Uberization: Definition and 5 Examples to Learn From
You’ve probably heard the term “uberization” and wondered what it means and how it can be so universally applicable.
Uberization of work, uberization of the economy, uberization of healthcare, and even uberization of policing – the list goes on.
What is this phenomenon and what can you learn from it as an entrepreneur?
In this article, we’re going to explore the definition, features, and examples of uberization you can monetize on. Let’s roll.
What is uberization?
Born with the company Uber, uberization is a concept of changing the market for a service by putting the supplier and customer in direct contact through mobile technology.
Just like the company Uber transformed the market for taxi services, other businesses can use mobile technology to remove the middleman and give customers a new way to use the services that previously required an intermediary, e.g. a dispatcher.
Uberization of work fuels the gig economy and alternative working arrangements. In the case of ride-hailing services, delivery, and other transportation services, it involves the shift to part-time, freelance drivers as opposed to full-time employees.
What other features of uberization are there? Let’s take a closer look.
5 features of uberization
As illustrated above, the term uberization can be applied in many different contexts. Regardless of the context, however, there are key features that all examples of uberization share.
Below is a quick overview of these common traits.
The on-demand nature of uberization is two-fold.
On the one hand, you have on-demand services, i.e. time-sensitive services requested by customers directly from providers. This decentralization is what allows for fast order fulfillment and service delivery.
On the other hand, you have on-demand workforce, i.e. gig workers ready to step in whenever their services are needed. Freelance and part-time workers are the backbone of uberized business models.
When on-demand services meet on-demand workforce, you get the uberization of business and the economy at large.
Mobile technology is the key feature of uberization. It’s what allows customers to request services directly from suppliers in a decentralized manner.
What allowed Uber to revolutionize the market of ride-hailing is its mobile app that puts customers at the center of the process and gives them a sense of control over their transportation.
In the same way, proof of delivery apps make it possible for couriers to deliver on-demand orders, collect e-signatures, take photos, scan barcodes, etc.
Customers receive confirmation of delivery in real-time, not to mention the uber-like ability to track the driver and locate the package thanks to geotags and photo proof.
Speaking of real-time tracking, this is another key feature of uberization. Be it home delivery, ride-hailing, or any other services, mobile technology makes it possible to follow the progress in real time.
In addition to seeing the live location of the service provider, customers can see estimated time of arrival (ETA), updated in real time depending on weather conditions, traffic, and any delays that may occur.
Live tracking is, without a doubt, one of customers’ favorite features. It’s when you have their undivided attention; it’s also when customers are most likely to engage with your on-demand business, e.g. start a live chat with the driver.
Contactless operations refer to many parts of an uberized business model, but more than anything, it concerns the payment process.
Contactless payments have long become the industry standard for on-demand services like ride-hailing or food delivery. The option to pay in-app or earn in-app money through referrals and other deals is what makes on-demand services so easy to request.
When it comes to home deliveries, contactless is the new normal that settled in during the covid-19 pandemic. Often, customers prefer not to interact with couriers, which allows them to not be at home at a specified time to receive their orders.
One of the key features of the gig economy is its online and in-app rating systems. Customers and service providers alike are prompted to leave feedback and rate their interactions with each other.
This is meant to improve transparency, safety, and compliance, while also encouraging better performance on the part of the on-demand workforce.
If you think about it, it all ties back to mobile technology, real-time tracking, and other features of uberization. Together, they make a blueprint for how an uberized business model operates.
5 examples of uberization
Now that we’ve dealt with the definition and key features of uberization, let’s move on to examples and business ideas you can learn from.
Ride-hailing might seem like an obvious example of uberization but there’s a reason it’s so widely discussed. Local ride-hailing businesses dominate markets where Uber simply can’t compete with more affordable and more feature-rich alternatives.
Seeing how the market for ride-hailing services is only projected to grow in the foreseeable future, starting a taxi business is a profitable endeavor, especially when there are so many free tools and white-label solutions available to entrepreneurs.
Gone are the days when starting a ride-hailing business involved building custom software from scratch. You can focus on branding and building a customer base instead, by utilizing ready-to-use white-label platforms like Onde.Light.
Food delivery is an encyclopedic example of a booming industry. It was also among the first to embrace crowdsourcing and independent couriers delivering time-sensitive, often contactless orders.
As much as customers expect home delivery to be a default service of any food establishment, meal delivery via subscription services is gaining rapid popularity thanks to its cost-efficiency and more dietary flexibility (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) compared to take-outs.
The market of meal kit delivery services is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.3% from 2023 to 2030. Has the timing ever been better for starting a subscription-based meal delivery service? Probably, but now is the second-best time.
Medication delivery is yet another industry that’s undergoing uberization at a rapid pace. Be it prescription medication, lab specimens, or medical documentation, the demand for medical courier services is growing steadily.
Across the board, medical courier contracts pay better than other types of courier services. Pharmacy delivery in particular is a good niche to be in, as it’s embracing uberization even as we speak.
As a courier service, you can get B2B contracts with pharmacies and deliver medication on a subscription basis. This removes the on-demand aspect of uberization while retaining its live tracking and contactless features.
Field services such as repairs, maintenance, cleaning, or even food delivery thrive in the gig economy. HVAC contractors in particular benefit from a decentralized business model where technicians are put in touch with customers directly.
Mobile technology simplifies the booking process and facilitates on-demand service provision. Rating and review systems, on the other hand, help customers book verified and trusted professionals.
Local service providers can utilize route optimization technology to arrange home visits in the most efficient manner, considering customers’ preferred time slots and service times. With live tracking and proof of service, customers get full visibility and accountability.
Waste collection, disposal, and recycling businesses are undergoing digital transformation like many other businesses. On-demand waste collection, the usage of sensors and waste tracking technology all facilitate a smarter and more conscious waste management process.
Customers want to schedule pickups for different types of waste that need to be mapped to recycling centers, nearby truck capacity, and other factors. These challenges can be tackled with mobile technology and smart solutions.
To sum up, there’s a growing demand for smarter, better ways to manage waste. The uberization of the waste management industry shows great potential for gig workers and local businesses to step in and make a difference.
Uberization is a concept that can be applied to many scenarios. With the impact that this phenomenon has already made and the potential it offers, there’s every reason to study the examples of uberization and monetize them.
I hope this article inspires you to research the market, explore your options, and put your business ideas into practice. Uberization is here to stay and there’s every reason to make a profit off of it.