The new Postmates app feels like a local marketplace for food. The key to its success will be honing in on what makes it different from all the others.
— Kristen Hawley
Postmates just unveiled a new mobile app, completely redesigned as, according to its blog post, an “entirely new way to explore your city.” Except by city, Postmates seems to mean restaurants, and by restaurants, Postmates seems to mean anywhere you can buy food.
In addition to a totally redesigned app and search that has been “rebuilt from the ground up,” Postmates launched Postmates Fresh, a grocery delivery service it calls curated — shorthand for offering basic items like milk, produce, and laundry detergent. “Think of it as an on-demand farmer’s market,” reads the introductory post. For now, Fresh service is only available in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Los Angeles thanks to partnerships with three small grocery providers.
“Before, it didn’t feel like it was woven in,” consumer product lead David Byttow said, of grocery options, in an interview. “With the new update, it’s certainly more front and center.”
There’s a whole conversation here about Postmates’ ability to keep up in the days of Whole Foods + Amazon, but there’s also a more subtle conversation about Postmates’ strategy and the way it displays both restaurants and grocery delivery. As the restaurant industry continues to grapple with changing times, grocery delivery and meal kit services have taken a chunk of the dollars we spend on eating. Sure, the sit-down experience at a restaurant is totally different than ordering a meal kit online. Postmates’ new design signifies the importance of convenience above all else. With grocery delivery and restaurant delivery in the same place, these formerly totally separate segments of dining are coming together.
As the on-demand economy grows, moves like this will continue differentiate one app from another. Given recent news of big changes within Postmates, including rounds of layoffs, Postmates is likely feeling the need to catch up to others who have taken the delivery space by storm. Focusing on what’s local makes sense as a differentiator; seeing if this refined concept takes off is a wait-and-see.