How would you acquire more users for Uber?
+5 votes
in Problem Solving by (725 points) | 3.3k views

7 Answers

+5 votes

This is an interesting problem. To start, I’m going to assume that we are talking about Uber (share ride) users and not UberEats. Although both can go hand in hand, I think each play to attract users can be different. So for the sake of time and to pick a certain product, we will go with Uber’s main product — ride share.

What is Uber? Uber is an app that connects you to a ride/driver to take you home, work, airport, or where ever you may choose within a range. We can break down two main users– the driver and the rider. For this practice, we will focus on increasing riders. We can also break down the type of riders that Uber can penetrate and get a bigger market share:

1. Corporate Users: This would be for companies to provide rides to workers or stay long for work
2. College Students: Self-explanatory– and want cheap rides close to or around campus
3. Elderly: This would be for elderly people who at above 55 years old and would need rides to/from hospitals paid for by their insurance

I’m going to select college students because of a couple of factors:
– Most universities/colleges already provide a share ride taxi or trams for students
– Typically, riders are supposed to be 18 and over. Students tend to start university at 18 and we can dominate the market and get them to join Uber over other alternatives at an early age.
– Students are price and time sensitive (just like Uber)!

A couple of the pain points and reasons why this could be useful for students and university is that:
– As a student, I don’t want to be walking home late from the library
– As a student, trams don’t go close to where I live and I tend to have to walk 15 mins more
– As a university, this might be a cheaper alternative than hiring our own drivers or trams to run

– Partner with universities/colleges to provide a wholesale package to be the main ride provider for students within a 2-mile radius–the university would pay for this product.
– Sell students at the beginning of the year ride tickets– for example 10 rides within campus/$25 per work (numbers to be figured out)
– Provide Students a discount within campus grounds– for example $1/per ride

(I wish I had more solutions, but I’m blanking! Feel free to add!)

Out of all these, I would partner with universities. The reason is that the main goal of this is to increase users. Although we aren’t talking about revenue/profits, we are able to utilize a business line of a university/college to increase users for the long-term play. If we are able to penetrate users and build that trust at an early age, those users will tend to rely on Uber for all their transportation needs outside of campus grounds.

The way this would work is– we would get an approved EDU email list of active/current students, next we would send an invite to join Uber at the beginning of the year to use around campus. Pending on how the deal would be structured with universities, we wouldn’t charge the students. Rather, we would charge the universities as a replacement for their current trams/student transportation. Let’s assume that the average college/university is 5,000 students– 1k/per class (including grad school), we are looking at over 1k new users a year/per school (assuming all freshman don’t have Uber AND some grad students and transfer students entering already had it).

A couple of drawbacks that I would be worried about is:
– Not enough drivers to do demand
– Drivers don’t like short rides because of low pay (maybe inventivize them)
– Might only be good for schools with certain # of students, endowment, metropolitan location
– Uber might lose money initially when getting these users– need to calculate CAC

In terms of metrics, it’s pretty self-explanatory that the metric we would like is # of new users added (maybe at the beginning of the year), # of rides taken during the school year and after from users, and on the long-term engagement for users once graduated (just to track :)!)

In summary, I think this would be the best way to penetrate new Uber users. There wouldn’t have to be a change for drivers. Technology wouldn’t have to be updated. Say hello to a couple of thousand new student users yearly! 

Let me know what you guys think!

