The future of on-demand apps: Product delivery concept

What if you could have any product delivered to you, from any store in your city, through an app?

With the rise of on-demand apps, such as Uber, Deliveroo, Lyft, Bird, and many more, I’ve been eager to explore the space myself. Although I mostly work within the web with experience in both design & development, I fancied working on an app concept, to broaden my skills & take advantage of my product expertise.

Data from the National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS)

I was particularly interested in the delivery aspect of on-demand services — as we become busier, we have less time to go pick up things ourselves, which make these apps extremely convenient for a lot of people. Apps like Uber Eats or Deliveroo, working within the niche of food delivery, are good examples of that. They are successful because of their convenience, as well as providing restaurants with their own couriers, allowing them to have more customers. It also helps smaller businesses compete with multinationals who already could offer this service themselves, making the apps beneficial for all.

So the question is, if it works for food delivery, groceries delivery, & more, wouldn’t it also work for other niches? On-demand clothes, books, electronics, medication… Anything that stores in your city provide.

What about an app that does it all?

Imagine an app that allows you to order absolutely any product from your city, and have it delivered to you. Would it be viable?

When researching the concept, I realized there was already an app that did precisely that, called Glovo, but it was only available in some countries (although quite successful as well). This didn’t lead to ending my exploration, but rather encouraged me to look deeper into it, and see whether it could exist in the US, for example.

Here’s a breakdown of why it could work & should exist:

  • US cities are dispersed, not only requiring a car to get almost anywhere, but also taking a long time to pursue a simple purchase at a convenience store.
  • Big multinationals take over locally owned businesses as they’re put at a disadvantage in multiple aspects — less exposure, lower budgets, & less amenities leading to fewer customers.
  • Services such as Amazon are already being used to have any product delivered to you, but they’re not local, and with considerate delivery fees & with longer waiting periods.
  • It would come at a time where on-demand apps are well-known & trusted, making it easier to access the market & grow a userbase.
  • People with reduced mobility, or even those without a car, would find it extremely convenient, having them rely less on others.
  • Delivery services generate new opportunities for people to make a passive / full-time income.

The app

Having validated the concept, I put together the app’s interface & showcased multiple of its states. I sought to make it straightforward, intuitive, and most of all, try to fulfill its core objectives (help small businesses, order quickly, and work locally). I focused on the buyer’s experience as I felt it was the most insightful.

With that in mind, I started by working on the map itself, which would allow the user to browse through the different stores available in their region.

Moving through the map is fluid & straightforward

I prioritized a map view versus a page with selected products / stores (such as Uber Eats) because I felt those would make small businesses less prevalent, and could be useless most of the time, considering many of the products that can be ordered through the app are ordinary or specific — be it groceries, a book in particular, bread from your favorite bakery…

That said, I included an offers section to view good deals around the area, favorites to keep track of your preferred stores or products (if you want to order them regularly), and a friends section to see what your connections are ordering & their ratings on multiple products.

In order to find a specific store, location, or product, the user can use the search bar on the top easily, just like they would in an app like Google Maps.

Search for stores effortlessly, with a contextual preview

Once you’ve found your desired store, a preview shows up automatically in context — not bringing the user to a separate page, but overlapping the map, in order to be able to see the store’s details & products at the same time as they see its location in the map. The user is free to see the full view by dragging the preview upwards.

Considering the large diversity of stores, it was challenging to create an inclusive approach for the preview. I focused on the aspects that were universal — the name, description, closing time (would show opening times were it closed, since the app is meant to be used in real-time), the location, and most importantly a simple product search based on a search box, filters (allowing the user to sort or find an item in particular), and general categories that could be browsed easily.

Ordering products is as simple as clicking on the “Add to order” button, but the user is free to see more details for more information.

Product preview

Tapping on any product from the store preview transitions seamlessly to its details, which include a description, a bigger image (& gallery if there’s more to see), the option to mark it as favorite, and multiple reviews. It also shows recommended products based on the selected one.

One of the key parts of the app is obviously the delivery itself. I conceptualized it to be as intuitive as possible, just like in any other on-demand app.

Order tracking

The user can view the current location of their delivery on the map, with its progress and the remaining path it has to take. Tapping on top of it allows them to review the details, including the products they ordered, its price, the status, and the shipping address. I kept it extremely simple as to not confuse the user, while still giving all the necessary information.

Once the delivery has arrived to its destination, users are prompted with a pop up allowing them to rate their delivery experience, allow them to give a tip to the courier, and rate each item individually.

Post-delivery experience

In order to be contextual, similar to the pop up for the store preview, it displays the map in second view to be able to understand the order it belongs to. It is divided into 3 different steps in order not to overwhelm the user & to adapt depending on their choices (e.g. poor experience would lead to the possibility of explaining why, whereas a positive experience directly leads the user to the tipping state).

Final thoughts

Looking back to when I initially came up with the idea, I am incredibly pleased with the concept I managed to put together in just a few days (under a week, including the idea stage & this write up). Being a product-driven person, I prioritized a cohesive and intuitive interface instead of pure eye-candy, which tend to be frequent in design concepts or redesigns (made to look pretty, but not functional whatsoever in practice). I researched different apps in order to better understand the area, and I spoke with multiple potential users to not only validate the concept, but also build the app based on their own feedback, daily inconveniences, & more.

Regarding the app itself, I do truly believe it has potential, but it is obvious that at the current stage, being a relatively new market, apps are mostly getting into niches to guarantee a userbase. That said, this is not only leaving out specialized stores or small businesses that do not fall into the defined spectrum, but it is also making users have to jump from app to app to order different things. I believe it is only a matter of time before a big company in the on-demand space such as Uber goes down that road.

Hope you found this case study insightful! Feel free to give feedback (I am always learning!) or your own thoughts in the topic. I am also open to opportunities — just send me a mail at hi@alyssax.com! 💜