As cities get more congested, bike sharing has emerged as a feasible in-city ride with economic and environmental incentives. Here is what you need to succeed as a bike-sharing startup:
Metropolitans are stuffed with bike-sharing startups. If you live in any such city, there will definitely be one out there. And though the concept has mushroomed across the globe, there are few global success stories and even the unicorns of the segment are till now largely limited to cities like Beijing, Shenzhen, Washington D.C, San Francisco, and others of the same league.
For a startup looking to start a bike sharing service, there couldn?t be a better time- the market is neither so nascent that they would have to innovate and build the requisite technologies themselves nor it is so explored for the competition to burn them out. With enough success stories around and ample un-explored markets, the time is just ripe to build a bike sharing app. But before you rush to seize the opportunity, you need to understand that it is a rapidly moving domain and it is essential to get things right at the first go as you may never be able to find another chance. So, to help in the cause, there are 4 absolute necessities that you must incorporate in your bike sharing app:
Bike sharing essentially works by fitting bikes by GPS and displaying their location on a map in the app. The moment any users starts a ride, that bike is taken off the list of available bikes and isn?t displayed on the map. If you are building an app, it is almost certain that you would also use the same tech and method. But there is also a crucial addition you can make.
The problem here is that since the users don?t have to set a drop location before they start a ride, once all bike are taken, new users have no way of finding out when a bike will be available or when. To counter this, you can show them a heat map of all your bike activities. This will give them a clear idea of where they are most likely to find bikes at approximately what time.
Once the user gets to a bike, the process to start riding must be as seamless as possible. QR codes work best in the situation. Each of your bikes should have a QR code that the users can scan from their app to unlock it. While this adds convenience for users, you also get to fend off the intricate task of installing and maintaining any kind of software on the bikes.
3. Simple And Secure Payment
Payments are collected, once all users complete their ride Process should be as simple as possible and of course must be secure as well. A preferred way would be to use some popular mobile wallet that users in that area already use rather than creating your own- to minimize friction during payments. But you must also include traditional payment options like credit and debit cards for the non-tech savvy users.
4. Booking Options
The booking and availability in bike sharing have a crucial problem- a bike is stopped from being displayed on a user?s app the moment another user unlocks it by scanning the QR-code. Now consider this- you see an available bike a couple of yards away and when you are down half the way, it disappears (because someone else took it). Now imagine the same condition during rush hours at any subway station. The service would essentially frustrate more users than it would serve. To overcome, you need to offer users an option to book bikes in advance. They can just select a time and be assured that they will find a bike. Not only would it enhance loyalty to your service also help them occasionally book rides for others as well.
Now you may have some idea of how intricate it can be to develop a bike-sharing app that looks quite simple on the surface. But the startups are lucky in this regard as well because as these technologies go mainstream many app development agencies are starting to offer such services. Just hire an app development agency that fits in your budget and vision to start your journey.