Nice answer. I think given you're applying for a PM role, it's good to include a couple ideas that are product related. For example, selling monthly packages for fixed distances (e.g. 20 rides per month from home to school and vice versa). This will encourage students to use Uber when they take a ride from home to school and school to home every time.
+5 votes

Clarifying questions: Uber does ride-sharing as well as Uber eats. Uber eats is a small % of their revenue so let’s assume we stick with ride sharing. For ride-sharing, Uber has 2 main users – the drivers and the riders. For the purpose of this exercise, let us stick with acquiring more riders. This also seems like the first logical choice because a higher demand from riders will result in more drivers (to make money) and not the other way around.
Goal: To acquire more riders on the uber platform.
Users and Use Cases:
Professionals – who commute daily to work instead of driving or taking public transport
Students – who shuttle between dorms and class when they are getting late. Example of groups.
Young professionals – who like to go out at nights to party without the worry of the designated driver.
Airport Commuters – who like to go to and from the airport on a regular basis

Let’s pick the Young professionals who want to party as the user because of the following reasons
1. Higher income range – leading to better tipping,
2. More likelihood of uber X,
3. longer trips (they typically won’t go to the same neighbourhood places and
4. round trip opportunities – they have to come home late when their best option is Uber).
5. A large market – if you assume ages between 21-35 and assuming an 80-yr lifespan and uniform distribution, your market size in the US is (15/80)*320 million = 60 million. Not all are tech savvy and in applicatable areas so let’s drop that to 50% – since thats a good guess for people in big metropolitan areas where Uber has the biggest customer base so 30 million.

Ideas for increasing users
1. Partnerships with Opentable – Uber could tie up with reservation systems to provide discounts to users going to that location. The key here is marketing and the solution would be to tie up with opentable to detect reservations and provide a pre-booking workflow. Users upon reserving could directly book an uber with $10 off as an example. Uber could also provide menus and ordering during the commute for a great customer service

2.Detect DUIs before they happen – Uber could provide handheld machines at all bars that users can use for free (or minimal service) before checking out. If a user checks at > $0.08, Uber should volunteer to provide a car for the user to get home or suggest to the user to wait. It would be legally impossible to detain or report the user against his or her will. This is easy to implement – devices are available, generally makes the roads safer and has a clear way of increasing customers. Since this is at peak time surcharge rules apply allowing for higher monetization

3. Strategic partnerships with Live events
Most live involve large groups of people, space constraints and parking challenges. For e.g., Uber could partner with the NBA to be the preferred transport mode for fans to and from the NBA finals. This reduces traffic congestion, eliminates parking problems and allows Uber to demonstrate the value of the product and retain more customers.

If I had to pick one solution, I would pick #2. If you put all 2, it solves a real problem (safety), it is extremely easy to implement, handheld breathalyzers now connect to the iPhone and it can scale very easily throughout the country. It is also innovative, extremely useful and understandable in terms of value prop. The only challenge is the bar to entry which requires new users to install the app. The booth at the location could make this seamless but even providing a phone service in exchange for personal information.

The metrics would be new new Uber users, uber rides/user/month, 7 day/30 day repeat users, net reduction in number of DUIs in an area (say if you partner with 25 bars in Hollywood, you should see a noticable difference)

0 votes

Interviewee: Thanks for the question. I would like to confirm that more users here means riders not drivers because both can be considered ‘user’ of Uber.

Interviewer: Yes, by user i mean riders.

Interviewee: Thanks for confirmation. Here are some user segments that i can think for getting more users
1. Corporate customers
2. College students
3. Tourists

I would like to focus on Corporate customers because
1. their ticket size and overall business is huge
2. once happy, corporates usually do not change their prefered service
3. habit of corporate employees will stick and they will order uber even when they are on personal trip

Interviewer: sounds good

Interviewee: Corporate customers are almost always running short on time, going from one meeting to another, end up missing food and sleep becuase of heavy work schedule. I would like to propose few solutions to alleviate these pain points:

1. Touch up: people always want to look presentable especially when they are traveling to meet someone for business meetings. however, it is diffcult to maintain their look during travel. we can have mirror, perfumes and moisturizers in uber and become their preferred ride.

2. Snack bar: from my personal experience i can say most of the times i miss food because i do not have time. we can offer non-perishable food in uber for a fee.

