Bike Sharing App Development: How to make a bike sharing app like Ofo?
In this time of increasing population, pollution and chaos call for innovative transportation solutions are being made. Something that burns a hole neither in the ozone layer nor in the people’s pockets is what’s needed. As technology has advanced, more and more ideas have sprung up to help people commute from one place to another, many of these involving bicycles.
Bicycles have been by far the most economical, healthy and safe means of transport for ages. This is the reason why a lot of entrepreneurs and enthusiasts of the sharing economy are promoting bike sharing app development as an amazing business idea. Unfortunately, today, bikes have been confined to a sort of children’s ride or those into professional bike riding. Not to worry, though. Stalwarts like Ofo and Mobike have come up with incredible bike sharing platforms which helps people get their own bicycles to commute short distances, for a nominal fee. This saves people the hassle of bringing their own vehicle everywhere they go and obviously saves fuel costs while avoiding causing the environment more damage. Whether it be on a small or large scale, bike sharing mobile apps are really doing their bit when it comes to saving the environment. In this post, our goal is to discuss the whole process of creating a bike-sharing mobile app. First of all, we will evaluate bike sharing app development as a business idea, and then the whole process for it.
Why bike sharing app development is a great idea?
If we consider the case of China, the most populated country in the world, the bike-sharing market is a dominant one. User penetration rates for bike sharing mobile apps have risen up to six times in 2017, and the numbers are ever increasing in 2018. Two of the world’s top players, Ofo and Mobike, hold a 90% stake in the Chinese bike sharing mobile apps market. If we talk about Ofo itself, around 100 million registered users have accounts on the app. With over 400 million rides to date and half a million daily downloads, Ofo is one of the stalwarts of the bike sharing mobile app industry. All these numbers and statistics are not just numbers; they highlight the immense popularity of the bike sharing mobile apps concept. In addition to the environmental factors, convenience and popularity have fuelled the rise of the bike sharing app concept. It is truly something that could change the face of the earth, that could change the way we see it, and who knows, maybe these small ventures end up repairing the damage that humans have caused?
Bike sharing mobile app is a mass transit option that puts all other services to shame. The thought of renting out your very own bicycle for a short trip down to the supermarket, instead of taking your car out of the garage, cleaning it up and then driving it through the busy streets, has to be one that invokes joy. Perhaps, this is the best way to revisit our childhood in these tough times, isn’t it?
All right, enough with the memories, let’s get down to business and talk about the nitty gritty of bike sharing app development.
If you’re looking to develop a bike sharing platform, there are a couple of things that you need to be thorough with. Firstly, bike sharing is one location-based service that operates in a different manner from other similar services. Secondly, there are a few features exclusively designed for bike sharing apps that every competitive one must include. So, getting on with it, let us see how a typical bike sharing app development and the whole platform works.
How do Bike Sharing platforms work?
The magic of location services, payment services, and QR codes are amalgamated into one platform to hand users the power of their own bikes. A bit different from other transportation services like Uber, bike sharing services need you to get to the bike instead of the bike coming to you. Let us discuss the whole process of bike sharing app development, by taking the example of perhaps the biggest bike sharing platform, Ofo.
- Finding a bike nearby – Ofo, like any competitive bike sharing platform, allows users to find bikes located close to them, so that they do not have to go to the station to rent one. In the case that no nearby bike is available, the app usually points the customer to the nearest parking station of the company, from where he/she can pick up the bike.
- Unlocking the bike – This one’s an important part of bike sharing app development. These days, QR codes displayed on the bike help in easy unlocking, as used by Ofo. There are other ways to unlock the bike as well, which include generating unlock codes when a certain bike number is entered. The point here is that unlocking a bike should be easy and hassle-free for customers, and QR codes are perhaps the best way to go about it.
