If you’re an avid TechCrunch reader, you’ve probably already read about Uber Eats new multi-stop ordering feature. This feature allows you to order from two nearby restaurants in one order.
Multi-stop ordering enriches the user experience, and ends constant debates about what food you and your roommate, partner, pet, or grandma want to order-in for dinner. Or it won’t, but that’s a ‘you’ problem at that point.
We’re going to dive into what multi-stop ordering is, the companies who’ve pioneered its implementation, how to replicate it, and discuss the ways it can improve your delivery business.
The Rise of Multi-Stop Ordering
This subheading reads like the title of a delivery company’s corporate version of a Star Wars film. Well, swap out dual wielding lightsabers for dual wielding food orders.
A version of multi-stop ordering was first introduced by DoorDash in 2021. They called this feature “DoubleDash” (the person who came up with this name hopefully got a raise). DoubleDash allows users to purchase items from multiple stores and categories in one order. In 2022, DoorDash further developed this feature by allowing users to order food from one restaurant and drinks from another.
This year, Uber Eats has introduced a similar feature to their ordering capabilities. Users can bundle their order with a second nearby restaurant, convenience or liquor store. To bundle two orders, a customer selects items from a store’s menu, adds them to the cart, and then they have the option to select “bundle another store” to choose more items.
This multi-stop concept sounds straightforward, but for it to work well from a logistics standpoint, you’ll need high-quality location software.
The Key to Replicating Multi-Stop Ordering
To replicate multi-stop ordering you’ll need three key components; a Location SDK, Trips API, and a Nearby API.
To start, a location SDK. For your app to do any location tracking, it’ll need a location SDK to give real-time location updates. This allows the delivery personnel to see their route, and for the customer to receive updated information on their order and the location of the delivery personnel.
Given that the delivery personnel will need to make more than one stop on their way to the customers location, real-time location tracking is crucial for keeping the user informed about their delivery’s approximated ETA, and for the delivery person to keep track of their location so they aren’t lost.
No multi-stop delivery can be achieved without a bit of planning. That’s what a Trips API does. Trips API lets you seamlessly plan trips and optimize routes for the delivery person. Planning trips ahead of time lets your app plan the route based on the end destination and the multiple stops along the way. That way, deliveries are made with greater efficiency for these less-than-direct bundle orders.
Additionally, stop locations also act as geofence triggered events, which can be implemented and customized to update the customer on their order journey. They’ll know when the delivery person is at both stop locations in real-time, and when they’ve left.
The entire philosophy of multi-stop ordering is about nearby stores. Your app will need to find nearby locations that deliver to the user's address. A Nearby API fetches and displays nearby restaurant, convenience and liquor stores to the desired delivery location.
This is achieved through geofences too. Nearby API lets you find and pair with the geofences of specific stores that deliver to the users location. Geofences really act as celebrity guests to the big three features.
Combined, these three elements help power your new multi-stop order feature through location accuracy, optimization, and planning. It’s the synergy between all three that makes it work. The SDK for tracking, the Trips API for route planning and updating, and Nearby API for the functionality. All of this helps create a seamless multi-stop order experience.
Bringing it all together
The benefits of multi-stop ordering are three-fold.
Improving customer satisfaction
It's going to improve customer satisfaction, if done right of course. Multi-stop ordering lets your customers further personalize their orders and gives them more options for what they want in one go. When customers can add multiple items from different stores to their single delivery, they’ll often find this more convenient. That will lead to higher customer retention rates, and reduce costs associated with acquiring new customers.
For it to be worth it though, you’ll need the right software components. Inaccurate ETA, delays, and poor location data will only make the bundle order a headache for customer, and delivery drivers.
Efficiency and Operation Costs
Efficiency and operation costs are central to a successful delivery business, and multi-stop ordering can help.
Starting with efficiency, this feature allows delivery drivers to plan their routes effectively. Instead of making separate trips to different locations for individual orders, they can bundle multiple orders into a single route. This’ll reduce the overall distance traveled, and save the time and fuel costs.
It will also reduce idle time of the drivers, as they’ll be seamlessly transitioning from one stop to the next, minimizing the downtime. There won’t be as much hanging around, and waiting for something to happen.
Onto operations, multi-stop orders have the potential to help better allocate resources. Delivery services can assign specific drivers to handle multiple orders within the same vicinity, reducing the need for a large fleet of drivers and vehicles.
The streamlining of the delivery process through multi-stop ordering can simplify logistics and operation tasks. That includes inventory management, driver scheduling, and ordering tracking. It can result in cost savings through reduced labor and administrative efforts.
Staying competitive, and ahead of the market
Innovation is how you stay ahead of the curve. In a world that's increasingly reliant on data-driven decision-making, multi-stop ordering can provide valuable insights and data. This ranges from customer preferences, delivery times, and traffic patterns. That data can be leveraged (holy macaroni I sound like a consultant) to make informed decisions on operations, like delivery windows, identifying peak demand periods, and better inventory management.
As you can tell, a feature like this is a lot more impactful than just settling "what are we going to eat tonight” debates. With the right location SDK, Trips API, and Nearby API you’ll not only improve customer satisfaction and retention, but it can help efficiency and operation costs, as well as keep you competitive in the delivery market.
Consider this feature as another example of location technology’s subtle yet effective impact on the mobile app world, and how it can shape your business. If you’re interested in learning more about location SDK, Trips API, and Nearby API, check out our product pages on the Roam.ai website. Should you like to get started today and build your delivery app with Roam, sign-up to our dashboard or contact our Sales Team.