What does disruption mean? Innovate of course, change the rules of a game, in any industry, modify the processes of how they (and the people employed in a defined field) work, with the final aim to bring a benefit, a real advantage to end users: in a few words, simplify their life.
Under this point of view, we can consider the attitude of startups of eliminating inefficiencies and creating beautiful experiences and interfaces as a real macro trend. In this framework, a fast-growing arena is same-day delivery services, which try to increase productivity of merchants by accelerating the speed of delivery of an item bought online by a customer. While giants such as Amazon (PrimePantry) and Google (Google Shopping Express) recently launched their services, the battle among startups is intensifying and some of the young fighters have already raised huge sums from venture capitalists.
Instacart, for example, is a same-day grocery delivery startup offering delivery in one hour. Focused on delivering groceries and home essentials, the San Francisco, CA-based startup already has over 300,000 items from local stores in its catalogue. Customers can choose from a variety of local stores including Safeway, Whole Foods, Super Fresh, Harris Teeter, Shaw’s, Mariano’s, Jewel-Osco, Stanley’s and Costco. The company has raised over $55m in funding (with a just announced $44m Series B round). Chicago, IL-based WeDeliver provides an online platform which gives local merchants the opportunity to compete with large online retailers by connecting with people in their communities called “Delivery Specialists” who can help them deliver products in the same day to their customers. Palo Alto, California-based Deliv leverages a crowdsourced delivery workforce and a technology platform to provide same-day delivery at affordable prices. The company aims to extends the reach of omnichannel retailers and helps them enhance their customer experience by allowing customers the choose where and when to receive their items. Nearly 100 national and regional retailers currently add the Deliv option into their existing checkout process to offer their customers a same-day delivery option as they shop from their website, mobile app or from their physical brick and mortar store. NYC-based Zipments provides consumers, retailers and other businesses with a platform for same-day local delivery service through a network of couriers. Local requests – made via a mobile app, API, or on the company’s website – are dispatched to a network of couriers based on the type of transportation required (bike, car, truck) and time in which the delivery needs to be performed. Once a courier has accepted the request, the delivery status can be monitored with real time updates including pickup time, recipient signature and final delivery time. San Francisco, CA-based Postmates has created logistics software that dispatches and guides couriers through major metropolitan areas to deliver local goods including prepared food, groceries and retail goods. The company, which has partnered with merchants in San Francisco, D.C., Seattle and New York, including Whole Foods, Momofuku Milk Bar, Hapa Ramen and The Meatball Shop, among others, has already raised approximately $23m. Finally, after raising more than $5m in funding, London, UK-based Shutl was acquired by eBay in the end of 2013.
Bridge the last mile gap between retailers and their customers: this is the target of same-day delivery service startups, one of the next big thing as defined by KPCB’s Mary Meeker in her Internet Trends Report 2014. Re-imaging day-to day activities and creating better user interfaces are the final aims, a crowd of delivery specialists and technology the instruments to make them real.