I’m working on my speed so this is a summary of a 15min dialog.
Uber is ride-sharing application connecting riders interested in short-notice transportation and crowd-sourced drivers interested in monetizing their time and fixed vehicle assets. The acquisition of users indicates our business focus is on conversion of new prospects into new platform users. Uber’s ecosystem is symbiotic between drivers and riders, with any increase or decrease in one affecting the other similarly, and thus both sides should be included.
Identifying Uber segments (prospective use case):
Riders-Commuters are either not utilizing ride-sharing services or are on another platform. Commuting to and from work, home, school on public transportation or a personal vehicle. Their goal is for a seamless, routine experience, preparing for what comes after the ride. They operate on a relatively fixed schedule. They may or may not be aware or serviced by Uber.
Riders-Occasional are prospective riders who could utilize the platform to bridge infrequent transportation challenges such as dentist appointments or vehicle tie-ups such as the spouse has the car and the kid needs to get to basketball practice. They have lower commitment to the platform, but a high-tolerance for vehicle rates as frequency is diminished. Occasional users would be a gateway to increasing CLV.
Drivers are people looking to monetize idle time and vehicle assets. They are short-term revenue focused and interested in a low-touch, friendly experience.
I’m going to focus on Riders-Occasional as they will be more open to trying alternatives giving the outside-the-routine application and Uber offers a competitive advantage to public transportation for infrequent trips where route planning can be avoided.
1). Arrival at destination on time, efficiently, safely, and for a reasonable price. Public transportation is slow, unreliable, and taxes are impolite and scratched up glass, no thank you!
2). Help locate the final destination such that I don’t need to have that awkward conversation where the driver asks me if this is where I want to be, when I don’t know.
3). Meet someone memorable. Life can be pretty boring zoned into a task. Infrequent trips offer a heightened awareness and a larger budget of time to play with.
Reflecting on our goal of improving acquisition of new clients, building out a service for seamless transportation for users with logistic uncertainty, augmented with a memorable takeaway is a great way to earn a repeat user and differentiate.
1). Open the Uber API to allow businesses and users to provide identifying information for complex arrival situations. If I have an appointment in Room 1295 in the Pan Am Wing of the Packard Hospital, I’d like the driver to know exactly where the best dropoff zone is, perhaps high-level walking instructions, and three bullets on how to access. I shouldn’t have to pull up google maps, my doctors email, and the hospital website before I arrive just to tell the driver where to drop me off. This adds a seamless element, wherein, once in the Uber App, I don’t have to acknowledge its limitations by looking up other information and having the awkward I don’t know moment with the driver.
2). Targeted advertising at public transportation locations and partnership inside mapping applications. If the user misses their scheduled pickup or if they map their destination and realize they can’t make it on time, if they are alerted that there is an Uber 1-2 minutes away and they can arrive on time, they user would request a quote and enter the uber application. Uber and Lyft currently do build into mapping applications, but there isn’t currently a mechanism to understand the users desired arrival time, which is a limitation of the mapping application. Public transportation locations can’t limit advertising for a competitive service so this is advantageous.
3). Tailored ride-share partnering for those who have time to connect would be a really cool new feature for those looking to make a connection during their idle-time. It’s not uncommon to meet someone interesting in an Uber by coincidence, but perhaps this doesn’t need to be by coincidence. Venture Capitalists are known to ask prospects to pitch on morning hikes so there is interest for this at various levels, not just at a bottom level. If I met like minded people, open to meeting (not heads down at the time), does Uber not provide an interesting dynamic for a casual speed dating. In the beginning this could be distilled down to people operating in a similar sector/ level of seniority so that no one feels like they’re getting the sales pitch.
Ranking these solutions in terms of ROI, the highest value return is to build out a service for physical location to populate dropoff and logistical details to improve the handoff and lower the burden for the customer. The burden is put on the business and the reward for Uber and the destination is differentiation and customer attention. This benefit would also benefit drivers. Targeted advertising involves minimal technical build, but the upside is also contained by traditional media conversion rates. The ride-share partnering feature is novel and would require a lot of build out from understanding and mining data from public profiles, as well user supplied data, but the upside has no cap, which makes it really intriguing.
In summary, the best way for Uber to acquire new users is to provide users with destination uncertainty with superior dropoff and logistical instructions for the user. Uber provides a low-cost UI to populate the relevant data and can benefit from businesses wanting to provide a superior level of customer service to do the heavy lifting of instructions.
The best way to understand the impact of building out arrival instructions is to have a button for it in the application such that the utilization rate can be understood. Cohort analysis can be completed through AB testing to see if there is a difference in free-to-paid conversions on the platform after highlighting the feature.