How Much Does It Cost to Build an AI-Based Shopping App Like Target?

Sudeep Srivastava April 17, 2024
cost to develop a shopping app like Target

eCommerce is a burgeoning phenomenon, redefining the way we buy and sell goods of daily necessities. As the demand for online shopping continues to skyrocket, businesses across industries have understood that the revolution comes via intuitive applications, prompting a reimagining of traditional sales strategies.

But shifting from offline brick-and-mortar shops to online stores is that easy? No. It actually requires technical expertise to build eCommerce applications like Target that are not only driving sales, but also enhancing customer experience with cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence

According to Statista, the global AI market in retail was valued at $4.84 billion in 2021, and this whopping figure is expected to reach $31.18 billion by 2028. 

Size of the global AI market in the retail industry from 2020 to 2028

While investing in an AI-based shopping mobile app development is undoubtedly a profitable venture for businesses, the question remains: How much does Target app development cost?

Well, it is not a one-size-fits-all answer. The cost to develop a shopping app like Target typically starts at $30,000 and goes beyond $200,000, depending on many crucial factors (details later). Moreover, when you integrate advanced functionalities such as virtual try-ons, voice search, chatbots, personalized recommendations, etc., the cost can further increase and even cross $300,000.

Let’s delve deep into the nuances of online shopping app development costs, exploring the various factors, features, and other essential components.

Know eCommerce app development cost and timeline

What Makes Target a Successful AI Shopping App?

With over $109 billion in total revenue and a huge traffic of 141.4 million visitors, Target stands tall as one of the most popular AI-based shopping apps in the world. The brand also boasts 1,956 physical stores in the US and 30 offices globally. The growing popularity of the Target app can be easily witnessed by its user base, as around 15,728 people download the app on a daily basis.

The Target app is not just an eCommerce application — it is an ultimate shopping destination designed to make the retail experience easy and enjoyable for users. Its sleek design and intuitive interface offer an extensive range of products. From groceries and furnishing items to fashion apparel and electronics, one can buy anything and everything with just a few taps on their mobile screen. Choose contactless pickup or at-home delivery – the choice is yours.

Mobile screens of Target app

What’s more? The app supports a variety of payment methods, including digital wallets, credit cards, UPI, and bank transfers. However, what truly sets Target apart is the integration of AI into its business model. Target leverages AI algorithms to analyze customer data, predict shopping behaviors, and offer personalized product recommendations. Also, Target Circle, the customer loyalty program, helps users find the most relevant products and secure the best deals. This AI-driven approach enhances users’ shopping experience, increasing engagement and satisfaction.

Unsurprisingly, investing in an eCommerce app development like Target is a profitable venture for retail businesses. With an increasing number of consumers turning to their smartphones for shopping, retail companies must adapt to this online shopping trend and provide their users with an intriguing shopping experience.

Interested in building an eCommerce app similar to Target? Well, to make an informed decision, let’s uncover the various factors that affect the cost of building an eCommerce app like Target. 

Factors Affecting Target-Like App Development Cost

AI-based app development involves various factors that can influence the overall cost to develop a shopping app like Target. Let’s explore some of the key considerations that impact Target app development cost:

Considerable Factors For Target App Development Cost

Features and Functionality

The huge success of the Target app can be attributed to its exclusive set of features and functionalities. Thus, when calculating the eCommerce app development cost, you must list down the essential features and how they impact the costs.

Features such as personalized recommendations, product search, AI-driven chatbot, shopping cart management, security measures (data encryption, user authentication), order tracking, push notifications, AR/VR try-ons, etc., all contribute to the app’s success and development cost. The more intricate the features list, the higher it will cost.

Here is a cost breakdown of eCommerce app development based on its complexity and features.

App ComplexityAverage TimelineAverage Cost
Simple App with Basic Features4-6 months$30,000-$80,000
Medium Complex App with Moderate Features6-9 months$80,000-$200,000
Highly Complex App System with Advanced Features9 months to 1 year or more$200,000-$300,000 or more

Integration with Third-Party Services

Third-party integration is a critical feature of an online shopping application. However, integrating external services and APIs, such as payment gateways, social media platforms, analytics tools, and shipping providers, can be a complex and time-consuming task. While it adds to the app’s functionality, it also requires additional development effort, thus increasing the development cost.

