From Melbourne Alcohol Delivery Start-Up Emerges a Bigger Apple Company. GetSwift is kicking goals!

Swift chief executive and co-founder Joel MacDonald in Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Swift chief executive and co-founder Joel MacDonald in Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty

From SMH and The Age

Just two years ago Joel MacDonald was in Melbourne playing in the AFL.

Now he's living in New York playing a very different game, as chief executive and co-founder of a thriving logistics software start-up called Swift.

Logistics is a lot less sexy than footy, or the alcohol delivery start-up Liquorun, which MacDonald previously founded with two other Melbourne Football Club Players, James Strauss and Rohan Bail.

But as Liquorun grew, it became clear to MacDonald and his team where the greater prize lay.

"We started out delivering beer on scooters in inner Melbourne and it got to a stage where we were getting more orders, and I and our co-founders couldn't handle the dispatching anymore so we built Swift," MacDonald told Fairfax Media, visiting Sydney this week.

"When we introduced Swift to Liquorun some really incredible things started happening: customers just stopped complaining. Or at least, stopped calling up and saying, 'Hey, where's my order?

The Swift mobile app and demand analytics page in action. Photo: Swif

The Swift mobile app and demand analytics page in action. Photo: Swif


"We basically slashed about five jobs in our call centre."

The software, whose pitch is "Dispatch like Uber, track like Dominos, set routes like UPS", was refined over two years of hands-on testing with Liquorun. But when an offer from a US company to trial Swift's software in a three-month pilot arose, the team made a crucial decision to move to the US and put Liquorun on the backburner.

Fairfax Media can confirm for the first time the partner company is Instacart, as speculated in previous media reports. Swift has signed a "multimillion-dollar deal" with the online grocery delivery company, MacDonald said, though he could not disclose exact figures.

In a few short months Swift has clocked up paid and free trial sign-ups in "around 70 different regions around the world".

"[We've got] people doing dry cleaning on-demand in Dubai; marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles; flower delivery companies in South Africa; and we're dealing with a whole heap of transport companies in India, so every day is pretty exciting," MacDonald said.

"Today we had our first translator on a call with a Portuguese company – that's when it kind of sank in we're distributing to the world."

Alcohol delivery companies including ones in the US that MacDonald read up on before launching Liquorun – are now looking at Swift.

"I got a demo request this morning from probably the biggest alcohol delivery company in the US right now," MacDonald said. "It gave me a few heart palpitations."

In August, Bluechilli and Black Chip Capital, which also backed Liquorun, led an angel round of $US675,000 ($940,000) in funding for Swift. MacDonald said Swift was now about to go back to the market.

The company still has its feet firmly in Australia, too. MacDonald said Swift was currently running "five or six" pilots with Australian companies, which were going "extremely well", and that Swift was "very close" to closing in "some large national clients in Australia that are in the food delivery space". (He was unable to give more detail other than to say they weren't Dominos, Coles nor Woollies.)

Meanwhile, Liquorun's website states the service is "currently closed while we make improvements" but the truth is MacDonald is in negotiation with "about five different parties" to buy it, with an announcement likely by year's end.

MacDonald isn't the first Australian start-up entrepreneur Fairfax Media has interviewed to have pursued a logistics company off the back of another start-up. We recently profiled Sendle's James Chin Moody, who built his Uber-style parcel delivery company to service a previous project, TuShare. (Incidentally, both went to Brisbane Grammar –must be something in the water.)

IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick said although logistics had "all the charm and appeal of high-level chartered accountancy", it was "absolutely essential" and the modern world would fall apart without it. Companies could either invest "substantial" amounts in R&D to streamline their logistics, or, they could increase efficiency straight away by implementing easy-to-use software that has already done the work.

"It should pay for itself," Mr Cranswick said.

However he warned that the barriers to entering the logistics software market were "very, very low" and expected there would be some consolidation in the sector.

MacDonald hopes Swift can mark out its point of difference with a fun user interface, borrowing from the book of US darling Slack, which has become the internal communications platform of choice for countless organisations the world over.

"There's a tonne of them [logistics companies like Swift], just like there were a tonne of online internal office chat clients; and then Slack came along and basically just kicked everyone's arse with a really fun user experience," MacDonald said.

Attracting and keeping customers with good user experience was about "the little things", he said: "After you click a button how does the loading icon look? When you're transitioning between pages you've got an opportunity to make someone smile rather than just looking at a dead computer screen all day."


Smart Routing Software (more than just fuel savings…)

One of the hardest situations for a start up business is figuring out how to expand while keeping expenses down. Small businesses have a great deal on their table from managing the growth of employees to saving on operational expenses. At some point owners need to step back and look at what has to be done and whether they are able to solve difficult organizational situations or hire someone that knows what they are doing.

A start up courier company in Melbourne, Easy Deliveries, needed to figure out a better way to make deliveries based on logistics. With well over 200 delivery points, 30 plus drivers along with a few dispatchers there had to be a better way to get everything organized and delivered in a timely manner. Scheduling and planning each route manually proved not only exhausting, but way too time consuming with no clear solutions.

The start up company understood there were just not enough hours in the day to manually plan Weighing all resources and the money needed to get goods delivered in a timely fashion, manual planning was just not a good solution.

Easy Deliveries approached the team at Swift for help and they were more than pleased to work with the company. Swift said they would put together a very workable, efficient routing solution to get products moved, save the company money and cut back on fueling charges.

Easy Deliveries was facing the same problems that many businesses face, not having access to routing solutions. Unless you are a company like UPS or FedEx, you just don’t have the ability to do this on your own. You need to rely on people who know how to move products or valuable information passing between businesses to businesses.

Route Optimization Solutions:

Swift offered a clear and concise solution in Route Optimization and the results were astonishing! Easy Deliveries’ office team had spent well over 5 hrs manually setting up their drivers’ routes. Trying to calculate the number of cars and drivers, they realized their drivers would been on the road for 17 hrs a day! These hours were just not acceptable for their drivers or the company.

Swift came back with optimized routes within a matter of minutes and bringing the number of cars needed way down and saving travel time down to 8 hrs. which is an amazing 47.06% savings in distance, fuel and time!

Swift has offered the most amazing solution for developing efficient routes that do not involve any form of manual calculations. Easy Deliveries could have spent hours and days trying to move their cars to all points and still not have come up with something even close to what Swift developed. On top of that, it only took Swift a few minutes to make this happen.

Easy Deliveries is getting their goods to warehouses, stores and everywhere else on time and saving a great deal of money on fuel and manpower. With any start up company, lower costs can lead to bigger growth. As the business grows, so will their fleet, employees and their routes will increase as well. Easy Deliveries knows for new strategies and the best routes for expansion, they can rely on Swift for all their solutions.

GetSwift promises to cut on-demand delivery drivers’ times by 38%

We speak to hundreds of on-demand startups every week and they are all after the same tools. Ship something from A to B as fast as possible to maximise delivery driver wages and delivery routes. They are promise to deliver goods across suburbs within the hour or during a specific delivery window and this means they all need robust logistical routing software in place. Swift its a dispatching and route planning service that has been simplifying and improving the last mile for businesses in Australia, United States, Canada, UK, Asia and even parts of the Middle East and Africa.

The company says its dispatching routing tool eliminates hours of planning and driving, by finding the optimal route between multiple points for mobile workforces and delivery fleets.

"We enable the similar software to what Uber use to dispatch, manage and route people and parcels within the same city", CEO Joel Macdonald said. "It now doesn't make any sense to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in apps and dispatching systems when you can now use Swift for cents per transaction and no upfront cost"

With algorithms built for delivery windows, vehicle types, carrying load capacity, driver performance, traffic, weather and various other delivery parameters, Swift's software aims to help companies save fuel, time, money and missed delivery counts globally. The companies vision is to one day replace the two way radios, scanners and outdated mapping solutions that most of the larger logistics companies are still running on. "Companies like Uber & Lyft have now raised the bar and consumers globally now expect nothing short of an improved, faster and transparent transport or delivery experience. Companies who don't adapt to these expectations will fall behind. Look at Domino's latest earnings report. They are attributing their new revenue growth to their new pizza tracking tech. Huge efficiencies are being gained and revenue is growing!" 

