Kleiner Perkins


After Effects


UX Design, UX Research,
UI Design, Visual Design, Product Thinking, Market Analysis, Business Research

DashCash: building a new loyalty program for Doordash vendors to retain customers and incentivize on-platform relationships.

For the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship Design Challenge, I decided to build a new feature for Doordash. As a current DashPash subscriber and someone who is always looking for ways to supplement an embarrassingly lack of cooking abilities, I went searching for opportunities to improve DoorDash’s customer retention and user engagement. “Dash Cash” is a loyalty program by DoorDash that rewards customers for ordering food through their platform. It allows customers to earn cash back on their orders, which can be used towards future orders. This aims to increase order frequency and customer retention by incentivizing customers to continue using DoorDash.


The food delivery industry is a fierce battleground, with companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, and others all vying for a slice of the pie. These companies have revolutionized the way we order and receive food, making it easy and convenient to have our favorite meals delivered right to our doorstep. But with so many players in the game, it can be tough for any one company to stand out and become profitable. Each of the major players in the space has continuously failed to find profitability given a need to keep costs low to remain competitive.


While DoorDash is one of the major players in the food delivery industry, the company is facing a number of challenges as it looks to maintain its market share and stay ahead of the competition. One of these key problems that DoorDash is facing is retaining and acquiring new customers amidst a busy competitive landscape. With so many similar services available, it can be difficult for any one company to differentiate itself and capture a significant share of the market.


To overcome this, DoorDash must focus on innovating and coming up with new ways to retain and acquire users. DoorDash must stay nimble and constantly innovate with new features that wow and retain customers in order to stay ahead in the highly competitive food delivery industry. It’s a challenging task, but with the right strategies in place, DoorDash can continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.

How Might We increase customer retention and create a unique value proposition to set Doordash apart from its competitors?


I conducted 3 interviews with different consumer groups to better understand their food delivery preferences and explore how Doordash could build a platform that better supports the needs of various stakeholders in the system.

1. The Convenience King– a 45 year old DashPass subscriber who has used the platform for over a year

2. The Savvy Searcher – a 20 year old who has multiple platforms downloaded and toggles between them

3. The Loyal Foodie – a 26 year old who uses Uber Eats exclusively but mostly out of convenience and the brand association, generally doesn’t use online ordering very much

I use Doordash exclusively now because I pay for Dashpass. Why would I ever order from another vendor and pay delivery fees when I already pay for Dashpass?
- Convenience King

The Convenience King

“I’ve been using Doordash for a year or so. It’s the simplest platform and always has had what I need. I compared all of my options and wouldn’t leave Doordash for a competitor unless I have a serious reason to do so. I pay for DashPass, they have all my favorites saved, and I’ve never had any real problems with them.”


  • To have easy, convenient, and affordable food whenever and wherever
  • Wants to process to be streamlined, simple, and accessible to support a busy lifestyle
  •  To have a personalized platform that knows his favorites and makes the path to checkout as short as possible


  • Convenient means of getting food delivery
  • Pre-saved preferences and personalization for fastest checkout time
  • Strong customer support and mitigation for any reasons to leave the platform

Pain Points

  • Worried about missing out on deals or discounts through other platforms
  • Concerned about waiting times and getting food when needed

The Savvy Searcher

“I have all the big platforms downloaded. They all offer different promotions and deals, oftentimes for your first order at a certain place. If I want a meal delivered, I’ll toggle between each of them and find the best deal or shortest wait time.”


  • To find the best deals and promotions on food delivery platforms
  • To have the shortest wait time for food delivery


  • Access to multiple food delivery platforms
  • To have up-to-date information on promotions and deals offered by each platform

Pain Points

  • To be able to toggle between different food delivery platforms to compare deals and wait times
  • To be able to easily access and compare deals and wait times on different food delivery platforms
  • To be able to find the best deal for their first order at a certain place.

The Loyal Foodie

“I prefer dining at local restaurants directly to support the community and the personal touch it brings. Although, I also occasionally use delivery platforms like UberEats for convenience, but nothing beats the direct support of local businesses. I use UberEats because it was the first I downloaded – they are all pretty interchangeable for me.”


  • To support local businesses and the community
  • To have a personal touch and experience when dining out
  • To build relationships with local restaurants


  • A way to find and access local restaurants
  • The ability to dine out and enjoy a meal in a physical location

Pain Points

  • Convenience of using delivery platforms like UberEats
  • A sense of satisfaction knowing they are directly supporting local businesses with their purchases
  • To feel good about their choices of where they are spending their money
  • To have easy access to information about the local businesses they are supporting

Sentiment Analysis

Consumers Love Rewards

Consumers love rewards because they offer a tangible benefit for their loyalty and purchases and build connection to their vendors. Rewards also help to build brand loyalty, as consumers may choose to continue to shop with a company that offers rewards over one that does not. This also leads to a sense of exclusivity, making consumers feel special or valued, just like every time I get points for my Chipotle chicken burrito with double guac.

Relationships Lead To Repeat Orders

Having strong relationships with vendors can lead to repeat orders by providing a level of trust and reliability between the vendor and the customer. When a customer is confident in the quality and consistency of a vendor's products or services, they are more likely to return for repeat orders. Nothing beats the relationship with the mom and pop shop with the bomb spring rolls.

