Consumers have come to expect expedited shipping options when they order from major retailers like Amazon and Walmart, and now a handful of local delivery start-ups are giving smaller businesses a way to compete. In a recent Street Fight poll, 64% of respondents said they might be willing to pay a few dollars extra to receive retail goods faster, and 40% of those in the 18-to-34 demographic said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to pay extra for same-day retail delivery.
Brick-and-mortar retailers that offer same-day delivery options give customers the best of both worlds, letting them support local businesses, without having to get off the couch to do so. In many cases, customers can get products delivered faster when they do business with local merchants online, compared with purchasing from larger e-commerce businesses whose warehouses are spread across the country.
Here are five start-ups that local businesses can use for expedited delivery.
1) Postmates: Deliver goods to consumers without hiring couriers.
Merchants in San Francisco can use Postmates to get products from their shelves to their customers’ front doors in less than an hour. Consumers can download Postmates’ Get It Now mobile app to use the service. After doing so, they can browse in-stock items at participating retailers and make purchases on their smartphones. Merchants don’t need to partner with Postmates to use the platform. Instead, they can add information about the service to their websites as a way to encourage customers to place orders online for immediate delivery. Pricing is based on an algorithm that takes time, distance, and location into account, with most delivery fees starting at $6.99.
2) Delivery.com: Use an online delivery platform to reach a larger audience.
Delivery.com is a platform that merchants can use to promote their businesses, reach consumers, and offer same-day delivery. Unlike other delivery start-ups, Delivery.com doesn’t employ any couriers. Instead, the company offers a platform that restaurants and businesses in more than 40 markets can use to accept orders from customers online. When a customer places an order through the Delivery.com platform, the company sends the information to the merchant (by fax or online means) for fulfillment. Delivery.com only charges businesses for the orders received through its platform, with fees ranging from 7% to 12% of the transaction price.
3) Shutl: A branded delivery option for merchants.
Shutl is a platform that online merchants can use to have their goods delivered in as little as 90 minutes or within the one-hour window of their choosing. The platform integrates into a retailer’s e-commerce and POS software and matches merchants with same-day courier companies based on real-time location information and historical data. The company claims its platform helps merchants increase conversion rates, order values, and customer-satisfaction stats. The U.K.-based start-up is planning to launch in the United States early this year. Shutl says the cost of using its same-day service is “comparable to the cost of standard multi-day delivery.”
4) TaskRabbit: Hire assistants to manage daily deliveries.
Small merchants who don’t have enough daily deliveries to warrant the services of a full-time courier can use TaskRabbit’s business platform to gain access to background-checked workers on an hourly basis. Retailers in seven states — California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington — can hire “runners” to make specific deliveries based on their current locations or previous work reviews, leaving all payment issues and tax paperwork to TaskRabbit to handle. TaskRabbit charges a service fee of 12% to 20% of each accepted bid.
5) eBay Now: Let customers pay for delivered goods with PayPal.
To provide same-day delivery service, a service of eBay has partnered with retailers in San Francisco and New York City. Customers can use eBay Now’s mobile app to browse through items available at hundreds of local retailers and click the “Bring It” button when they’re ready to buy. Then eBay Now’s “valets” will deliver the selected products immediately, and the customer can pay via PayPal or credit card when the order arrives. To get real-time stock inventory at its retail partners, eBay Now relies on Milo. While eBay takes a cut of all sales, the company doesn’t disclose its specific pricing structure.
Know of other platforms that retailers can use to offer same-day delivery to local customers? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.