Swift launched 2 years ago to solve routing and dispatching pain from Macdonald's other company, The tech became so popular that they put Liquorun on pause and began to distribute Swift globally. The Swift service includes dispatching and routing options, live map visibility, scheduling, analytics, reporting, fleet management and driver apps and works in a range of industries such as, food, delivery, beauty, ecommerce, cannabis, long haul trucking, distributions, courier, cleaning, and roadside assist

Macdonald says Swift can cut down on dispatching, planning and drive time by up to 38 percent. Swift is now operating in 15 countries globally and every sign up an enjoy a free trial with no credit card required or contract commitment needed.

- James

How Fleet Management Software Can Improve Fuel Efficiency

(from our friends at

Volatile gas prices, bad drivers, employee error and fraud: These are the bane of any organization that relies on fleets of vehicles (plus the fuel to power them), to conduct business. To better understand the challenges fleet managers and transportation accountants face when it comes to optimizing fuel efficiency in their fleets, we conducted a survey of transportation industry professionals.

In this report, you’ll learn how the issues mentioned above affect your peers—and how fleet management software can help improve fuel efficiency and streamline operations.

Key Findings:

  1. More than half of respondents (53 percent, combined) say that fuel costs exceed projections “somewhat” or “very frequently.”
  2. A majority (54 percent, combined) say they are either “somewhat” or “very concerned” about fuel theft occurring in their fleet.
  3. Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents say that improved data collection and analytics is a top benefit of fleet management software.
  4. Another 27 percent say that improved budgeting is a major advantage of using a fleet management solution.
  5. Seventeen percent of respondents say enhanced employee monitoring capabilities is a worthwhile benefit of fleet management software.



Volatile fuel prices are a fact of life in the business world. Consider the chart below: Over the past 20 years, gas prices have fluctuated wildly, between approximately $1 and $4 a gallon.

Historical Average Gas Price per Gallon in United States, 1995-2015

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


Just as spikes in gas prices can hit average Americans hard in their pocketbooks, they can be disastrous for companies in the transportation industry (or that otherwise rely heavily on transportation to move their goods from coast to coast).

Compounding the problem for many businesses is the issue of employee fraud and error when it comes to reporting fuel costs. Some truck drivers have gone to elaborate lengths to steal fuel (and presumably short-change the company they’re driving for).

Meanwhile, in the back office, fleet managers, accountants and dispatchers may simply make errors when calculating costs as a result of how they track fuel expenses.

As such, firms relying heavily on transportation are looking for every way to mitigate loss. We conducted a survey of accountants, owners, dispatchers, delivery coordinators and fleet managers in transportation, logistics and distribution about the challenges they face and the benefits they see from using fleet management software. Here’s what we found.

Accurately Projecting Fuel Costs Is a Top Pain Point

Among survey respondents, more than half (53 percent) indicate that fuel costs exceed projections “somewhat” or “very frequently.” Actual fuel costs can exceed projections for a variety of reasons: Obviously, gas prices can fluctuate wildly. Beyond that, however, a firm’s fuel costs can exceed projections due to:

  • Accounting errors
  • Inefficient route planning
  • Road work, traffic
  • Poor driver behavior (such as hard braking or excessive idling)
  • Theft or fraud

Frequency of Fuel Costs Exceeding Projections


Often, a firm might purchase a “fixed forward” contract with a fuel supplier, which allows it to buy gas at a fixed rate for a set period of time. Such contracts can be a gamble: While they guarantee a consistent price, which helps with budgeting, firms can lose out when gas prices experience significant and unexpected drops.

For some fleet managers, negotiating and managing such contracts is a difficult process, as there are many influencing factors to consider—including current and projected fuel prices, projected shipment volume, projected fuel consumption and so on.

“The company is supposed to work with a fuel supplier for discounts, and that is not always easy to deal with, which makes a big impact on the overall costs of fuel,” says one of our survey respondents, a fleet manager at a transportation company. “It takes some time to get the cost totaled.”

Fleet managers that lack a proper fleet management system often have to manually enter in a large volume of data—receipts, mileages, transactions and so on—in order to come up with projected costs. Using fleet management software, however, much of those tasks are automated. Not only does this reduce errors, it also allows fleet managers to view all relevant data in one place.

Many fleet management systems are able to integrate with fuel payment services, making it easier for fleet managers to track expenses and ensure that nothing is amiss.

“[Our system] takes a transaction file from the fuel card provider and uploads each transaction into our fuel log portion of the software,” says Robert Edilson, marketing director at Collective Data, a fleet management software vendor.

“It tracks cost of fillup, units, fuel type and meter readings. The meter readings coming through the fuel log will drive the preventative maintenance section of the software as well as factor into the replacement cost calculations in the software.”

Fuel Theft a Concern for Over Half of Respondents

Fuel theft can occur in many ways. Sometimes, it might be as simple as a driver inflating how much he spent on fuel to his fleet manager and providing no receipt. But schemes can get more complex than that. For example, a driver could use his company’s fuel card to purchase fuel at a discount for another driver who pays him back at a cut rate, coming up with a false explanation for the additional fuel charge to his company.

Level of Concern Over Fuel Theft

Even with procedures and policies in place to prevent theft, it can be a challenge to enforce them.

“It is difficult for us to impose the rules that we have about documenting fuel costs,” says another survey respondent, an accountant at a contracting firm that operates a fleet of heavy construction vehicles.

“The drivers may not be totally compliant to our requests. They may not always save the receipts or the associated documentation. It is sometimes hard to track the cost accurately.”

Fleet management software assists with preventing fuel theft because it is able to provide incredibly accurate estimates for how much fuel should be consumed in a given situation, taking into account:

  • The make and model of the truck
  • The distance of the trip
  • The route taken
  • The load of the truck
  • The driver’s behavior

The user can then compare the actual fuel cost against the estimate based on this data. Some systems can even alert the user automatically if there are repeated discrepancies or suspicious patterns.

In addition to preventing theft, fleet management software is able to monitor and identify other bad behavior on the part of the driver. Typically used in conjunction with a hardware device placed in the truck, the software can relay GPS location, frequency of hard braking, driving speed and so on to the back office. This gives users critical data that allows them to objectively evaluate their drivers, and tell them how they can improve their fuel efficiency while driving.

Benefits of Fleet Management Software

Finally, we asked our survey respondents an open-ended question about the benefits they have seen from using fleet management software, and coded the responses into different benefit categories. (Of our original sample, two-thirds of respondents are using a formal fleet management system.)

Top Benefits of Fleet Management Software


Improvements in budgeting, data collection and fuel-cost estimating are the most significant benefits users experience from using fleet management software. Without a proper fleet management system, a user will typically rely on a hodgepodge of spreadsheets, basic accounting software and, often, a lot of guesswork to put together a budget.

Here’s an example: Say you are managing a fleet of 10 semi-trucks that will collectively drive 100,000 miles in one month. The trucks’ fuel efficiency is highly dependent on how heavy its load is, the driver’s behavior, the conditions it’s driving in and how frequently it must contend with traffic. Thus, fuel efficiency could fluctuate from anywhere between four miles per gallon and eight miles per gallon. The gas prices during this time period will also fluctuate—let’s say between $2 and $3 per gallon.

The total fuel cost in our hypothetical month could thus be anywhere between $25,000 and $75,000: a huge variation. What fleet management software is able to do is take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. By optimizing routes and relying on algorithms that can predict fuel efficiency based on load size, traffic patterns and driver behavior—in addition to feeding in the most accurate predictions for future gas prices—this software can significantly narrow the estimated fuel cost range.


For now, fully electric semi-trucks and autonomous semi-trucks appear to be a ways off from widespread adoption. Until then, fleets must rely on fossil-fueled trucks driven by imperfect meatbags. While nailing fuel costs down to the dollar will always prove to be a difficult task, a proper fleet management system can go a long way in taking out the guesswork and providing increased visibility into a fleet’s operations.


To collect the data in this report, we conducted a two-week survey of 11 questions, and gathered 142 unique responses from random employees who work in the transportation industry in the role of fleet manager, owner, executive, dispatcher or accountant. Software Advice performed and funded this research independently.

Results are representative of our survey sample, not necessarily the population as a whole. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.


