How Much Does It Cost to Build a Shopping App Like Costco?

nitinsoni May 7, 2024
cost to build a shopping app like Costco

The eCommerce industry has been soaring by leaps and bounds for the past few years, and mobile commerce (mCommerce) chiefly dominates this digital shopping trend. Online shopping apps like Costco are just like a blessing in disguise when it comes to satisfying the dissimilar needs of today’s busy individuals. Be it groceries, food, medicines, clothing, accessories, or even electronics; these apps allow users to shop whatever they want, anywhere, anytime, by just making a few taps on the digital devices.

In fact, with a projected 7.49 billion smartphone users worldwide, the retail sector has grabbed a significant number of mobile shoppers. What’s more impressive? The global eCommerce sales reached $5.8 trillion in 2023, and 60% of the total eCommerce market share comes from mobile commerce, which reached a whopping amount of $2.2 trillion.

This figure is poised to reach new heights in the coming years as the share of mCommerce in all eCommerce sales worldwide has steadily climbed, rising from 56% in 2018 to a projected 62% by 2027.

Global mCommerce sales and share of total eCommerce

This impressive figure indicates opportunities to capitalize on this booming online shopping app trend, building a wholesale ecommerce marketplace like Costco, Amazon, Gumtree or Target.

Not sure how much it costs to build a shopping app like Costco? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to answer how much Costco-like shopping app development costs. On average, the cost to create a shopping app like Costco ranges between $30,000 to $300,000 or more, depending on your unique project requirements and various other factors (details later).

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Want to know more about the Costco shopping app development process, cost-determining factors, essential features, etc.? Let’s explore the vital components of mobile shopping app development in this blog. However, before that, let’s see what has made Costco a trendsetter in the eCommerce world.

What Makes Costco a Trendsetter in the World of eCommerce Applications

Costco, the membership-based warehouse retailer, has experienced remarkable growth and emerged as a trendsetter in the mCommerce industry over the years. By providing exclusive benefits and discounts to members, Costco incentivizes customers to return, driving long-term growth and stability for the company.

With over 10 million app downloads on the Google Play Store, Costco Wholesale remains a multi-billion dollar retailer with operations in eight countries. This global presence not only increases its market reach but also enhances its brand recognition.

Recognizing the growing importance of online shopping, the Costco mobile app offers a wide range of products online, ensuring that it remains competitive in the digital marketplace. The app is a one-stop shop for limitless products — from medical supplies to home appliances, clothing to accessories, groceries to furnishing items, and beyond.

The Costco app allows its users to buy anything and everything with just a few taps on their mobile screen. The company’s commitment to sustainability and improving its digital offerings reflects its agility in responding to changing consumer preferences.

Costco a Trendsetter in the World of eCommerce

At the core of Costco’s app success is its unwavering focus on enhancing customer experience. Whether through its membership perks, diverse product offerings, intuitive UI/UX design, or commitment to sustainability, the app consistently prioritizes customer satisfaction. This customer-centric approach helps drive sales and retain customers for uncertainty.

Factors Affecting Costco-like Shopping App Development Cost

As online shopping app trends and adoption rapidly increase, the number of entrepreneurs shifting their traditional stores from offline brick-and-mortar shops to online inventory is also growing, and so is their quest to know the cost to build a shopping app like Costco.

However, there is no predefined figure to answer how much eCommerce mobile app development costs, as it significantly varies depending on multiple factors. Some of the most considerable factors contributing to online shopping app development costs are:

Considerable Factors For Shopping App Development Cost

Platform Compatibility

The choice of platform(s) on which the app will be run on. You must decide whether to develop the application for iOS or Android or opt for a cross-platform solution that can seamlessly on both platforms.

Features and Functionality

The complexity and list of features (details in the next segment) you want to integrate into your shopping app directly influence the eCommerce mobile app development cost.

