Ask any Millenial living in a major city to name a life-changing app and they’d probably be quick to name things like Seamless or GrubHub (or both, now that they’ve merged!) We don’t blame them. Anything that takes away awkwardly telling a stranger on the phone the details of your Thursday’s dinner, plus an address and phone number, is simply wonderful. It’s no wonder why kids these days seem more sociable online but quiet and and shy in person: Apps are doing the talking for them. But with good reason; these inventions allow for faster orders, more accuracy, and offer better restaurant discovery, and maybe even a discount coupon or two.
So why not take the idea of apps for food delivery and apply it to … virtually anything and everything else? How about if we top that off with a guaranteed delivery time of one hour? That’s exactly what iOS app Postmates aims to do, and today it has launched a new service in New York City to give us everything we want, when we want it.
But wait. New York City is one of the most convenient places in the world. There’s a grocery store, coffee shop, restaurant, clothing retailer lining nearly every block. Why bring a delivery service to a place where what you want is probably no more than an eight-minute walk away?
“I think there should always be options beyond what’s outside the door,” Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann told us when he stopped by the Digital Trends NY office last week. “What you want may not always be right outside. If the city is used to convenience, why not let them have a button that can get them whatever they want? Apps like Uber, for example, lets you interact with town cars differently, we hope for a similar effect with Postmates.”
Lehmann makes a point. Our favorite mac and cheese shop just opened up in midtown, but due to our office’s location on the west side, the delivery boundary ends just two avenues away. With Postmates, you can use the app to order what you want, send a delivery person to pick up and drop it off right at your door. Delivery men and women earn 80 percent of the fees, which start at $5, and 100 percent of additional tips.
With today’s official launch, Postmates currently services just the midtown and Flatiron neighborhoods of the city (between 14th and 42nd street and from 8th to Lexington Avenue). “Quality is highest here, along with the density of couriers,” Lehmann explained. If something falls outside of the coverage area that would make the delivery go above the one hour mark, the app would warn that customers fall outside the of delivery zone.
Since Postmates began in San Francisco and Seattle, the team has seen some addicted users already, using it in place of nearly everything they could otherwise go get themselves.
“The biggest thing we found out is not that they use it for odd stuff, but that it becomes part of their life,” Lehmann said. “We’ve seen people use couriers to pick up mail from the post office, prescriptions from pharmacies, laundry, even pet food and medication.”
Since our office falls smack in the middle of Postmates’ initial coverage, we decided to give the app a shot. After signing in and entering a credit card number, the app uses your location to show local businesses powered by Foursquare. Ideally, when you click on each business, it will show a list of items you can order from the establishment. You add the items in the cart like you would with any mobile shopping app and check out. After that, Postmates will post the delivery notice to its couriers, and when someone picks up the job, you’ll get a confirmation with a picture of your messenger.
Of course, since the app just launched, many of the businesses are still without comprehensive menu items and you have to manually type in the order. Not a big deal, but it’s something we’d love to see grow as the app expands in the city. In the age of Uber and Seamless, Postmates has the young mobile market in its favor. And let’s face it: No matter what time of year it is, it’s always easier to have someone bring something to you than to do it all yourself. All while keeping stranger talk at a minimum.
“I think it’s a game changer for people that already like these types of services,” Lehmann said, noting that the company aims to launch in a new city every two months from here on out.
Postmates is currently available on iOS. A Web version will be available soon, but no word on Android.
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