What differentiates one rideshare car or food delivery service from another? Not much for the average consumer. Ask a millennial what food delivery service they’re using this week – a typical answer may be “whichever is offering free delivery for wings tonight.”
These brand rivalries between food delivery and rideshare companies are incredibly contentious, and being left to the whims of the end user (who thinks each brand is exactly the same) is a bottom line’s worst nightmare. So what’s the brand to do about that?
So Many Rideshare Brands…
Uber basically started the modern ridesharing and food delivery service revolution as we know it. Founded originally as UberCab in 2010, it was a way for users to hail a black luxury car at only 1.5 taxi rate. While the ridesharing that people know today wasn’t Uber’s original idea – that’s courtesy of now-bankrupt brand Sidecar – it quickly cornered the market.
There is a certain appeal to becoming such a powerhouse that people are using the term "uber" to mean "ridesharing."
Like “Kleenex” the brand has become a common name for the service. People also often use it as a verb: “I’m uber-ing to the concert.”
However, since no one has a patent on the concept of ridesharing, competition quickly arose, starting with Lyft in 2012. Gett, Juno, Curb, Wingz and many more have now followed, minorly modifying the experience. Carpooling, luxury cars, driver minimum wages and female-only driver mode are some unique highlights. However, all these feature concepts are easily replicable: Get a sentence in a Forbes article, and people move on. But it doesn’t have to be this way if brands get strategic about the perfect end-user experience.
Make the Promo Codes Do Work for You
Let’s face it, a brand will be shopped around via a few swipes of a smartphone screen before a consumer finally goes all in on their Taco Bell delivery. Sixty-five percent of consumers report that a coupon code is all that makes a difference between what vendor they purchase from.
So, choose to control some of this consumer hesitation with the humble promo code. Not only does it secure a (slightly discounted) sale, but it also captures the data of what makes a consumer go in on their purchase.
From the American Marketing Association:
"Promo codes are a valuable part of most retailers’ marketing mix and, if used with the right strategy, can deliver results that either exceed expectations or play a significant role in budget management,” said Chris Johnson, client services director at Vouchercloud.
Johnson also said that the recession only quickened the desire of consumers to shop around, which he asserts isn’t going away even as the economy recovers.
By utilizing the promo code strategically, a brand can get a snapshot of the consumer’s purchasing profiles. This affords brands the opportunity and means to hyper-tailor promotions and freebies directly to users. For example, if your app tailors burger purchasing codes to the customer, or knows they always order a Lyft at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, consumers won’t have to price check across services. They’ll just pick your brand as the path of least resistance.
According to Ad Age, 80 percent of consumers would shop a brand again if it offered more personalization to their tastes. And promo codes could be the key to much more than tailoring more promo codes.
After customizing what types of deals an end user receives, then a brand could get even more personal about what services they’re seeking in a brand’s app. Consider the promo code an entry into micro focus groups that you have just with a few swipes and keystrokes. Lyft tested several versions of its new $299 monthly subscription plan and changed approaches based upon what plan was utilized and by whom.
A company could also roll out unique features, exclusive to “premium users” – users who order a few meals or rides a week, for example. Of course, this taps into FOMO marketing (Fear of Missing Out) if the app prominently displayed the status of the user and encouraged people to share on social media how amazing these premium features are.
Utilizing consumer data and personalizing the app experience will help keep the brand on track, but that’s not the only thing that can keep customers coming back.
Asking a brand to be morally exceptional may seem like overkill, especially considering the low bar set by some of the giants among gig-sharing services.
Moreover, brands can tip the moral scales by entrenching themselves in causes and community issues that are valuable to their users.
At least 70 percent of Millennials have purchased a product that supports a cause. And 90 percent of Millennials are likely to switch from one brand to another — even when price and quality are equal — if the second supports a cause.
Gig ridesharing brands can make the most of this strategy if they pick a cause that fits within the broad scope of driving or delivery services, not just participating in cause marketing without strategy. It’s easier to remember distinctions between brands if you have a way of underlining the unique aspects of the service you already do while doing it for charity.
It may go without saying that basic customer experience needs to be exceptional as well as the moral codes. According to Forbes, when a brand is building loyalty in a discount-obsessed market it has to “stay consistent in the quality of your goods and services [because] people will go back to what they know they can count on.” And if your app doesn’t work or the wings are cold, users will stop tallying the number of puppies you rescued and start calling someone else.
Putting It All Together
A rideshare company or delivery service can’t be everything to everyone. What a brand can do to stand out and incur brand loyalty in an extremely saturated and competitive market is become a service that people can rely on for its personalized touch on good product and good values.
Values, customer experience, and personalization can transform that gig brand from “just another kid on the block” into a superstar app that totally disrupts the market.