UI/UX Design

Creating an intuitive and visually appealing UI/UX design is crucial for the success of a shopping app, but it also increases development costs.

Integration with Third-Party Services

Third-party integration, such as inventory management, payment gateways, customer relationship management (CRM), social media platforms, and analytics tools, also impacts development costs.

Scalability and Flexibility

Implementing scalable architecture and infrastructure to ensure scalability and accommodate future growth may incur additional development costs.

Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to industry regulations and compliance to protect users’ sensitive data is a crucial aspect of mobile shopping app development, which adds to the product’s complexity and development cost.

Development Team Location

The geographical location of your chosen shopping app developers is also an important factor in evaluating the cost to build a shopping app like Costco.

App Maintenance

Ongoing app maintenance and support are the lifeblood of ensuring the continued functionality and performance of the shopping app. Thus, allocating a budget for regular updates and bug fixes is also part of Costco like shopping app development cost.

On average, Costco-like shopping app development costs range between $30,000 and $300,00. Remember, this is just a rough estimation; the exact cost to develop a shopping app like Costco can increase or decrease depending on critical cost-determining factors mentioned above.

To give you a more precise analysis of online shopping app development cost, here is a cost breakdown to create a mobile shopping app depending on the project’s complexity.

Shopping App ComplexityAverage CostAverage Timeline
Simple App with Basic Features$30,000-$60,0004-6 months
Medium Complex App with Moderate Features$60,000-$150,0006-9 months
Highly Complex App with Advanced Features$150,000-$300,000 or more9 months to 1 year or more

To get a more in-depth analysis of factors affecting mobile app development costs, read our comprehensive guide: Mobile App Development Cost in 2024

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Must-Have Features for Shopping App Development

To build a wholesale eCommerce marketplace like Costco, it is essential to include a comprehensive set of features that cater to the needs of both buyers and sellers. Here are some must-have features for shopping app development:

Essential Features to Develop A Shopping App like Costco

User Registration and Login

It is the most essential feature to integrate during shopping app development, allowing users to register and create accounts on the platform. To ensure account security, you must enable them to create profiles using secure authentication mechanisms like email verification or two-factor authentication.

Membership System

When you are considering building a wholesale ecommerce marketplace like Costco, you must introduce a membership-based system. This feature allows users to pay a subscription fee to access exclusive deals, discounts, and other benefits.

Product Listings

A wholesale ecommerce marketplace like Costco offers a wide range of products from various categories. Thus, you must enable sellers to create detailed product listings, including descriptions, images, pricing, variants available, and so on.

Product listings feature on costco

Search and Filter

You must implement a search and filter functionality that lets users quickly find their desired products by name, category, brand, gender, or other attributes. This functionality also helps them refine search results based on color, price, ratings, availability, etc.

Order Management

This feature empowers buyers to view their past order history, manage current orders, track shipments, and initiate returns or exchanges. Providing real-time order tracking functionality allows users to monitor the status of their orders from processing to delivery.

Payment Gateways

Payment gateways are a standard mobile shopping app development feature that delivers a great shopping experience. Payment gateway integration should support various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, bank transfers, UPI, digital wallets,  and other popular options.

Review and Rating

Implement a rating and review system where buyers can leave feedback and ratings for their past purchases. It will help build trust and transparency within the marketplace and assist other users in making confident buying decisions.

Shopping Cart

When opting for mobile shopping app development, ensure that the cart functionality is user-friendly and allows for editing the cart, applying discounts or promotional codes, and saving products for later purchases.

shopping cart feature

Personalized Recommendations

Online stores, such as Costco, Walmart, Zalando, etc., leverage AI and ML techniques to deliver personalized product recommendations tailored to each user’s preferences and browsing history. This feature helps expand your brand reach and increase user engagement, ultimately improving the conversion rate.

Push Notifications

Your app should also support a strategic push notification system to keep users informed about the latest deals, shipping status, promotional offers, and other important updates. Additionally, it facilitates users to customize their notification preferences to ensure relevancy and minimize interruption.

