The world is rapidly becoming on-demand

    Just three fresh news points to the same trend. Firstly, in Barcelona, ​​Uber started delivering food : the existing system is now also used for the situation: “launch the application, choose something from the range of partner restaurants, and the Uber driver will bring it to you in 10 minutes.” Secondly, Amazon now offers Manhattan residents one-hour delivery of certain items. Thirdly, the startup Washio, which provides “custom laundry” in several American cities (people come to the client, pick up his dirty clothes, and later return them clean and ironed), introducedWashio Now accelerated mode: earlier it was required to book in advance for a specific time, but now you can press the “come” button and the car will arrive within an hour.

    All this suggests the following: the “I want it here and now” model, previously used for taxis and pizzas, is rapidly spreading to other areas. Business Insider , defining last year the on-demand economy as “the economic activity of technology companies that respond to consumer demands by immediately providing goods and services,” promised her a great future - and his forecast is coming true.

    The above examples are far from the only thing in the world that you can quickly get to your front door. There is a replacement for mass and predictable things ( Instacartsuggests not going to the groceries for the one who will buy everything for you and bring it), but there is much more unexpected: Glamsquad suggests urgently calling a stylist to your house (if someone needs to pretend to have a gala evening and don’t have time to go to the beauty salon, it could be salvation). Not all such services are worked out within an hour ( Zeel offers a massage therapist at home “on the day of order”, and Handy - “husbands for an hour” the next day), but everyone is striving to reduce the time.

    Finally, the most significant - the service appearedBringg, called upon any "business with delivery" to provide the appropriate tools (allowing, for example, to show the client on the map the movement of the executor of his order). This most clearly shows that we are not talking about individual successful projects, but a new industry.

    Now the coverage area of ​​most of these services is usually limited to several American cities - first of all, San Francisco, where Valley startups create similar projects, and they themselves use them willingly. Does this mean that the entire market is limited to a narrow layer of “techies”, and is it not interesting for the mass consumer? No, rather, it means that the story is just beginning: its main representative, Uber, was also at first popular in the Valley, and now works in 53 countries for a diverse audience.


    Why did all this arise only now, if “products with delivery” could please people decades ago? This has both technological and social reasons.

    Mobile devices accustomed the user to the fact that he is no longer tied to a home computer or working hours, virtual has become available anytime, anywhere. And when various services operating with the real world launched applications for the same devices, the user wanted to get the same speed, simplicity and versatility from them.

    Smartphones made it easy for people to share their location — and with services like Foursquare they taught them to do it for any reason. Telling the whole world exactly where you are has become commonplace - and in this case, it becomes easier to report the same service.

    Smartphones also allowed such services, instead of their own staff of performers, to easily resort to the services of freelancers who simply open the application and see user orders (thanks to this, Uber soared, which I wrote recently on Megamind). Since the performers in such services constantly move around the city, previously existing computer counterparts did not suit them.

    Finally, due to logistics, the technological part here is much more complicated than it might seem at first glance: this is a situation where order points on the map flash in arbitrary places at any time, and you need to immediately respond to a constantly changing situation. The company took six months to develop an algorithmized routing that allowed Washio to reduce the lead time to an hour. UPS experience is also significant, which appeared long before the on-demand boom, but faced with the same problem of route optimization: their Orion program selects the best options from among 198 zeros.


    Although some warn of a “bubble”, as always happens in such cases, the future here is very optimistic: a sharp increase in popularity is supported by corresponding profitability. While other startups may not be able to imagine how to monetize it with an enormous audience, then on-demand economy representatives will have a live cash flow with the first user (although low margins are possible here because of high competition).

    The following question is more complicated: what does all this mean for Russia, is there a wave of on-demand economy waiting for us, and is it worth it for Russian startups to urgently do such services? And there are concerns: for example, in Russia cash payments are much more widespread, and services with freelancers-performers are suitable for card payments (so that all transactions go through the service, so that the performer and the consumer could not deceive him by agreeing directly).

    But for Russian startups, there are also advantages. While Instagram is unique for the whole world, Russian users are willing to sit in it, and they do not need a separate “Russian Instagram”, in the case of on-demand everything is different. Since such services cannot start immediately all over the world, they connect the regions one by one, and the queue obviously will not come soon to Russia - so now you can manage to make an analogue of a service already successful in the USA and conquer the Russian market before the arrival of a competitor.

    And besides, there are more and more individual examples of on-demand or similar phenomena in Russia now. Uber started in Moscow with St. Petersburg and was in demand. To the long-existing YouDo , offering customers and executors of household assignments to find each other, recently addedYandex.Master . And the Okey hypermarket chain has recently launched an online store - apparently, having come to the conclusion that a sufficient number of Russian customers are ripe to abandon the traditional model of shopping for products and want to select them on the screen. All this suggests that we have prerequisites for the on-demand boom.

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