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I Want It Now: How Every Brand Can Be On-Demand

The on-demand economy is here and growing, thanks in large part to young, impatient consumers. But what does that mean for brands that aren’t a part of it? The smart ones are finding innovative ways to integrate the on-demand mentality into what they already do.

The future of the on-demand economy is shaping up, and soon anything you might need or want, from toothpaste to kittens, could be delivered to you in a snap. Young consumers with a hunger for innovation and rapidly declining patience levels are helping to push the trend— they’re drawn to those on-demand services (which now even include grocery shopping) that make their lives more simple, all while disregarding brands and services that they deem too complicated or time consuming. Having what they want brought to them almost as soon as they know they want it is quickly becoming an expectation.

On-demand startups are already showing signs that they could expand beyond their original industries. Grocery delivery app Instacart played with delivering other desired goods for some smart marketing this Halloween, bringing last-minute costumes to Seattle residents who ordered them through the app in one hour. Meanwhile, Uber is using partnerships to integrate their services into a variety of already existing brands, and has launched an API that allows other apps to integrate an Uber button into their platforms. Their partners already include TripAdvisor, United Airlines, Hyatt Hotels, and OpenTable. Onother on-demand black car app, Gett, has partnered with delivery app WunWun so that Gett riders can have anything they want delivered to them during their ride. From iPhone chargers to flowers, anything that they might need can be entered into the Gett app while booking their car—then that item will be waiting for them at their final destination or be delivered to them as they ride.

But what does all this on-demand expansion mean for brands that aren’t a part of the on-demand economy? The smart ones are finding innovative ways to cater to this “I want it now” mentality, and integrate on-demand-esque services into what they already do. Here are three examples of how every brand can be a little bit on-demand: 

1. The Dylan Hotel’s Room Shopping

We gave you an inside look at Google’s vision for the future of retail, which includes digital personal shopping assistants, and services that make going to the store a thing of the past. This instant shopping vision is already coming to life. One example: The Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam has launched “Room Shopping” a service that lets their guests choose clothes and other products from a menu and have them delivered to their rooms from local businesses within an hour. The service is a partnership with Dutch shopping site, and all products are from shops on Amsterdam’s art and shopping district. The room shoppers can access a menu on their rooms’ TV, browse categories and place orders. If clothing is ordered and doesn’t fit, visitors can simply leave the item with the reception desk, who will take care of returns of exchanges. 

2. Starbucks Delivery/Order Ahead

The Millennial generation is driving change and pushing the on-demand economy even further, looking for solutions to their everyday annoyances that save them effort, thought, and most importantly, time. Starbucks is responding by innovating with services that replicate an on-demand experience. The brand has announced that they will begin offering delivery in in select markets in 2015. Customers will be able to place their delivery orders through the Starbucks app. Starbucks’ Chief Executive called the plan their “version of e-commerce on steroids.” This Uber-for-coffee plan is not the brand’s only experiment bringing consumers what they want faster and easier than ever. Starbucks is also launching an order-ahead Mobile Order & Pay service that is already being tested in Portland. By ordering through the app, choosing the location they’ll be visiting to pick up, and paying digitally, users will be able to cut the lines in-store, grab their drink and go.  

3. Volvo Roam

One of the definitions of on-demand is “as soon as or whenever required,“ but of course today it means wherever required as well. Press a button to get a car to come pick you up, wherever you are; or click to watch any movie you desire, whether you’re in a car or at a friend’s house. Volvo’s Roam program is making a currently location-specific service, package delivery, an on-demand experient. The brand is testing cars that will accept deliveries for owners, so consumers are no longer trapped at home waiting for their packages. The “connected cars” can be unlocked remotely via smartphone, and owners can also share a temporary digital key with others. Through the Roam program, the temporary key is shared with delivery people, who can also locate the car via GPS. Volvo reports that “92 percent of participants saying they found the roam delivery option more convenient than receiving their online orders at home.” The Roam experiment applies the mentality of having anything brought wherever is most convenient to life in a different way, and opens a new door to involving the automotive industry in the on-demand economy.