Further Commentary:

What is the fuel and wage saving that comes from smart dispatching and routing software?

Routing and dispatching systems are getting much more intelligent. They're not just factoring in the shortest distance between point A and point B, they're factoring in traffic, road work, weather conditions and so on. Obviously, the less time a driver spends stuck in traffic means less money spent on fuel and wages. Beyond that, there have been a lot of interesting advances with these systems. There are some new systems that allow fleets to essentially network with each other to determine where their shipments can be consolidated in order to prevent "empty" miles from being driven. So if a truck delivers a shipment from point A to point B and is heading back to point A, the empty space in the trailer is listed in a marketplace of sorts and is leased out to a third party shipper if they need a delivery made from point B back to point A. 

How does live tracking in fleet management software help reduce missed deliveries? 

The more data that a fleet manager is privy to, the more intelligent decisions he or she can make. With live tracking features, they can identify where the bottle necks in their operations are and also determine if their drivers are at fault. A lot of delivery services offer a customer-facing live tracking map, which helps to ensure that both parties have an accurate idea as to when a delivery will be made. 


Get More Sales with These 5 Email Receipt Marketing Tactics

Get More Sales with These 5 Email Receipt Marketing Tactics

(from our friends at Shopify)

Every time someone makes a purchase from your store they get an email receipt.

It’s an amazing way to connect with your customers—but it’s often overlooked as a marketing opportunity. 

Chances are, you’re missing out on sales because of that.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can use email receipt templates as a part of your marketing strategy to win additional sales, and stay connected with your customers.

Let's get into it!

What’s Your Email Receipt Missing?

With an open rate of 70.90%, compared to the average 17.19% for regular email marketing campaigns—email receipts are a potential ecommerce gold mine, and it's important that you treat it as such.

It's important to remember that when a customer completes a checkout on your store, their trust is at its fullest. They’ve already committed to your product and brand.

You can use that moment when a customer opens their email to do a few things:

  • Upsell related products in your store
  • Offer a discount code to incentivize a future purchase
  • Set up a feedback loop to better understand your customers and your checkout flow
  • Promote your social media accounts
  • Let customers share their purchase on Facebook
  • Much, much more

It might not seem obvious, but companies have been using email receipts as a part of their marketing strategy for a while now.  

Even companies outside of the ecommerce space.

Take a look at an email receipt received from Uber the other day. See if there’s anything here that you can draw inspiration from.

Uber is giving their customers a fantastic product experience (travel), and then utilize their email receipts as a marketing tool by:

  • Letting you rate your experience
  • Being able to provide immediate feedback on your "purchase"
  • Offer a referral bonus for sharing with friends
  • Include a valuable, and fun insight into their “product” (travel) using Google Maps

Still not convinced these are powerful?  Here's what Uber has to say about their customer acquisition and marketing strategy:

Uber spends virtually zero dollars on marketing, spreading almost exclusively via word of mouth.  Our virality is almost unprecedented. For every 7 rides we do, our users’ big mouths generate a new rider.

Let’s dig in a bit deeper and take a look at some specific ecommerce email receipt strategies you can start implementing today—and who knows, maybe you'll see some "Uber" to continue reading here

1. Use Email Receipts as a Way to Upsell Related Products

Some big players in the ecommerce industry have already been doing this for a while.

For example, as far back as 2006 Amazon, reported that 35% of its revenues were as a direct result of its cross sales and up selling efforts.  That’s mostly through email receipts.

Here's an example of what an upsell might look like in an email receipt template:

Try incorporating some product up selling in your email receipt template to see if there is an increase in orders.

Here are some examples of other ways you can use this idea in email receipts:

Additional resources: 
Read more about upselling products to increase sales
Try using an app like Receiptful to create an email receipt template
Learn more about Shopify's email notification templates

2. Offer a Discount Code to Incentivize a Future Purchase

By offering a discount code in your receipt email, you’re offering an incentive for the customer to come back and make another purchase.

A study shows that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email that included a coupon code.

Here's an example of a content block from an app called Receiptful that generates a unique coupon code for each customer that makes a purchase:


Even if the discount is something as small as 5%, or $1 off their next order, savings are savings—and in the mind of a consumer, any savings are good.

Another thing to consider about coupons as a promotional tool, is that they have multiple uses.  You can use them to:

  • Track sales for online and offline marketing campaigns
  • Offer time-sensitive discounts to incentivize another purchase
  • Include them on your physical retail receipts

Additional resources: 
Learn more about the discount code engine in Shopify
Use Receiptful to add content cards and upsells in your order confirmation emails 

3. Promote Your Social Media Accounts to Keep Customers Informed

A study by MarketingProfs shows that more than two-thirds of business leaders plan to integrate social media within their email marketing efforts.

So why aren't you?

Simply include links to your social accounts in either the footer, or in a content card on your email receipt template.

Here's an example of how The North Face includes their social accounts in their email receipt templates:


While it is a fairly basic way to use a receipt email—there are other opportunities around social media here as well.  

Some ideas are:

  • Share with 10 friends and get 10% off your next order
  • Every time you refer a friend, you get $1 off your next order
  • Every time you refer a friend and they make a purchase, your next order is free

The number of different variations goes on, so consider testing a few different strategies to see which ones stick and generate sales and high engagement.

Additional resources: 
Use an app like Referral Candy to setup a referral campaign
Try using a service like S Loyalty to create a loyalty program for your customers

4. Get Immediate Feedback from Paying Customers

You can get immediate, valuable feedback from paying customers using email receipts.  Retail stores and restaurants have been doing this for a long time.  Often, they'll include a contest entry by completing a feedback survey.  You can do the same for your online store.

This will give you some insight into the purchasing flow for your store, as well as any pain points a customer may have experienced during the checkout process.

Take a look at this email that solicits feedback from customers of Warby Parker:


Here are some questions that might be worth including to get some feedback from your customers:

  • How did they feel about the overall purchasing process?
  • Did they feel the product was fairly priced?
  • How did they find your store?
  • When do they expect the product to be delivered?
  • How can you improve your checkout flow?

Additional resources: 
Use follow-up emails to ask for feedback from paying customers
Try using an abandoned cart feature to retain customers, and ask for feedback as to why they didn't complete their checkout

5. Have Customers Share Their Purchase on Facebook

Shopping makes anyone feel good.  Research shows that shopping activates key areas of the brain, which boosts moods and triggers the release of brain chemicals that give you a "shopping high".

Using email receipts, you can take advantage of that brief moment when dopamine is released into the brain.

Try to encourage customers to share their purchase on Facebook when they're still feeling excited and have a "shopping high".

Here's an example of what this might look like from the team at AddShoppers:


In a previous post, we discovered how powerful referral campaigns are.  By including this in your email receipt, you're making it easier for customers to refer their friends.

Why is it important to make it easily sharable?  Because customers who have been referred by their friends spend on average 13.4% more.

Meet the fast growing Aussie start-up that is distributing weed in the US

From Australian Anthill

After signing some large US partners early this year, Melbourne delivery software start-up Swift needed to set up an office to support their fast growth in the US.

Now on top of the grocery chains, pizza stores and alcohol delivery start-ups they are already working with, they have brought medical marijuana distributors on board too.

“One of the companies we work with are the Uber for medical marijuana delivery,” co-founder and CEO, Joel Macdonald (pictured) revealed.

“Another is a much larger network that acts as the distribution aggregator between local dispensaries in greater Los Angeles area.”

Swift makes it super easy for businesses to dispatch, track and manage their mobile workforce.

Both small and large businesses use Swift: food, grocery, floral, transport, courier, e-commerce and serviced based operators who have drivers or specialists on the road.

Swift helps them streamline how they dispatch these mobile workers, optimise routes and reduce their customer support workload (and hence overheads too) by sending their customers Uber-like tracking, mapping and job status alerts.

“We also work with a number of start-ups in the transport, delivery, or serviced based space who have identified it doesn’t make any sense to build their own fleet management or mobile workforce platforms for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they can use Swift for cents per transaction.”

How did Swift end up working with US weed distributors?

“This is such a new and exciting space that a lot of these companies are looking for solutions like Swift without having to build their own delivery management tools,” Joel said. “One found out about us online and made contact and another was recommended by word of mouth.”

