How to Build a Shopping App Like Costco?

How to Build a Shopping App Like Costco?

In the past few years, the e-commerce industry has been soaring by leaps and bounds. A study has shown that e-commerce sales have crossed $5.8 trillion in 2023. And almost 60% of the total e-commerce market profit comes from mobile commerce, which is almost $2.2 trillion.

The e-commerce sales are expected to rise from 56% in 2018 to 62% by 2027. So if you are planning to enter the e-commerce market, now is the time to do it.

mobile ecommerce sale in US dollar

One of the most successful online retailers is Costco, known for its wide selection of products and competitive prices. Given its popularity, many companies are interested in creating similar apps.

However, developing an app like Costco requires significant cost analysis that must be carefully done. Sounds overwhelming? Don’t worry, we are here to help!

You can read this blog to gain a complete understanding of e-commerce app development cost and more. We will discuss:

  • Essential features to develop the Costco-clone app
  • Step-by-step guide to developing an app like Costco
  • Cost to build a Costco-clone app
  • Factors affecting Costco-like shopping app development cost
  • Advanced features to develop the Costco-clone app

Essential Features to Develop the Costco-Clone App

When developing the Costco-clone app, add a comprehensive set of features to cater to the needs of both buyers and sellers. Here are some features you can add:

Must-Have Features to Include in Shopping Apps like Costco

1. Product Listings

Popular e-commerce platforms like Costco offer a large selection of goods in many categories. This is why, you must allow sellers to create detailed product listings that must include product descriptions, prices, photos, and more.

2. Search and Filter

You must include a search and filter feature so customers can easily look up products by name, brand, category, gender, or other criteria. They can also filter search results by color, price, availability, ratings, and other criteria with the use of this technology.

3. Order Management

Customers can use this tool to manage their current orders, track shipments, initiate returns or exchanges, and view their order history. By offering a real-time order tracking feature, you can allow users to keep an eye on their order status from processing to delivery.

4. User Registration and Login

When developing a shopping app, you must integrate easy user registration and login features so users can quickly create their accounts. Let users create profiles by using secure authentication mechanisms like 2FA and email verification to ensure account security.

5. Membership System

Don’t forget to include a membership-based system when availing of e-commerce app development services to create an app like Costco. One can use this feature to access exclusive deals, discounts, and other benefits.

6. Payment Gateways

Add smooth payment gateways to your Costco-clone app to improve the user experience. Your payment gateway integration must support multiple payment methods, including bank transfers, UPI, digital wallets, credit/debit cards, and other options.

7. Review and Rating

You must include reviews and rating systems so customers can post ratings and feedback related to their previous purchases. It will help other users make better purchasing decisions and contribute to building transparency and trust in the marketplace.

8. Shopping Cart

When designing a mobile shopping app, make sure the cart functionality is user-friendly and allows for editing, applying discounts or promo codes, and saving products for later purchases.

9. Personalized Recommendations

Online stores like Costco use AI and ML technology to offer custom product recommendations to users as per their interests and browsing history. This feature helps increase user engagement, allowing your business to reach a wider audience and boost conversion rates.

[Also Read - E-commerce Personalization: How to Tailor the Shopping Experience for Every Customer]

10. Push Notifications

Include a strategic push notification system in your app to keep users updated about the latest deals, offers, shipping status, and other details. Users can even customize their notifications to reduce interruptions and maintain relevancy.

11. Security Measures

By implementing robust security measures, you can maintain app safety and protect users’ personal data from potential cyber threats. Also, you can ensure that the app follows industry standards like PCI-DSS and GDPR. Common security measures you can implement include encryption techniques and secure authentication.

12. Social Sharing

Did you know that almost 5.04 billion people are active on social media platforms, which accounts for 62.3% of the population?

Statics: people are active on social media platforms

You can integrate social sharing functionality into your shopping app, allowing users to share product listings with their social network. This way, you can increase brand awareness and drive organic growth.

13. Accessibility Features

Incorporate accessibility features such as alternative image text, screen reader compatibility, and adjustable font size to cater to users with disabilities. Make sure your app adheres to essential accessibility compliances like WCAG.

14. Analytics and Reporting

Don’t forget to integrate data analytics and reporting tools into your shopping app. This feature helps businesses track sales, inventory performance, and customer behavior. Likewise, sellers can also use this feature and gain insights to optimize their offerings.

15. Bulk Ordering

The main element of the Costco app is that it allows users to place bulk orders. You must also allow buyers to purchase products in bulk. For this, you can implement features like tiered pricing and volume discounts. What's More? You must also give clear notifications to buyers about the maximum and minimum order requirements.

16. AI Integration

Lastly, you must implement AI functionalities like predictive analytics, chatbots, and voice search to improve the shopping experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Developing an App Like Costco

You can follow these steps to develop the Costco-clone app:

Guide to Develop a Shopping App like Costco

Step 1: Plan and Research

It's an essential step that establishes a solid framework for your shopping apps’ development. You need to perform extensive market research to understand customer preferences, target audiences, and business objectives.

What’s more? You must also analyze your competitors. It will assist you in creating a solid roadmap, which will guarantee the success of your project.

Step 2: Features and Functionalities

The next step requires you to determine the essential features and capabilities for your Costco-like app.

You can integrate essential features like push notifications, user accounts, shopping carts, payment gateways, and product searches into the app. Furthermore, you can improve the user experience by integrating advanced features like gamification, rewards systems, and AR/VR.

