You get served endless ads, irrelevant products, and offers similar to what you’re looking for, but not exactly the same. There are too many sellers, too many products, and too many ads. This overabundance of information makes it hard to find what you need, but luckily, in the near future, it won’t be you who will be doing all that searching.
Instead, sellers will be the one’s looking for you and making you offers based on your exact needs. These sellers also save money on advertising as their customer acquisition is simpler than ever - no dealing with setting up Google or Facebook advertising campaigns. This new vision of the buying and selling process is called “buying on demand,” but how does it work?
Consumer habits change over time because people have become more sophisticated and there are just too many services and products being offered. In today’s age of overproduction, manufacturers have to fight for each and every customer that comes their way.
The platforms that allow people to set up a small shop and sell their goods are growing every year. Amazon became one of the biggest companies in the world, currently valued at $892 billion. In comparison, Alibaba is worth $590 billion. Amazon has 2,926,416 active sellers, while Alibaba has even more - 10 million sellers.
The competition is real. Sellers advertise themselves everywhere and pin their goods to the top of your search engines, but still there are too many competitors for every buyer. Sellers have tried to offer discounts as a way to make their shops more attractive, but when all the other stores catch on, the discount just looks like the new standard price.
There’s only one direction that businesses should move in right now - and that’s closer to the customer. Everything should all revolve around the buyer...so the next step should be to make the customer the center of the sale. That’s what on-demand sales are all about.
On-demand sales are based on the buyer’s needs. When a person wants to buy something, they create a description of the necessary item or service, post it, and then wait for offers to come. Sellers see the request and try to offer the most convenient item or service. Sounds unusual, right? But what if we told you that you can use one such platform right now? We’ve selected a few services that work using the on-demand model. That’s PostMates, WeBuy, and Doctor On Demand. Here we’ll make a short review of each one for you.
PostMates is a service that can be used to order and deliver anything from local shops and restaurants. It supports the local economy (all those small shops in your district that typically struggle to find customers) by allowing them to join the list of sellers via a specialized API. For users, it’s incredibly easy to join, they only have to download the app and select what they need; food delivery, alcohol, or even clothing. Every restaurant has the whole menu listed with prices. After adding everything to cart, you can order your delivery. Other users can take this order and make money. You have to pay a 9% service fee and a delivery fee. It’s a very popular platform that operates in the US.
Another service in the on-demand economy is Doctor On Demand. This service allows you to stay in touch with doctors who will help you with any health issue you may be facing via an online consultation. This service has several professional doctors specializing in various fields, from licensed medical doctors to a staff of certified psychologists. Their main focus is preventive health, chronic care management, urgent care, and behavioral health. They accept many types of insurance and always inform you of the price of their services before you start using it, so you won’t be getting any large unexpected bills afterwards.
Doctor On Demand works via a mobile application available on the AppStore and GooglePlay. It’s a very popular service; even Walmart has partnered with them.
The last service we’re going to review is WeBuy, a great alternative to PostMates with more incorporated features. WeBuy’s most distinctive feature is the use of blockchain technologies to provide a better user experience, full transparency, and cost efficiency.
Customers can create a profile and describe what they want to get - a product or a service - and set their location. These profiles then become available to all local sellers that are relevant to their request. If the sellers want to communicate with the buyer, they have to pay a fee, paid in advertising credits, to the platform.
Thus buyers don’t get any annoying spam, because advertising credits cost money and sellers spend them only when they are certain that their offer is going to good use. As a result, both sides get what they want - buyers don’t have to search for products and services, they get offers quickly, at a fair price, and sellers can reach their customers directly, while being sure that the buyers really need what they are selling.
They don’t spend their advertising budget on ineffective ads that get shown to irrelevant people. They know that they are advertising to people that ask for their product or service in the area at that moment. Everyone wins - that’s the best part of on-demand sales.
In addition, WeBuy allows users to earn money just for chatting with sellers and inviting other users to the platform. Usually users don’t get anything from advertising platforms; they are used to having their private information sold and not getting anything in return - but WeBuy has flipped the script. Buyers who accept chat requests from local sellers receive their portion of the fee paid by the sellers.
The on-demand economy continues to grow and the paradigm is shifting from the power of companies to the power of consumers. Consumers can now shop with more comfort and pay less; and all companies will have to adapt if they want to survive.
The future of the on-demand economy may even have drones and robots delivering goods in order to cut costs for both sides, buyers and sellers. The on-demand sector is still relatively small compared to other retail sectors, but it only needs time, because the preferences of customers become harder to satisfy and they want a better experience.
Services such as WeBuy fulfill that need. It’s also a great opportunity for local sellers to cut their costs on other advertising channels, which only grow over time - in 2019, the local digital advertising spending in the US reached $72.4 billion. Using WeBuy, or other on-demand services, helps small businesses save money on customer acquisition.
In the future, blockchain technologies will allow these platforms to work in a decentralized manner. No more centralized parties, gathering information about their users, and using this information to make money. It's gonna be a simple tool that connects buyers and sellers, and prevents risks for both parties, because all information written to the blockchain is unchangeable.
Technology will serve us to make safe payments and to store our sensitive information in a place where only we will be able to access. And next time you decide you want to purchase something, you can already do so using on-demand services.
The author is not associated with any of the projects mentioned.