“They came to us as they were growing really fast and they wanted to streamline their dispatching, tracking and management processes right through to ensuring feedback from their customers was collected in real-time via Swift’s SMS alert system.

“Three members on their team were spending all day manually assigning jobs to drivers via phone calls and SMSing their drivers and at the time had no visibility on their drivers or what the status was for each job.

“So not only did their customers have delivery anxiety but the company management had no control or visibility either over where all the drivers and jobs were in real-time which was highly unproductive.”

It all started with another start-up

Swift was founded in 2013 by Joel, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, Rohan Bail and James Strauss. It was created initially for their other company,

“At the time we were in desperate need to streamline our delivery dispatching to the closest driver and utilise the capacity in the area to ensure optimal task assignment and routing was executed automatically,” Joel said.

“We also wanted to enable customers to track their delivery in real-time and send them alerts every step of the delivery journey to completely remove their ‘delivery anxiety’ about where their order was but also to save us having to answer customer contact enquiries all day.

“We built and implemented Swift to our operation and something amazing started happening. Customer contact enquiries dropped by 65 per cent so our support/operations team could get more done during each shift.

“We noticed customer service feedback ratings increased by 40 per cent with the new tracking map feature. Drivers for Liquorun were able to get 1.1 extra deliveries done per hour once we introduced the Swift smart dispatch and routing feature.

“We saw so many efficiency gains at Liquorun after Swift was created that we then decided to make Swift a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) available to the public and was created.”

The start-up is now all over the world; Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Russia, Jordan, Dubai and South Africa and has closed both a seed and angel round with investors following on in each round.

“We are about to open up another round where we will be meeting with a number of investors in the US and AUS within the next month to enable us to invest further into sales and engineering to support our growth,” Joel further disclosed.

“We are currently rolling out a number of partnerships in Australia and the US: two of Australia’s big pizza chains and one household name in the fast food space, one national online food ordering platform, three courier and delivery services, a national e-commerce grocery delivery service.”

Swift is fast becoming the logistics platform of choice for businesses globally, while Liquorun is put on hold

When was Swift founded? What are the names of all the co-founders? 

Swift was founder in 2013 by Joel Macdonald, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, Rohan Bail and James Strauss


What prompted you to start Swift? 

Swift was created initially for our other company, At the time we were in desperate need to streamline our delivery dispatching to the closest driver and utilise the capacity in the area to ensure optimal task assignment and routing was executed automatically.

We also wanted to enable customers to track their delivery in real-time and send them alerts every step of the delivery journey to completely remove their "delivery anxiety" about where their order was but also to save us having to answer customer contact enquiries all day.

We built and implemented Swift to our  operation and something amazing started happening. Customer contact enquiries dropped by 65% so our support/operations team could get more done during each shift. We noticed customer service feedback ratings increased by 40% with the new tracking map feature. Drivers for Liquorun were able to get 1.1 extra deliveries done per hour once we introduced the Swift smart dispatch and routing feature.

We saw so many efficiency gains at Liquorun after Swift was created that we then decided to make Swift a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) available to the public and was created


Can you explain your service in greater detail? What market/s are you serving/targeting?

Swift makes it SUPER EASY for businesses to dispatch, track and manage their mobile workforce. 

Businesses who use Swift are small and large Food, Grocery, Floral, Transport, Courier, Ecommerce and Serviced based operators who have drivers, or specialists on the road and are looking to streamline their dispatching to these mobile workers, optimise routes and to reduce customer support overheads by sending their customers Uber-like tracking, mapping and job status alerts.

We also work with a number of start-ups in the transport, delivery, or serviced based space who have identified it doesn't make any sense to build their own fleet management or mobile workforce platforms for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they can use Swift for cents per transaction. On-demand massage, cannabis, alcohol, hangover drips, car/clothes washing, dry cleaning as well as on-demand delivery companies use Swift and from all parts of the world including AUS, NZ, US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Russia, Jordan, Dubai and South Africa

Why our users love Swift is that we don't require any integration with any third party software like a POS or ordering platform. We created a technical solution where any type of business can use Swift and automatically send their orders direct to Swift from the POS, ordering, management or e-commerce systems they are currently using and our proprietary tech streamlines everything without the business requiring any technical experience or a large integration budget. 


Have you raised capital?

Yes we have closed both a seed and angel round with investors following on in each round. We are about to open up another round where we will be meeting with a number of investors in the US and AUS within the next month to enable us to invest further into sales and engineering to support our growth


What's your monetisation model?

There are No upfront costs, No contracts and you pay as you go:

Pricing starts at $0.40 per job that is put through the Swift system and is tiered/discounted based on the volume or enterprise level of the company


What made you expand to the US? Who are your large US partners?

We have a number of US users: Grocery chains, pizza stores, alcohol delivery start ups, medical marijuana distributors, transport/courier services. 

We signed some large US partners early this year and we needed to set up an office to support the growth in the US


How did you get marijuana distributors on board? Did you approach them or did they find you?

  1. One of the companies we work with are the Uber for Medical Marijuana Delivery

  2. Another is a much larger network that acts as the distribution aggregator between local dispensaries in greater Los Angeles area. This is such a new and exciting space that a lot of these companies are looking for solutions like Swift without having to build their own delivery management tools

One found out about us online and made contact and another was recommended by word of mouth.


Can you explain in greater detail how they're using Swift? How do they feel about Swift? Has it systemised their operations?

They came to us as they were growing really fast and they wanted to streamline their dispatching, tracking and management processes right through to ensuring feedback from their customers was collected in real-time via Swift's SMS alert system. Three members on their team were spending all day manually assigning jobs to drivers via phone calls and SMSing their drivers and at the time had no visibility on their drivers or what the status was for each job. So not only did their customers have delivery anxiety but the company management had no control or visibility either over where all the drivers and jobs were in real-time which was highly unproductive. 

I am quite happy to say that since using Swift:

  • Customer enquiries reduced 57%

  • Delivery times reduced 24%

  • Maintenance costs reduced 39%

  • Driver routing efficiency increased 22%

  • Customer satisfaction feedback increased 46%

  • Driver performance increased 34%

  • Missed deliveries and waiting time decreased by 29%

  • We are also in early analysis of driver compensation claims and how Swift has created transparency and visibility for management to reduce compensation claims of workers


How have you found the Australian market? Was it harder to get cut through locally?

Since Domino's announced that GPS tracking was a major driver for revenue and service growth in their recent financial report a lot of retailers are identifying the importance in our technology and also don't want to spend 6-12 months in R&D when they can partner with Swift today for literally cents per transaction.

We are finding the larger sophisticated Australian operators understand the importance of our technology and how it can dramatically reduce costs, create efficiency gains in many segments of their business whilst we are seeing a smaller savvier subset of operators reach out to us who are trying to improve their operations whilst creating a superior user experience and competitive advantage in their respective markets.

The US market is a lot more mature and lean/efficient business models like Uber are raising awareness to what is now possible for any type of business to utilise similar technology and that is where Swift is positioned really strongly. We are becoming an important tool especially in the on-demand stack where it no longer makes sense for any business small or large to build their own tracking or management technology because it is cheap, easy and more efficient to use Swift


Are you able to reveal any growth figures/stats? User growth? Revenue growth? 

Without revealing exact numbers for competitive reasons we are growing an average of 14% week on week in revenue right now. Bane Hunter (who joined Swift to head up global growth and strategy this year), has been extremely influential in our current growth results and what I would consider a secret weapon of Swift thus far.


What plans lie ahead for Swift in the next 12 months? 

Right now we are highly focussed on scaling our customer acquisition strategy whilst improving the product and making it easier for anyone to implement within minutes.

A new round of funding will also be our focus starting next month and allow us to invest in our engineering and sales teams to support our growth.


Anything else you'd like to add?

We are currently rolling out a number of partnerships in Australia and the US: Two of Australia's big Pizza chains and one household name in the fast food space, one national online food ordering platform, three courier and delivery services, a national e-commerce grocery delivery service. Out of competitive respect for these brands I unfortunately can not name who they are unless they give us approval!

Consider this before choosing a fleet management software provider

With so much competition and fewer differentiating factors between software systems, it is surprising when users are left overwhelmed and confused when attempting to opt between one delivery management Software Company and another. 

