Delivery App Development: What, Why and How

Although parcel delivery market decline during the last decade it’s still be valued for more than 34 billion in 2020 that along with its significance, making it attractive for startups.

9 min read, Jan 13
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Scopes of logistics serving retail and eCommerce like last-mile delivery are the most under pressure of customer expectations concerning their services and constantly raising competition.

To be able to keep track of their needs and fulfill them as accurately as possible it’s impossible to ignore digital transformation trends that are already changing industry internal processes and market operational conditions. Create a delivery app it’s a step towards the destination.

Delivery app for business: problem outlining

To invent a solution and ensure its validity and relevance for the market it's important to comprehend existing internal and scope problems and its impact on your business. So what are the basic factors of the issue here:

Speed

Despite claiming the importance of the human touch in their experience in the routine aspects customers prefer to go through the procedure as fast as possible with minimum steps and communication. And in speed in most cases, the technology has a fair advantage.



Surely, promptness and timeliness requirements also concern the delivery itself. However, considering that order processing implies direct interaction with customers it’s vital for the engagement and retention to provide the most convenient experience according to their vision.

Transparency

Another demand concerns the visibility of the processes related to their orders including within a future delivery app platform. They don’t want to stay in lines or waste time contacting support services to find what, where and how their parcels will be delivered and can be picked up.

Customers also wouldn’t mind being aware of the location and status in a random time moment. It’s uncovering the company approaches to the routing, scheduling and pricing politics allowing them to make a more deliberate choice of the provider for the next service request.



The fulfillment of such demands should go on multiple levels. The start should take place in the internal company ecosystem. Workflow and management should be reevaluated and if necessary optimized having in mind the next step: providing a digital solution.

Delivery app business plan: where to start

Any digital product development begins with the creation of the solution concept and the goal users and the company should be able to achieve with it. Commonly it implies comprehensive market research to detect the problem and explore the selection of existing solutions.

Here’s the process a bit simpler. When you decide to make a delivery app you already have the problem at hand. Now you need to understand what your ultimate goal is and how to achieve it. The research will still be a non-optional step to understand the needs namely of your customers and discover the best practices for their satisfaction.

The aim should outline your business needs. It can be like - to improve customer retention or new partnerships within the retail scope. The app features will define the path to its attainment. For instance, long-term cooperation with eCommerce stores can be arranged if you bring to the new level their order fulfillment releasing a food delivery app, for example.

The functionality of your delivery application is dependent on:

Service types

What are your offers? What goods are acceptable for shipment? Postal, courier or on-demand? Or you combine all types and even under multiple brand names? Each of them has own standards and specifics that should be reflected in your application.

Workflow specifics

What path every does parcel go through? What registration, packing, stages, depots it should go through to reach its final destination timely and in the appropriate condition? All the answers you already have but you need to present it in the algorithm form an app should be based on.

Focus on your business - a delivery app like Uber not always be a good fit.

Pricing model

If you want to provide the complete experience you should obligatorily implement the transaction arrangement and processing. It should be based on the cost calculation system and limit users neither in payment options nor in the variety of possible shipping variants.



Serving area

What region is covered by your company's services? Is it limited to a city or it’s a provider with worldwide shipping? The wider area is the more complications will be brought to the implementation of the parcel tracking up to the creation of separate solutions for different regions.

Support

What assistance can get any customer? What the package return, refuse, etc. politics? Despite operating hours you should consider providing 24/7 support whether via request forms or in-app chatbot to ensure as soon as possible resolution of any disputes.

Devices

The most preferred platform for the solution is mobile. That’s why you should decide whether it’s gonna be a delivery app Android and IOS compatible or focusing on just one type of users. Such approaches as a cross-platform development allow covering the whole target audience without excessive time and money expenses.

The ultimate micro goal here is to provide the full customer experience in the digital environment without affecting the quality of services neither on the client nor on the provider side.

Delivery app features and structure

Unlike many other solutions, such a system implies multiple interconnected apps and namely three for each deal party: a company, an employee (courier) and a customer. It’s reasoned by the difference in possibilities and responsibilities that in some cases, in any way should be fulfilled or affected by others.

Let’s reveal what functionality each particular app generally embraces to outline the potential development scope for your in-house or remote team.

Customer App

Basically, any user should be able to get access to the majority of your company's services on-the-go. Besides deliberate and convenient UI/UX design within the main branding strategy it should have the following features:



  • Account-based system: registration, login, administration (edition, recovery, deletion),
  • Profile customization: default details, preferences, discounts, etc.,
  • Order creation: parcel registration, pickup arrangement, etc.,
  • Order tracking: map view/text representation of the current parcel location,
  • Order management: providing possible changes to the input details,
  • Depot locator: map view/text representation of the nearest office brand/pickup spot,
  • Delivery history: the full list of all services requests by the customer,
  • Feedback enablement: per-order rating and access to reviews, support team, etc.,
  • Notification system: push/SMS messages to ensure timely pickups,
  • App settings: sound, notification, theme and other possible adjustments,
  • Payment processing: transaction enablement through secure gateways.

The last feature can be considered optional since it sets additional security demands for the solution. The choice of the technology stack will be dependent on performance, functionality budget factors. Should be it a delivery app React Native or truly native especially for projects with not fully defined requirements it’d be easier to decide after a discovery phase.

Courier App

This solution part can be considered as a part of a remote workforce management system that should be not only a helpful control remedy but also online support and assignment schene for employees engaged in the delivery or other processes concerning the interaction with customers. If we’re talking about couriers it should provide:



  • Account-based system: registration, login, administration (edition, recovery, deletion),
  • Employee validation: for on-demand couriers to authorize and enable their performance,
  • Profile customization: default details, preferences, schedule, operating region, etc.,
  • Access to active orders and their statuses in real-time to find the ones to book,
  • Notification system: push/SMS messages to ensure timely deliveries,
  • App settings: sound, notification, theme, etc. possible adjustments,
  • Rating/payment: performance evaluation, salary, rewards, etc.

Company App

This is a core part of a delivery part that presents itself as an admin panel for two other solutions. It can be created even within another platform (for instance, two mobile apps + web). Its main goal is to bring the delivery management to the digital space using the following features:



  • Delivery app order dashboard: all parcel details from registration and approval to pickup,
  • Courier workflow: delivery assignment/request approval and tracking,
  • Courier performance: evaluation, payment, rewarding, etc.,
  • Transactions: processing, management, history, etc.,
  • Support: employee and customer assistance,
  • Analytics: performance data collection and analysis (optional).

Besides other mentioned optional features you can include on the list of delivery app requirements automation of certain routine tasks. For instance, the courier assignment making a decisive point his or her current location.

You can also consider raising service transparency as much as possible by providing real-time package statuses and making time/price estimations for service providing. Another option is interactive maps that can be used during the order registration.

Considering that the solution implies on-the-go service providing it’s also desired that some of the functionality of a delivery app offline accessible is. As well as securing customers from unexpected data or progress loss due to the connection loss.

However, take into account that every functionality element should be reasonable and initially be approved as the one that should be implemented on the level that will meet common standards and user expectations.

Further solution application

Being an integral part of online retail shipping should have the same status within each marketplace. It can be implemented through the integration of appropriate APIs from popular service providers or tailor-made interfaces including those presenting certain functionality of a developed custom eCommerce delivery app like package tracking.

Springs supporting digital transformation in retail and logistics over the years released similar solutions. You can review the most recent case study.

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