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Online shopping in today’s time and age has become a necessity for all growing businesses. Customers are gradually becoming comfortable buying things they need and want with just a click! Many customers are leaving behind the traditional shopping methods. This has led business owners to turn to online delivery solutions built on websites and mobile apps. In 2020, thousands of businesses closed their brick-and-mortar establishments and moved their services online. While this effectively allowed organizations to continue operations, it also posed a new threat — cybercrime. All online businesses and e-commerce solutions are always on the edge when it comes to cyberattacks. Irrespective of the size and scale of business, no business is immune to cyber risk.  

In the first quarter of 2020, there were 273% more data breaches than there were in the first quarter of the year prior. The main reason for this is due to many businesses becoming more digitally orientated. And the online delivery industry is no exception. 

If you’re a delivery business owner, follow these four tips to secure your online operations.

1. Know the cyber risks

First and foremost, you need to educate yourself on the nature of cyber risks so you know what to expect and how to protect against them. 

  1. Phishing attacks
    One of the most common cyber risks is phishing attacks. This is when hackers send you emails that pose as legitimate institutions to lure you into providing sensitive data, like your banking details or credit card number. These hackers use phishing emails to steal money from their victim’s accounts and even impersonate their digital identity. 
  2. Ransomware attack
    This is when hackers encrypt your data, making it impossible for you to read, and demand payment for the cipher or the key to unscrambling the data. Both of these cyber risks can easily be avoided by double-checking emails with suspicious links or attachments. You should also back up company data and ensure that your passwords and accounts are secure.
  3. Financial frauds
    Hackers tend to perform unauthorized transactions and clear the trail so that the business owner is unable to investigate. The hacker also at times requests fake refunds and returns. Fraud management systems are one way to detect and get protection against fraud. 

2. Secure tracking systems

Your online delivery business can benefit from tracking systems that inform them of the status of their deliveries and products. However, such systems can be hijacked and manipulated by hackers. In many cases, this causes little more than disruptions to the delivery schedule. However, this vulnerability can lead to more dangerous situations. For example, cybercriminals can use stolen tracking data to intercept your delivery routes and steal goods. This not only leads to a loss of property, but it could also be dangerous for your employees. For a secure online platform for delivery businesses, check out VentureDive’s all-in-one application for online delivery businesses.

 It’s highly customizable and a cyber secure option for business owners. You can also secure tracking systems by doing the following:

  1. Securing your servers and admin panel: Do not keep passwords that are easy to guess. Keep complex passwords and keep changing them every now and then. 
  2. Keeping strong firewalls: Firewall software and plugins are easily available for free or at a price. They automatically keep a check on your servers and blocks any new threats. Good firewalls even resolve new viruses or bugs that might attack your server.
  3. Using anti-virus and anti-malware software: Hackers can be easily stopped if your antivirus is up to date. They are also able to flag any malicious activity or transaction. 
  4. Frequently backing up your data: You can employ an automatic backup service so your data is being protected and backed up regularly. A system malfunction or cyber-attacks can easily wipe out your entire data for good. So it is wise to take all the precautionary measures. 
  5. Checking from time to time for any malicious activity: You can get special monitoring software that keeps track of data and activity in real-time. It also notifies you if a suspicious transaction occurs.
  6. Stay updated: Keep your antivirus software and plugins up to date. Hackers can detect if a system is using an outed version of security software.

3. Consult with cybersecurity professionals

That said, basic methods might not be enough to protect your delivery business against hackers, and consulting with professionals might be a necessary step forward. The escalation of cybercrime in 2020 is one of the reasons cybersecurity jobs are being created by the millions, 3.5 million in 2021 to be more accurate. With the sheer amount of businesses migrating to the digital platform, there is huge pressure on the cybersecurity industry to respond. Filling this gap, though, is a massive undertaking. This is why educational institutions have developed their cybersecurity degrees to have a strong business focus. Today’s cybersecurity graduates are much more knowledgeable about the business landscape and the needs of growing businesses like delivery services. Mixing business with cybersecurity training has opened up the industry to more professionals. If your business is too small to have its cybersecurity department, put your trust in outsourced experts who can set up strong defense and offense strategies against hackers and cybercriminals.

4. Educate your employees

Robust cybersecurity measures aren’t worth much if your workforce is not aware of cyber risks and how to protect against them. People are the weakest link in cybersecurity, so you—better yet, your cybersecurity team—must educate them on the dos and don’ts of conducting business online. This protects company data from all forms of cyber risks, particularly those that prey on human error, like phishing emails. And with delivery businesses holding valuable personal information like addresses and bank details, it’s important to hold workshops or distribute resources on the importance of cybersecurity to your workforce.

Conclusion

To sum up, the world of e-commerce fraud can seem complex. But keeping your cybersecurity up to date will only benefit your business and will fight against fraud and viruses. Developing cybersecurity for your online business is vital for the growth and success of your business. While any business can benefit from allocating resources for cybersecurity, even small initiatives such as workshops can eliminate a huge gap in your defense against hackers and criminals. You should take as many measures as your business demands. Your end goal should be to be able to create a website/app that your customers can absolutely trust. 


On-Demand Delivery

Want to start safe and secure online delivery for your business? Look no further! Movanos Delivery Management by VentureDive is an all-in-one solution to your needs, and can be tailored to fit your business model perfectly!

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Just a few years ago mobile applications were normally written in Native languages. Now, a lot of the market is shifting towards React Native to write their apps. Some of the big companies like Facebook, Soundcloud, and Bloomberg are already using this framework and their apps are running smoothly and efficiently.

Any mobile app development begins with choosing the right tools, platforms, and frameworks that one will need to design and build it. When it comes to app development for your product, there are two paths available: Native or React Native. Choosing between the two can be overwhelming. This is why to overcome this challenge you will need to explore the pros, cons, budget constraints, and development time of each method.

The debate about React Native vs. Native apps has been long-standing. Even though it varies from project to project, let’s explore the basics of how each development approach is different and why you must choose/prefer one over the other.

Differences Between Native and React-Native Apps

React Native allows developers to write the code once but lets them run on any platform, whereas, Native development requires separate coding for each platform. React Native is written in JavaScript and is known as a Hybrid framework. On the other hand, Native apps are built for either iOS or Android. These apps are built with specific programming languages for specific platforms

Before investing your money to build your iOS and Android app or a Hybrid one, it is smart to weigh in all your pros and cons. Right from the beginning, you should be aware of the possible obstacles or difficulties that might occur.  

By now you know React Native is a platform-independent framework because it gives you the freedom to build an iOS and Android app on the same framework keeping intact the UI UX design of the app. Native jumps in when you want to build custom UI components and have a unique user experience that requires external libraries. 

We took the liberty to divide the main differences between the two into points. 

