On-Demand has been a trendy catch-phrase for the mobile app companies emerging within the last decade, all trying to be the cutting edge technology within their market. Before acknowledging the challenges companies face when providing an immediate solution to a consumer, we must first acknowledge the functionality of a mobile app to make it On-Demand.
Consider that when you “Request” a ride from Uber, you are requesting an immediate service, expecting a driver to arrive within minutes. The “Request” for a ride is not scheduled in advance, but for this very moment.
Alternatively, there are apps that provide solutions which schedule services for the consumer’s convenience, but are often times mistaken for On-Demand apps. This identity crisis won’t make as large an impression in your marketing tactics as it will when it comes to designing wireframes for your mobile app. An example below is from the Handstand app, marketed as “Your Trainer, On-Demand.” As you can see, there is a difference in the process when requesting a service, now there is a scheduling aspect implemented for ease and convenience to both the user and service provider.
Acknowledging the difference will help in the initiatives to evaluate your competition, product concepting, and laying out screens for the initial development of your app.
Many challenges come along with developing for both types of apps, some are a given; demand for services, competitive pricing, contenders in the same market, customer service, etc. Those challenges are relevant for most apps, but the defining matter is being able to have a workforce readily available for spikes in demand and alternately, having enough demand so as not to have idle workers.
The solution most companies have adopted is the ability to implement an algorithm to forecast surges before they happen, increasing the productivity of the app from both ends.
In a recent article with the Guardian, Fred Destin, a VC in London funding Deliveroo, a food delivery app founded in the UK, explained “If it rains, demand for takeaway goes way up just as the number of riders showing up goes down,” he says. “If we predict rain, we figure out how many to ask to show up. And if doesn’t rain, it’s like: Oh shit, we have too many riders.”
With the recent request to build for both On-Demand and ‘Scheduling’ apps we, at Elementz, have had the ability to get hands-on experience from both ends. This allows us to sculpt our client’s products based on their market needs, building specific algorithms for more efficient functionality.
One, in particular, being ZingyPet, an On-Demand dog walking service, most recently acquired by Rover. With ZingyPet, it’s all about connecting the dog walker closest to the requesting dog owner. This is done by sending push notifications directly to walkers within a 5 mile radius of the owner’s location. If walkers within this 5 mile radius are not available, a trigger is set to send notifications to walkers in a wider radius. The functionality of this app is one we are most used to seeing and works well within the given market.
On the other hand, after identifying whether you’re building for an On-Demand or ‘Scheduling’ app, you can then determine what functionalities are the best fit for your users. With Pedal, an app to request PediCabs, we realized within our R&D process that consumers were more likely to hail one based on seeing it versus ordering one from afar. With this in mind, a QR code was applied, now a customer can scan a QR that is placed on a Pedicab and automatically connects them with a driver for the ride.
In the ‘Scheduling’ app space, we were happy to be a part of the development for GoTym, a mobile app connecting users and personal trainers, massage therapists, and yoga instructors based on the both parties’ schedules. Elementz developed a custom calendar solution in native iOS that allows the trainer to set their availability for training sessions and the consumer to view and book accordingly.
Each technology used was tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual app. Whether it be geofencing, QR codes or custom calendars, these features are reliant on recognizing the core functionality of your app. We at Elementz focus on helping our clients identify this in the initial discovery phase to ease the process down the road.
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