Security Measures

It is one of many crucial features of mobile shopping app development. Implementing robust security measures such as secure authentication, encryption techniques, etc. help protect users  personal and financial information against potential cyber threats and maintain the highest level of adherence to industry compliances such as GDPR, PCI-DSS, etc.

Social Sharing

With more than 5.04 billion people, which account for 62.3% of the global population, active on social media platforms, it becomes integral to capture social sharing trends. Integrate social sharing functionality in your shopping app to enable users to share product listings with their social network. This helps increase brand awareness and drive organic growth.

You may like reading: What Makes Social Networking Apps Successful?

Accessibility Features

Prioritize accessibility by incorporating features that cater to users with disabilities, such as adjustable font sizes, alternative text for images, and screen reader compatibility. Adhering to essential accessibility compliances like WCAG and ensuring inclusivity can enhance the overall user experience and reach a broader audience.

Analytics and Reporting

Integrating data analytics and reporting tools in the AI shopping app is essential for businesses to track sales, customer behavior, and inventory performance. This feature also provides sellers with valuable insights to optimize their offerings.

Bulk Ordering

Similar to the Costco application, you should allow buyers to purchase products in bulk. To incentivize bulk purchases, you can implement features such as volume discounts or tiered pricing. Moreover, make sure to give clear notifications to buyers about minimum and maximum order requirements.

AI Integration

Incorporating AI functionalities such as voice search, chatbots, and predictive analytics helps enhance various aspects of the shopping app, thereby improving user engagement and conversion rates.

Also Read: How to Use AI to Design Better Mobile App User Experience?

Advanced Features to Integrate in Costo-like eCommerce App

Now that we know the must-have features for Costco-like eCommerce app development, it is time to explore some advanced features that will elevate the user shopping experience and set your platform apart in a competitive market.

AR/VR Try Ons

Implementing AR/VR try-ons in the eCommerce app has become a must-have functionality in today’s digital age. This feature allows users to visualize products in their real-world environment before making a purchase. This feature enables virtual try-ons for clothing, accessories, or home decor items, enhancing the online shopping experience and reducing the likelihood of returns.

AR/VR trend in eCommerce application

AI-Powered Visual Search

Adding AI-powered visual search capabilities to the app with certainly take your users online shopping experience to the next level. This feature allows users to search for products by uploading images or taking photos with their smartphone camera, helping them find what they want in a matter of moments.

Gamification and Rewards Program

Gamification and Rewards Program

When building a shopping app like Costco, incorporating gamification elements and rewards programs helps improve user engagement and increase loyalty. You can add loyalty points, cashback, refer and earn, etc., to encourage repeat purchases and attract new users.

How to Develop a Shopping App Like Costco?

Developing a shopping app for retail businesses goes through several stages and considerations. Here is a step-by-step Costco shopping app development process:

Visual Search - The future of mobile shopping

Market Research and Analysis

The first step of the Costco shopping app development process starts with conducting thorough market research to understand online shopping app trends and the preferences of your target audience. At this initial stage, you must analyze competitors to identify opportunities and challenges.

Define Features and Functionality

Based on your research, identify the essential features and functionality for your mobile shopping app development. Besides the must-have features, you can consider other important features like virtual try-ons, multilingual support, etc., as per the specific demands of your product.

UI/UX Design

The next integral step is to craft an intuitive and visually appealing UI/UX design, prioritizing ease of navigation and seamless user interactions. Create wireframes and mockups to visualize the look and feel of your final product. When creating mockups, ensure consistency in design elements, typography, color schemes, and branding to enhance the overall user experience.