- Payment – Paying directly from the app is what should be integrated in the mobile platform. When a user completes a trip, he/she must get the exact fare breakdown on the screen, which helps users to know how much they owe and whether this is the right amount or not. Integrating various payment methods into your app, such as mobile banking, credit or debit cards, or mobile wallets, would be a good user-friendly practice. Coupon codes or discounts, if any, should be notified about to the customer. If you’re looking for a successful bike sharing app development, make sure that streamlined and frictionless payments are there.
- Locking the bike – Just like unlocking the bikes, locking the bikes too is an important aspect of bike sharing app development. Once the customer completes the trip, the bike needs to be locked and parked in a safe and legal place. Using the application, Ofo users can end their trip manually, make the payment, and then park the bike in a parking spot after properly locking it. Ideally, a bike sharing platform should let its customers know of the nearest parking spot where a user can leave the bike after completing the trip.
Some key features to be included
In addition to the key points discussed above, there exist a few creative and essential features that a good bike sharing platform must integrate. These allow customers to rent bikes in the most convenient manner and ensure that they have the best of experiences when availing your services. After all, this is the very point of your bike sharing app development project, right? Let’s get into these features.
- Bike reservations – Many times, office goers or college students are the ones hiring bikes for their trips to the office, university, hangout places or what not. So while planning your bike sharing app development project, make sure that bike reservations are taken care of. These guys have no time to waste, and cannot afford to be late on their meetings or classes. A bike reservation feature would benefit all customers, so that they would not have to go looking for bikes nearby and waste their precious time. In populated countries such as China, where bike sharing is a popular concept (as proved by the success of Ofo and Mobike), bikes can be hard to come by. Reserving bikes in advance could thus do wonders for college students, office goers or just users who want to be on time.
- Finding nearby bikes quickly and efficiently – When a user wants to rent a bike, he/she should not have to walk a mile to get to the bike station. Using geolocation and other location and tracking technologies properly in your app will be the key here for your bike sharing app development. Your bike sharing platform must include quick and efficient bike locating services, since it may happen that another user just completed a trip in the vicinity and his/her bike is available. The app must notify the user trying to rent that a bike is available in the vicinity, and he/she should head over there instead of the bike station. When there are no bikes available, the app should direct the user towards the nearest bike parking station. Utilizing geospatial functions for delivering location information within a certain radius of the user is one way to get this done. Redis offers excellent options in this regard.
Design considerations For Bike Sharing App development.
Now that we have all the technical features done and dusted, it is time to talk about the design considerations when building a mobile app for your bike sharing platform. The user interface and user experience are both crucial parts of any mobile app, and your bike sharing app development must ace these two concepts in order to establish and retain a solid user base.
Making use of animations, transitions and smooth flows of action is the call here. People should feel a natural course of movement while going through the app; no one wants to get frustrated while booking or renting a simple bike.
Swiping or scrolling motions need to be designed in such a way that they feel smooth, not crass or clunky. Believe it or not, even if you have the most competitive features in your bike sharing concept, having a Stone Age mobile application will make you lose your user base quicker than you could have ever imagined. It is better to hire a UI/UX designer if you are not familiar with the concepts yourself. Basically, make sure that your bike sharing app development is inch-perfect.
Sure, it might be a bit of extra money, but in the long run, it will surely be worth it. Learn from the best. Ofo and Mobike have incredibly ‘usable’ bike sharing mobile applications that are simple, fast and secure. It comes as no surprise that they are two of the world’s leading bike sharing platforms.
Bike sharing is one of the concepts of the present and the future. With its unmatched benefits, it surely looks like it is here to stay. For all you developers out there, this could be an opportunity to build yourself a multi-million dollar project. Now that you know what it takes to build a mobile bike sharing platform, pick up your laptop and get started! Don’t wait!
How Can Sodio Help?
Sodio Technologies is a product development company where we build robust scalable technology solution that make an impact in all spheres of life. Our understanding and tech acumen in android as well as iOS makes our mobile app development us an even better fit for your bike sharing app development. We have delivered more than 40 successful products across the world with an equal number of happy and satisfied clients. So, feel free to get in touch with us so we can discuss your bike sharing app development project.