Costco Is The Gold Standard

Overall social media sentiment for Costco is extremely positive, associated with their business model of adopting low margins but using a membership program to increase order frequency while also making consumers build a relationship with the company. Building this model is effective in low-margin businesses such as food delivery.

Key Insights

1. Creating a “Moat” is a Necessity

In the food delivery market, consumers are price elastic, and have little loyalty to one platform over another if another platform has more desirable dining options, lower fees, or faster delivery times, even having multiple downloaded on their phone at once. Building a moat, or creating a unique feature set that makes it prohibitively difficult or unappealing to leave the platform is crucial for customer retention.

2. Increasing Order Frequency is Key

Margins are very low in food delivery businesses. Increasing margins is difficult due to a competitive landscape that necessitates competitive fees, on both the consumer and vendor sides of the marketplace. Because of this, the best path to profitability for Doordash is through increasing GMV, or gross merchandise value, by increasing order frequency. With higher order frequency, users are more likely to pay for premium features such as DashPass (which in turn also increase order frequency) and extend their customer lifetime value.

3. Build In-Platform Vendor Relationships

Interviews have shown that consumers oftentimes order from the same vendor just as they would in in-person dining scenarios. They also are far more likely to use a platform if they have ordered from their favorite restaurant there previously. Loyalty programs are a huge part of this. A loyalty program can also help increase upselling and cross-selling opportunities by providing customers with rewards and perks that they value, and also by providing platforms and vendors with valuable customer data that can be used to target and personalize marketing campaigns.

Building The Flywheel

With the ultimate goal of increasing user acquisition and building feature sets that lead to higher order frequency, I mapped the consumer growth flywheel to show how a loyalty program helps to create a flywheel of growth. As users are brought onto the platform, more merchants join as well, in turn leading to higher post-purchase, better consumer relationships, and higher retention. This in turn leads to a greater number and more loyal consumers, fulfilling this flywheel.

Introducing DashCash

Introducing “Dash Cash”, a loyalty feature that rewards customers with discounts and free items at participating merchants, would be a total game-changer for DoorDash. It would create a virtuous circle of customer loyalty, where customers are incentivized to order more frequently through the DoorDash platform, and in turn, DoorDash would see an increase in revenue and customer retention.

Not only this would be beneficial for DoorDash’s growth and consumer retention, as it would increase revenue streams and customer lifetime value, but also it would increase customer retention rates, as customers would be more likely to stay with DoorDash if they are earning rewards through their purchases.

Furthermore, Dash Cash would also be beneficial for the merchants, as it would encourage customers to try new menu items and increase their frequency of orders. This in turn would increase sales and profit margins for merchants.

Key Design Goals


A sense of exclusivity can be created by offering special rewards or perks to loyalty program members that are not available to non-members. A tiered program rewards customers based on the frequency and amount of their orders, allowing them to progress to higher levels with more benefits.


Personalization can be achieved by using data analysis to track customer behavior and preferences, such as their favorite restaurants, delivery times, and order history. Build progress tracking to let customers track their progress in the program, such as rewards earned, and rewards yet to be earned.


Convenience is a necessity in the food delivery space by making the program simple and straightforward, with clear rules and rewards. The program should also be easy to access, such as through the DoorDash app, and rewards should be easy to redeem, while also displaying synergies with DashPass.

Navigation Interface

Accessible and Simple

With glanceable navigation and inclusion both on the homepage and within each vendor, the feature set is clear to users and easy to access.

Simplify the Process

Easy-to-understand and intuitive onboarding and explanations lowers the barrier of entry to users and incentivizes feature trial.

Strengthen Vendor - Consumer Relationships

In order to maximize vendor - consumer relationships, individual rewards for each vendor, rather than an overall Doordash rewards system, fulfills the customer loyalty flywheel and encourages individual vendor relationships on-platform.

Individual Storefronts

Choose Your Rewards

Enable vendors build customizable reward options where consumers can choose how they redeem their points. This makes them more interested in the feature set and encourages repeat purchase.

Shareable and Redeemable

Including the opportunity for "sending" or "sharing" rewards incentivizes sharability and onboarding and acquiring new users to the platform.

Organized and Visual

Clear progress indicators, sortable navigation, and redeemable options for each vendor make the process straightforward and incentivize users to make more purchases.


Live-Time Calculate Your Cash

With live-time reward calculations, build DashCash into a routine and natural part of the checkout process and highlight the new feature.

See Your Progress

Encourage post-purchase rewards recognition with a pop-up visualization displaying progress and displaying potential reward options.

Highlight DashPass To Build Synergy

Providing double DashCash for DashPass users incentivizes users to access DoorDash's premium features and contributes to the DashCash Flywheel.

Wrapping Up

1. Measures of Success

To see if this solution actually drove orders and was utilized by consumers, the following measures would demonstrate success:

  • Increased order volume
  • Customer retention periods
  • Feature utilization
  • Engagement rate
  • Referral rate

2. Future Iterations

Of course, future iterations would be highly dependent on feedback from initial users. However, some things to work on following this project would include:

  • The vendor experience and customization
  • Letting consumers build their own reward system and interface
  • Integrating with out-of-platform systems
  • Maintaining relevancy for non-delivery orders

3. Reflection

This was an extremely valuable experience researching, ideating, and prototyping a new feature set for a company. Although there is a lot of room for this project to grow and different ways to tackle a lack of platform loyalty, I think this serves as a solid starting point and a great demonstration of my working process condensed in a short time frame. Thanks to KP for such a fun design challenge!