In recent years, there are more fleet, delivery and tracking software solutions becoming available to choose from however beware of the "smoke and mirrors" and become familiar with the important traits of the best delivery management software providers.

Check these out:

We believe that an excellent delivery management software company should present a product portfolio that supports the business as it grows. As a business owner you will need to consider your software needs of the business in 5 to 10 years time. Right in the present time, you may require a basic tracking software or task dispatching system, however in the future there could be a need for an API integration or an automated routing solution. Can the delivery management software scale with you? Can the pricing scale with you as your task bookings increase?

The most appropriate delivery management software needs to have clients in your similar industry and needs to be able to prove out case studies on how the software improve those similar businesses. It always helps if there are some big household names using the software!

A Delivery Management Software Company should have financial stability. It is very important to ask to see evidence of the software supplier’s financial stability. How many orders are going through their system? What levels of funding have they received? This will give you a level of confidence that the supplier you choose has the ability to support your business for years to come. 

Where was the software made?

How long has it been around for? 

How large is the engineering team to support your needs?

Speak to current clients of the provider and ask them about the bugs and issues they have faced with the software?

Can the company you choose support scheduled tasks?

How automated can the company assign tasks to segments of your mobile workforce?

How detailed is the reporting capability?

What are the hidden costs?

How many 3rd party services is the software compatible with?

Another important factor that you need to consider in choosing for the best delivery management software company is if they have local support. Local support can give you peace of mind that your questions will be answered fast.

The best delivery management software should have sector specific local mapping understanding and relevant mapping technology to support that area. Google maps work well in the US and western countries and mapping seems to work really well in the middle east.

We hope the above factors will serve as a guide for to you to choose a reliable, professional and competent delivery management software company that you are looking for and reach out to us today with any questions you have to see if Swift is a good fit for your company.

Best Delivery Management Price. Best Delivery Management Software Service.

So finding the right delivery management software partner can be a daunting task. Do you go with the lowest price…the best service or both? Who is willing to go that extra mile for you to ensure the platform is the best fit for your business?

With Swift you don’t have to make that choice – we give you the best of both worlds! 
Best Price Guarantee
We want you as a customer and will do everything in our power to ensure you are getting value from our software. When you combine our competitive pricing, service and experience we by far offer the best value out there. If you do find a lower price for the same service, let us know and we’ll make every attempt to match or beat it!
Superior Service
If you don’t succeed, we don’t succeed - up and down the line everyone involved with your project understands this. This combined with fast customer support response times, free weekly feature upgrades and a heavy focus on simplicity will not only provide a valuable service but also help you improve your performance and bottom line!

Hey, why not reply to this email to see if Swift is a good fit for your company?

CASE STUDY: Alcohol Delivery  
CASE STUDY: Grocery Delivery
CASE STUDY: Flower Delivery

Dominos delivery tracking app now a reality for all local pizza shops


Domino's pizza claims it will be the first company worldwide to allow customers to track pizza deliveries on their smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, according to WSJ.

"In the delivery business, it’s a dark spot," Don Meij, CEO of Domino's Australia, toldWSJ. "Now, it’ll be fully disclosed and transparent."

Dominos pizza will apply that logic to a new app it plans to roll out this summer that lets users track their delivery driver's progress to their home,

For most local pizza shop owners, delivery would have continued to be a dark spot, up until Monday, when, local delivery software start-up - Swift made their delivery management software available to any business that delivers so they can also offer real-time delivery tracking of their items. Quite quickly you might just see every pizza shop in your area offering Uber-like pizza delivery tracking as Swift is now positioning themselves as eliminating the delivery anxiety gap for all businesses who deliver.

“Missed delivery is costly and a painful logistics experience for both the consumer and the delivery company, yet majority of companies in this multi-billion dollar industry don’t even know where their fleet is in real time. There seems to be some key technology missing here to create exponential efficiencies.” said Joel Macdonald co-founder and CEO of Swift, a local Melbourne start up that started out delivering beer on scooters in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

“It now it no longer makes sense for delivery companies to waste time and money on building their own delivery systems and courier apps. Swift empowers businesses who manage their own delivery fulfilment to transform their very costly manual processes into a powerful competitive advantage, from lowering costs, and reducing missed deliveries to maximising delivery driver uptime and increasing the end user delivery experience through Uber-like parcel tracking.

Want to try Swift out for free? Click here

CASE STUDY: Alcohol Delivery  
CASE STUDY: Grocery Delivery
CASE STUDY: Flower Delivery

Reduce Parking Tickets in New York City (Swift dispatching)

Imagine a world where you would never get a parking ticket again by pushing a button and telling someone to cover your parking ticket while your car is in a ticketing zone. So here is a cool business concept and now a reality thanks to Muni Maids. 

Muni Maids track your car location, and ticket countdown and they ensure that your meter is always topped up before it runs out and risks a big fat ticket. 

How does it all work...? Well customers of Muni Maids submit a geolocated request to ensure their ticket is always topped up, this request is sent to the Swift management platform via API and all Maids in that area get instantly notified to accept a nearby top up job.

Jobs are sent as a specific geolocation with ticket expiry window so the nearest maid knows to get to the car and top up the ticket before the ticket expires. Muni Maids use the Swift dispatching and management software to manage all of their "maids" in real time and automate the communication between the the maid and the customer. All of the new job data then flows through to the Swift platform so after a few weeks of data compilation, Muni Maids can predict demand and manage local marketing efforts via their demand heatmap.



CASE STUDY: Alcohol Delivery  
CASE STUDY: Grocery Delivery
CASE STUDY: Flower Delivery

Predict when your orders arrive with Swift delivery management software


This pizza shop knows the exact probability of when another order is about to come in


It helps being able to predict the future. Especially in the world of delivery. Imagine being able to know ahead of time when an order was expected to come in? Your drivers could position smarter, you could efficiently prepare orders for pick up and even become extremely smart at dispatching jobs the were to be heading in the same direction!

Oh and also, check out another cool tool "the order heatmap" once you enter enough jobs in the heatmap begins to light up!

Try Swift for free today and watch the order predictor and heatmap work their magic after 2 weeks of deliveries being pushed through your Swift logistics management system!

You are welcome : )

CASE STUDY: Alcohol Delivery 
CASE STUDY: Grocery Delivery
CASE STUDY: Flower Delivery

Reduce your delivery management overheads by up to $15,000

As the saying goes "you need to spend money to make money" or put another way, spend a little bit of money to reduce overheads and increase positive cashflow.

This week we are looking at companies with an online delivery presence who get hundreds of customer enquiries per month about the status of their delivery. Some businesses employ many full time support agents to answer customer support enquiries which can lead to thousands of unproductive hours every month. Swift automates the delivery communication to your receiver which will reduce the need for so many staff answering "where is my delivery" emails and in doing so allow you to trim the costs of support wages. started using Swift last year, and through the automatic SMS notifications and real-time tracking for their customers, the operations team reported a whopping 42% decrease in customer support inquiries just thanks to this simple bit of technology!

This meant that the company could now put one of their customer support agents into a part-time wage and in doing so, reduced their staffing expenses by $15,000.

Here are the numbers:

Average CSA (Customer Support Agent) full time wage: $42,000 per year salary

Average CSA casual wage: $21.87 per hour

Total working hours in a year: 1920 hours

Total hours saved: 806 hours

Total overhead reduction: $17635 per year

Swift subscription: $2,400 per year


Total savings: $15,235 per year

What could you do with an extra $15,235 for your business?

Chat to us today about your business to see if we can identify similar cost savings and efficiency gaps!

CASE STUDY: Alcohol Delivery
CASE STUDY: Grocery Delivery
CASE STUDY: Flower Delivery

7 Tips to Make Your Delivery System Even More Efficient?

Whenever you think of logistics, the concept is always to successfully bring the item from point A to point B. In it's purest form, it is a very simple concept. Yet, when it comes to courier and other delivery services, there are a few more variables that can impact efficiency:

  • Delivery Directions for multiple batching
  • Waiting on the customer to come downstairs
  • Locating the address fast
  • Contacting the customer fast
  • Communicating accurate ETAs and real-time updates

If a delivery driver is on an hourly wage then it is in the business owner's immediate interest to maximise the hourly wage expense. To do this we need to ensure the driver does as many deliveries as possible. An extra 1 delivery more per hour can increase the company return on a driver wage by up to 35%.

