Online apps the IT way to deliver services

SINGAPORE - With a few clicks or taps, healthier lunches, cold-pressed juices, alcohol or even laundry can be delivered right to your doorstep.

A slew of services has popped up recently, aimed at busy working professionals who simply do not have the time to do these chores and are willing to pay a premium for the convenience.

Using online and mobile technology, services such as smart laundry lockers by My Laundry Box eliminate the need for a traditional brick-and-mortar business.

Launched in March, My Laundry Box is a mobile app that enables users to leave their dirty clothes at one of the lockers available at 13 locations in condominiums and offices.

As it is a round-the-clock service, customers can customise when they get their washing or dry-cleaning done and receive real-time updates via the app.

There is also a pick-up and delivery option for those with no access to the lockers. About 15 per cent of the app's more than 500 customers currently use this service.

Prices start from $4 for shirts, blouses or T-shirts to $8 for jackets. This is pricier than a neighbourhood laundromat, but it is 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than other premium laundry services.

Edmund Tan, 31, senior vice-president at Macquarie Singapore, uses the lockers at his office three to four times a month.

"I work long hours, sometimes even during weekends, so it's hard for me to run some of my errands during the normal operating times of retail outlets. The lockers are located at the office...and save me time," he said.

For working adults who hope to lead a healthier lifestyle but do not have the time to prepare their meals, there are online delivery services such as Food Matters.

Food Matters, which was launched in July, caters to busy professionals in the Central Business District and central areas.

Offering healthier versions of hawker food such as chicken rice and nasi lemak as well as salads and wraps, consumers can choose from five monthly subscriptions which range from $7 to $10 a meal on the company's website or mobile app.

Real estate agent Leon Chua, who works mainly from home, has subscribed to the service since July.

"I skip six to seven steps that I normally go through to get lunch," said Mr Chua, 37. "I pay a premium price but get premium food that is healthy. It (the service) saves me the hassle of thinking of what to eat."

At Gorilla Press, founders Ong Weiquan and Valerie Oei, both 32, personally deliver their fresh juices to customers. The juices start from $8 a bottle.

With at least half of its 500 customers being young professionals, business has grown rapidly since it launched in February.

"Rather than go through the effort required to get such juices, people are willing to pay for the convenience of getting the juices delivered," said Mr Ong.

For those who want to unwind with a chilled glass of bubbly at the end of a long day, there are online alcohol delivery services such as Alcohol Delivery.

Demand has almost doubled since it opened nearly two years ago, with young working adults in their 20s and 30s being its biggest customers.

The company delivers a range of alcohol from beer to whiskey to champagne, at prices comparable to supermarkets.

"Yuppies are people who definitely would not mind paying more for convenience," said the business' managing director Travis Chia.

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