the product won’t be flawless or perfect but working and functional. There might be some bugs but the main feature (or features) that define the unique value proposition of the app works seamlessly.

You don’t pay too much attention to doing perfect design (the time for that will come when the app gains traction) or pixel-perfect implementation. It must look attractive but, foremost, be functional. I know that you want to launch a perfect app, but switching from the strive to perfection to the MVP mindset can help you succeed on the market.

MVP as the very first (and simplified) version of the app

Finally, MVP can be understood as the very first version of the app, usually simplified and focused on some key features. Frankly speaking, it’s the most common perspective, but as you already noticed – not the only one.

In this case, you build the app with the MVP mindset in mind and launch it to the market as soon as possible. Although it’s a working app, it’s still aimed at verifying whether it aligns with user preferences and needs. The MVP mindset is crucial to decrease the risk of disinvestment as much as possible.

The first version of your app will also help you verify what can be improved to resonate with end-users better, thanks to user feedback. Therefore, It’s like you to see this as a quick and dynamic start of endless concept-design-development-feedback iterations that will guide your app to success.

What Impacts Courier Delivery App Development Costs

When developing a courier delivery app, the associated expenses can vary significantly, demanding strategic decisions before the beginning of development. These decisions play a pivotal role in determining overall costs, project timelines, and the expertise required for successful implementation. Mainly, the costs of app development are influenced by project scope (design requirements and complexity), development team and number of platforms.

Project Scope

The first critical decision concerns the scope of your project. You can either go for a comprehensive app with many features or develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An increasing complexity significantly influences the overall cost. However, it’s important to notice that accurately estimating costs in software development can be challenging due to different factors and uncertainties.

Selecting the Right Development Partner

Selecting the right development partner is a crucial step in the development process. The right team can bring expertise, experience, and resources necessary for success. You can choose either to hire an in-house development team, or to choose freelancers or software development companies. You can gain insights into these models, along with their pros and cons, by reading Mike Popov’s detailed explanation of outsourcing models. The location of app developer is also important from a financial point of view.

Also, the importance of the development team cannot be overstated, as they can streamline the process, offer valuable insights, ensure quality, and meet deadlines, ultimately saving time and money while delivering a superior product.

Platform (Android or iOS)

Determining the platforms your app should operate on is a pivotal decision. You can focus on either iOS or Android (meaning creating a native app) or opt for addressing both (which in software development jargon is called cross-platform app development).

Cross-platform app development may be more cost-efficient for a simple app (like an MVP) since building its hybrid version might be more economical than native app development. However, cross-platform apps have limitations too, and you can learn more about this solution in Robert’s guide, which compares cross-platform with native app solutions, highlighting their pros and cons.

How Can You Evaluate On-Demand Delivery App Development Cost

Now that we’ve taken into account all the factors that can impact your app development process, can we try to estimate the potential cost of building the app?

Let’s estimate the cost of developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a user-only delivery app without an admin panel. The app needs integration with the company’s system to access and display parcel information. Users should be able to log in to view their package details and add external packages for basic information viewing. Additionally, the app might include functionality for users to send parcels.

The average cost to build a parcel delivery app will look like this:

  • delivery status tracking: 120h
  • user authentication (sign-in, signup, recover password): 160 h
  • list, search packages: 24h
  • add and watch packages: 40h
  • send functionality: 120h (optional)

On-Demand Delivery App Development Cost

Overall estimation: 344-464h

More information on this can be found in our ultimate development cost guide.

It’s crucial to understand that providing an exact estimate for costs is extremely challenging. This is mainly due to the fact that every project is dynamic and continually evolving. App development doesn’t end after deployment; instead, it develops with changing needs, market dynamics, and user preferences. Additionally, app maintenance costs should also be considered. For a deeper understanding of the complexities of cost estimation, you can explore Gabriela’s comprehensive article, which offers examples illustrating what factors influence estimation accuracy.

Future of the On-Demand Delivery Apps: Final Thoughts

The courier delivery app market is experiencing significant growth due to the rise of e-commerce and the need for efficient logistics solutions. As technology continues to advance, from AI to drone delivery, the potential for enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction grows exponentially.

My article explores this dynamic landscape of on-demand delivery apps, delving into various aspects of their development, features, and monetisation strategies. It highlights key considerations in the logistics and transportation sector, emphasising the need for innovation and differentiation to stand out in a competitive market dominated by major players like DHL.

Ultimately, I hope it provides you with a comprehensive overview of the present and future landscape of on-demand delivery apps.

The future of these mobile applications holds exciting possibilities, driven by technological advancements and evolving consumer expectations. Looking ahead, there are several emerging trends set to influence the landscape of delivery services, detailed in my other article on anticipated logistics trends for 2024.

If you want to learn more about developing courier delivery apps, feel free to reach me on Linkedin or send me an email at [email protected]. I keep my fingers crossed for your courier delivery business’s success!

Sales Development Representative

Introducing Angelika as your strategic ally in navigating the dynamic landscape of software development. With a specialised focus on various areas, her commitment is to provide you with a competitive edge and foster enduring connections. Whether it’s optimising logistics processes, supporting startups on their growth journey, or enhancing the retail experience, she is dedicated to delivering tailored solutions that align seamlessly with your objectives.

Angelika Karach
Angelika Karach

Introducing Angelika as your strategic ally in navigating the dynamic landscape of software development. With a specialised focus on various areas, her commitment is to provide you with a competitive edge and foster enduring connections. Whether it’s optimising logistics processes, supporting startups on their growth journey, or enhancing the retail experience, she is dedicated to delivering tailored solutions that align seamlessly with your objectives.