Ask yourself:

  1. Send drivers on a "right turn only route" to speed them up and save mileage
  2. Use software to tell the customer when we are close to ensure a fast and successful drop off
  3. Batch and send multiple parcels with one driver who is going in the same direction
  4. Offer navigation software to tell drivers how to avoid congested traffic. Warn drivers if they approaching congestion via a delivery app or software
  5. Use software to notify more drivers to come and help when the business is becoming busy on a Friday night
  6. Track your drivers on a map to time the preparation of food better
  7. If you know your average food/parcel preparation time, delay notifying the local delivery fleet by that time + X minutes for parking



Discover the Advantages of Delivery Management Software to Small Businesses

With all the delivery options that are available today, it is easy to forget that the value of these services transcends the hype. While the benefits of delivery management software to the consumer is clear, there are still some people who are wondering if the rat race of keeping up with on-demand delivery expectations is hurting or helping small businesses. Small and medium size businesses are challenged to deliver on consumers’ increasing expectations. 

We assure our valued clients that streamlining the delivery processes through our software have the ability to turn those pains into profit. In today’s changing world, the right dispatching software and mobile apps is considered as a critical aspect on streamlining your deliveries. 

Before you completely decided to invest in delivery management software, it is very important that you have an apparent and superior understanding about its advantages. In order for you to be aware and familiar about the advantages of investing delivery management software to your small business, here are some of them. 

Customer Expectations - As customer expectations for convenience are increasing with the availability of on-demand experiences, more and more retailers are struggling to keep up. If you are a small business selling handmade items or cookies for delivery, you are no longer limiting your reach to the local foot traffic. You are now creating a much larger market for your distribution and if managed well, the delivery experience for these new customers can compound your business miles ahead of your delivery competitors. Our delivery management software company has enriched the lives hundreds of business owners, from startup to enterprise by reducing their delivery costs as much as 20 percent through enhanced driver efficiency and reduced real time support automation. Further, Swift has increased customer retention and the virality of local business brands enabling these brands to offer an innovative service that most business couldn't dream of without needing to spend $100K+ building their own software.

Effective Communication - Majority of our clients provide on-demand or scheduled delivery. In order to perfectly manage fulfilment, there is the old way of communicating with customers about delivery. Remember those 16 digit tracking numbers from FedEx?

Well with Swift, we send your customer an SMS at every step of the delivery process:

  1. Order received by Joe's Pizza
  2. Order accepted by James the driver
  3. Order picked up by James (track your order here)
  4. Order completed by James (how did we do feedback loop) 

Gone are the days of taking hundreds of phone calls, emails and voicemails a week from customers wondering where their delivery is!

Swift businesses have reported up to a 65% reduction in customer enquiries since the began offering real time SMS updates and tracking. This can save a larger business on a customer support wage of $30,000-$40,000 depending on the region.

Driver Data - Restaurants: How do you know when to cook the next delivery meal if you have no way to track your drivers on a map? Florists: When a customer calls up and asks about their delivery how can you accurately quote them an ETA over the phone without putting them on hold for 5+ minutes?

Do you pay your drivers per hour or have some other arrangement? How do you track what to pay who to have a clear and better understanding about all driver expenses. Some small businesses have their driver’s self report by writing down their mileage at the beginning and end of a shift. Every driver who has the Swift app is tracked and data is pushed to you merchant portal to provide you with timely insights about team and individual performance and accurately compensate your drivers every week. 

The advantages of delivery management software that are mentioned above are issues that can easily be solved by Swift without any upfront or hardware costs to get started.


or chat to a smart human

GPS tracking at Dominos: Major driver to 2016 revenue and service growth

Delivery Enthusiasts!

Domino’s Pizza released their financial results on August 12th.

Click here for the full presentation

The key things to draw your attention to are below, with our comments in italic:


Page 16 of the presentation - “Following GPSDT (GPS Delivery Tracking) launch, we have seen a huge lift in net promoter scores, customer feedback, product quality and process ratings. Store margins have also increased with improved productivity, delivery counts and driver safety”

As a consumer, ask yourself what would now drive your decision to order delivery through Domino's or a close competitor: Speed? Convenience? Price? Real-time Order Tracking?

As a large service provider, Domino's are demonstrating through their KPI's and revenue growth that business has improved since introducing delivery tracking technology

Page 19 - “GPSDT will be one of the major drivers of sales in FY16. GPSDT to take our operational execution and customer service to new levels”

i.e. The huge Australian success story (share price, earnings growth) is putting it on the record that the main driver of growth in FY16 will be their GPS delivery system

Page 36 – Delivery guarantee 

They are now productising / premiumising their offer by incorporating service levels in delivery as a premium add-on product. i.e. the GPS system is now providing the potential for additional revenue which is effectively 100% margin!!!

I hope this has been of some value to you all.

This is the future of e-commerce logistics!



Uber for X: How these 7 factors determine the success of your startup

Due to a large number of enterprises and entrepreneurs trying out the Uber for X model, the repercussions are visible across several verticals. However, it is not always that businesses started using Uber for X end up tasting success. Read on to know the seven crucial factors that determine the success of your startup.

Define the problem statement correctly

First of all, you need to have a clear idea about the problem you intend to address with your startup.

Generally, Uber for X startups have to deal with customers of multiple types and mainly have to focus on the buyers and sellers. Hence, the problems you address needs to go down effectively with both the groups.

As of now, there have been several issues when businesses have been trying to address issues related to the on-demand market based on their self prescribed problem.

The founder of Dinnr, a startup that delivers ingredients on demand, has written about the reasons why his startup was not successful.

Economics regarding all units

Even if you are good enough on the funding end, it is essential that you have a clear idea about the unit economics. VC’s would also ask for the unit economics once your startup reaches a certain stage and hence, you would have to work it out well in advance.

Initially, an accurate value of unit economics would not be predictable. However, you can always prepare a rough draft based on the transactions and eventually it can be turned into a robust model for unit economics.

You can also read about how Prim had failed in its unit economics due to the model it followed.

Frequency of Transactions

Uber was successful as the margins were high on an ongoing basis. The users of Uber were reportedly found to spend over $100 each month to use the service.

Services that usually follow the on-demand model usually end up having high retention rates and as a result, the revenues and transactions see a constant rise.

However, low transaction levels might result in the startups facing scalability issues.

Meeting the target critical mass

One of the major concerns among platforms that are into multiple sides is to reach the critical mass and entrepreneurs work hard to get to this point.

Once the critical mass is reached, it means that the customers of a startup are not denied of any of their services and the workforce of the startup is engaged above a pre-decided level. When this is attained, a company is said to have attained its critical mass.

Choosing the right designs for the business model

Irrespective of which business model is used, be it Uber for X or anything else, the business model design should stand apart from the others and it should be able to differentiate the startup from other offerings in the market. Hence, it is essential to choose the right business model.

Scheduled Model or Instant Model

Both scheduled and instant models are suitable choices based on your operating conditions. If your company needs comparatively larger fraction towards infrastructure and supply chain, it is recommended that you go ahead with an instant model and if you are starting your business afresh, you can go ahead with a scheduled model.

Aggregated Supply or Integrated Supply

If you are looking for reliability, you can hire contracted suppliers. Whereas, if you wish to include the scalability factor in your business, freelancers would be able to give you optimum results. There are several business models who initially hired contract suppliers based on their initial requirement and as they started growing, they included freelancers. Due to this, they were able to achieve both reliability up to a certain extent above which, it was entirely scalable.

Keep the target market size easily reachable

If you have to make your mark as a company, you would have to concentrate on the customers and connect with your customers better. Hence, it is better that you keep the total initial market reachable enough so that you would include quality in your business.

Knowledge about operating domain

On-demand startups find it difficult to succeed if they do not have a good knowledge about their domain. Hence, it is essential that you have adequate knowledge about your operating domain so that you would be able to address all customer issues with a better approach. 


