September 26, 2018

$350 Billion Market Opportunity: How To Build An On-Demand Parcel Delivery App

There is a $350 billion market opportunity right under your nose. Its name is global parcel delivery. It is completely up to you whether to take advantage of this opportunity. If you do, this article is for you.

Fortunately, we are not living in the stone age. This is why people cherish their time, comfort and convenience. This is also why consumers are becoming more and more demanding – once they find a company that is better at caring about their convenience, they switch to it without a second thought.

It matters in any industry. So, if you deal with on-demand parcel delivery, you need to make your services as convenient for customers as possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is to keep everything in one place – i.e., in an app. Yet, while anyone can build a regular app, it takes a special approach and understanding some specifics to build a good one specifically for parcel delivery. Let’s find out how.

How Does It Work?

Let’s start with the basics. An on-demand parcel delivery app has one primary purpose – allowing its users to track their parcels in real time and manage some details if necessary. Apart from this, the app can be built for a variety of services:

  • traditional postal services;
  • traditional courier services;
  • on-demand delivery marketplaces that allow users to find other users willing to deliver their package;
  • package tracking aggregators where you can keep track of all your parcels regardless of the service provider.

You can always discover your own niche in any of these four categories. For instance, there are on-demand services that specialize in delivering food, medications, or even medical marijuana.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes any app of such complexity tick. First of all, in case with parcel delivery tracking apps, you will need to include the following functionality with the help of web services:

  • pricing – providing the information on the cost of the delivery and available delivery services;
  • contract & non-contract shipping – creating shipments for businesses and customers;
  • tracking – tracking the parcel location in real time and confirming its delivery to the final destination;
  • find a post office or a driver/courier – listing the nearest post offices (in case of postal service apps) a drivers/couriers (in case of courier service apps) based on the user’s current location;
  • pickup – requesting picking up parcels;
  • returns – creating shipping orders for returns.

As for the functionality, the full list of features depends on your needs, requirements, time and budget constraints. However, there are some basic things you have to include in the app because otherwise it will not make sense.

First of all, the system itself consists of three apps: the customer one, the courier one, and the store owner one. The thing is, each of them has its own target audience – customers need a particular set of features that are irrelevant for couriers or store owners.

Let’s take a closer look at the basic features of each app.

Customer App:

  • registration and login;
  • user profile (address, preferences, etc.);
  • settings;
  • integration with payment services;
  • order pick-up (the user can register their parcel for delivery);
  • real-time parcel tracking (the location can be displayed on the map with the help of GPS or described as a list of statuses);
  • parcel management (changing the recipient’s address, name, delivery time, etc.);
  • delivery history;
  • push notifications;
  • feedback system (ratings, reviews, customer support, etc.).

Courier App:

  • registration and login (couriers should be approved by the company);
  • user profile;
  • settings;
  • orders available for pickup;
  • booking the order;
  • changing the order status (accepted or rejected booking, picked up, delivered);
  • booking history.

Store Owner App:

  • admin panel (viewing all the orders and couriers, approving new couriers, etc.);
  • edit menu in the courier app;
  • conditional order placement;
  • payment processing and history;
  • ratings and reviews.

6 Unique Features Of An On-Demand Delivery App

While some features described above are the same for any app (like the registration and login pages), there are several features that make an on-demand delivery app stand out. We’ve decided to list these distinctive features because the future success of the on-demand delivery app for package tracking depends on how well they are implemented. So, before and during development, pay attention to:

  • finding the nearest couriers using location services;
  • assigning orders to the nearest couriers automatically;
  • tracking order acceptance;
  • integration with maps for tracking parcels, pinpointing the pickup location and the final destination;
  • updating the delivery status in real time;
  • estimating the time required for finishing the delivery

How To Integrate A Package Tracker In eCommerce Store

If you run an eCommerce store, the chances are you are sending hundreds of packages monthly or even weekly. If you still don’t have a package tracker on your website, you are losing potential customers – they are less likely to trust you if you don’t guarantee to track their packages. It may seem as if you are no ready to take responsibility for the package not getting lost or as if you don’t care about their convenience enough.

You can improve your brand reputation if you integrate a package tracker – and it’s not as complicated as it may seem. All you need is an API of a package delivery tracker app. APIs, in their essence, allow two applications exchange data between each other and display it to the user in one single interface.

While APIs make the developers’ lives a lot easier as they don’t have to reinvent the wheel and write a web app from scratch. However, no API is created the same, and a considerable amount of coding is still needed to let your users enjoy the new feature.

So, if you want to integrate your store with an already existing API, make sure you have a developer that can do it for you onboard. If you want to have a custom parcel delivery system represented by mobile apps and on your website, you’ll need to build an API to integrate it with the store.

How Much It Would Cost

The development cost is an investment that will pay off in the future. Still, you need to know how much you should expect to spend if you prefer to make wise financial decisions.

With that said, there is no way to predict how much your particular project will cost up to a dollar. The cost depends on the scope of features you want to see in the app, the developers’ hourly rates, the technologies used, etc.

Nevertheless, we decided to give you an idea of the development cost in case of an on-demand parcel delivery app. These are not precise quotations but rather estimations that you should prepare your budget for. Let’s start with the number of hours required to complete every stage:

  • documentation – approximately 40 hours;
  • user interface and user experience design – approximately 60 hours;
  • front-end and back-end development – approximately 400 hours;
  • quality assurance and testing – approximately 80 hours.

Now, the cost depends on the hourly rate. It may vary from as little as $40-50 per hour to $150-200 per hour. It depends on the qualification of the developers and their location (developers from Eastern Europe and Asia ask for lower hourly rates than the ones from the US and Western Europe). With these rates in mind, we summed up the final costs in the table below.


Hourly Rate$40-50$150-200
Documentation$1,600-2,000$6,000-8,000
UI/UX Design$2,400-3,000$9,000-12,000
Front-End/Back-End Development$16,000-20,000$60,000-80,000
Quality Assurance$3,200-4,000$12,000-16,000
Total$23,200-29,000$89,000-116,000


As you can see, the development costs can be as little as $23,200 or as big as $116,000. This is why we strongly suggest you turn to a development company and request a quotation for your particular project.

The Bottom Line

Developing an on-demand parcel delivery app is no piece of cake. There are tons of features to consider. However, keep one thing in mind – you are making an app for users, so make sure it is exactly what they want and even better than they expect.

Are you willing to take advantage of this market opportunity? Reach out to a development company that can bring you the app you could only imagine so far.

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