Step 3: UI/UX Design

Your app must be aesthetically pleasing, easily navigable, and have an intuitive interface to offer an incredible user experience. Prioritize simple checkout procedures, intuitive product classification, and easy navigation. Use eye-catching graphics, interactive features, and icons to keep users interested as they shop.

Step 4: Development

Select a good technology stack and build your app in modules. To accommodate upcoming expansions and updates, you can use a scalable architecture. Work closely with QA testers, designers, and developers to guarantee timely delivery and seamless progress.

Step 5: Test and Maintenance

Make sure you thoroughly test your app on a variety of platforms to find and fix possible problems or performance issues. Keep an eye on analytics and user input to make the necessary adjustments. Regularly update your app with new features and improvements to keep it relevant in the competitive market.

[Also Read - How to Make an Online Shopping App Like Amazon]

Cost to Build a Costco-Clone App

Wondering how much it costs to build a Costco-clone app? Honestly, there is no fixed amount because the amount depends on various factors like the experience and location of the e-commerce app development company, UI/UX design, choice of tech stack, features and functionalities, and more.

But the estimated development can range from $30,000 to $300,000.

Depending on your project requirements and other factors, the cost can vary. Here’s the Costco-clone app cost estimate as per app complexity:

Cost to develop Costco-Clone App

Factors Affecting Costco-Like Shopping App Development Cost

The cost of developing the Costco-clone app depends on multiple factors, such as:

1. Platform Compatibility

Your choice of platform can have a significant impact on the overall development price. You can either choose Android or iOS or opt for a cross-platform option.

2. Features and Functionalities

The complexity and feature set you want to include in your shopping app have a direct impact on the price of app development.

3. UI/UX Design

Creating a visually appealing and intuitive app is indeed essential for the success of shopping apps. But it can also increase the development amount.

4. Integrating with Third-Party Services

Remember to integrate your app with third-party services like inventory management, CRM, social media platforms, payment gateways, and analytics tools.

5. Scalability and Flexibility

To ensure the scalability of your Costco-clone app, you must implement scalable infrastructure and architecture. But it will significantly increase the development cost.

6. Regulatory Compliance

Protecting users’ sensitive data by following industry regulations and compliance is essential, but it adds to the apps’ complexity and development cost.

7. Development Team Location

Pay attention to your choice of app developer for e-commerce because their geographical location can influence the overall cost of developing a Costco-clone app.

8. App Maintenance

If you want to keep your app relevant in the market, you must invest in ongoing app maintenance and support. So, you must allocate a budget for regular updates and bug fixes.

Advanced Features to Develop the Costco-Clone App

Besides the basic functions, you must also include these advanced features in your Costco-clone app to elevate the overall user experience.

These advanced features will also set your app apart in the competitive market:

 Advanced Features to Develop the Costco-Clone App

1. AR/VR Try-Ons

In the current digital era, integrating AR/VR try-ons into an e-commerce app has become essential. That’s because before making a purchase, users want to see products in their real-world surroundings. This feature has improved the online shopping experience and decreased the possibility of returns via virtual try-ons for apparel, accessories, and home décor items.

[Also Read - The Future of E-commerce: How AR and VR Boosts Online Shopping]

2. AI-Powered Visual Research

Use AI-powered visual search features to enhance your shopping app and improve consumers' online purchasing experiences. This feature allows customers to quickly find what they're looking for by uploading images or capturing pictures of products.

3. Gamification and Reward Programs

By incorporating gamification elements and reward programs into your Costco-clone app, you can improve user engagement and loyalty. You can also offer cashback, loyalty points, and refer & earn to attract new users.

Develop a Robust Costco-Clone App With Protonshub

If you have online shopping app development ideas and want to work with a reliable company that can turn them into reality, Protonshub Technologies should be your choice.

Being a leading app development company, we take pride in developing a scalable and user-friendly shopping app that exceeds your expectations. Our team of 220+ experts specializes in creating the most amazing shopping apps for businesses of all sizes.

We understand the unique challenges and opportunities of the e-commerce industry. Before we begin with the development, we closely collaborate with you to understand your business goals and user needs. Following this, we offer solutions that rightly align with your requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Building a Costco-clone app can take anywhere from 4 months to 1 year or more, depending on your specific project requirements and goals. Besides this, the timeline depends on other factors like platform compatibility, UI/UX design, the expertise of developers, feature complexity, and more.

Popular alternatives to the Costco app include Walmart, OfferUp, Best Buy, and more.

Yes, you can build a Costco-clone app on a budget. For this, you can start by developing an MVP with essential features. You can later add more functionalities as needed. Furthermore, you can outsource app developers from regions with lower labor costs.

You must focus on the following factors to make your Costco-clone app user-friendly and easy to navigate:

  • Conduct user research to understand your target audience.
  • Design a clean and intuitive interface with CTAs.
  • Provide clear product information and high-quality images.
  • Conduct usability tests and gather feedback.

To include secure payment options in your Costco-clone app, you must use a reputable payment gateway that follows industry security standards. You can also implement SSL encryption to protect sensitive customer data and secure tokenization to store payment information.


Ekta Singh

"Senior Content Writer"

Ekta Singh is a rookie food experimentalist and k-drama fan with 4+ years of experience in writing. Bridging gaps between companies and customers through conversion-driven content is her forte. She believes in writing stories for a living and living life for exploring places.