  • Support of applications: Because React Native is a new technology it, unfortunately, does not have parent support. This precisely means that the Google Play store or App store may stop accepting your app at any given time. On the other hand, Native apps are built for specific platforms therefore they meet all the requirements. 
  • Performance: This can be measured from a lot of factors e.g. animations, lags, slowdowns, and load time. Nonetheless Native runs more efficiently because it was built to run on that specific platform only. React Native is built for both platforms so it is understandable that it utilizes more battery on the device and can cause lag or slowdown. 
  • User Experience: The UX on React Native apps is compromised as mobile screen size varies. Whereas Native apps have the edge to design and built-in UX UI components however they wish to maintain a visual balance in all the screens. 
  • Development cost and maintenance: Native requires two development teams for making and maintaining the app. React Native allows you to build the app using a single code base, which saves you cost as well as time. 
  • Long-term app development: Although React Native is a faster inexpensive way to launch your business app it is not that efficient with updates. The updates and the google and apple store are not in sync at all times. Which makes it tough to build and launch any future update.  Since Native is supported by Google and Apple, it is more coherent with updates and resolves problems as they emerge. 

React Native vs. Native App Development

Native Application Development

Native app development is centered around designing mobile apps specific to a single platform, like iOS or Android. These apps are built with programming languages and tools that are specific to a particular platform. Android apps require coding in Java or Kotlin using Android Studio for the environment. IOS requires coding in Objective-C or Swift and the IDE is Xcode. Therefore, this process needs at least two developers or development teams to build two different versions of an application, simultaneously.

Native is without a doubt a time-consuming process. But there are some solid pros that Native has to offer:

  1. Fast and Reliable
  2. Better app design and performance. 
  3. Robust language
  4. Accessibility of APIs

The downside of opting for Native is the following:

  1. High cost of development of two applications
  2. Higher development time

React Native Application Development

React Native is the leading hybrid mobile development framework. With React Native, you write an iOS app exactly the way you would write a web app. That sounds very convenient, but also may cause some problems.

By using the react native method you will need to write the code only once and the final product can be run on iOS and Android.

React native pros:

  1. Single codebase
  2. Lower development cost
  3. Time-efficient 
  4. Reusable components
  5. Faster debugging process
  6. Faster prototyping
  7. Open-Source: Most features already have a build solution
  8. Easy maintenance

Cons attached to this process are: 

  1. Reduced number of Native elements
  2. A limited number of Third-Party Libraries
  3. Absence of Support for All Native APIs

Our Approach to App Development

VentureDive has been at the forefront of bleeding technology for both Native Android and iOS development and has a large pool of resources from both competencies. When we speak about React Native vs. Native app development, we include two different competencies that require separate sets of expertise to develop apps that deliver excellence and true business value.

Here’s a quick list of tools and technologies we use for both approaches:

iOS

  • Swift programming language
  • Viper and MVVM (architecture patterns)
  • iOS storyboarding
  • Core Data for iOS
  • SwiftUI (for making interfaces & screens)

Android

  • Kotlin programming language
  • MVVM, MVP & Reactive Programming with Rx Java (architecture pattern)
  • Constraint layout (with Android previewer)
  • Scoped storage for better data security
  • Jetpack Compose (design through code)

Why Choose Native App Development

By answering a few questions related to your app requirements you might get a clear picture of which method will bring out the best results. 

Here’s why you should go for Native app development:

  • If your app is going to be complexed
  • You are more inclined towards the user experience part of your app
  • If you want in-built features like brightness control
  • If you are targeting a single platform either iOS or Android 

Why React Native for Mobile App Development

Here are some reasons why you should opt for React Native:

  • Your app is minimal in terms of UI and UX
  • You want your app to available on all platforms with a reasonable budget
  • You want your app to launch in a shorter amount of time 
  • Your business is a start-up and has limited resources and funds

When it comes to app development, React Native has been in the center at VenD. We have delivered countless flawless projects through this method over the years. We achieved this by conducting training sessions for the entire mobile development team. This helped the teams to gain the necessary knowledge to quickly bootstrap and deliver a React Native application. By building upon the core knowledge and expertise of the native platform we are able to deliver better-performing apps in a much shorter time;  be it using React Native Expo or bare metal React Native CLI application. Here’s a quick resource to help you explore the best CLI for hybrid app development: Expo CLI vs. react-native CLI: Which is better for hybrid app development.

Wrap up

In the end, you will learn that React Native meets all the client’s requirements while also saving cost and time. React native gets you the best of both worlds that is lower effort and efficient use of time and budget. If you are looking for rapid prototyping and MVP, React Native is the answer. These benefits make React Native a clear choice for a lot of clients. Still, if you have a lot of manpower and the project requires it you can opt for Native. Ultimately, there is no silver bullet. If you are in between answers, you can always consult an expert

To read up some more, check out these interesting thoughts Simple Programmer has shared on their blog.


Mobile app development

Looking to build a high-quality, robust & reliable mobile application? Explore our mobile app development services, deep-dive into our hybrid and native applications, and get started with your own app today!

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Automated software testing is all the rage in the industry and for good reason. Although manual testing is still in place in many technology companies, many fast-growing organizations have adopted QA automation testing to speed up processes, redirect manual efforts and minimize the chances of error. 

It is quite common for businesses to outsource the quality assurance processes of their software development cycle. It saves them time, cost, and resources.

This means, it’s essential for technology organizations like ours, that offer software quality assurance services, to adopt one of the most accurate, efficient, and reliable approaches to quality assurance, i.e. automation. In this article, I’ll talk about how the QA team at VentureDive carried out automation testing for the Muslims App. It is a community engagement app by IslamicFinder that aims to unite Muslims around the world through a single platform, offering networking, knowledge sharing, and learning.

Let’s dive in! 

How did we manage before QA automation?

Muslims is a hybrid mobile application developed in React-Native. It has the same code hierarchy for both, Android and iOS platforms. This means we have the same code base for QA automation as well.

While the app was in the development phase, and new features were getting integrated into Muslims continually, we were carrying out manual quality assurance side by side. The process was consuming a lot of effort – with every issue reported, the QA team had to dig down into the apps again and again, and ensure that the overall performance of apps remains optimal. Every time an issue was reported or any new build was shared with the QA team, they had to go through all the features of the app, which made quality testing a tedious and time-consuming process. 

In short, we dreaded it! 

As the application got bigger and more complex with every sprint – that meant more issues popped up that needed fixing – it was no longer possible for us to test each and everything over and over again. So we decided to create and implement an efficient testing process to reduce the testing effort of the team, as well as enhance the overall quality of the apps. Enter: a hybrid automation system for mobile apps for both, iOS and Android platforms. 

QA automation covers a lot of things we previously had to do manually and repeatedly. It took on the menial, and repetitive tasks for us, delivered better testing quality, with minimal chances of error, and helped deploy high-quality, bug-free apps. Our automation engineers began developing the QA automation process for hybrid apps so we can test each and every feature more thoroughly, using both manual and automated systems, and deliver a seamless product to the users.

Why did we decide to automate the Muslims app?

The thought process behind automating the Muslims app was that we wanted to reduce the overall testing time of the app on both, Android and iOS platforms. The idea was that once any new feature is developed and ready to merge, we automate its testing. Over time, this would enable us to have a full-fledged testing process in place, that would streamline quality assurance efforts, reduce time and cost spent, and deliver efficient and high-quality apps to customers within record time.

The whole QA automation team brainstormed a lot on how to automate the hybrid application for Muslims. We discussed different technology stacks and their pros and cons with the goal to increases the overall quality and performance of the app through a smooth QA automation process.

