Uber 101: How this ride-sharing behemoth made it to the top?

What do you do when you want to get a cab? It’s rather unlikely you search the Internet trying to find a taxi number. Instead, your finger moves around the list of applications on your smartphone in the search for a taxi app. More often than not, it lands on the Uber app. Within 5 seconds, you can insert the destination and be automatically provided with your ride cost. The map of your city pops out on the screen, showing where you are going. It is just nothing but simple. So are Uber solutions that led the company to the top, making the app a new way of living!

What stands behind the massive success of Uber?

Uber, a ride-sharing company with a net worth of $15 billion but without ownership of a single cab, has raised many eyebrows when it entered unique global markets. Since 2009, the timeworn taxi system has started to crumble. Yet, if you have lived in an international city at that time, you would have already been familiar with the brave new world of Uber.

Early on, the founders were lucky: Uber was financed by angel investors and turned out to be a relatively asset-light firm. As drivers brought their own cars and riders came with their own phones, Uber has become the world's biggest car service that does not own any cars. Yet, we still keep wondering: What is the recipe for Uber’s spectacular success?

Revolution of genuine solutions

First entrants in the market have a natural competitive advantage - so had Uber as the first ride-sharing company. Being a pioneer, it could have carved out a large market share. When other emerging ridesharing providers, like Lyft and SideCar, have joined the race, Uber was already ahead - also in the minds of consumers. Not without reason, it has generated 25 times as much revenue as Lyft.

But what made Uber further climb the ladder of success are its authentic solutions to the problems of traditional cab companies. The firm has found the middle ground - it provided rides at a lower cost yet with a higher level of service. To tackle the traditional accountability concerns, Uber allowed consumers to rate their experience with drivers, skillfully leveraging the word of mouth.

Excellent listening skills

A report from Nielsen shows that 84% of customers take action from personal recommendations. Well aware of the importance of customer feedback, Uber - in its early days - compensated both people who referred their friends and the new users who tried the service.

While cheaply building the base of customers, the company applied the Disruptive Innovation model: Uber transformed the market by introducing convenience and affordability where the complication was the status quo. In effect, you can now be three clicks away from requesting a car: entering a pick-up address, setting up the location, and finally ordering a specific car. No unnecessary complexities on your way home.

With these 4 strategies based on simplicity and intuitiveness, Uber made it to the top. Cost-effectiveness and convenience have become the art of Uber’s product design. The initial idea of “luxury taxis” got replaced with a “better ride experience.” Yet, the success story of the company does not revolve around its service - it works mainly for the benefit of its customers, offering a great user experience and comfort for people. It is more than an app on your phone; it changes people's habits and lifestyles.




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Maciej Dulski

Maciej Dulski
Senior Business Consultant

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