The word ‘disruption’ is used extensively these days but when it comes to the delivery sector – we feel there is some justification. With the growth in online shopping around the world (Capgemini's eRetail Sales Index estimates that 27% of retail sales in the UK now take place online and a PWC report highlights that 65% of Chinese shoppers shop online via their mobile at least monthly – compared to only 22% in the US), it is unsurprising that a range of alternatives have emerged around the world to fulfil this delivery need. What might have initially seemed like a boon to national postal services is actually potentially sounding its death knell – for example, Amazon is shifting from being the postal service’s greatest friend to potentially their biggest competitor by announcing plans to offer their own delivery services in some markets.
So we have been looking around the world to see exactly what it going on when it comes to deliveries. And reader, we can assure you, “if you buy it, it will come”. (with apologies to Field of Dreams!)
Packing up is hard to do
Perhaps we all fancy ourselves as retail entrepreneurs, but we balk at the considerable hassle of packing and shipping. This is where Shyp saves the day. Unlike weighing and packing, it takes virtually no time. All you need to do is to take a photo of the item that you want shipped and post it onto Shyp’s app. Shyp then has a target of arriving within 20 minutes to collect the item and as their tagline says “we’ll take it from here”. And all this for a mere US$5. Shyp itself makes a little more than that per item because they have negotiated volume discounts from the major carriers such as FedEx allowing them to pocket the difference between the fees it is charged by the carrier and the fee it charges to the consumer. Originating in San Francisco and now also available in Los Angeles and New York, Shyp has global aspirations. Shyp is not necessarily alone in spotting the potential in the market but their differentiator may well be their approach to their internal experience. They decided last year to bring their team members on board as salaried employees – with all the associated benefits – rather than using independent contractors like Uber. They say they want to make their company “a great place to work” because they believe that’s right for their team members and their customers will benefit from this as well. Shyp recently announced a partnership with eBay which will let sellers request Shyp pickups with the $5 waived. Shyp also plans to move further into the B2B market where the volume will significantly help with profitability. So perhaps global domination isn’t a total pipe dream.
Pick me up before you go go
Shyp steps in to support sellers. There are even more start-ups around the world designed to help buyers. Bikoo in Brazil, PiggyBaggy in Finland and Nimber in Norway are all offering “crowd-sourced delivery”. And the now mighty Uber is muscling in on the act in certain markets with UberRush. The premise for all of these is pretty similar – same-day deliveries by everyday people. The Bikoo app allows up to 3 bidders to bid for the safe delivery of the item with an eBay style rating system. Nimber – a Norwegian start up that recently launched in the UK, matches delivery jobs with people who happen to be going that way. Nimber and its Finnish counterpart PiggyBaggy both have sustainability at the heart of their offer because they believe they are simply using space capacity for people who are already making those journeys. PiggyBaggy offers an additional benefit in that drop-off and delivery happens at “smart containers” which are dotted around Helsinki which means no more waiting around at home. And finally claims that it is offering independent boutiques the means to compete with behemoths such as Amazon by offering a quick, cost-effective and reliable delivery network. With the possibility of same day delivery, even the most impatient of shoppers can have their desires fulfilled.
I don’t wanna wait in vain for my stuff
No one likes waiting around for a delivery or worse, getting home to be greeted by that dreaded missed delivery card. These two start-ups are hoping this feeling will be a thing of the past. eNeighbr, a New York-based platform connects shoppers with trusted neighbours or local businesses who can receive packages on their behalf. ‘Hosts’ can earn US$3.50 for each transaction. Whilst this seems like a win-win all round, some commentators wonder if it is a sad state of our times that we need to monetize what might previously merely have been good neighbourly behaviours. One reason behind our frustrations with deliveries is that they always seem to happen when we are at work. Doorman has spotted this unmet need and allows customers to schedule deliveries in one-hour slots up until midnight – seven days a week. It works very simply – consumers just give their retailers their “Doorman address” which is actually a warehouse run by Doorman. The consumer can then specify on the Doorman app exactly when they want the item to be delivered and Doorman will arrange delivery from their warehouse to an address of your choice – with particular focus from 6pm to midnight. Doorman is also working with various ecommerce organisations to offer them the choice of evening deliveries – so consumers literally have a one-stop shop!
Take me home, rocky road
If you think it’s great to not have to plan your life around delivery times, you will love this next idea. This is hands down one of the best delivery ideas we have seen. This pilot programme called Infridge – from Sweden – combines three organisations: Sweden’s largest grocery chain ICA, the Nordic’s largest logistics and communications company PostNord and a smart home start-up called Glue. And it’s the involvement of the latter that makes this idea so enticing. Glue provides a ‘smartlock’ to the customer’s home. The PostNord delivery driver receives a one-time digital key via the Glue smartphone app to unlock the property. This key is only valid for a specified window of time so it cannot be re-used. The delivery person can bring all the shopping in and put anything that needs to be chilled or frozen away (no more half-melted ice-cream!). Once they’re done they set the lock and the homeowner is notified on the app. We like!
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