Why did we use the same codebase for Automation?

The grounds behind using the same code base for automation of Muslims app was that we are developing a hybrid framework, and a single code base would mean a lesser number of changes required in the automation framework. Whenever there is a change in the application hierarchy, the same code base would mean reduced development effort in the hybrid framework. Here’s a resource to help you understand the difference between hybrid and native applications, and which might be a better choice for your project.

We can also reuse this QA automation framework for any hybrid app developed in react-native as well as native apps to make lives easier for automation engineers. This would make managing the code base simpler, with lesser changes and easy integration of new features within the automation framework.

What technology did we use for QA automation?

Our QA automation engineers adopted WebDriverIO, a tool that allows you to automate any application written with modern web frameworks such as React, Angular, Polymer, or Vue.js, as well as, native and hybrid mobile applications for Android and iOS.

 We can develop any web or mobile automation framework easily using WebDriverIO due to its exciting feature set and many valuable plugins. Its libraries are easily available and can be integrated with the framework quickly, so it saves a lot of time for automation engineers.

Many technology companies choose to go with Selenium WebDriver, another tool used for automating browser testing. We used WebDriverIO and javascript for the development of automation scripts for  Muslims app with integration of unit test frameworks like mocha and chai, the assertion library, in it.

However, we chose WebDriverIO over Selenium because of a multitude of technical reasons: 

  • WebDriverIO libraries are wrappers of selenium libraries as these are developed on top of selenium libraries – it provides faster execution than using Selenium APIs with Appium, a test automation framework. 
  • WebDriverIO provides a runner class where we can define all the necessary prerequisites, which makes it easier to configure the execution of automation scripts. Whereas, we have to write a lot of lines of code to set up the configuration process of Selenium with Appium.
  • WebDriverIO has its own Appium service so it takes only a few minutes to configure Appium with it.

Using a hybrid automation framework like WebDriverIO has many advantages. For instance, a one-page object class is developed for both Android and iOS platforms so we don’t need to create a separate repository for this platform. A generic helper class package is also created to reuse the utilities within the project and we can use this framework with any project in the future if we want to develop a framework for hybrid and native apps.

Wrap up

For the QA automation of hybrid apps, you can easily develop an automation framework with WebDriverIO and Appium as it provides a lot of flexibility in developing, structuring, and maintaining the codebase. It will be up to the individual’s expertise on javascript and node.js as it requires javascript skills for a person to work on these frameworks. If you have used Selenium with Appium, it will be easier for you to use a switch on these javascript frameworks. According to my experience, if you are developing your own hybrid application, I would suggest you give WebDriverIO a shot and feel free to share your experience of working with javascript frameworks.


QA AutomationQuality Assurance

Looking to build a high-quality, robust & reliable mobile application? Explore our mobile app development services, deep-dive into our hybrid and native applications, and get started with your own app today!

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When it comes to delivering eatables to customers through an app, on-time delivery matters the most. Unilever Munchies, a Pakistani e-commerce snacking solution, was founded in 2019 by Unilever and VentureDive, with the aim to deliver snacks instantly to customers using an app. The app should allow them to choose from a variety of snacks including ice cream, chips, chocolates, and more.

Being the only on demand delivery app for snacks in Pakistan, Munchies got consumers’ attention swiftly, and began receiving a reasonable amount of orders, daily. Munchies, however, had to face challenges of on-time delivery, as well as, updating the customer on an accurate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). In other words, the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) for Munchies was taking longer than expected – it was inaccurate.

Munchies on demand delivery system

Similar to other on demand delivery apps for the food industry, Munchies was designed to focus on customers, stores, and riders. Whenever a customer places an order, a rider is sent a request to accept the order. After an order is accepted by a rider, a store is shortlisted to collect order items from. Eventually, when all order items are collected, the rider is all set to leave for the dropoff location and deliver the order to the customer. The figure below shows the current dispatch system.

unilever munchies on demand delivery dispatch flow chart

Problems with Munchies snack delivery workflow

While the on demand delivery flow looks manageable, it has many unforeseen complexities to it. In a hypothetical situation, if an item is not available at the store, then the rider might need to ask the customer either to cancel that item or go to another store, which will result in an increased ETA. Similarly, the larger the basket size (number of items in an order) of an order, the larger the time to collect all these items. Another reason for altering the ETA can be the long queues at stores given the pandemic.

The current system that estimated the time of arrival was Google Maps, that is, Google Distance Matrix API, which simply estimates the time from order acceptance to arrival at the store and then from store to the dropoff location of the customer. The total ETA is simply the sum of these two plus a fixed buffer of a few minutes. While Google is no doubt an efficient system to get ETA, but for Munchies, it just concentrates on the longitude and latitude of rider, store, and customer’s dropoff location. It is not aware of the working of Munchies and all the complexities discussed above.

The obstacle was that Google was providing an accurate ETA for the latitude, longitude pair, giving a time of 25 min, but because of the working and structure of Munchies, an order would, almost all of the time, take longer than what Google had provided. All this was not leaving a good impression on the customer. Another reason for a longer ETA was that in some areas, there were huge amounts of orders while it had somewhat fewer stores. This led to the suggestion that some stores can be added to reduce ETA and deliver quicker.

VentureDive’s strategy to resolve the ETA prediction issue

In order to solve this obstacle, the data science team at VentureDive was put in charge to dig deeper and come up with a viable solution.

After a thorough analysis of the data with respect to ETA, a number of key problems of using Google Maps were identified by the team. The main problem highlighted was that while Google is aware of the traffic conditions or roads of the city, it knows nothing about the internal operations of Munchies. For example, there might be a specific area in the city that takes too long or there might be some specific stores responsible for longer ETA. Munchies orders data is being stored on a daily basis but Google does not consider any of the data recorded for predicting ETA except latitudes and longitudes.

The main purpose was to make use of the historical data we had at our disposal to predict ETA. The team provided the solution which was simple but efficient. An in-house system ( a prediction model) that will predict ETA for orders.

Benefits of accurate ETA prediction for on demand delivery

The benefit of using this solution is that we will be using several more features to predict ETA than just latitude and longitude. Following are the features:

  1. Time & Location
    When an order is placed, we can tell our prediction system that the order is for this specific area or store respectively.
  2. Basket size
    We can also specify the basket size (the number of items in an order or even the rider information or vehicle type.
  3. Weather
    We can add weather data which, of course, has an impact on delivery time.  

The foremost benefit of having an in-house prediction system is that since it will be using historical data, it will automatically take into account all those complexities that we discussed above. It is also cost-efficient and entirely under our control. We can make changes anytime required as per the necessities which is not the case with Google Maps.

Building the ETA Prediction solution to enable on-time deliveries

Munchies on demand delivery model is designed in such a way that cities are divided into service areas and each service area has its own dedicated fleet of delivery that is instructed to remain near the restaurants to make delivery as quick as possible.

The team started with exploring the data and analyzing it specifically in terms of ETA. Data was already being collected from the app so the data acquisition stage was relatively simple. In the analysis phase, the team research came with quite interesting insights. Three research highlighted that there were some areas in the city that were constantly taking longer than expected. Similarly, orders from some stores were also taking too long to deliver. The most fascinating find was the dispatch algorithm currently in use could be improved which would reduce ETA.

