In recent years, on-demand services have become more prevalent as companies like Postmates, Uber, and Hulu have catered to our desire for convenient, cheap, and reliable services. While the competition is rising for on-demand apps, there is still room for new service providers who can compete with the existing apps and provide additional value.
Here are some things to think about in order to create a successful on-demand app.
What Is YOUR Solution?
Starting an on-demand app means there needs to be a problem that can be solved with an on-demand service and with a viable market to target. Customers are primarily looking for convenience and a good price.
The idea you bring to the table does not necessarily need to be a new idea, but it does need to be innovative in some way. There are plenty of services that essentially offer the same thing, but each new on-demand business twists the formula into something different enough that it can be marketed successfully.
For example, Netflix was the lead movie and TV streaming app for a few years because it was the first service to be mainstream and affordable. Hulu embodied almost the same on-demand business model, but marketed TV networks more than Netflix. This attracted users who wanted to watch more TV shows rather than movies. These types of small tweaks to a business that has already become popular have led to the rise of many successful on-demand apps. Grubhub may fit one customer better than Postmates, or vice-versa.
So, the question is: By starting an on-demand app, what is something you could offer that differs enough from other services that it can be successfully marketed?
What Market Can Be Reached By Starting an On-Demand App?
Each on-demand service has a group of people that will use it more than others. This seems self-explanatory, but marketing to a certain group is key in creating a successful on-demand business.
For example, Hello Sitter, is an app that targets parents with young children who are in need of babysitting services. Applying the on-demand business model to babysitting makes it as easy as a tap on the screen for parents to solve their childcare needs. Through focus testing and a parent-friendly UI, these elements complemented the specific targeting of the app and helped it succeed.
Starting an on-demand app that’s specific is another key step in cornering a market. The Netflix vs Hulu example illustrates this perfectly: Hulu was able to target the smaller, more specific TV-watcher target audience in order to own a small section of a larger market. This can be seen with many other services as well that offer similar services but target a smaller audience that the previous competitor may have missed or not targeted as heavily.
How to Maximize the Accessibility of an On-Demand Business
Accessibility is a major selling point when starting an on-demand app. Being able to streamline a solution to an issue attracts customers like a magnet. The point of creating an on-demand service is to streamline an annoying process that customers would pay to fix.
When creating your service, every step of delivering it to the customer needs to be streamlined in order to boost usability on the user’s side as well as lower costs for you.
For instance, Postmates uses GPS to locate the nearest Postmate to the customer in order to get the fastest turnaround time. They are able to deliver food quickly because they have streamlined finding a Postmate, limited restaurants to a certain mile radius, and used GPS tracking to show the customer where their order is in real time.
Streamlining providing your service to the customer also improves marketability. Being able to advertise to customers how easily they can use your on-demand business is key in making your service successful. Users want to solve their problems with the least amount of resistance. So in order to capture a large audience, the tech needs to be easy to use.
Build a Relationship With Users
Having a relationship with customers is key to keeping an audience loyal and engaged with your on-demand business over time. While marketing your app to an audience and letting them use the platform is great, without incentives for them to keep using the app, they will lose interest.
Establish a Loyalty Program
We see how many retailers over the years have introduced loyalty programs for customers who buy their products regularly. An easy-to-understand example of this is the punch card, where customers can “buy nine and get the tenth free”. Those following the on-demand business model do similar things as well, offering coupons and loyalty rewards that provide repeat business and keep users engaged. Referring friends is another easy way to expand your market while still rewarding the loyal customer who is giving you practically free advertising.
When you start an on-demand app, you will likely serve many groups of people. These groups can be split a number of ways, but catering to each of them is another key way to build relationships.
Give options that can provide certain groups with a better experience. For example, Hulu caters to TV watchers but still has movies on the platform to provide that group a better experience with their service. Spotify is built for music listeners but also includes podcasts to give that group a better experience. Both of these on-demand services cater to groups other than their key audience, bringing in a larger market and increasing their business.
Another key part of creating a relationship with your users is listening to input after launch. Many on-demand businesses have social media accounts that let them receive input from users and see what people are enjoying and what is not working. Having a presence within the community you have built is crucial to making people believe that you are there to help them. Making changes based on what users feel isn’t working is helpful in creating a better service and a closer community.
Starting an On-Demand App: The Development Phase
Now it’s time to take your awesome idea and build it into something real. This part can be tricky since multiple people will be handling your on-demand project. That is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Input from those who are also invested in your vision can create an even better product in the long-run.
You will need to find app developers who believe in your idea and are willing to help you reach the best version of your product. Select a team that will be knowledgeable and honest about what features can and cannot work in your app. Get as much input as possible from your stakeholders, development team, and target users in order to fully develop your idea.
Marketing an On-Demand Business
Towards the end of the development cycle, you will need to start gathering an audience who will want to use your service. In many ways, app advertising is easier than it used to be. You can target your ideal audience online and start building a community through social media.
Emphasize Trust and Transparency
As stated before, build a community on trust. People will only want to use your on-demand business if they deem you as being trustworthy. Being transparent is key to this. Letting users know your policies, what you stand for, and how you operate helps them understand your business. Today, more and more people are becoming concerned with their privacy and how their services are using their information. Being transparent about how you plan to keep them safe in a very unsafe world is helpful in building a community of trust.
Make Yourself Known Online.
Another part of starting an on-demand app is building a community. This involves communicating with your audience and interacting with them. Businesses, politicians, and other groups are putting more effort into interacting with their audiences through online platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.
Through these platforms, you will be able to reward your early-adopters through promotions and individualized support. Being able to communicate with your audience at the beginning of your service to build an initial group of superusers creates the foundation for a powerful and long-lasting community of support.
Blue Label Labs Can Help You Start Your On-Demand App
New on-demand apps are being released all the time, so now is the time to jump in if you have an idea to bring to market. By staying on top of industry innovations, focusing on user-centric experiences, and choosing a strong product development team, you stand the best chances of success with your on-demand app.
At Blue Label Labs, we have extensive experience developing on-demand apps that thousands of users have downloaded. Take a look at HelloSitter, Hyer, and Tonquin, or view our portfolio for even more examples of our past projects. When you’re ready to turn your vision for an on-demand business into reality, reach out to start your project!
Get the latest from the Blue Label Labs' blog in your inbox.
More in Development
Houseparty App: From MVP to Household Name
Unless you’re building a niche app for business, the ultimate goal for…
Differences Between Native, Hybrid and HTML5 Apps
With Blue Label Labs’ extensive experience developing apps, we can assist with…
How COVID-19 is Affecting Data and AI Algorithms
Since the world was asked to lockdown, we’ve seen some dramatic shifts…