3. VR Sleep: with all the hectic schedule, i would love if i can get a small nap during the travel but noise and motion do not let me sleep. We can offer a Virutal reality solution that will transform my experience by changing surroundings as if i am relaxing in a spa or on a bed and play soothing music using noise canceling headphones attached to VR set. Duration of VR player will be auto set based on time of ride and rider will be woken up 5 min before the arrival.

I would like to evaluate all the solutions based on customer satisfaction, enginerring challenge, and revenue generation. Based on this evaluation, i would like to go with solution 3: VR sleep. (I would draw a simple table and show my evaluation in favor of solution 3)

One thing I noticed is jumping to the solution too fast. There are many more questions you need to ask yourself before you can come to conclusions. Solutions are not what the interviewers are looking for. It’s the framework used to get there. I like the way the user base has been divided. If drivers were driving Uber sponsored cars, then the last solutions might be considered but drivers use different types of cars and how do you ensure you are getting a ROI with VR? That’s a huge investment. You could however emphasize more on, where (which country or state or city) you want to increase the number of Uber users. Then get to what percentage of users currently ride Uber Vs. other transport means. Why are they using other transport? Maybe less number of drivers sign up for Uber in that area? Try focusing on points like these instead of getting to a solution pretty fast. It’s ok even if you do not give them a solution. Your approach is the main thing they are looking for.
thanks for the inputs!
0 votes

I’m working on my speed so this is a summary of a 15min dialog.

Uber is ride-sharing application connecting riders interested in short-notice transportation and crowd-sourced drivers interested in monetizing their time and fixed vehicle assets. The acquisition of users indicates our business focus is on conversion of new prospects into new platform users. Uber’s ecosystem is symbiotic between drivers and riders, with any increase or decrease in one affecting the other similarly, and thus both sides should be included.

Identifying Uber segments (prospective use case):
Riders-Commuters are either not utilizing ride-sharing services or are on another platform. Commuting to and from work, home, school on public transportation or a personal vehicle. Their goal is for a seamless, routine experience, preparing for what comes after the ride. They operate on a relatively fixed schedule. They may or may not be aware or serviced by Uber.

Riders-Occasional are prospective riders who could utilize the platform to bridge infrequent transportation challenges such as dentist appointments or vehicle tie-ups such as the spouse has the car and the kid needs to get to basketball practice. They have lower commitment to the platform, but a high-tolerance for vehicle rates as frequency is diminished. Occasional users would be a gateway to increasing CLV.

Drivers are people looking to monetize idle time and vehicle assets. They are short-term revenue focused and interested in a low-touch, friendly experience.

I’m going to focus on Riders-Occasional as they will be more open to trying alternatives giving the outside-the-routine application and Uber offers a competitive advantage to public transportation for infrequent trips where route planning can be avoided.

Use Cases
1). Arrival at destination on time, efficiently, safely, and for a reasonable price. Public transportation is slow, unreliable, and taxes are impolite and scratched up glass, no thank you!
2). Help locate the final destination such that I don’t need to have that awkward conversation where the driver asks me if this is where I want to be, when I don’t know.
3). Meet someone memorable. Life can be pretty boring zoned into a task. Infrequent trips offer a heightened awareness and a larger budget of time to play with.

Value Proposition
Reflecting on our goal of improving acquisition of new clients, building out a service for seamless transportation for users with logistic uncertainty, augmented with a memorable takeaway is a great way to earn a repeat user and differentiate.

1). Open the Uber API to allow businesses and users to provide identifying information for complex arrival situations. If I have an appointment in Room 1295 in the Pan Am Wing of the Packard Hospital, I’d like the driver to know exactly where the best dropoff zone is, perhaps high-level walking instructions, and three bullets on how to access. I shouldn’t have to pull up google maps, my doctors email, and the hospital website before I arrive just to tell the driver where to drop me off. This adds a seamless element, wherein, once in the Uber App, I don’t have to acknowledge its limitations by looking up other information and having the awkward I don’t know moment with the driver.

