From their favorite sitcoms to a ride home from a nightclub on a Saturday night, consumers want what they want at the moment they want it.
Catering to people’s desire for instant gratification has opened immense opportunities for entrepreneurs. According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 22.4 million consumers spent over $57.6 billion in the on-demand economy in 2016. Analysts believe the interest and use of on-demand services will accelerate in the years ahead. However, to kill it in the on-demand economy, business owners will find success is anything but instant. It requires research, planning and well-orchestrated execution.
7 Tips for Succeeding in the On-Demand Economy:
1. Find a need to fill.
Begin by thinking about what you and people you know find inconvenient or time-consuming. When creating an app to alleviate a problem that personally affects you, you have the advantages of the first-hand experience and innate determination on your side. If you have an existing business, explore which offerings might be a natural fit for on-demand delivery. Also, consider customer feedback from surveys and online reviews to mine ideas. Conducting focus groups provides another channel for getting insight into customers’ pain points and needs.
2. Find the right technology partner.
The app through which customers will access your on-demand product or service will have a tremendous impact on whether they use and embrace your offering. Carefully assess the capabilities and experience of a mobile app development company before you contract its services. Does it understand your industry, your business and your target audience? How does it approach planning and quality assurance? Also, ask for demonstrations of other apps it has developed and references from other companies who have used its services.
3. Beta test with committed users.
Solicit the help of people who will do more than just take you up on the offer of a free, limited-time account. Before giving users access to your app during a beta test period, set clear expectations about how much you would like them to use your on-demand service and the amount of feedback you want.
4. Gather detailed and extensive feedback.
The more information you gather — positive and negative — the better able you will be to assess how well your on-demand service is meeting its intended need. Whether you send a survey to a beta tester after each instance of using your app, periodically through the test period, or at the end of the beta test, ask questions that give you insight about things such as:
- If the app’s ease of use or appearance needs improvement
- Whether the on-demand service is delivered fast enough
- If the app experienced any technical issues (such as crashing or freezing)
- Whether there were usability issues specific to the type of device a test participant used to access the app
- If users found the on-demand service so useful that they would be willing to pay to keep it
- How much users would be willing to pay for the on-demand service
5. Fine-tune and re-test
After gathering user feedback, you will be armed with critical information to help you and your app developer make improvements. After you’ve fine-tuned your on-demand solution, allow beta users to re-test for quality assurance.
6. Price it right.
Many factors influence pricing and pricing strategies in the on-demand marketplace:
- Your costs for developing and maintaining your app
- Your costs for any products and services delivered through the app
- The price point your target customer will be willing to pay
- Competitors’ rates and pricing methodologies
All of these must come into play when developing a pricing strategy.
7. Have a robust online marketing strategy.
Several critical elements of an online marketing strategy to ensure prospective customers can discover your on-demand products and services include:
- A well-designed, mobile-friendly and SEO-optimized website
- Consistent NAP + Website (Name, Address, Phone Number, Website) information wherever your company has a listing online (i.e., directories, review sites)
- An active social media presence
On-Demand Is the New Black
Without a doubt, the on-demand economy is changing consumers habits and expectations. Even traditional businesses need to consider how they can deliver their products and services faster and offer more personalized service. It’s a challenging environment, but with the addressable market for on-demand services growing faster than for e-commerce, there is ample opportunity, as well.