After all the thorough research and solutions, now it was time to start building a machine learning model that would be trained on order data and then use it to predict the ETA of future orders. In order to build this model, the team did processing on the data which included:

  1. Feature Engineering
    The data had some timestamp features, so a month, day, week, an hour, or even minute and seconds can be extracted from a single DateTime feature which can possibly add to the model’s performance and data analysis.
  1. Outliers Detection and Removal
    The real-world data is always disordered and comes with outliers, but not all machine learning models can handle them. Using statistical techniques, outliers were removed from the order data since it not only affects analysis but also the model’s performance as well.
  1. Missing Values
    Another problem with real-world data is that it contains some missing values. The same was the case with our data. Again, with the help of statistical techniques, the team solved the problem of missing values.
  2. Encoding
    There were some features that were categorical in nature. Since many machine learning models cannot process categorical data, these features needed to be converted into numerical form, and for this reason, encoding techniques were used.
  3. Drop Irrelevant Columns
    Not all the features are important for a machine learning model. Columns like timestamps, Ids, etc. So these features can be dropped.

Once the data was filtered, meaning, it had no outliers, missing values, or categorical features, it was time to move towards the machine learning part where the data was first split into training, testing, and validation sets. 

Overcoming the hurdles & challenges

One of the challenges in machine learning is choosing an appropriate machine learning algorithm. Since predicting ETA (continuous values) is a regression problem, we had to choose a regression algorithm. The most common choice was to go for XGBoost since it is widely used in the industry and usually outperforms other algorithms. Therefore we tried 3 different algorithms and XGBoost outperformed all other algorithms. We evaluated our models using regression metrics. A number of metrics could be used including RMSLE, RMSE, MAE, R2 Score. We used some of these metrics for our case.

Initially, our models were not performing properly and there was an enormous error between the actual and the predicted values. This led to the hyperparameter tuning of models and which improved the results and reduced errors between the actual and predicted time of arrival.

One final step was to test the model in production. We deployed our model in production to see its comparison with the existing model. After months of comparison between the two, it turned out that an in-house solution was performing well in estimating arrival time by an adequate margin.

Conclusion

Long story short, with the help of data science and machine learning, our team was able to find the root cause of the problem. We provided viable solutions to the development team on how to reduce ETA to enable timely, on demand delivery of snacks, and build an in-house model that started predicting accurate arrival time for orders. Ultimately improved our customer experience in a cost-effective manner.


On-Demand Delivery

Looking to build a high-quality, robust & reliable on demand delivery solution? Explore Movanos, our fully white-labeled delivery management system that can be customized for your specific use case.

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Boosting a business through app development could be a notable move for your growth. An app reaches marketplaces, both traditional and online, especially areas like Google Play, App Store, and more. Moreover, it offers additional functions such as coupon codes and force update announcements. 

Speaking of applications, VentureDive produces and invests in high-end technology products and solutions to help businesses and improve the lives of people worldwide. We are a technology solutions company with a team of passionate service leaders. They serve as our partners in solving B2B and B2C challenges and making our clients stand out in the competition.

We focus on understanding our clients’ customers and business hurdles before developing unique solutions for them.

Rated 5-star by IslamicFinder

We are proud to announce that we’ve recently received a 5-star rating review from our Clutch’s platform. Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform that connects businesses to solutions providers they need.

The review is from IslamicFinder’s General Manager. We are currently working with them on their development projects. We are keeping all of their apps modernized with the latest iOS and Android updates. Our team also helped the client improve their product performances.

IslamicFinder reviews VentureDive on Clutch

General Manager, IslamicFinder

“Our apps have been very good. We had been struggling with how to centralize the whole design system for our apps as well as for the website. They came up with the solution to build a design system, and they implemented it in our apps as well as our website. In our opinion, it has been a game-changer.”

It’s been more than five years since they began working with VentureDive. Until now, we can still feel how satisfied they are with the work we do in our project with them.

Rated 5-star by Kashat

Another 5-star rating review we received was from the Chief Technology Officer at Kashat, a nano-lending platform. We have been in partnership with them for over 3 years, and offer app development services for the Android platform to them. 

Kashat reviews VentureDive on Clutch

Sumair Farooqui, their Co-Founder & Managing Director talked about Kashat’s collaboration with VentureDive, in-depth, and shared their story of innovation. Watch the complete video below:

Top-rated app developers in Pakistan

These reviews are only two of our many clients who are more than satisfied with the services and solutions we have offered.

Our great news doesn’t stop there. Our company was hailed as the best flutter app development company in Pakistan by The Manifest, a business guide that shows the most talented solutions providers in the market. Flutter is a popular development kit for creating cross-platform. 

It’s heartwarming to receive such recognition. Our team of more than 250 professionals has been working hard to provide the best UI/UX design, development, and consulting services from startups to large firms. Finally, The Manifest sees all our efforts and hard work. 

Now, we’d like to show what we can do to your business. You can also visit our page to check our portfolio and send us an inquiry. We’d love to hear from you!


Flutter app developmentMobile app development

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Whether you are someone starting in the software development business or are in the game for quite some time, you’ll agree that managing projects that don’t use agile methodologies can get very tricky.  There are missed deadlines, buggy releases, upset customers, and things that you didn’t foresee. 

It is fair to say that managing projects of different sizes come with its own level of complexity and variables. Nevertheless, you can successfully execute projects by using the right methodologies and techniques available. Project management methodologies not only help you streamline the software development process but also enable effective time management and cost reduction.

An agile methodology is a project management process, mainly used for software development, where demands and solutions emerge through the collaborative work of self-organizing and cross-functional teams, and their users. Agile has multiple methodologies including Kanban, Scrum, XP, feature-driven development, etc. All these methodologies share the same principles behind the agile manifesto.

In this blog, we will focus on the most popular methodologies used in software development, highlighting the pros and cons and the recommended use cases for each one. After reading through this article, you should be able to decide which methodology is more fitting for project needs.

Kanban

What is Kanban?

Kanban (Visual Signal – Card in Japanese) is a visual way to manage tasks and workflows, which utilizes a Kanban board with columns and cards. It is one of the most popular agile methodologies and helps you visualize your work for your own, and others’ understanding, and helps you keep everyone on the same page. To start with, you would need to build a Kanban board, then filling it with Kanban cards, and finally setting up a work progress limit. The cards represent tasks, and the columns organize those tasks by their progress or current stage in development.

Elements of Kanban that make it truly agile 

  • Visualize the workflow
    Capture your team’s high-level routine as a series of steps (If you are unsure, start with the steps Specify, Implement, and Validate).
  • Limit work in progress
    Implement a pull system on the workflow by setting maximum items per stage to ensure that a card is only “pulled” into the next step when there is capacity.
  • Feedback loop
    Run your daily standup at a set time each day, focusing on issues that block work from progressing (cards from moving between columns).
  • Manage the workflow
    This can be made achievable by managing workflow and monitoring performance on the go in order to fix obstacles as they occur.
  • Adapt to the process
    Track external input that is blocking implementation of a work item (such as a late or an unstable dependency) by documenting it in the implementation step. 
  • Improve collaboratively
    Work through a problem (as a team) more smoothly and effectively by having a shared understanding of your workflow and end goals.

