I Want It Now: Delivery in the On-Demand Age

As much as we may scowl at the likes of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we live in an instant-gratification society - specifically if you live in a highly-populated urban environment (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles). You’re probably familiar with this way of living - you want it now, and you’ll pay for instant convenience. 

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite companies in the On-Demand Delivery space - which will continue to explode in 2014. Tweet to me @MaryEliseChavez and share yours!


@uber | Uber.com

Everyone’s Private Driver™

My name is Mary, and I’m an Uber Addict. I used Uber 7 times this past weekend - and loved every ride. Friendly, well-mannered and streetwise drivers made my city-hopping a breeze. 

Uber uses Twilio to keep riders informed throughout the customer experience, serving up real-time text message updates. 

With $258MM of funding from Google Ventures, many have said Uber is the early winner in the on-demand transport space. However, this space is hot and quickly evolving, check out some other companies entering at different angles. 

  • Sidecar - Select the vehicle, driver and price
  • Lyft - On-demand ridesharing
  • Hailo - The Taxi Magnet
  • Zipcar - Rent a car for a few minutes or hours (an old favorite)

@seamless | Seamless.com

My use of Seamless hit a low when I ordered a cupcake from a shop… beneath my apartment. You see, I was in a House of Cards binge-fest and couldn’t be bothered to walk downstairs. 15 minutes later I was enjoying my Chai cupcake while gasping at the cunning of The Underwoods. 

But I’m not the only one, friends have shared their stories of delivery indulgence - like my friend that orders from her local french bistro before dinner parties and plays it off as “culinary talent.”

The convenience of any-time, anything food delivery is a luxury many urbanites rely on. 

The merger of Grubhub and Seamless in 2013 has enabled Seamless to file an IPO - expected to happen in the early half of 2014. Grubhub’s portfolio includes Seamless, GrubhubMenuPages andAllMenus and boasts 150,000+ daily orders through the combined properties.

An honorable mention in the on-demand food space goes to Instacartwhich deliveries groceries in 1 hour- my cousin lives in San Francisco and loves this service - can’t wait for it to come to New York!



Need delivery in under 1 hour for anything - from food to cosmetics, books to an errand you don’t have time for - check out Postmates. With real-time tracking you can see the status of your delivery. Pricing starts at $5 and is based on distance of delivery. 

Postmates wildly popular ice cream promotion from last summer.



Finally available in BrooklynWunWun (what you need, when you need it) is a similar concept to Postmates - delivery of anything at anytime. WunWun has partnerships with a sampling of brands (e.g. a 2013 promotion with men’s skincare brand Anthony for Men)the retailer absorbs the cost of delivery, to enhance the customer experience.

Interesting Marketing Gets You Noticed
Their Oct 2013 campaign to use the app and get Free Halloween Candy delivery (from the best candy shop in New York, Economy Candy!) was similar to Uber’s Kitten delivery campaign for National Cat Day in 2013.

Kate Spade's Saturday Pop-up simplified limited edition retail with window dressing and digital interfaces

Kate Spade's Saturday Pop-up simplified limited edition retail with window dressing and digital interfaces

Brands Joining In

Lifestyle-oriented brands are experimenting with this trend too, like Kate Spade’s SaturdayLast summer, the brand opened a shoppable, interactive storefront - complete with free 1 hour delivery. I love seeing native retail-brands experiment with digital applications to evolve their brands.

Mega-retailers Amazon and Ebay Now (encourages shopping locally but has partnered with Best Buy and Target and is $5/per order) offer select merchandise for delivery. They have their own strategies and operations in place for on-demand and time sensitive deliveries - stay tuned for who comes out on top. 

Final Thoughts:
The winners will out perform with gold-star customer service.