Back in 2014, PickMe was an idea in its infancy meant to serve as a ride-sharing app for tuk-tuks. Today it has evolved to a feature-packed eCommerce experience. Whether it’s renting a van for a long-distance trip, getting an important document delivered, or just simply ordering food, PickMe caters to many logistical needs. With consumer behaviour shifting towards more technological solutions, PickMe wants to fill in the gaps. Its “treat for a friend” feature is one of the latest features to do so.
Catering to a growing need
This need for technological solutions for everyday essentials was never more apparent than the lockdown period amidst the coronavirus. During the lockdown, eCommerce companies struggled to cater to the sudden demand increase. Only a few seemed to have thrived, PickMe being one of them.
The pandemic prompted the likes of PickMe to expand its offerings to handle a wide variety of delivery needs that included gas cylinders, fruits and vegetables, meat, and other groceries. This eventually formed the “Market” section on the app. According to PickMe, Market deliveries edged over 250,000 deliveries during the lockdown.
Currently, the company has listed over 300 merchants with the likes of Hemas, Unilever, Nestle, etc. Market orders also took to delivering medicines via its partnership with HealthGuard. Of course, the lockdown period saw a sharp rise in other avenues for the company. PickMe Flash in particular witnessed notable success in the past few months. In case you didn’t know, PickMe Flash is the company’s on-demand delivery service that lets you send and receive goods. The service reported over 8,200 deliveries during the March to May period. Furthermore, its partnership with Sampath Bank for cash withdrawals resulted in over 800 cash deliveries during the curfew.
How to treat a friend
The new treat a friend feature aims to add further functionality to PickMe’s expanded services. As the name implies, the option allows users to place food order in place of another. Alternatively, if you were to place a food delivery on behalf of another, you would have had to place the order, coordinate the delivery with the driver and the intended recipient. The treat a friend feature would simply eliminate the hassle.
The feature was first launched for taxis where users were able to book one for another, similar to the above. PickMe notes that the addition has seen higher usage than their initial assumptions. The company further notes that the taxi “book for a friend” feature records a few hundred bookings daily. PickMe expects food delivery counterparts to garner similar success.
So how does it work? The feature is as straightforward as you would expect.
- Select Food or Market from the home screen
- Change default address
- Select “treat a friend” from the top right corner
- Add relevant contact details
- Select the delivery location
- Select restaurant/merchant
- Select products and add items to cart
- Choose payment detail and place order
Once the order is placed, the status will be displayed on the app. The order details will be shared via SMS as well. The recipient can track the order even without the PickMe app. Upon completion, the customer will be notified.
High ambitions for the future
With additions like order for a friend, PickMe inches closer to being the one app for all your mobility needs. Time will tell how far its ambitions will take the digital economy in Sri Lanka forward. But in terms of the company’s future PickMe sees promise, with opportunities continuing to expand. Much of this was amidst a strong company balance sheet in July, where the International Financial Cooperation underwrote a ‘Series B’ capital raise for PickMe.
Speaking about the company’s efforts over the past few years Chairman Ajit Gunawardene mentions, “During the last five years we have invested multiple billions of rupees towards creating this domain expertise and we will continue to invest, innovate and add value to the economy.” Some of these investments have come in the form of building the tech infrastructure. For example, PickMe’s partnership with Microsoft to optimize driver benefits and passenger wait times.
Commenting on PickMe’s recent activities, CEO Jiffry Zulfer points out that thanks to COVID-19 the company had to release Market a year ahead of its original launch. He further states, “We plan to further invest in the delivery vertical in the coming months, as we consider this to be a natural hedge against our hailing business in the face of the uncertainty created by the COVID crisis.”