The Meteoric Growth of On-Demand Delivery Apps (& How You Can Reap the Benefits)
When the pandemic locked people at home, their phones kept them connected to the world. On-demand delivery apps, like DostaVista, accelerated their user acquisition and grew exponentially. But what exactly happened in the industry – especially in its food delivery sector – and what are the nuances that made some markets grow while others were left behind? And just as importantly, how can your own mobile app reap the benefits of these global changes?
How On-Demand Delivery Apps Accelerated During the Pandemic
The ground was ready for on-demand delivery apps, especially food delivery mobile apps, to skyrocket during the pandemic since demand was already nurtured and rising beforehand.
However, we can’t help but notice the fast-paced growth of this vertical over the 18 months since COVID-19 burst into our lives, making this industry one of the lifelines for millions of people, as it enables safe shopping and adds more cheer and consistency to their lives.
And indeed, according to an Appetize survey, “over 74% of Americans used their phone to order and pay for food and merchandise at least once a week, with nearly 48% using their phones for purchases several times a week or more,” reports Fast Casual.
Simultaneously, restaurants, who were unable to operate their businesses as usual, had to start offering deliveries and prioritizing user acquisition for their mobile apps, or increasing the amount of on-demand delivery apps they partnered with, increasing supply.
Consequentially, “grocery apps saw the biggest growth last year, with a 40.9% rise in smartphone users,” reports eMarketer. Food delivery apps came in second, at a 32.7% growth, as people ordered food from restaurants and meal kit companies.
Legislation and Regulation are Paying Attention – and Stepping Forward
Legislators have paid attention to the industry’s growth, and have stepped forward to ensure the vertical operates honestly and decently.
Multiple US cities are now limiting the commissions on-demand delivery apps can charge restaurants, to ensure they’re not taking advantage of the restaurants’ crisis during COVID-19, reports the Financial Times.
Some cities, like New York and San Francisco, aim to make these changes permanent, so restaurant protection can continue beyond the pandemic. The companies behind the delivery mobile apps, who stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, are taking legal action to fight this, adds the Financial Times, explaining that the legal battle’s result in these cities will likely impact whether such commission limitations will become permanent across the US.
But meanwhile, this industry is not slowing down.
Want to Generate Growth in Your Own On-Demand Delivery App? Here’s What Worked for DostaVista
We’ve been fortunate to help delivery mobile app DostaVista accelerate its user acquisition. In the process, we saw what worked and what didn’t. With DostaVista’s permission, we’re sharing it here, so you can skip the mistakes and head straight to growth.
Check Local Laws and Regulations
As we just covered, laws and regulations are changing in the industry as it sees this accelerated growth. This might and might not be true in the markets you serve, but it’s important to stay up to date, especially if you serve multiple markets.
DostaVista has a presence in 10 countries and was thankfully not required to make major changes to operate successfully.
Understand Your Market
DostaVista is a global crowdsourced delivery app. Its employees deliver food in 60 minutes every time, precisely on time. Therefore, it figured that it could add value and differentiate itself in markets that aren’t used to this type of convenience.
But turned out it was much harder to break into these markets. People weren’t looking for this type of service, or the need for that wasn’t clear enough for them, and the company’s efforts didn’t come into fruition there.
No matter how hardcore lockdown got, people kept using official courier services or waited for traditional fast-moving consumer goods providers to implement their own delivery solutions.
So instead, the company saw sharp growth elsewhere.
Give Your Market What it Wants
DostaVista’s sharp growth in user acquisition happened in countries that had two prerequisite conditions:
- They were deeply affected by lockdown policies during the pandemic.
- Their citizens were used to same-day food delivery apps.
The company learned that competition isn’t something to shy away from. Instead, thriving competitors indicated great and growing demand, that DostaVista was able to tap into.
It did that by communicating certainty in a time of complete uncertainty. Its communicated motto was “we’ll take care of things,” making people feel safe and that they’re well cared for. After the initial surge of user acquisition, word of mouth kept pushing traffic along.
Simultaneously, DostaVista took the same approach with couriers.
=> The company was able to serve the demand exactly because it operated in high-impact areas, where part of the uncertainty was that people lost their jobs and were looking to generate income.
=> Here, too, understanding the market and giving it what it needs became crucial. Courier recruitment was easiest and most scalable in countries with a big percentage of self employed people. This included full time small business owners, and folks who worked day jobs, but also had a side hustle.
Keep Your Focus on User Acquisition
While DostaVista experienced a lot of organic growth, such as via word of mouth, it stayed proactive about user acquisition on global scale in several markets- but customized it per market where it was possible.
=> In India, understanding the huge potential, it was important to not just deliver the brand with new app installs but to deliver quality users making transactions – First Time Buyer (FTB or FTD). Using our proprietary platform, we dug into the vast traffic available in the market locating the best sources that over time was able for us to reduce the overall CPA.
the company created several Facebook campaigns, which increased both brand awareness and user engagement.
=> In the Philippines, it collaborated with a local influencer, who prepared several TikTok and Facebook videos for the brand. The videos lowered CPA costs and increased the app’s popularity, thus achieving high-quality first-time users, that entered the brand loyalty program.
On-Demand Delivery Apps are Not Looking Back
User acquisition was accelerated beyond expectations during the pandemic, and that level of growth rate will likely slow down. New regulatory demand might challenge growth rates as well. But according to Deloitte, these mobile apps have been working so well for so many stakeholders, that “nearly a quarter of consumers (23%) say their more frequent use of takeout and delivery will be permanent.” Growth rate might slow down, but long-term thriving is bound to increase.