2). Targeted advertising at public transportation locations and partnership inside mapping applications. If the user misses their scheduled pickup or if they map their destination and realize they can’t make it on time, if they are alerted that there is an Uber 1-2 minutes away and they can arrive on time, they user would request a quote and enter the uber application. Uber and Lyft currently do build into mapping applications, but there isn’t currently a mechanism to understand the users desired arrival time, which is a limitation of the mapping application. Public transportation locations can’t limit advertising for a competitive service so this is advantageous.

3). Tailored ride-share partnering for those who have time to connect would be a really cool new feature for those looking to make a connection during their idle-time. It’s not uncommon to meet someone interesting in an Uber by coincidence, but perhaps this doesn’t need to be by coincidence. Venture Capitalists are known to ask prospects to pitch on morning hikes so there is interest for this at various levels, not just at a bottom level. If I met like minded people, open to meeting (not heads down at the time), does Uber not provide an interesting dynamic for a casual speed dating. In the beginning this could be distilled down to people operating in a similar sector/ level of seniority so that no one feels like they’re getting the sales pitch.

Ranking these solutions in terms of ROI, the highest value return is to build out a service for physical location to populate dropoff and logistical details to improve the handoff and lower the burden for the customer. The burden is put on the business and the reward for Uber and the destination is differentiation and customer attention. This benefit would also benefit drivers. Targeted advertising involves minimal technical build, but the upside is also contained by traditional media conversion rates. The ride-share partnering feature is novel and would require a lot of build out from understanding and mining data from public profiles, as well user supplied data, but the upside has no cap, which makes it really intriguing.

In summary, the best way for Uber to acquire new users is to provide users with destination uncertainty with superior dropoff and logistical instructions for the user. Uber provides a low-cost UI to populate the relevant data and can benefit from businesses wanting to provide a superior level of customer service to do the heavy lifting of instructions.

The best way to understand the impact of building out arrival instructions is to have a button for it in the application such that the utilization rate can be understood. Cohort analysis can be completed through AB testing to see if there is a difference in free-to-paid conversions on the platform after highlighting the feature.

0 votes
This is an interesting problem. Le'ts assume the question is referring to facilitating more normal uberX rides. There are 3 ways to do this.

1) Enter new cities.

- Was a good solution in the past. Now Uber is in most important places. It has actually retreated from some. Entering new cities is important but not as much as it used to be.

2) Marketing campaigns and loyalty programs.

- Uber can always run ads and give discounts to attract more people to use the app. This does have a pretty large cost.

- Uber can also do a loyalty program like airlines. This is especially effective for customers who are using uber for business and are not as price sensitive. Getting rewards to your personal account for taking a business trip will build loyalty to the brand.

3) Counterintuitively, facilitating more non-uber rides will help increase uber rides.

- What I mean by this is turn the uber app into a platform. Form partnerships with Bird, Lime, etc to connect riders to drivers.

- Offer a transportation solution at every price point from A-B using combinations of Bike, scooter, pool, public transit, and uberX.

- This will condition users to always open the Uber app whenever they are going somewhere.

- Create a condition where users instinctually check the Uber app before they go anywhere. More often than not, they will find that an Uber product suits their transportation needs.
by (13 points)
0 votes

How would you acquire more users for Uber?

What problem are we solving?