KANBAN PROS

  1. Kanban methodology is easy to understand.
  2. It maximizes the team’s efficiency.
  3. There are no set roles,  so there is flexibility in terms of individual responsibility. 
  4. There is less time spent in meetings like planning and retrospective meetings.
  5. Kanban has no mandatory requirements for estimation.
  6. Changes can be made to the backlog anytime.
  7. It reduces the time cycle of the process.

KANBAN CONS

  1. An outdated Kanban board can lead to problems in the development process.
  2. The team can end up making the board overcomplicated.
  3. There can be a lack of timing as there are no given time frames for each phase.

Scrum

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a highly prescriptive framework compared to Kanban. It’s included in one of the most notable agile methodologies and requires detailed and restrictive planning, has predefined processes and roles. It mainly focuses on team productivity and continuous feedback.

The Scrum framework is based on 3 pillars:

  1. Transparency
  2. Inspection
  3. Adaptation

The term is inspired by rugby, where a scrum is a formation of players. The term scrum was chosen because it emphasizes teamwork. And it is like the rugby players where players gather multiple times to check up on the project status. Once executed, the team players have to run in sprints to score a goal.

Scrum is a process to let the team commit to deliver a working product through iterative time-boxed sprints. This process is based on a specific set of roles, events, and artifacts.

scrum process - agile methodologies

Essential elements of a Scrum

Sprint planning 

Each team member helps set goals and the team has to produce at least one increment of software within 30 days or more.

Daily scrums

This meeting is held every day to discuss any problems the team is facing to avoid any delays in the project completion.

Sprint review

The sprint review is held at the end of each sprint to go over what was delivered, how it is delivered, and what was not delivered.

Sprint retrospective

This is an end-of-sprint session where everyone reflects on the sprint process, how it helped them and how can it be improved for the future.

SCRUM PROS

  1. The methodology leads to team accountability.
  2. The team can plan what will be achieved and estimate when will be delivered. And can communicate this plan with other teams or any stakeholders.
  3. The team knows clearly the sprint goal and can resist any interference.
  4. Three is daily communication which leads to efficient problem-solving. 
  5. Continuous process improvement and retrospectives with lessons learned.

SCRUM CONS

  1. Scrum team members require to be experienced and skilled individuals, lack of experience can slow down the scrum process and obstacles can occur. 
  2. The scrum team requires a committed team. If even one team member lags, it can cause a lot of damage to the process. 
  3. A less experienced scrum master can ruin the whole process of development.
  4. If a task is not defined accurately then the entire project can be lead to inaccuracies.

Scrumban: Going agile with a hybrid approach

Scrumban, like the name suggests, is a hybrid of the Scrum and Kanban agile methodologies, which gives teams the flexibility to adapt to the needs of the stakeholders without feeling overburdened by meetings and without giving estimates. It provides the structure of Scrum with the flexibility of visualization of Kanban.

Scrubman can be divided into 7 stages. Here is a step-by-step guide to developing a Scrumban framework for your team.

Step 1: Visualization of work

Create a Scrumban board to get a full picture of your workflow. It is similar to a Kanban board and you will be using it as your primary workflow tool. Add as many columns to your Scrumban board as your team needs to mark each discrete phase of progress.

scrumban board for visualization of work

Step 2: Stop Early Binding

Don’t assign work to a specific team member as part of backlog refinement or sprint planning. 

stop early binding - scrumban board

Step 3: Impose Work-In-Progress (WIP) limits

WIP limits to column enable the Kanban Pull System. Before each iteration or sprint, the team creates a WIP (work in progress) list of items from the backlog. These are the requirements they want to accomplish in the upcoming iteration. 

Step 4: Pull instead of Push
Stuff from Left to Right should be pulled; don’t Push. If needed add extra buffer columns for your convenience.

pull instead of push - agile methodologies

Step 5: Ordering is important
Prioritise the stuff in your backlog. Or add an additional step like ‘Ready’, if needed.

Step 6: No estimations
Kanban doesn’t have estimations; this means no story points, no planning poker.

Step 7: No predefined planning
Planning is done based on triggers instead of being pre-defined, weekly, or bi-weekly. When to-do reaches a threshold, planning becomes essential.  

no predefined planning - agile methodologies

Conclusion

Both Kanban and Scrum were created to help teams to increase their efficiency and productivity. The development teams at VentureDive leverage these methods, and are counted as one of the top tech talents in the IT industry. Explore our tech talent outsourcing services to learn more.

Picking between the two (Scrum and Kanban), however, depends on the team, as they can determine the best method or framework that would increase their team’s productivity and save time. 

In a nutshell, Scrum is an agile process that allows the team to focus on delivering the business value in the shortest time possible. Whereas, Kanban is a visual system for managing software development work. With the Kanban method, there is continuous improvement, productivity, and efficiency. Scrum is centered on the backlog while Kanban revolves around the dashboard. The scrum master acts as a problem solver. Kanban encourages every team member to be a leader and promotes sharing responsibility amongst them all. Scrum advises time-boxed iterations whereas, Kanban focuses on outlining a different duration for individual iterations. In the end, the team members should carefully observe all the available methodologies and decide which seems likely to meet their needs. 


Project Management

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Every employed person, regardless of their post, grade, profession, or experience, needs regular feedback on their work performance, so they can continue to improve, grow and evolve as a professional. In this blog, I will narrow down our discussion to software engineering – my expertise – and share some thoughts on how a performance review should be evolved to get the full picture of an employee’s work. 

At VentureDive, we regularly engage as outsourcing partners with our clients. It’s our goal to make sure we fully understand their pain points to deliver impactful solutions to their business needs. To ensure the delivery of high-quality software products and solutions, I feel it’s essential to be empathetic and human about how we measure our own talent’s performance.

Contextualizing a performance review

The great debate about subjective versus objective opinion that revolves around the mathematical mindset of “measuring” everything versus the artistic approach of “feeling” the unmeasurable things has left us with a very difficult yet interesting question of what should be a good performance evaluation system.

I believe this question is too broad and deep to be covered entirely in one article. I would rather limit my words to one core aspect, i.e. how often the “contexts” are neglected or even missed altogether in performance evaluations.

So what do I mean by a “context” here? Simply put, a “context” is the specific environment or the circumstances in which a problem is solved, or a goal is achieved.

The real challenge is how to model the context (to a good degree) in the performance evaluation systems.

Let me explain further by taking an example from the world of sports. 

Cricket is a game which I love to watch and play (if I am allowed!). For those of you who also follow cricket, you know there are different rankings of players like the world’s top 10 batsmen or the world’s top 10 bowlers, etc.

Now, talking about the batsman ranking system – while I do not know the exact details of the current ranking algorithm, I think they do factor in some aspects like total runs scored, overall team’s score, opponent’s bowling quality, etc. 

