Nick O'Neill

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The Rise Of The Push Button Economy

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been exhaustively testing those applications that let you get access to everything you need with a push of a button. More specifically, those applications that enable you to get assistants on demand to perform countless tasks. This includes drivers on demand and delivery services.

For example, one of our salt shakers broke the other day. Previously, I would have hopped in my car, driven downtown, paid for parking, and spent over an hour getting a basic household item. Rather than wasting my time, I typed in what I wanted into Postmates clicked “Check Out” and the salt shaker was at my door in under an hour.

It was an incredible experience and get this, it only cost me $7 for delivery. Granted, that’s a huge price increase for a simple salt shaker, but an hour of your time is most likely worth more than $7. These services are available to literally anybody with a smart phone.

If the first wave of the internet was about getting information from around the world within an instant, the next wave is getting people near and far to do things for you with the click of a button. In other words, service on demand.

It’s not a new concept. Internet startups tried same-day delivery in the late 90s and most failed. oDesk has been providing outsourced workers for years now. However the rise of smartphones has resulted in the new push button economy. Uber should probably be credited for the first “push button” product by providing anybody with a limo driver on demand via their phone.

However the space is now exploding with companies like Postmates, Exec, TaskRabbit, and more. And if I had to guess, I would bet that the push button economy is fast on its way to becoming a hundred billion dollar industry (if not larger). That’s because most transactions will now take place over the phone.

eBay has already seen a large percentage of transactions shift to their app (16 percent according to AllThingsD). Other e-commerce companies are no doubt seeing the same thing.

Yet when it comes to high-end customer service on demand, we are going to see the same trend occur. Mobile apps that connect you to anything with just the push of a button.

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