Why is Uber so popular? Why has the Uber app been downloaded close to three million times on the Google Play Store compared to Lyft which only has 120,000 on the same platform? The services they offer are not that different: you ask for a driver, the driver shows up x minutes later, driver takes you home, you part ways with the transaction over and done with. This begs the question: what makes one app and service more popular than another?
Uber started out in San Francisco around 2009 as a transportation company that used taxi drivers, all licensed, for ridesharing. It’s only recently that their business model has included non-taxi rideshare driving into their business model. Essentially, you could have your average Joe be driven to his destination in luxury vehicles without having their wallets ripped wide open. Yeah, you’re driving with a stranger in that stranger’s personal vehicle, but getting into a taxi cab really isn’t that much different.
Because of this, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a few key things that have made Uber what it is today. They were pretty much the first business to offer this type of thing in the US as they were about two years before Sidecar and three years before Lyft, so Uber had time to refine their business model and create an app that was fast and easy to use.
Keep in mind where Uber was born, too. San Francisco had a failing taxi cab industry and a booming IT environment, so getting in touch with coders while also giving them free rides increased their referrals. They tied it all into an app, too. Uber has been consistently outperforming Lyft when it comes downloads and installs but it’s with its excellent ease-of-use approach to how the app looks and functions that probably has more of an impact.
What Uber does well is that it diversifies its app by appealing to a broad customer base. If you need a simple way to get from A to B, take UberX which is their most affordable option for single individuals. Want to save even more money? Take uberPOOL, meaning you’ll travel with others headed your way, saving you money. You can spend more money on a luxury vehicle by using UberBLACK, and there are plenty more options out there waiting for you.
Uber is quite literally everywhere, and the app reflects that. They’ve made it so you no longer have to haggle with taxi drivers who don’t start their meters when they’re supposed to by having you enter your credit or debit card information into the app before you even order your ride, so that you pay solely on the distance traveled. You can see where your driver is at, how long until he’s at your location and what type of vehicle the driver is in, making it easy for you to identify your driver.
Another key factor is that they were the first. Getting a head start on the competition while creating and maintain an easy-to-use application that caters to a wide variety of people and adding more features that save most people money in the long run is definitely good business.