Development Team Size and Location

The geographical location of developers and their team size are crucial factors in eCommerce app development. Building an app like Target requires the technical proficiency of an award-winning app development company, which includes project managers, developers, designers, quality analysts, and other skilled professionals. The selection of the right app development company can directly affect the cost, timeline, and, of course, the quality of the product.

Additionally, eCommerce app development costs also vary depending on the geographical location of the development team across different regions. For instance, developers in the UK, US, Australia, etc., often cost a little more than those in India, Asia, or Africa.

Average hourly rates of outsourcing software development company

UI/UX Design 

The impressive user engagement of a Target-like app significantly depends on its intuitive UI/UX design. Obviously, crafting an intuitive and visually appealing UI/UX design is crucial for engaging users and enhancing retention. Not to mention, investing in high-quality design elements, animations, and interactive features not only elevates the app’s appeal but also incurs additional costs.

Platform Compatibility

To estimate the cost of eCommerce app development, you must first determine the targeted platform for the app launch. Targeting multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and the web, increases development costs due to the need for platform-specific coding, testing, and optimization. Additionally, ensuring compatibility with different devices, screen sizes, and operating system versions further adds to the app’s complexity and cost. 

According to stats, Android has a more extensive user base, which amounts to 3.5 billion users on Android devices, leaving far behind the 1.3 billion iOS users in the digital race. Accordingly, Target stands tall with a huge 10 million+ downloads on the Google Play store.

Related Article: Android vs iOS: Which Platform is Better for Mobile Startups?

Total Number of iOS and Android Users in the Words

Tech Stack

Careful consideration of the technology stack is a critical decision that can impact the overall app development cost. The choice of technology stack, including programming languages, frameworks, and tools, significantly influences the development cost and timeline.

For instance, opting for widely adopted technologies and popular frameworks like React Native or Flutter for cross-platform app development can accelerate the development process and lower costs compared to native development for each platform separately.

Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, such as data privacy laws (GDPR, CCPA), accessibility standards, and industry-specific regulations, is one of the most integral steps of the eCommerce app development process. Adhering to legal and industry regulations requires additional development efforts and time, thus increasing the development cost also.

Now that we know the essential components that contribute to Target app development cost, let’s define the notable features that play a pivotal role in determining the online shopping app development cost and the success of an AI-based shopping app like Target.

Build An AI Shopping App with Appinventiv

Key Features of an eCommerce Shopping App like Target

Creating an online shopping app like Target requires incorporating a range of key features to provide users with a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. Here are some essential eCommerce app development features to consider:

Key Features of An eCommerce App Like Target

User Registration and Profile

Before users enjoy your app’s functionalities, they must register and create a profile. Registration options include signing up via social media accounts or email IDs. After registration and login, users can create personalized profiles to manage their preferences, addresses, and payment methods.

Product Catalog

An eCommerce app like Target boasts an extensive product catalog featuring a wide range of items spanning various categories, including fashion, accessories, electronics, groceries, furnishing items, and more. Thus, you must incorporate a product listing feature in the app, which should include detailed descriptions, high-resolution images, and relevant information such as prices, sizes, and available colors. This feature helps users make an informed purchasing decision confidently.

target's product scanner

Shopping Cart and Wishlist

The shopping cart feature simplifies the user’s journey from whistling products to making a purchase, ensuring a secure checkout process. Using this feature, users can choose, buy, and even wish list their favorite products to purchase later or for future reference.

Related Article: How can M-Commerce Apps Lower their Cart Abandonment Rate?

Order Management

Real-time tracking of the purchased product is one of the most remarkable features of an eCommerce app. Almost all eCommerce apps, including Target, include this feature by default. Additionally, users can access their order history within the app and review past purchases, track packages, and initiate returns or exchanges if needed.

Reviews and Ratings

You can improve users’ trust and confidence in the quality of products by integrating reviews and rating features. Users with transparent feedback and insight from fellow shoppers can make informed shopping decisions and enhance their overall shopping satisfaction.

