How Deliveroo pretend to be faster to get you as a customer

When I get home from work, and I’m tired and hungry, I have a number of options for very quickly filling my stomach. My personal favourite is a fried egg sandwich, which I think takes 3.5 minutes, but perhaps isn’t the healthiest one to choose from all of my diet options.

I can knock up a chickpea curry and rice in about 12 minutes, but I can only do this if I’ve previously been to the shops and bought my curry spices, plus tinned chickpeas and tomatoes. I’m sure you have your favourites for precisely this situation.

Deliveroo promises to solve my problem fast

The slowest way of sorting out my tired and hungry problem is one that is sold as the fastest solution.

I can go online, pick my favourite restaurant, pick what I want to eat and order it from Deliveroo. I don’t have to talk to anyone, I just need to put my credit card details in. And then 30 minutes later, someone turns up on their bike with my dinner.

The traditional version of this, of course, is to dig out the takeaway menus from the kitchen drawer and order a Chinese meal, an Indian curry or a pizza by phone.

But wait a minute (or 30 minutes)

But wait, that’s cost me at least a tenner + the £2.50 fee to get it delivered. Plus, even if you know what you want, it’s going to take you at least a couple of minutes to put your order through and 30 minutes before you get your food. That’s expensive.

And it takes ten times longer than my fried egg sandwich and at least twice the time of my chickpea curry. But it appears faster for the customer because it’s only two minutes of your actual time. You can spend the other 30 minutes thinking about how hungry you are and changing into your pyjamas.

Have a look at how Deliveroo sells

Their strapline is “Your favourite restaurants delivered fast to your door”. The first thing that you see on their website is the idea that it’s fast. They give you a timer, so you know that you can have your dinner by a specific time. I’m writing this at 11:45 AM, and I could have a veggie burrito in front of me by 12:15 PM.

By using that little real-time calculator, they make it seem immediate, even though it’s not. Amazon is also very clever with this and uses it as a marketing ploy. If I look at something on Amazon, it tells me that if I order it by 3 PM, I can have it by 10 AM tomorrow.

(Almost) instant gratification as a selling point

Incidentally, this also makes me want it because I’ve seen the shiny thing and I need instant gratification. If you’ve ever hung out with a two-year-old, you’ll know that when they want something, they don’t want to wait, they want it right now.

As adults, we’re pretty much the same as those two-year-olds. The need for instant gratification doesn’t die out as we get older, we just kid ourselves that we have more patience and willpower. You can charge more by tapping into this need.

Could you include something that says when you can deliver by?

The clear and precise delivery time implying fulfilment of your client’s gratification instantly isn’t just for selling products like veggie burritos or a new set of headphones. You can give this sense of urgency and speed to your business too. Even if your business is a service not a product.

If your business is something traditional like bookkeeping for small businesses, you could offer an express service to sort out somebody’s bookkeeping backlog in just two weeks.

A web design business could offer to completely redo my website in a month, or maybe I’d be interested in an SEO makeover in just six weeks.

The make-it-seem-faster approach allows you to charge premium prices. It taps into our very human desire to get things done quickly and to get what we need or want as soon as possible.


This article is an excerpt from my book Sweetspot Pricing. Sweetspot Pricing has lots of these examples of smart marketing and pricing, so you can steal these ideas and apply them to your own business. You can buy it in about 2 minutes and 35 seconds, right here

Here are some more articles about pricing you may find interesting if you liked this

What is your sweet spot price?

3 problems about pricing

How to feel good about charging more

The Tesco Test


Photo credits to Shopblocks and Josh Peterson on Flickr