Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We all know that mobile apps are changing the way we buy products and services, but what about texting? Just as consumers have become more accustomed to instant online information, they too expect products and services to be available anytime and anywhere—whether it’s dry-cleaning, a cup of coffee, or hotel reservations. Enter Dashio, a food delivery service handled completely via text.

The idea of buying weekly groceries with technology instead of actually visiting the store isn’t a novel one. In fact, most large grocery chains have been offering online ordering services for more than a decade. Instacart, an app that allows users to create a grocery list with a few simple taps, has been delivering food for busy users since 2012.

GrubHub is another popular app that delivers big on take-out with its free ordering services to more than 30,000 restaurants in more than 800 cities. Dashio is making its mark by ditching the app game completely.

A New Wave in Food Delivery

Unlike traditional food delivery services, Dashio doesn’t rely on a flashy interface to get consumers to order food. Instead, it has built the service upon SMS messaging or text, which is activated by texting the word ‘Hello’ to a four-digit number. Once you’re signed up, you’re ready to start ordering. No downloads, no updates and no confusing interface.

Users can text a grocery list, or individual orders for specific menu items from various restaurants and fast food chains. Dashio then delivers the goods for a standard flat rate of about $4.99 with a small service fee.

The concept of instant gratification is taken to an entirely different level with Dashio, which promises to build out the service into other areas including clothing, concert tickets, and other personal items. As long as the area being serviced has a featured retailer with the goods, Dashio says, it will deliver.

But why use text? After all, smartphone users have become accustomed to apps and their various interfaces. By building the business out from text messages, Dashio has made a brilliant move. Texting is the most popular feature used on all mobile devices. Moreover, there are some people who still haven’t crossed over into smartphone territory—hard to believe, but true. Some people may prefer texting services to apps because they offer uniformity and don’t require special interfaces, compatibility, or updates. Just type what you want, and you’re good to go!

So while apps that deliver similar products or services are available, Dashio is offering users a way to streamline food orders—and just about everything else.

Dashio’s founder and CEO, Adam Oliver has gone on to say that at some point, the company may incorporate AI into the communication platform.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement and personalization,” said Oliver. “In the future, a Dashio order will be a simple conversation such as ‘I’d like a cup of coffee,’ and the barista already knowing you prefer it with cream and two sugars.”

Whether or not users will prefer ordering a cup of coffee from artificial intelligence is up for debate. But should they decide to order it via text, Dashio will be there to deliver.