Social Media Integration

It is an important feature to increase brand awareness and drive more sales. By seamlessly integrating the app with popular social media platforms, your users can easily post product links, images, or reviews on social media, promoting user engagement and word-of-mouth marketing.

According to Statista, around 5.35 billion people, accounting for 66.2% of the global population, use the internet. Among them, 5.04 billion people (62.3% of the population) engage with social media platforms. This data shows that a social media integration feature that allows users to share their favorite products with friends and followers can make your app a huge hit among internet users worldwide.

Number of internet and social media users worldwide as of January 2024

Multiple Payment Option

Your app must offer users multiple payment options, including credit/debit cards, digital wallets, PayPal, and alternative payment solutions. By offering various payment options, the app caters to diverse user preferences and ensures a seamless checkout experience for all customers.

Push Notifications

The app sends personalized push notifications to users, alerting them about exclusive deals, promotions, or events. These notifications serve as timely reminders to users, keeping them informed about relevant offers and encouraging them to engage with the app.

AR/VR Try Ons

If you want to craft a successful shopping app similar to Target, this feature is essential. By integrating AR/VR in eCommerce apps, you can allow your users to virtually try on products like clothing, accessories, and even furniture before making a purchase. By overlaying digital images onto the user’s physical environment, AR try-ons provide an immersive and interactive shopping experience, enabling users to visualize how products will look and fit in real life.

Target App Lets You See How a Furnishing Item Will Look in Your Living Room Before You Buy It

AI Chatbots

It is another important feature of a shopping app like Target. You must integrate AI-driven chatbots into the app to provide users with 24/7 assistance. These chatbots can answer common questions, provide product recommendations, assist with orders, and address customer inquiries instantly, enhancing customer service and satisfaction.

Also Read: What are the Elements for Interactive Chatbots Building Customer Engagement

Voice Search

Voice search is one of the most integral modern applications, particularly for eCommerce apps like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Zalando, Adidas, etc. This functionality enables users to search for products, categories, or specific items using natural language voice commands.

Personalized Recommendations

By utilizing advanced AI algorithms, the app provides users with image searches and personalized product recommendation features based on their browsing history, purchase behavior, and preferences. This feature helps users discover new products that align with their interests, enhancing their shopping experience.

Explore our partnership with a leading eCommerce company, Adidas

Challenges and Solutions Associated with  AI-Powered Target-Like Mobile App Development

Even if Target-like online shopping app development is a profitable venture, developing such an AI-powered mobile app also involves some critical challenges that need to be addressed effectively to meet the business goals.

AI Shopping App Development: Risks and Solutions

Complexity of AI Algorithms

Challenge: Developing and integrating AI-driven features, such as voice search, chatbots, recommendation engines, or natural language processing (NLP), requires specialized expertise and resources.

Solution: Outsource your mobile shopping app development requirement to a reputed AI company that has prior experience in developing AI shopping apps like Target.

Integration with Existing Systems

Challenge: Integrating AI-powered apps with existing systems and infrastructure, such as legacy databases or third-party APIs, can cause significant consideration of compatibility and interoperability.

Solution: Before you bring your product to life, you must conduct thorough compatibility testing and implement middleware solutions or APIs to ensure seamless integration between different systems.

Data Privacy and Security

Challenge: AI-based shopping apps collect and store large volumes of customer data. Handling sensitive user data while adhering to data privacy laws like GDPR and security guidelines poses significant challenges.

Solution: Adhere to privacy regulations and implement robust security measures, such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication, access controls, etc., to protect user data against cyber theft.

You may like reading: Top 11 Legal Issues to Consider to Protect Your App in 2024

How to Develop an eCommerce App like Target?

Developing an eCommerce app like Target is quite a complex and challenging process that requires the proficiency of an experienced app development company with a proven track record in delivering similar projects.

eCommerce app development is a multifaceted process that goes through several stages, including project planning, designing, feature integration, development, testing, quality assurance, deployment, and ongoing app maintenance. Careful execution of each of these steps ensures the seamless completion of your project, bringing your vision of a successful shopping app to life.