Now, it is time to bring your product idea to life by using the right tech stack (e.g., programming languages, frameworks, databases) and by developing the frontend and backend components of your app. At this stage, your shopping app developers set up a product catalog with detailed information, integrate a secure payment gateway, implement robust security measures, and incorporate other essential functionalities, ensuring compatibility with various devices and screen sizes.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Before you bring your final product to the market, you must conduct thorough testing and quality assurance processes to ensure the uninterrupted functionality and performance of your shopping app. You can use automated testing tools and frameworks to address any bugs, glitches, errors, or other potential issues early in the development cycle.


After assuring the quality of your app, it is time to submit your shopping app to the targeted platforms (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store). Ensure compliance with app store guidelines to facilitate smooth approval and distribution.

App Maintenance and Updates

Lastly, you must continuously monitor and optimize your app’s performance, stability, and user experience to ensure ongoing quality and reliability. Regularly update your app with new features, bug fixes, and security patches to keep pace with market trends. Remember, shopping mobile app development is a one-time process but app maintenance is an ongoing journey.

Learn how we helped 6th Street, eCommerce app

Leverage Appinventiv’s Experience in eCommerce App Development

Shopping apps are the secret weapons for retail organizations, helping them expand their business online and stay competitive in this fast-paced digital environment. So, if you are interested in shopping mobile app development, reach out to our team at Appinventiv for expert assistance.

Being a leading eCommerce app development company, we can help you with the seamless Costco shopping app development process and even provide post-launch support. Our team of 1500+ tech evangelists specializes in creating feature-rich shopping apps that help startups and industry giants reach greater heights in their respective industries.

For instance, we helped Adidas, a leading sports merchandise brand, build an intuitive mobile application with all the essential functionalities like AI, AR/VR, payment gateway, search and filter, product listing, etc. Our efforts led the brand to acquire 500K new users and 2M+ app downloads.

Adidas app screen

Also, we collaborated with Edamama, an eCommerce enterprise, to spearhead the entire product development process. From introducing innovative features to crafting a dynamic attribute management system and beyond, we helped this leading eCommerce brand create a milestone, resulting in securing $5 million in funding, delivering over 20,000 SKUs to homes, and catering to the needs of more than 100k+ mothers.

Edamama app screen

Even if the cost to build a shopping app like Costco or something similar can be extreme, it can have enormous benefits for your retail businesses. So, if you want to create a mobile shopping app that stands out in the digital landscape, partner with us now. Your satisfaction is our commitment.


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

A. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to answer how much does it cost to build a shopping app like Costco. To give you a rough estimate, we can say that Costco-like shopping app development costs range between $30,000 to $300,000 or more.

However, there are various factors, like the app’s complexity, features, UI/UX design, platform compatibility, design, location of shopping app developers, etc., that should be considered when evaluating the overall cost.

You can discuss your project idea with us and get a precise estimate for eCommerce mobile app development cost and timeline tailored to your specific project requirements.

Q. How long does it take to build a shopping app like Costco?

A. The timeline required to create a shopping app like Costco also depends on various factors, including the complexity of features, platform compatibility, UI/UX design, the expertise of shopping app developers, and so on.

On average, the shopping mobile app development timeline lasts 4 months to 1 year or more, depending on your specific project requirements and goals.

Q. What are the benefits of shopping apps?

A. There are numerous benefits of shopping app development for businesses and consumers alike. Some of the most remarkable benefits are:

Increased Reach: Shopping apps provide businesses a platform to reach a broader audience beyond their physical location.

Enhanced Customer Engagement: Mobile shopping app development enables businesses to engage with customers directly through various features like personalized recommendations, push notifications, social media sharing, etc.

Data-driven Insights: An eCommerce app like Costco provides businesses with a high volume of user data to gain insights into online shopping app trends and optimize marketing strategies effectively.

Cost Savings: By leveraging emerging technologies like NLP, IoTAI, AR/VR, etc., in mobile shopping app development, businesses can save on expenses such as utilities, staffing, etc.

Competitive Advantages: A well-designed and user-friendly shopping app can give businesses an edge over their competitors in today’s digital marketplace.

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