Select the best SMS & Voice API for your on-demand app

For your on-demand app to succeed, it requires a combination of cutting edge technology, easily usable features and innovation packed into it. In the initial stages, it is recommended that you decide on the software integrations carefully based on your idea, which would place you ahead of other players and would also be an all new offering in the market.

Read on to know more about how you can choose the best SMS and Voice API for your mobile app that will help you succeed in the on-demand market. You should compare all the features that are available without taking into consideration any other factors. In this post, you will have a clear idea about the major offerings in the market including the pricing, which will help you to narrow down and choose your app without much confusion. Rather than jumping into the comparison directly, let us first know why it is essential to have integration in place for the SMS and Voice APIs into your mobile app.

Is VOIP and Text SMS integration essential for your on-demand mobile app?

Definitely, integration of VOIP and Text SMS for your on-demand mobile app is highly essential.

Without the integration, your mobile app would be similar to a mobile phone that does not have a SIM card. You would not be able to make use of SMS and VOIP services for the on-demand app, which his highly required to facilitate communication with the users. By having such integrations in place, users would be well informed and thereby, your service quality will boost drastically. Listed below are some of the important uses of VOIP and SMS integration:

Provide OTP and Verification Calls

To ensure that the registrations and users are genuine, you would have to verify their mobile numbers when they are signing up or placing an order. This can be done without any hassles when you make use of an API to do the job.

Texts and Calls from within the app

If you wish to communicate with your mobile app users, it can be done from within the app by using API integration and the entire communication can be done seamlessly. These integrations can be used across any platform, be it iOS or Android.

Notifications based on events

When customers place orders or there is any update regarding their order, it is essential that you notify them on time. By sending out real-time notifications, the quality of customer service can be improved greatly and the entire process can be automated when you make use of APIs.

Masking of Numbers

When communication has to happen between the company and the customer, a high level of privacy is required and thus, the numbers should not be visible. By making use of APIs, you can hide your number and also of the customer, so that no privacy issues arise.

Send out broadcast messages

If you are running any promotional campaigns, offers or if you have to notify all the customers regarding anything, you would have to send out broadcast messages that reach all your customers or a particular group of customers. This can be done by using the Text SMS API.

Due to the above mentioned factors, integration of API to facilitate voice calls and SMS are highly essential. Let us now look into the various options available for APIs.


Factors that need to be taken into consideration before choosing an API

  • Stability: If the API works all the time without any issues.
  • Pricing: If the costs incurred in API is feasible and within the budget.
  • Verification: The method used by the API for verification, which can either be a voice call or by sending a OTP.
  • Fixed Number: If they are providing you with a dedicated number or not, which is entirely based on your preference.
  • Delivery Reports: Reports that indicate if the intended messages/broadcasts have reached the recipients or not.
  • Local Availability:  If the API works without issues in your region/country of operation.
  • Complexity: The ease with which the API can be integrated to your app.


Some of the leading Voice and SMS API providers in the Android and iOS platforms with the pricing:

We bring to you a comparison of the 4 major SMS and Voice API providers: Twilio, Sinch, Nexmo and Plivo. Also, the prices compared are in the USA market and the list of features provided by each API is also mentioned. By going through the details provided about the API providers, you would be able to decide easily on the API that would be best-suited for your mobile app.

Other essential factors that need to be taken into consideration

The indicated prices are only for the USA market and you would have to check with the availability and pricing in your respective countries of operation. Make sure that you check out all the features.

Read on to know more about each API provider along with their features.

Twilio API

  • The SMS package is pre-defined and the cost for the initial 5 million messages is $0.0075 per SMS and the next 20 million messages will be charged at $0.004 per SMS.
  • There are different packages available for MMS, Shortcodes etc.
  • They have their own product known as Authy which is used for two-way authentication.
  • The price for a local number is $1 per month and a toll-free number will be charged at $2 monthly.
  • Recording calls will be charged at $0.0035 per minute while call storage would be charged at $0.0005 per minute.
  • Basic conference calls can be done for free. International conference calls will be charged $0.0020 for each participant for every minute.
  • Leading corporations such as Uber, Instacart, Coca-Cola and PayPal make use of Twilio.


Sinch API

  • Calling within the app is free for up to 25,000 minutes following which the cost would be $0.005 per minute.
  • Phone calls made from the app would be charged at $0.01 per minute.
  • Incoming SMS is free in Sinch.
  • All verifications made will be charged $0.0075 per verification.
  • SMS are free sup to 25,000 messages per month following which every message would cost $0.0035.
  • Companies such as Truecaller, Spylt, BeepMe, Tango and Swedbank make use of Sinch.


Nexmo API

  • The best feature of Nexmo is that all incoming messages are free.
  • Verifications are charged at $0.1350 per verification.
  • Both toll free number and normal number are available for the same price: $0.90 monthly.
  • Sharing of short codes are free on Nexmo.
  • Short code incoming messages are charged at $0.005 per SMS.
  • Companies such as Alibaba, Viber, Expedia, Zipcar and Airbnb make use of Nexmo.


Plivo API

  • Call Recording and Call storage are available for free in Plivo.
  • Outgoing calls are charged at $0.0030 while incoming calls are charged at $0.0210 coming from toll-free numbers.
  • There is no charge for either short code or long code incoming messages.
  • Delivery reports are available on a real-time basis.
  • Short code numbers are charged at $4500 for 3 months.
  • Companies such as Homejoy, Mozilla, Pagerduty, Netflix and CallHub make use of Plivo.


The Verdict: Twilio or Nexmo or Plivo or Sinch?

Ultimately, before integrating an API to your mobile app, you would have to take into consideration several factors based on your usage and requirements. If you are willing to settle for a basic solution, you can choose between Plivo ro Nexmo as the costs are less. If you are riding high on funds, Twilio would be the best possible option.


Instacart: The on-demand grocery delivery giant (Business Review)

About Instacart

Operating in some of the major cities of USA, Instacart provides grocery on-demand and delivers it to the doorstep of customers. It makes use of high end technology to facilitate the business and due to their efficient network, customers get the delivery of groceries in as little as an hour, due to which customers find it highly convenient and easy.

Instacart has grown prominently in the on-demand delivery industry and it is backed by entrepreneurs who are enthusiastic about its growth and rely on the sharing economy model to facilitate the operation of its business. In this article, you will have a clear understanding about the factors that drive Instacart, the operating model and also the basis on which Instacart is valued at $2 billion.

An overview of the founders and funding of Instacart

Instacart started its operations in 2012 and is one of the latest companies to conquer the markets using complex technology. It is one of the most advanced players in the on-demand sector and Instacart has received huge funds to expand its business and operate across all major cities in the USA. Read on to know more about some astonishing facts regarding Instacart:

  • It was started together by Apoorva Mehta and Max Mullen.
  • Till date, investor funding received by Instacart stands at $275 million.
  • Instacart is presently valued at $2+ billion.
  • The operating revenue of Instacart is $100 million.
  • Instacart is based in San Francisco, California, USA.

The massive funding towards Instacart denotes the trust and hopes investors have pinned on this start-up and its growth. Listed below are some of the prominent features of Instacart that are responsible for the brand value of Instacart. 

Prominent features 

  • Presently operating in major regions of the USA such as SF Bay Area, San Jose, NYC, Philadelphia, Austin, Washington DC, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.
  • Boasts of a large inventory comprising of more than 300,000 items including products of Whole Foods, Costco and Safeway, which allows customers to choose across different stores based on their preferences in a single order.
  • Users can connect in a crowdsourced market environment where they can get in touch with the personal shoppers that deliver the products.

Value Proposition of Instacart

  • Collaborate with the supermarkets.
  • Hire part-time workers who have their own cars.
  • Massive inventory
  • Efficient and super-fast delivery
  • Eliminate warehousing
  • Delivery trucks should not have any catchy content on it


Customer base of Instacart under three broad categories

User Segment

  • Orders made usually from the App and they can order across multiple grocery stores.

  • Orders can be made even from laptop or desktop systems.
  • Online payment is made towards their shopping and users also have an option to tip their shopper beforehand.
  • Users get to choose from stores in their vicinity and can purchase products from multiple stores in the same order.
  • Delivery of the products can be pre-scheduled based on the convenience of the user.