By partnering with a fast tech app development company like Appinventiv, you can easily streamline the entire eCommerce app development process and ensure the long-term success of your app. A reputed development firm is not only competent at building state-of-the-art applications but also knows how to tackle the challenges and adhere to essential compliances required for AI-powered Target online shopping app development. 

Moreover, they have an in-depth understanding of the current market trends and emerging technologies required to enter the future of the retail industry.

To get more detailed insights into the eCommerce app development process, refer to our comprehensive guide on eCommerce app development.

Empower Your eCommerce App Development Initiatives with Appinventiv

AI-powered shopping apps have become the new norms of the retail industry, redefining the way users buy and sell products. These apps leverage cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, IoT, NLP, predictive analytics, AR/VR, etc., to understand user preferences and deliver enjoyable shopping experiences to all-genre users.

However, to create a successful AI shopping app like Target, you need to partner with an app development company with prior experience in delivering similar solutions. This is where we come in — Your trusted tech partner. We are a leading eCommerce app development services provider specializing in AI-powered shopping app development that makes the buying and selling process easy and intriguing. Don’t believe in words; evaluate our expertise by having a glimpse at our past work:

Our team of 1500+ tech evangelists has helped many well-established eCommerce stores expand their digital presence by crafting an AI-powered eCommerce mobile app.

For instance, we helped 6th Street revamp its entire app module with new features for a better user experience, resulting into 3+ million iOS and 1+ million Android downloads.

6 Street's UI/UX design

We have also collaborated with IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, and created an ERP solution for this eCommerce giant, which has expanded to over seven IKEA stores in the UAE today. 

For another client, Edamama, an eCommerce company, we helped the brand with end-to-end product development, from creating innovative features to developing a dynamic attribute management system and beyond. Our efforts led to $5 million in funding, 20k+ SKUs home-delivered, and 100k+ mothers served.

 Testimonial by Edamama

We have also worked with many other brands and helped them bring their app ideas to life. So, if you are interested in building a similar solution and want to know the cost to develop a shopping app like Target, Appinventiv is here to help.

Get in touch with us and take your retail business to greater heights.


Q. What is the cost to develop a shopping app like Target?

A. The cost of building an app like Target can vary widely depending on various factors such as features, complexity, platform compatibility, design, location of mobile shopping app development team and so on.

On average, Target app development cost ranges between $30,000 to $300,000 or more. You can discuss your project idea with our efficient team and get a more precise estimate for online shopping app development cost tailored to your specific project requirements.

Q. What are the benefits of creating an AI-based shopping app?

A. Developing an AI-powered eCommerce mobile app offers numerous advantages. Some of the most remarkable benefits include:

Data Collection and Analysis: An AI-based shopping app helps you collect valuable insights about customer behavior and preferences, assisting you in refining your marketing strategies and enhancing product offerings.

Competitive Advantage: With an AI-powered eCommerce mobile app, businesses can embrace digital innovation and stay ahead of their competitors.

Increase Customer Engagement: Features of the Target app, such as push notifications, personalized recommendations, image search, etc., help interact with customers and increase engagement.

Reduce Costs: AI-based shopping apps can help retail businesses save money by cutting costs on customer support staff.

Brand Loyalty: By leveraging eCommerce app features like rewards programs, exclusive discounts, and personalized communication, businesses can enhance trust and build stronger relationships with customers.

Q. What is the future of AI-powered shopping mobile apps?

A. The future of AI-powered shopping mobile apps holds immense potential for transforming the retail landscape. These apps can deliver highly personalized, immersive, and efficient shopping experiences that cater to the evolving market needs and user preferences.

With advancements in AI technology, these apps are poised to revolutionize the way we shop, interact with brands, and make purchasing decisions. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect these apps to become even more integral to the retail landscape, driving innovation and shaping the future of commerce.

Q. What is the timeline to create a shopping app like Target?

A. The timeline to develop an ecommerce app like Target can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of features, UI/UX design, platform compatibility, the expertise of the app development team, and so on.

Typically, it takes 4 to 6 months to develop a simple eCommerce app with basic features, while a more complex app with advanced features takes around 6 months to 1 year or more for its successful development.

Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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