On-demand mobile app development: must-have features and trends

Iryna Hnatiuk


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March 3, 2024


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What is an on-demand app?

This notion relates to the on-demand or “access” economy – the activity of providing easy and fast availability of goods and services to consumers through technology companies and online marketplaces. However, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not only the simplicity and speed that people desire. Safety is the new hot word, and information technology promises to deliver it through countless apps that serve as a bridge between businesses and consumers. Although things will never be the same again for many industries, innovation is unstoppable. Mobile software development is booming, and on-demand apps occupy the lion’s share of the market.

Uberization of the economy

The success of Uber has changed the approach to business operations in the tertiary sector and inspired hundreds of startups. A smartphone has become a platform for receiving services in a new hassle-free way for users, and the distance between them and the service providers has decreased. The latter also got the possibility to build a robust online presence and connect to the target audience directly. Technology companies are another essential component in this process as they develop customized solutions to cater to consumer needs. Healthcare, education, retail, transportation, beauty, etc. – the list of industries taking advantage of the economy uberization is vast. Even the smallest companies or individuals-freelancers can instantly access the consumer base through third-party apps – deliver home-made food, rent out accommodation, offer childcare, cleaning, consulting services, to name just a few. Besides, clients have a tool to shape the market by assessing the quality of products and services through a rating system.


Must-have features and technologies for on-demand apps

1. Virtual search. Very often, consumers search for the same thing using different keywords. In many cases, they know what they want but cannot describe it precisely. Integrating visual search into retail shopping apps is an effective way to fulfill clients’ needs. They can print screen images from the web or take a photo in real life, and the system will offer the closest match to your range.

2. Voice search. Voice search and voice navigation is what can put an app in the vanguard. According to Google, 20 % of all searches are made with voice, and this rate will only increase. Artificial intelligence allows creating hyperlocal features, which means the app will recognize different languages and accents.

3. AI-based chatbots. If something goes wrong or consumers need consulting on products and services, a chatbot based on artificial intelligence is the trendiest way to be in touch with them. This technology is so advanced that it produces a human-like impression. It is also cost-effective as businesses do not have to pay a customer support team every month.

4. IoT. The Internet of Things is on the rise and designing software for this niche is very promising. In the future, smart devices will analyze health parameters, and the user will view findings and recommendations on their smartphone. The fridge will remember food habits and compile a shopping list or will stock up automatically. Apps that allow interacting with devices will be in high demand.

5. Drone deliveries. It is a tribute to contactless interaction, already tested by such giants by Amazon (Prime Air Delivery). However, it is possible that seeing drones that deliver morning coffee will become a common thing in the coming years. The new generation of apps must be an integral part of the logistics systems and have such an option as real-time delivery tracking.

6. Virtual presence. It seems to be a must-have feature in the new world of social distancing. Virtual try-on and similar tools integrated into shopping apps allow us to make better choices, reduce the number of returns, and increase overall client satisfaction. It is also a fun experience, which is an essential factor.

7. Time management. People are becoming less tolerant of time waste, let alone waiting in lines with others. An on-demand app must allow users to plan everything and get goods and services delivered at an exact time slot: e.g., to select food and beverages from a digital menu, choose the delivery zone (table in a restaurant), and get them served as soon as they enter the venue.

8. Contactless payments. We have already written about the trends in the fintech industry and the revolution of peer-to-peer payments. With blockchain technologies, financial transactions are incredibly safe and fast. The traditional POS terminals will be eliminated in the near future – users will order, get a bill, and pay through an app, so it must integrate with payment systems, e.g., Stripe.

Cost of on-demand app development

It depends on a variety of factors – scope, platform, technologies, etc. According to an insightful survey by Clutch (B2B ratings and reviews platform), which was held in 2015 and involved 12 leading mobile app developers, the median cost of developing an iPhone app is between $37,913 and $171,450 (excluding maintenance and updates). The participants were asked to estimate the number of hours necessary to design a fully-fledged product. Then the hours spent on each development stage were multiplied by average hourly rates in the US market. Outsourcing mobile app development to a dedicated team in other destinations like Ukraine is the way to lower costs.

To calculate the exact budget, most software firms offer a Discovery Phase – the pre-development investigation stage, which, among others, aims to assess the commercial viability and potential of a product.


2020 is the year when the impossible became a reality. Social distancing and lockdown transformed the lifestyles of people globally, and many things seem to be irreversible. The fear of getting infected and the need to be thrifty with imminent rainy days in mind are the factors behind many consumer choices. The on-demand economy processes that started and accelerated under the Covid -19 epidemic’s influence shaped the new generation of mobile apps. Safe, fast, and convenient access to goods and services and a-few-clicks user experience has become the new golden standard. Companies that want to survive the competition must cultivate creativity, adaptability, and exceptional client focus. But most importantly, they must be digitally savvy. It is not enough to offer excellent products and services – now they must be on your clients’ smartphone app with a technological wow-factor to retain their interest.

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