Shutl, the home delivery startup that offers speedier options for Internet shoppers, is to trial its service with Argos, the shopping catalogue company that now claims to be Britain’s number one online high street retailer. And should the trial resonate with customers – the retailer did £4.3 billion of sales last year – it’s potentially a big win for the UK company.
The Shutl service will offer Argos’ online shoppers in Central London the option to receive their orders within as little as 90 minutes, says the company, using its ‘Shutl Now’ service, or pick a one-hour delivery window from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week. As well as location, however, the trial is also being limited to Argos’ 14,000 items that are currently available for ‘reserve and collect’ at the retailer’s brick ‘n’ mortar stores.
Once a customer selects Shutl as their delivery option, including agreeing to the delivery quote, they can track their order in ‘real-time’ via a GPS-powered online map, which is pretty neat.
The technology behind Shutl is also quite clever as it’s able to work with hyper-local courier companies and bigger players in order to match the fastest and most flexible delivery times with customer needs. Independent courier companies are able to upload pricing to Shutl’s service to automatically bid on deliveries from retail partners. Additionally, its proprietary algorithm considers past performance and consumer feedback to select the appropriate carrier for each delivery.
The cost of a Shutl delivery for Argos customers begins from £4.95, which the startup says is favorable compared to its competitors, citing Amazon’s Evening Delivery service in London and Birmingham, priced at £14.99 and only offering a three-hour window providing orders are received before 12.30pm.
Shutl is founded by Tom Allason, who is a founder and former CEO of eCourier.co.uk. It announced £0.5m in Angel investment in October 09 from Simon Murdoch and Big Bang Ventures in Belgium, along with the likes of Bebo co-founder Paul Birch, Robert Dighero (formerly of QXL) and Mark Zaleski (former DailyMotion CEO). The company has been operating since March in a closed beta with a handful of retailers.