Remember the last time you bought that case of wine online? You salivated and anticipated the delivery, but when you got home, you opened your letterbox only to find that dreaded “Sorry We Missed You” calling card.
Your beloved case of wine is now waiting at your local post office, available for pick up between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and, not on your wine rack where it would have been had you bought it from your local bottle shop.
It’s a familiar experience for anyone who has shopped online. This scenario occurs for 1 in 2 deliveries, Australia-wide. This pain was felt by Australian consumers more than 63 million times in 2014.
As online shopping continues to flourish, the number of missed deliveries is set to rise, presenting a major cost to frustrated online shoppers, retailers and couriers.
Innovative entrepreneurship to the rescue!
One Australian start-up is determined to kill the missed delivery card, once and for all.
Shippit is a new delivery service that allows online shoppers to schedule, track and make changes to their deliveries in real-time .
The NSW government sees the Australian transport and logistics sector as a real priority for technology-driven disruption, having awarded the start-up with an Innovate NSW grant last August to help it get off the ground.
“We are really excited about the prospect Shippit has to shake up the industry,” said Sanket Purohit, Business Advisor for NSW Trade and Investment.
According to Shippit co-founder William On, “It’s absurd that traditional delivery services expect busy people to wait by the front door or make a special trip down to a locker to pick up something they have already paid good money for online.”
By offering customers choice and flexibility, the company aims to ensure that goods meet their owner when and where they want.
How exactly does Shippit work?
Following the shared economy trend, similar to Uber and AirBnB, Shippit employs technology to create an asset-free, logistics network. Not owning a single piece of delivery infrastructure, means the business can scale rapidly both domestically and internationally.
With this approach, Shippit aims to build the largest, professional delivery network in Australia. It’s a lofty ambition that puts it in direct competition with the parcel delivery service offered by Australia Post, Toll, Couriers Please and the rest of the other commercial courier companies.
“Both retailers and shoppers complain about the lack of service they receive from existing delivery companies, it’s time they had a choice,” On said.
Launched in February 2015, Shippit is now delivering to shoppers across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane metro areas through a select number of online retailers.
Having just pitched at Innovation Bay earlier this year, the company intends to secure external investment to rapidly roll their service out to more online retailers and to cover more Australian locations by the end of 2015.
Are there other choices?
As an online shopper, which company delivers your parcel is not really your choice. Large retailers negotiate bulk shipping deals with one of the major players like Australia Post or Toll. Smaller businesses tend to use Australia Post and, they too, can negotiate volume deals for their parcels.
But, as the receiver of a parcel, what choice do you have? Well, there are a few options.
If your parcel is being shipped by Australia Post, you can choose where your parcel is sent. That is, it doesn’t just have to be sent to your home address.
Australia Post allows you to designate a post office near your home or work (that has longer opening hours) and have your item sent there for you to collect. You can also have it sent to a 24/7 Parcel Locker. Parcel lockers are mostly in locations that stay open 24/7 such as petrol stations or 711 stores.
With both options, you are notified via email or SMS once your parcel is ready to pick up. You can also change the delivery address, time and date for selected in-transit parcels.
Basically, you register for a free MyPost account, select where you want your parcels to go and you are given an address which you can use when you shop online, instead of your home address. Once registered, you can easily track items being shipped and also redirect and reschedule items before they arrive. Options for returning items to sellers is also possible.
ParcelPoint also gives customers similar options for collection at delegated stores such as news agencies, pharmacies and independent grocers. Easy returns and redelivery options are also offered.
Most of the big courier companies allow for redeliveries and delegations to leave a parcel somewhere on your property. But, it will almost always be to the same address, meaning that your home address is the only option.
Recently, Woolworths stores have become delegated click and collect points for items bought on eBay from some sellers.
So, it seems that customers have a lot of choice for when and how they collect their online shopping purchases.