However, the question is, how sufficiently the context has been factored-in, in this case. As a cricket lover, I know this: to rank any batsman’s specific innings, the following factors are truly important:

  1. Total runs scored
  2. The speed of scoring
  3. Remained out or not out
  4. The team won or not
  5. Quality of opponent’s bowling attack (a contextual factor)
  6. Match condition: when the batsmen came out to bat, whether his team was under pressure (a very important contextual aspect)
  7. Whether he played with a positive intent towards winning or just accumulated runs (another important contextual aspect)
  8. Ground/pitch conditions (context)

A batsman’s inning of 50 runs which has resulted in saving a match is much more valuable than complacent innings of 100 runs.

So without going much into cricket, you can reflect from the above example that other than the simple measures, the contextual aspects are really important to truly judge the quality of any innings.

A software developer’s performance review

Let’s converge the performance review discussion to the field of software development. To evaluate the performance of a software developer in a project, usually, the number of tickets developed in a sprint, code quality (number of bugs identified), code coverage, etc. are considered. These are good measures of performance, but are these enough? Do they factor in the context? Some context-related factors could be: 

  1.  How challenging was the project in terms of requirement clarity?
  2.  Was the technical stack new for the developer?
  3. Was the business domain a different one?
  4. If the developer is a junior one, was he getting sufficient guidance or he has delivered in the absence of a mentor?
  5. Was he getting sufficient support from other stakeholders in the project?
  6. Did the developer just finish his work, or did he help others achieve their goals as well (e.g. helping fellow developers, giving good suggestions to clients, etc.), beyond the call of duty?

All these factors are essential to consider when conducting an engineer’s performance review. They account towards creating a human-centered work culture, where empathy is at the heart of everything. When your employees are happy and satisfied, it brings a multitude of benefits to your organization as well. Here’s how workplace compassion can be of benefit to you:

by-products of workplace compassion - performance reviews

Long story short

Creating a code of 1000 lines in a relaxed environment cannot be compared to the code, having a similar number of lines, but coded under tough deadlines.

We all know, developing software when you are challenged intellectually – beyond a certain level – is tough but what if you are challenged emotionally at the same time? It makes the situation much more difficult. 

So you see, the contextual aspects are quite important to properly judge the performance of a developer. The challenge is how to model and factor these in our performance management system properly, I will leave this for some other time, but currently, just wanted to highlight that numbers without the right contexts are just insufficient facts.


Industry insights

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Out of the major victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are brick and mortar businesses. It may look increasingly grim but there is a silver lining. Once the smoke clears, and the retail life begins anew, it’s going to look extremely different. Retailers who balked at the very thought of going ‘digital’ will now have no choice but to acquiesce. They will have to find a way to bridge the gap between their products & services and their consumers. On demand delivery is the next logical step.

Are you digitally fit?

Most retailers already have a digital presence, usually involving social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and so on. Pretty basic. Some might even have an online store and an on-demand plan, meaning that they work with FoodPanda, Uber, Careem, Amazon, eBay, and so on. A minute subset of them would have their own in-house delivery and e-commerce channels (website, mobile app, delivery network, etc.).

The lack of an online retail strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic is not an option. Businesses that were growing organically or with little effort focused on social media presence & marketing, before the pandemic, are not going to survive if they continue to follow the same strategy. They must become digitally fit by offering on-demand delivery services if they want to survive and thrive. Take a look at the food industry – pre-pandemic mature markets reported roughly 25% sales through online food delivery. Michelin star chef, TJ Steele, redesigned his menu to focus on comfort food instead of his trademark complex dishes so that he could stay relevant. Jamie Oliver had to close down his business because of their no delivery policy. Online delivery has become an essential part of e-commerce, retail, and food businesses, and the need for it has risen dramatically ever since the lockdown began.

The current situation

The world’s economy is taking a serious hit. It’s essential, now more than ever, to make it easy for consumers to access essential products, services, and goods, from the comfort of their homes, via on demand delivery apps. Some examples include grocery delivery apps, pharmacy delivery services, laundry delivery, etc.

The kind of economic shock we’re talking about can exhibit three different types of trends, according to an article published in the Harvard Business Review:

Harvard Business Review |  What Coronavirus Could Mean for the Global Economy

The article further depicts Coronavirus to have a ‘V-shaped’ impact, which would be in line with all the prior epidemics, including 2002 SARS, 1968 H3N2 ‘Hong Kong’ flu, 1958 H2N2 ‘Asian’ flu, and the 1918 Spanish flu.

If what the evidence suggests is true, businesses should aim to get at least 40% of their sales online through on-demand delivery of goods and services. While this may not be enough to keep them afloat, it will still pay out massively when the pandemic finally dies down and things settle into the new normal.

The road to digital transformation

If you are just beginning to build your business’s online presence, and automating your delivery services, here are the three most basic, yet important, things you should consider:

  1. Social media and the world wide web
    Whether you are aware of it or not, your business is most likely listed on Google and Google Maps. It might even have ratings and reviews. Similarly, your lack of presence on social media does not mean that people are not talking about you online. If you do not have a presence online, then set it up now. Start a page on Facebook and Instagram and you monitor your listings on Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, and the like. Building your social presence organically before you look into paid marketing.
  2. Delivery and e-commerce aggregators
    Ideally, you should be listed on delivery and e-commerce aggregators. They do charge a hefty commission ranging from 15-30% but because consumers use these channels, you have little choice but to be there. If your goods are more last-mile/on-demand (e.g. groceries, snacks, food), then you also need to work with on-demand aggregators (Uber Eats, Foodpanda, Cheetay, etc). If you are selling items that are not necessarily last-mile or local (electronics, for example) then you need to have a store on e-commerce aggregators (Daraz in Pakistan, for example).
  3. Create your own channel
    Look into developing your own mobile app and website for on-demand delivery, backed by in-house riders. Domino’s and Chipotle Grill in the US have done this exceptionally well. If you choose to create your own channel:
    • You can save on the commission to the aggregators
    • Build your own brand as opposed to being lost in a flood of other competing brands
    • Keep your existing customer relationships
    • Be in charge of your own destiny
    • Potential to make e-commerce a viable Business Unit on its own

This option is more difficult and costly but ultimately the most rewarding. It requires serious focus and investment and deep expertise in Design/User Experience, Growth hacking, and Operations/Delivery. If this is not something you know about or can manage then you can look into VentureDive’s white-label platform, IMPact Delivery. We understand that a technology platform is only the beginning. We are ready to help you in supporting functions, such as growth hacking and delivery operations. Reach out today so you too can survive and thrive!


On-Demand Delivery

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The term ‘last mile’ was originally used in telecommunications to describe the difficulty of connecting end user’s homes and businesses to the main telecommunication network. This ‘last mile’ of telecommunication cable was going to be used by only one user, thereby not justifying the cost of installing and maintaining it.

As the world increasingly turns to e-commerce for shopping, the ‘last mile’ issue is one of the biggest and most expensive challenges for businesses.

What is last-mile delivery?

As soon as you check out from your shopping basket on any online shopping website, your product begins its long journey from a warehouse shelf to your doorstep. Here the ‘last mile’ represents the last leg/gap between the fulfillment center and you. Most businesses depend on a third party, like a shipping carrier, to handle their orders in the last mile. This last mile can be just a few meters to 100 kilometers or more. The key objective of last-mile delivery is to deliver your package as soon as possible and as safely as possible.