  • Is Uber just the car services or is it Uber Eats and other services? Let's assume just the ride hailing.
  • Is this on the driver or rider side? Let's assume rider.
What does Uber do for riders?
  • They use a smartphone app
  • It summons a car to where they are quickly
  • They can track where they're going and know who the driver is
  • The cost is really low.
Which customer segment should we target?
  • Black cab/taxi users - they value convenience
  • Other pre-booked minicab users - they value service and predictability
  • Public transport users - they value price and speed over longer distances
  • Walkers/cyclists - they value price and the experience
  • Own car users - they value control and comfort
I'd want to look at the pace of taking market share from each of these segments, how similar their current solution is to what Uber offers and if there are any competitive barriers. I'd look for an area which has slow growth which fulfils similar needs to Uber. 
My assumption would be that Uber is taking market share slower in the pre-booked minicab area specifically because I expect they have low penetration of business customers. While the number of customers would be low, the number of users is high, assuming the riders aren't already using Uber.
How do we solve this?
Without the ability to interview them, I assume business customers need the following:
  • Predictable service (reliable times and consistent service)
  • Accurate reporting
  • Quality service
  • Easy for the business to order on behalf of employees
My assumption would be that the biggest problem is reporting. Specifically, I don't believe there's inbuilt expensing or reporting functionality at the moment. I'd need to find out in more detail what these are. I would test how well Uber meets business users' needs by initially targeting existing users. I would then expect growth by word of mouth or through specific acquisition efforts.
As a consumer who already uses Uber, I want to be able to use it for business travel:
  • I want to be able to make receipts available to the finance department so that I'm refunded for them
  • I want to be able to specify which client or project the trip is billable to so that I can charge it correctly
  • I potentially need my finance team to approve Uber as a supplier
Of these I'd prioritise receipts: it's essential to all users and potentially simplest to build. A few approaches:
  • MVP is just encourage users to forward email receipts to finance in the email wording - test this on a small scale and ask users about it afterwards
  • Reduce friction for the rider by including a field in the app to send a second receipt to
  • Reduce friction for both sides by building a page for the finance department to log in to and export receipts in different formats
Long term I expect this would follow the land and expand model. After the first employee using Uber within a company I would monitor how many other employees adopt it for business. If it doesn't but retention of new users is good, I'd explore specific growth tactics.
  • To increase the number of users of ride hailing I would target the business users
  • I'd focus on how they share receipts for expensing purposes to see if the product meets their needs
  • I would look for significant organic growth in this segment or failing that, retention within the group

by (24 points)
–4 votes

I am assuming the monthly growth rate of users has not stagnated and we are simply looking to increase the current growth rate of users installing Uber on their phones. By users, I am assuming we are talking about riders and not drivers because the tactics will be completely different.

There are 3 kinds of users in my mind and we will adopt a different acquisition strategy for each of them:

1) Working Professionals
2) Students
3) International Users

Let’s first cover what each category of user needs :

1) Working professionals are generally busy and want a fast, convenient mode of commute
2) Students typically do not have a lot of money and want a cheap, convenient mode of commute
3) International Users can have lots of different types of needs but the primary need we are targeting is luxury and convenience.

Let’s find out how Uber can acquire each category of users by correctly addressing their needs:

1) Witty advertisements that cater to the taste of the working professional. For e.g. if the user is based in Silicon Valley, the advertisement can be something funny about startups or technology etc while if the user is based out of NYC the advertisement can be something finance related or related to housing prices etc. The channel to advertise can also be inferred from user behavior, such as targeting or even officially partnering with conferences and meetups in the sillicon valley whereas using more traditional media such as New York Times for NYC can be effective. Monthly or annual passes can also prove to be very effective in acquiring working professionals who commute every day

2) Giving university specific discounts to students can be a very effective way to get more students to use Uber. The option to tradeoff time vs money is also a very attractive to students. For e.g. if a student is in a hurry they can prefer to take a ride that is shorter but expensive, but if they have enough time they would rather take a longer ride for a cheaper price. Advertising can be done on facebook and linkedin.

3) Acquiring international users can be tricky specially in the face of local competition when a sense of nationalism evokes. But the dealbreaker is generally an amazing service and incentives to use the app. Uber can set up shop in high density areas such as airports, metro stations, bus stations etc where users are looking for a convenient, hassle free mode of transport. By manually onboarding users and showing off their sense of service, Uber can win over a lot of traditional minded users.

Depending on what Uber’s needs are, we can choose what course of action to follow.

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