More and more shopping is happening online, thanks to the low cost and convenience of having products delivered directly to users. But that is happening at the expense of big national retail chains, which are having a difficult time keeping up with online competition. A new startup called Deliv hopes to provide retailers with a new way to please tech-savvy shoppers by offering same-day local delivery for the same price — or less — than having items shipped.
It’s probably no surprise at this point that the growth of e-commerce is causing a major headache for big brick-and-mortar retailers. Companies like Walmart and Target are seeing some of their business disappear as shoppers skip shopping in stores, choosing the convenience of online retail and free shipping from services like Amazon Prime.
To combat this, most have opened up their own online shops and even offer the option to purchase online and pick up in store. Deliv wants to use the infrastructure that those retailers have already built and take things one step further by enabling consumers to have all the same convenience of online shopping, but add same-day delivery into the equation.
Rather than having consumers pick up in store, Deliv would simply have one of its own delivery people make the drop products off for them. But the beauty of Deliv is that, unlike traditional delivery options, the startup uses a crowdsourced model for finding people to deliver packages for it. According to Deliv founder and CEO Daphne Carmeli, that enables it to have a flexible number of people available to make deliveries at any time.
Funny how things work out: The news about Deliv’s funding comes as there are reports that Walmart is looking to offer its own crowdsourced delivery option. I circled back with Carmeli to see if they were working together or if her startup was working with Walmart on these plans, but have yet to hear back. For what it’s worth, Walmart is also looking at testing locker deliveries as it searches for ways to compete with Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping.
And let’s not forget about Google, which just today began testing its Shopping Express delivery option with retailers such as Target, Walgreens, and Staples in the San Francisco Bay Area. Oh yeah, and then there’s stuff like Postmates Get It Now app, which you can use to get whatever you want delivered from pretty much any store in San Francisco and Seattle.
Carmeli says one advantage that Deliv has is its ability to turn up new markets very fast. While Google is in testing mode in one market and Postmates is slowly working to scale city-by-city, Deliv thinks that it can have new markets up and running within weeks. That’s because it mainly relies on the infrastructure already built by retail partners for purchase and pick up in store.
Another advantage is that Deliv gives users flexibility around where they might want to have things delivered. While other on-demand delivery options promise items in less than an hour, not everyone needs that. In fact, Carmeli argues that in most cases, convenience trumps speed. In other words, being able to have a package delivered after work at your home or at a certain hour at work is more important in most cases than getting it right away. Scheduling deliveries, as a result, is a key differentiator.
Already, the company has been testing the model in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is ready to go wide as soon as retail partners decide to turn the Deliv option on. Carmeli told me that the company has put out requests for drivers in 14 markets already, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
For every 5-7 workers needed, Deliv gets about 200 applications. That enables it to pick just the best, putting them through background checks before getting them on board. Once they’re actually making deliveries, a ratings system enables Deliv to give priority to the highest-ranked delivery people.
Now that Deliv is ready to go, the company has raised $1 million in seed funding from investors such as General Catalyst, Redpoint Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Operators Fund, and PivotNorth. That money should help get it off the ground and enable it to keep expanding once retail partners decide to turn up services in various markets.