Challenges of last-mile delivery

Just like in telecommunications, the last mile is the most time consuming and expensive part of the whole shipping process. If done correctly, it can convert users to loyal customers and save you a lot of time and money. The problem with last mile deliveries is that not all of them are the same, some of them are pretty straightforward and usually involve a big truck carrying a large number of goods through a major road or highway. The complicated ones are those which require the delivery person to navigate through crowded streets, confusing alleyways, similar-looking buildings, and even large swathes of uninhabited rural areas to make singular deliveries.

Inefficiency is a major problem for last-mile deliveries as most of them require multiple stops with low drop sizes. The issue has been further compounded by the continuous rise of e-commerce, which has dramatically increased the number of parcels delivered each day, as well as raised customer expectations to include not just fast, but also free delivery.

The last mile of the entire supply-chain adds up to about 30% of the cost and as free shipping becomes more commonplace, customers are less likely to be willing to pay a delivery fee, leaving retailers to shoulder the cost. Other challenges include:

  •  Allocation & Address Issues
    Destination grouping/management is a major issue for last-mile deliveries. Many retailers allocate jobs manually, which leads to human error, allowing shipments to get misallotted or missed out on a particular route. Additionally, bad and incorrect addresses and a lack of proper signage are also major concerns.
  • Dynamic Routes
    If the delivery person is not changing routes based on conditions that prevail on that particular day, then they are further complicating the scope of last-mile delivery and timeline adherence for order fulfillment.
  • Delivery Density
    There is a fine balance between managing the number of deliveries in a day within a particular area. Taking into account the size of shipments, and considering the following use cases, the delivery density problem quadruples in magnitude:
    • Low-Density Short Distances
    • Low-Density Long Distances
    • High-Density Short Distances
    • High-Density Long Distances
  • Transit unpredictability and lack of communication
    While this is something retailers have no control over, the least they can do is to have a communications plan in place so that the delays are communicated to the respective stakeholders in a proactive manner.
  • Fulfillment timelines
    Missed timelines can prove to be very expensive to retailers. In the case of food deliveries, some companies cannot charge customers for the delivery if the guaranteed timeline is missed. Not just that, it also causes damage in terms of reputation for the brand.

How is last-mile delivery changing?

  1. App-based delivery and the gig economy
    As traditional delivery companies have started becoming inefficient, last-mile startups are on the rise, providing a cheaper, faster option. From food to large item delivery, crowdsourced delivery is becoming a viable and popular option.
  2. Payment
    Once the user selects what they require, they make a payment to Postmates. The payment includes the price for the product, delivery fee, and a service fee.
  3. In-house delivery
    Another new development is that businesses have started to hire their own drivers and trucks to cut down on costs, although this brings up a host of other issues.
  4. Warehouses in major cities
    Businesses are also adopting Amazon’s model of having fulfilment centres in high ordering areas to improve efficiencies, allowing for rapid order fulfilment in major cities, including same-day delivery. Reducing the distance from the warehouse to the final destination costs less and can shorten delivery time to same-day or next-day delivery.

How can you boost your last-mile delivery?

By investing in a last mile delivery solution that is feature-rich and can holistically transform your business by making your last mile delivery more efficient than ever. Your custom app can have features & benefits like:

  1. Route optimization
    Delivery route optimization is a crucial feature that can help in minimizing total delivery time by discovering the most efficient routes. It works by taking into account several factors like traffic, location, capacity, and time under consideration to come up with the most efficient routes. It also allows you to make last-minute changes or re-optimize by sending a real-time update to the driver. 
  2. Auto-dispatch
    This feature helps in efficiently managing your assignments and on-demand orders by assigning the right driver for the right task at the right time and thus minimizing the service time and labor costs.
  3. Bird’s eye view
    This feature allows you to get a bird’s eye view of all important aspects with team, time, and status filtering. You can search using time, text, and status-based queries to quickly find the customers, drivers, and delivery tasks. 
  4. Proof of delivery
    This allows recipients to sign off on their goods through in-app signatures, photos, notes, and barcodes.
  5. Real-time status update
    This is an important feature that provides real-time status updates of the shipment to customers so that they know exactly when their goods would be delivered and by whom. They are also informed in case there’s any delay.
  6. Real-time visibility
    This helps you increase your fleet’s visibility by quickly being able to check where your vehicles are and how many of them are idling. It also helps in minimizing theft, spoilage, and pilferage. 
  7. Audit key metrics
    This feature allows you to visualize success rates, service times, on-time rates, distance traveled, feedback scores, and much more.
  8. Reports & analytics
    Gain detailed insight into your business through graphical and date reports.
  9. Delivery Flexibility
    A customized last-mile delivery solution will allow your customers to choose the time and location of delivery.
  10. Boost productivity
    The last-mile delivery solution can help you boost productivity by eliminating any unnecessary idling or unplanned diversions.

What is the future of last-mile delivery?

As e-commerce increases, time-critical deliveries will become paramount. Here are some ideas on what innovations will be necessary for last mile delivery in the future:

  1. Multiple Options
    Companies must adapt to changing customer demands; home deliveries, same-day deliveries, time windows, delayed deliveries, alternative locations, unmanned pack-station at offices, neighborhood stores, and in public transport stations, customer-centric return processes for products and packaging and just-in-time deliveries. There will be multiple touchpoints with customers in the future.
  2. Robotisation
    Robotisation will soon become an integral part of urban freight solutions. Unmanned deliveries by robots and drones, unmanned pack-stations for pick-up and delivery at offices, stores, and in public transport stations will become commonplace.
  3. Smart planning, IoT, and reliance on ride-sharing
    Since urban freight mostly involves finding an unloading zone, walking, and actual delivery, new transport planning, and scheduling systems will be developed using big data to forecast delivery routes and using real-time traffic information and availability of unloading zones for planning and scheduling. The reliance on ride-sharing will become commonplace as these social delivery networks will lead to innovation in urban freight.

Food for thought

Last-mile delivery is a major bottleneck for a lot of retailers. The solution is to shore up on last-mile delivery with a custom-made solution that is tailor-made for your organization, it will surely boost your last-mile delivery and hence increase the profits.

Keep in mind the latest trends though, couple that with a last mile delivery solution, and you are ready to take your business to new heights.


On-Demand Delivery

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Today’s connected consumer is extremely impatient and the on-demand economy caters to their every whim with a few taps and swipes. They can get whatever they want at exactly the time they want it. It’s not their fault and neither was it always like this but on-demand apps were a revolution in the digital world, transforming the way we avail services. Now, from ordering food to reserving a room to booking a taxi ride, on-demand apps are making spaces for every different customer interaction. The most popular of the on-demand apps are delivery apps like Postmates.

In this article, we’re going to talk about Postmates and how you too can capitalise on its popularity by making a Postmate alternative for your region.

What is Postmates?

Postmates is a US-based on-demand, 24/7, goods delivery platform. Its distinctive feature is that anybody can work as a courier (it resembles the Uber model, where anyone with a car can become a driver). Let’s say you want to buy something from a local store that does not offer home delivery, so you go on the Postmates app and find someone who can deliver it to your home, it’s that simple.

