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Mastering metrics for Wolt’s accurate on-demand delivery with the Mapbox Matrix API

Key benefits of building with Mapbox

Key benefits of building with Mapbox

  • Highly scalable and reliable API infrastructure for global operations.
  • Flexibility and ease-of-use of the Matrix API allows for extensive quality testing.
  • Static Maps API provides efficient and fast in-app maps for order monitoring.

products used

Matrix API

Static Maps

About Wolt

Wolt is a pioneering technology company known for its delivery platform for food and merchandise. Founded in 2014 in Helsinki, Finland, Wolt has rapidly expanded its operations across Europe and beyond, partnering with a diverse range of local businesses. 

By leveraging cutting-edge technology and easy-to-use mobile and web applications, Wolt enables customers to browse through a multitude of dining options, place orders, and track deliveries in real-time. The company is revolutionizing the on demand delivery landscape, continuously enhancing user experience, and connecting local businesses to more customers.

Challenges of coordination

To create the best delivery experience for users, Wolt needs to seamlessly link three types of clients: merchants, customers, and courier partners. Wolt relies on accurate data to make decisions about where to indicate available tasks for courier partners, how long food is going to be waiting, and how long it will take a courier partner to travel from a restaurant to a drop-off location. 

At the same time, courier partners have varying mobility profiles. In some cities, couriers primarily travel by bike, whereas in other locations the preferred mode is by car, motorcycle, or even walking. Each modality requires different algorithms to calculate routes and travel times.

It’s one thing to calculate all these routes with stable conditions, but consider how to factor in dynamic conditions like weather, traffic, and road closures. Accounting for real-time conditions and travel modalities is critical for providing accurate travel time estimates and helpful delivery instructions, which in turn affect delivery times, the courier experience, client satisfaction, and ultimately Wolt’s bottom line - to the tune of thousands of dollars for every second that an estimated time of arrival (ETA) is inaccurate. 

Magic of the Matrix API

Wolt needed a reliable and scalable real-time traffic solution to improve their ETA calculations across all the countries where they operate. The combination of the Mapbox Matrix API and Mapbox real time traffic data was the solution. 

Mapbox global live traffic data is continually updated every 5 minutes and provides detailed coverage down to tertiary and residential streets, making even the most minute calculations feasible. The Mapbox Matrix API calculates accurate travel distances and travel times between a matrix of origin and destination locations. The Matrix API can be configured to account for live traffic conditions or can be configured to anticipate typical traffic conditions at a future scheduled departure or arrival time.

"A lot of APIs claim to be scalable, but the Mapbox system truly is. We bombard the Matrix API with massive request volumes, 24/7, across the globe. Throughout it all, the Mapbox system works really gracefully."

Joose Rajamaki, Data Scientist, Wolt

To evaluate the accuracy of the Mapbox Matrix API and traffic-aware routing profile, Wolt worked closely with Mapbox to conduct ‘switchback experiments’ across all Wolt markets where cars are the primary mode of modality for couriers. Switchbacks are more advanced tests than simple A/B tests and better account for all the random fluctuations and network effects that can impact the delivery process, between weather and traffic, busy times, or courier transportation methods. The switchback approach essentially means flipping a coin to randomly decide whether to enable the Mapbox Matrix API for a given time period.

"Mapbox afforded us the flexibility to run switchback experiments at the scale and cadence we wanted, allowing us to turn the Matrix API on and off in entire cities multiple times a day, instead of once a day or once a week."

Bharadwaaj Rajan, Product Lead, Wolt

Thanks to extensive testing with the Mapbox Matrix API, Wolt was able to gather delivery data from all kinds of conditions: rain, snow, sun, busy times, slower times, cities with high and low traffic density. With so much data and so many variable conditions, Wolt was able to average out the data and gather the metrics needed for delivery speed and punctuality.

The results of Wolt’s switchback testing demonstrated conclusively that Mapbox ETAs with traffic-aware routing were more accurate compared to Wolt’s previous system.

Map updates keep customers, couriers, and merchants in the loop

With all that impressive routing data available, Wolt also integrates maps into their application to help visualize delivery routes and communicate order status. For web order tracking, Wolt uses the Mapbox Static Images API to generate periodic images of courier location relative to the merchant and the customer. 

Wolt has also brought location visibility into their operations dashboard used by merchants, so businesses can understand and monitor the location and arrival time for the incoming delivery courier and ensure a smooth order pickup.

Businesses use the merchant version of the Wolt app to receive an order, with a timeline for when it will be picked up. Meanwhile, a nearby courier partner uses the Wolt courier app to accept the order and plan for when food can be picked up and how long the delivery will take. And all the while, the customer can watch their Wolt app to display how long the order will take from the initial placement to delivery, and track its progress in real-time.

"The Mapbox Static Images API is a perfect fit to integrate into our applications. The maps are fast, efficient, and easy to update with the latest order status data."

Sami Reinilä, Engineering Manager, Wolt

On Demand Delivery demands location accuracy

Mapbox helps to reduce friction across the Wolt ecosystem with accurate ETAs and improved location intelligence for both merchants, courier partners, and customers. Relying on Mapbox to provide accurate travel times that account for dynamic conditions, at scale, equips Wolt to improve profitability in the competitive delivery market without compromising on quality.

"Using the Mapbox Matrix API with traffic-aware routing improved the probability of an ETA being correct by up to 2% and ultimately resulted in more efficient operations."

Joose Rajamaki, Data Scientist, Wolt

Thanks to the extensive testing collaboration between Mapbox and Wolt, and the use of the Mapbox Matrix API at scale, Wolt is using more accurate data to enhance courier assignment and delivery timetables, delighting customers with a pleasant and predictable delivery experience.

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