We have the world at our fingertips, literally. With the rise of on-demand, anyone with a smartphone can request almost anything with just a few finger taps, and have it within an hour. Luxuries that were once only for the wealthiest are now accessible to the masses – drivers, personal shoppers, dry cleaning, chefs, even a butler! But as we were reminded by innovators at this month’s On Demand Conference, which Sinch had the honor of sponsoring and attending, the on demand economy is about much more than bringing the lifestyle of the rich and famous to the average Joe. The Economist describes the “workers on tap” phenomenon:
“The on-demand economy allows society to tap into its under-used resources: thus Uber gets people to rent their own cars, and InnoCentive lets them rent their spare brain capacity.”
According to Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker, a fifth of millennials are self-described as “night owls” and a third imagine a work life of largely flexible hours. This growing desire for greater work flexibility combined with the ability to access spare time and workers via technology and low overhead (no offices needed!), has made way for the success of the on-demand business model. Innovators are promising the “Uber of X” where X can mean anything imaginable.
With more and more “Ubers of X” popping up, at any moment in the day you have the opportunity to ask yourself, what’s my time worth?
Working parents can spend more time with their kids when they don’t also have to go the grocery store, make dinner, or do laundry. More often that not, a Lyft or Uber will get you home in half the time you’d spend commuting on public transportation. Someone who is sick can see a doctor without ever leaving home via video chat. A box of cookies or a bouquet flowers can be at a friend or loved one’s home faster and at a more affordable price point than ever before. As the on-demand market grows and competition steepens, every on-demand company will be challenged with maintaining a streamlined user experience that meets the demands of each and every customer. Just a few years ago just the concept of having an Uber at your door within minutes was enough to keep customers happy. Today, that service is commonplace, which means customers can be picky and demand excellence. If Uber is showing surge pricing or a driver is 10 minutes away, a user can check out Lyft, Sidecar, or Flywheel, to potentially find a driver 3 minutes away. Loyalty will be closely tied to consistency of quality shared Instacart Co-Founder Max Mullen. He reminded conference attendees of the importance of standardizing the quality of your service and living up to your value proposition.
Mullen noted with Instacart, “our value lies in food shopping and selection, so our customers can expect a certain level of food quality every time.” Meanwhile, on his panel, “Building Blocks for On-Demand,” Sinch CEO Andreas Bernström reminded on-demand companies to focus on core competencies and let 3rd party experts handle the rest to stay competitive.
We’re looking forward to next year’s on-demand conference!
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