To become a courier for Postmates, all you have to do is fill out a simple form. Furthermore, it’s not necessary to own a car, since Postmates has multiple delivery options: from pedestrian couriers to van drivers.

One of the reasons an on-demand service like Postmates works is because it has a flexible working sphere, and fulfills all the orders very quickly and efficiently.  Another major reason is that since Postmates works on a partnership model, it partners with local merchants by connecting customers with services. 

What services does Postmates offer?

  1. Delivery
    Customers can order anything within the city and get it delivered for a nominal fee.
  2. Pickup
    This service allows customers to place an order and pick it up from the restaurant once their food is ready (they are notified when the food is ready).

Why does the Postmates business model work? 

Unlike other on-demand delivery services, Postmates sets itself apart in terms of scope of services. It allows its users to get anything delivered to their doorstep, including food, grocery, or anything else. They have a massive network of merchant partners which makes it easy for their users to find the most relevant service or product for themselves.

Another major reason, Postmates is popular is because it delivers everything within 1 hour.

The Postmates model

The Postmates model comprises of 5 steps: 

  1. Browse – Users browse through a network of local merchants on the Postmates app and place an order.
  2. Payment – Once the user selects what they require, they make a payment to Postmates. The payment includes the price for the product, delivery fee, and a service fee.
  3. Postmate Matching – Once the order and payment are confirmed, Postmate notifies the nearest Postmate about the order along with the delivery order. The Postmate buys the product and ensures that it is delivered in less than an hour.
  4. Postmates Tracking – The app allows users to track their orders through real-time notifications. They receive notifications when: The Postmate picks up their order and their location when they are on the way to deliver it to the user.
  5. Rate & Tip – Once the order is delivered, the user can rate and tip the Postmate.

Postmates sources of revenue

  1. Delivery Fee:
    Postmates charges different fees depending on where the user orders from. If the order is from a partnered merchant then it’s a lower flat fee. If it’s a non-partnered merchant then Postmate charges a higher variable fee. Postmate shares the delivery fee with the merchant on 4:1 ratio. 
  2. Service Fee:
    The service fee is a variable percentage-based fee applied to the purchase price of the products that a customer orders. It varies between 9%-19.99%.
  3. Small Cart Fee:
    If an order does not fulfill the minimum order, then Postmate charges a small cart fee. 
  4. Surge Pricing:
    Postmates charges a higher delivery fee during peak times.
  5. Postmates Unlimited:
    This is a monthly/annual subscription service. Members receive free delivery on orders from all merchants on the Postmates platform when the cart size is over a certain amount. 
  6. Commissions:
    The commission is charged on the pre-tax amount of the total product sold. The commission rate is decided between Postmates and its partner merchants. 
  7. Public API:
    Postmates has released its public API, which enables businesses to integrate this on-demand delivery service into their app. This allows Postmates to bring in extra revenue.

How to create your own on-demand delivery app

Creating an on-demand delivery app like Postmates is a complex process that will require a professional team of developers, but before you think about the development aspects of your app, you should consider doing some research and analysis of your regional market. To make your app successful, you’ll need to discover your niche. The more narrow your niche is, the more successful your app will be.

Step 1: Market Research

Your very first step should be to conduct market research and analyze any local competitors that are engaged in the same industry. Find how they started their businesses, the mistakes they made, and how they promoted their app.

Step 2: Find your USP (Unique Selling Point)

If you want your app to be unique and competitive, try listing down features that local competitors are missing. By finding your USP, you can make your app stand out and give users a clear idea of why they should choose your app over your competitors.

Step 3: Identify the technology and expertise you need

To create an on-demand app like Postmates, you need to have a specific team structure and technology. You’ll need Mobile App Developers, QA Engineers, Web Developers & Project Managers. While you can hire freelancers and get it made yourself, it will be cheaper, more efficient, and reliable if you hire a mobile app development team from VentureDive. We are perfectly qualified and aware of the challenges in building your app.

Once you have identified all of the above, you can finally begin building your app. You should start with the MVP as this would allow you to enter the market as quickly as possible and with a low budget. Ideally, the MVP of a Postmates alternative must consist of a courier app and a customer app.

The customer facing application should have the following features:

  1. Sign-up Feature – It should only ask for minimal relevant information from the users like their email ID, contact number, and password.
  2. Order Details – The customer should be able to view the complete details of his/her order.
  3. Tracking – This allows customers to track their orders and keep in touch with the delivery person via call or message.
  4. Location Services – After confirming their order, customers can add a delivery location for accurate delivery. 
  5. Payment Channels – Multiple channels must be present so customers can choose the option they prefer. 
  6. Order History – This feature allows customers to view their previous orders.
  7. Ratings and Feedbacks – This is a vital feature that will enable users to rate and review the kind of service received by them. 
  8. News – Using this feature, customers can stay updated with the latest new offerings, discounts, and products offered by your service.  

The courier application should have the following features:

  1. Registration – The process to register for couriers should be as simple as possible.
  2. Order Booking – Once a customer has placed an order, the same should be seen by the courier.
  3. Delivery Status – This allows the courier to check the exact status of the delivery.
  4. Order History – This allows the courier to check a customer’s past orders.

How much does a Postmates alternative cost?

Like any other on-demand apps, the cost for building a delivery app like Postmates depends upon several factors.  You have to take into account:

  1. App Development
  2. UI/UX Design 
  3. Customization
  4. Managerial cost

While there is not a fixed rate for a Postmates alternative, however, if you want an accurate cost estimation, you can always contact us. Our team will always discuss the project with you and provide all the necessary details related to the project.

One of the benefits of working with VentureDive is that we have 8+ years of experience powering on-demand apps and services for startups and businesses worldwide. Our platform, Movanos Delivery Management Solution, is a robust and scalable technology engine, which can be leveraged to enable end-to-end E-commerce & delivery systems for on-demand businesses across industries. This means that your app need not be made from scratch, saving you cost as well as time to launch.

Launch your delivery business with our pre-built white label solution

  1. White-label & customizable
    Get a fully branded and tailored app solution with custom features, integrations, and enhancements.
  2. Launch quickly
    Your business can get started with selling online in as little as 2 weeks.
  3. Cost-efficient
    Since we have already developed the base solution, complete with the Customer app, Delivery agent app, and Admin portal, it will cost you significantly less than building it all from scratch.
  4. User friendly
    Intuitive experiences for your customers & delivery agents, & simplified management for your business.
  5. Thought partnership
    We work closely with our clients from discovery to post-launch support to ensure maximum ROI.

Conclusion

Is it the right time to launch an on-demand delivery service? Our answer is a resounding yes, as the delivery market is continuing its explosive growth, and there are countless cities across the world without such services.

The cost of developing such a service is higher than the others as you need a minimum of two applications (for end-users & couriers). One of the major concerns for such a business is user acquisition and retention. The delivery business is only able to survive due to a large number of orders per day couriers available to deliver goods quickly and accurately. If you are ready to face these challenges and want to start a very profitable business, then contact the VentureDive team for an accurate quote. 


On-Demand Delivery

Boost consumer loyalty and be there for them in time of need with a robust, end-to-end delivery management solution.

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