Shopper Segment

  • Orders placed are seen by shoppers on their app.
  • The location of shoppers is usually close to stores so that the delivery time is less.
  • On receiving the notification, they pick the items from supermarkets and deliver it to users.
  • Their pay includes an hourly pay and the tips generally paid by the customer.

Store Segment

  • Instacart has tied-up with the leading supermarkets in their areas of operation.
  • It is a win-win situation as the supermarkets are able to generate better revenues due to Instacart.

A 4-step methodology about the functioning of Instacart

  • Users shop for their required products and make an online payment from their Instacart account.
  • Orders placed are received by shoppers who in turn collect the products from supermarkets.
  • Shoppers pay for the products in supermarkets using their prepaid debit card provided by Instacart.
  • On collecting the products from supermarkets, shoppers deliver the products to users at the address as mentioned by customers.

The tips paid by the customers towards shoppers while making payments online are transferred to the shoppers and it will be calculated on a monthly basis. The tips accumulated will be paid towards the end of the month to shoppers along with the salary. In case of cash on delivery models, the shopper gets the tips paid instantly.

Source of revenue for Instacart

Delivery Charges

All orders above $35 are charged a delivery charge of $3.99 for 2 hour delivery and if the 1 hour delivery is chosen, the delivery charge is $5.99.

For orders below $35, the 1 hour delivery charge is $9.99 and a 2 hour delivery would cost $7.99.

Membership charges towards Instacart Express

The annual membership program by Instacart, known as Instacart Express, is for $99 and users who purchase an Instacart Express membership get all deliveries without any delivery charges for the next one year. However, there are a few terms and conditions associated with the membership.

Increase in mark-up prices

Although some supermarkets offer their goods at the same price as listed in the store, some products on Instacart have increased the mark-up prices by over 15% when compared to the prices at which the products are offered in stores. Due to the increase in mark-up price, Instacart is able to pay for the shoppers and also end up with fair margins.

How does the customer base of Instacart grow?

  • Social Media Marketing
  • First delivery free
  • Word of mouth advertising
  • Promotional offers

How does Instacart recruit shoppers?

The process starts by inviting applications for shoppers who are willing to work in their free time. The recruitment team then looks into the application and then schedules interviews for the applicants that pass the screening test. Once they pass the interview, appropriate training is provided after which, they start delivering the products.


Common challenges faced by Instacart and solutions

Retention of shoppers

Shoppers working for Instacart are hired on a part time basis and hence, they do not stick around for long. Due to this, Instacart has provided the option to customers to include a tip in their orders so that shoppers are able to make extra money.

Cut down the delivery time

To start with, even the 2 hour window was insufficient for Instacart shoppers to deliver the orders. As a move to cut down the delivery time, Instacart placed shoppers in close vicinity of supermarkets so that they are able to respond quickly and deliver orders at the earliest possible time.

Insufficient Shoppers

Instacart shoppers work on a part-time basis and hence, managing the workforce is tedious for Instacart. To solve this issue, Instacart started a “busy pricing” system, where customers would have to pay a surcharge if the shoppers are busy. In the surcharge paid by customers, a partial payout is made to shoppers so that they get motivated and deliver faster.

Building Customer Trust

When customers realized that Instacart is using different mark-up prices, customers lost their trust. Instacart immediately changed the prices back to in-store prices. Although a few customers stopped using Instacart, others found that getting the groceries delivered to their house was convenient and worth the higher prices charged.

Wrong delivery by shoppers

There are chances where in the shopper delivers the wrong item. Instacart has a team to resolve such issues. Once you get in touch with them and inform them about the wrong delivery, a refund is issued.

Ordered product not in stock

The ordered items might not be in stock. In such conditions, the shopper delivers a product that is similar. However, there is a possibility that the customer might not want an equivalent product. To avoid such problems, customers are given an option to tag products that are frequently out of stock so that other customers can order accordingly.

What is the future of Instacart?

Due to the super-fast delivery by Instacart, it offers an unparalleled level of convenience to customers. A large number of users prefer shopping with Instacart as they are able to receive products at their doorstep. Instacart is cash rich, all thanks to the $275 million funding it received, enabling it to expand rapidly across other cities in the USA. 

It might eventually turn out to be one of the most promising companies in the USA and you could draw inspiration from the business model of Instacart to start your own on-demand business. This said, it is about time to work on your plans and start a business if you have a concrete plan. 

How to determine the best Maps API for your on-demand mobile app

Maps in smartphones are common and this has made navigation possible to all smartphone users. With the advent in technology, digital maps have also been extensively used in on-demand apps and their APIs help third part app developers to facilitate a variety of features such as navigation, operational efficiency and helping them know the time required for physically reaching a customer.

Listed below are three highly useful features of digital maps for on-demand apps that help in improving the efficiency:

  • Tracking of workforce by admin.
  • Providing users an option to track so that they know the estimated time of delivery.
  • Enabling service providers to track users to assist in navigation and to locate a user.

 In the present day market, there are several digital maps API providers, which can be integrated into apps by developers. However, it is entirely up to you to choose the Maps API for your app based on your business requirement. Mentioned below are the factors that need to be considered before you select a particular Maps API for integration with your app.

Factors to be taken into consideration before choosing a Maps API for your app

With the most popular ones in market being Google Maps and Mapbox, you might also consider other alternatives for Maps API. Make sure that you consider the below mentioned factors before settling in for a particular Maps API.

Map API user for your app

This is the most crucial determining factor that should be considered prior to choosing a Maps API. You should also consider the growth in the number of users for your app before you select an API.

In the case of Google Maps, there are only 25,000 free views per day and once this limit is exceeded, you would be charged for all further usage of the Maps API. Thus, you would have to take into consideration that if your daily user base increases 25,000, you would have to pay for using Google Maps API.

Usage Costs

On determining the number of users for your app, the next aspect that needs to be considered is the charges for using the API. OpenStreet maps is free, Google Maps is free up to a certain extent and Mapbox charges you based on the usage. You might think that the free OpenStreet API would be best as it is free to use. But look into the other factors too that are listed below.

Support Document of API

Documentations included with APIs differ based on the API and developers are able to generate API key and facilitate integration solely based on the documentation provided. Hence, before you select a particular API, make sure that you go through the documentation and look at the ease with which it can be understood.

Ease of Use

This is another important aspect for consideration before selecting the API. Look into how easily your user base would be able to make use of the apps and how easily you would be able to track your workforce with the Maps API you wish to use. Test the API for its navigational accuracy to before you select it. A good API should also provide you with options to customize it based on your needs.

Maps API that are available for integration with on-demand apps

  • Google Maps
  • Mapbox
  • OpenStreet Maps
  • Nokia Here Maps
  • Bing Maps
  • Cartodb
  • OpenLayers
  • Waze

The above mentioned Maps API are extensively used by app developers but some are not as they do not provide the functionality required by app developers. The most commonly used Maps APIs are Google Maps API and Mapbox API, as they cater to all the needs and offer a wide range of functionalities that are essential for the functioning of apps in on-demand segment. Listed below are the features that are required from a Maps API.

Features of Digital Mapping required for Android/ iOS Apps

Turn by Turn Navigation

Turn by Turn navigation is highly useful and is required in instances where you wish to serve the customer efficiently and optimally. Service providers would highly benefit from turn by turn navigation as they would easily be able to reach the customer based on the guidance provided.

Real Time Tracking

Admin tasks usually involve real time tracking of drivers and users so that they are able to provide quality service to customers. Also, by making use of real-time tracking, both service providers and users would be able to locate each other better, resulting in better service and saving of the time involved in finding each other.

Calculation of Estimated Time of Arrival

To calculate the estimated arrival time, several factors are considered based on which the calculation is made. By knowing the time of arrival, service providers and users would have a better understanding about the time of arrival and this would result in better efficiency levels.

Capability to re-route or provide traffic updates

There are chances when there are traffic jams or closure of roads, which might require a re-route to reach the user. A good Maps API will have re-routing capabilities to help the driver reach quicker and also update the admin regarding the traffic scenario on a real time basis so that they can plan things accordingly.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a great level of customization with the maps, Mapbox API would be your best option as they offer an unmatched level of customization. However, if you think that the API should be efficient in tracking, re-routing and real time updates, Google Maps API would be your best choice!