How Urbanclap uses tech for finding the right service professional
Gurugram-based home services marketplace, UrbanClap is leveraging technology to have an competitive edge over the likes of Housejoy, Zimmer, Timesaverz, JustDial, Sulekha, YellowPages etc, which directly and indirectly operate in the on-demand services segment
Despite the presence of numerous industry players, UrbanClap has become India’s largest services marketplace, by providing home services and practices for both consumers and professionals. The idea was to redefine how local services and servicemen were being hired in India. The founders saw opportunity in the broken system of how the country connected with various service providers. To search for an electrician or a plumber, people had to ask friends and neighbours or flip through yellow pages. Currently, the product and technology that it is using to solve the problem of the fragmented services marketplace, is far superior than others. This is simply because its algorithm identifies professionals that are closest to the customers’ requirements and then presents these options to the customer, thereby eliminating unnecessary human intervention, and still giving both, the professional and the customer the option of choice.
The mobile marketplace for hyper-local services was founded in 2014 has crossed the INR 100 crore annual revenue mark for the first time in fiscal year (FY) 2019, the startup helps users hire professionals for home services such as beauty, house cleaning, repair, yoga and fitness, among other services, across 10 cities.
Technology for match-making
UrbanClap uses technology to simplify the process of finding the right service professional. So far, companies like JustDial have just created listing platforms. The objective of UrbanClap is to go a step further and enable users to find and hire the right professional for all their needs. When choice is not a priority (e.g. carpenters, plumbers) customers can go ahead and book a service on the app, and the professional will show up at the pre-appointed time. When choice and other factors come in, for instance in the case of wedding photographers, yoga instructors and makeup artists, then UrbanClap matches the customers’ requirements with professionals who can fulfill these needs.
Raghav Chandra, Co-founder, UrbanClap, says, “UrbanClap serves more than half-a-million customers monthly. All its customers and partners are on the UrbanClap mobile apps. That’s all they need to have. Everything else happens below the hood – right from managing the preferences of the customer, to finding the right match using data and ML/AI, to training of the professionals, to ensuring the professional shows up on time. Technology places a huge role in running of this ship by using data to power insights and intelligence, giving our customer and partners easy-to-see human-free portals, and by automating the processes and operations that are needed to run the company.”
Betting on emerging technologies
Interestingly, the biggest change over the decade in technology has been the shift towards cloud infrastructure. Companies no longer have to find their physical data centres and build technology for hosting data and servers. Companies can easily leverage cloud computing platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud, and more. This helps companies focus on their businesses. Startups, this way, optimise technology architecture choices that are used widely, and are easy to work on. Startups have out-of-box solutions built such that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This helps them stay nimble, experiment a lot quicker and a lot more for their business. UrbanClap is heavily investing in its data capabilities. The team uses real-time data and ML/AI techniques for various use cases. To better manage on-time arrival, it uses big data to optimise on the schedules of partners.
“We are able to predict days ahead on how many orders can we deliver on, and accordingly take requests. We use a lot of data in training on the app as well. Every partner on UrbanClap is unique in his or her learning curve. We customise their training by looking at their past behaviour and reviews. This makes it personalised for the partner, as well as targeted for,” informs Chandra.
In 2018, the company had three big launches in Jaipur, Chandigarh and Dubai. Salon at home being one of biggest feeder, however, services like massage, AC servicing, car cleaning, home cleaning, etc, bring in a good number of user’s too.
“Salon at home remains to be our highest moving category. Our focus audience has always been working mothers, stay-at-home mothers and an app like this eases the pain of going to a salon to avail your monthly services. We have seen a good number of requests pour in from teenagers for salon services and car cleaning,” adds Chandra.
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