New York-based logistics SaaS GetSwift heading back to Melbourne to open global R&D HQ

From Startup Daily

After 18 months in New York, Australian logistics software startup GetSwift is heading back home to open its global headquarters in Melbourne ahead of an ASX listing next month.

While keeping a presence in the US to serve its North and South American clients, the startup will move its operations base and research and development hub to Melbourne, expected to grow to around 30 staff over the next few years.

Joel MacDonald, founder and CEO of GetSwift, said the startup made its way to New York last year with the simple goal of “[proving] we could match it with the best of them”.

He said, “We wanted to show a nimble Aussie company could shake it with these American titans and we found quite quickly we were onto something.”

Since evolving out of alcohol delivery startup Liquorun, the startup’s white labelled delivery optimisation platform has been picked up by clients in over 50 countries around the world, among them Instacart and JustEat, with GetSwift reporting growth of 400 percent from January to September this year.

While he said the speed at which this growth has been achieved has been somewhat of a surprise, MacDonald said he and chairman Bane Hunter always knew GetSwift had to have a presence on the east coast of America as well as in Australia.

As such, the startup had been building an R&D team in Melbourne for a while, with policies such as the federal R&D tax incentive proving attractive.

However, because the Sydney v Melbourne debate is so hot right now/always, MacDonald and Hunter said they actually spent time discussing which city to base their HQ out of, with the final push for Melbourne coming from Victorian Minister for Innovation, Philip Dalidakis.

“We met with [Dalidakis] in the US, where he delivered a pretty compelling pitch as to Melbourne should be our first choice for a move back home,” Hunter said.

Dalidakis said, “The company’s decision to stay true to their roots and expand their Asia Pacific footprint by basing their R&D operations here in Melbourne is another huge vote of confidence in Victoria as a hub for global tech talent.”

The support from Dalidakis may have pushed GetSwift over the line, but in Sydney’s defence, MacDonald admitted the Melbourne roots mattered: “I’m born in Melbourne, we started out in Richmond at Inspire9, and we had built the R&D team already in Melbourne.

“We assessed several regions and had a lot of conversations, but we just connected on a different level with Dalidakis and it just confirmed a lot of our thinking. We already had a footprint in Melbourne and then him throwing his support behind us made it an easy decision at the end of the day.”

As well as the ASX listing, GetSwift will be focusing more attention on Europe over the coming months, with new deals in the pipeline.

Image: Bane Hunter and Joel MacDonald. Source: Supplied.

We're Hiring (Digital Operations Internship) + (Fulfillment Exec Role)

We're Hiring!

GetSwift is an early stage, fast growing, complex online logistics/delivery tracking and management software that enables business owners around the world to completely re-imagine the way they deliver and delight their end user.

We're looking for like-minded people who want to change the way deliveries are managed, executed and tracked by businesses and consumers on a global scale. Please reach out and introduce yourself, even if you don't see a opportunity below that completely fits your expertise, as in some cases - work ethic, drive & discipline we believe is just if not important than skills

Careers

Connect Menulog, Eatnow, Grubhub, Eat24 orders to your GetSwift account

Step 1.

Go to your settings > Advanced Options and enter the email address you will send Grubhub or Menulog orders to import@getswift.co

 

Step 2.

Go to your templates section and create a new template with the pick up address of your restaurant and make sure you name the template with exactly the same spelling as it is listed on your Menulog or Grubhub order emaill that you will be forwarding to GetSwift

e.g. The Grubhub restaurant is called Joe's Pizza then make sure you save the template as Joe's Pizza

 

 

Step 3.

Now go to your email inbox and forward the menulog, grubhub, eatnow, Eat24 order email to import@getswift.co

 

Step 4.

The order will be created within 30 seconds on your account and you will see it appear in your map!

GetSwift expands R&D HQ in Melbourne, Australia

From the Australian (David Swan)

November 22nd, 2016

 

Australian delivery software start-up GetSwift will move its global headquarters from New York to Melbourne as it gears up to list on the Australian Securities Exchange next month.

The firm, led by former AFL player Joel Macdonald, uses algorithms to optimise the delivery service for enterprise firms and has had a 400 per cent growth in transactions in the past six months. The service is used in 51 countries and Mr Macdonald said he expected to employ about 30 staff in the firm’s new Melbourne HQ during the next few years.

“We were always keen to come back,” he said. “I grew up in Melbourne and we started the company towards the end of my football career working from the Inspire9 co-working space.

“There was a lot of volatility with my football career, and I stuck it out for 11 years, but my passion has always been technology. Over time I realised I’m better at business than football, especially playing at Melbourne Demons where we were getting destroyed every week.”

Before GetSwift was a delivery management firm, it was a liquor delivery business called Liquorrun, ferrying drinks between bottle shops and thirsty customers. “It took off pretty quickly but we were running a logistics business on very primitive, clunky systems across texts, emails, calls,” Mr Macdonald said.

GetSwift chairman Bane Hunter, a former Viacom and Foxtel executive, said the pair recently met Victorian Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis in the US where he delivered a “pretty compelling pitch” about why Melbourne should be the company’s first choice for a move back home.

“It’s no wonder Melbourne is now home to some of the world’s fastest growing tech firms and we’re glad to be joining their ranks,” Mr Hunter said.

Mr Dalidakis said the firm’s decision to move to Melbourne represented “another huge vote of confidence in Victoria as a hub for global tech talent”.

Mr Macdonald said GetSwift was on track to list early next month and complete a $5.5 million capital raising that was four times oversubscribed.

“We’re experiencing a really intense and aggressive growth curve right now,” he said. “Our future will be continuing to expand our global footprint and making sure nothing holds us back. The capitalisation is just about fulfilling some of the current contracts in our pipeline and scaling the accelerated rate to capture that market share.”

We're Hiring!!! (Senior Software Developers)

We're Hiring!

GetSwift is an early stage, fast growing, complex online logistics/delivery tracking and management software that enables business owners around the world to completely re-imagine the way they deliver and delight their end user.

We're looking for like-minded people who want to change the way deliveries are managed, executed and tracked by businesses and consumers on a global scale. Please reach out and introduce yourself, even if you don't see a opportunity below that completely fits your expertise, as in some cases - work ethic, drive & discipline we believe is just if not important than skills

Careers

Logistics management software company GetSwift opens IPO

GetSwift, an Australian-founded New York-based fleet management software company, is looking to list on the Australian Securities Exchange by Christmas.

From Zdnet (Tas Bindi)

 

GetSwift Ltd, the holding company that owns Australian-founded startup GetSwift, has opened up its initial public offering (IPO), according to a prospectus lodged with ASIC on October 26.

According to the prospectus, 25 million shares are being issued at AU$0.20, bringing the total amount to be raised to AU$5 million.

Currently headquartered in New York, GetSwift was founded in 2015 by three Australian footballers Joel Macdonald, Rohan Bail, and James Strauss. Prior to GetSwift, the trio had founded a liquor delivery service called Liquorun, but decided to abandon the front end of the service and focus on the logistics management platform behind it. The logistics management platform then became the standalone entity GetSwift.

Today, GetSwift is a last-mile logistics management platform that allows businesses to manage delivery fulfilment. The platform is being used in over 300 cities across 55 countries around the world.

According to the prospectus, GetSwift experienced 20 percent month-on-month growth this year in terms of number of transactions; and reports a total growth of over 400 percent from January to September.

Executive chairman Bane Hunter told ZDNet that there are four reasons why GetSwift is choosing to become a publicly-listed company. The first is to provide full transparency to existing and prospective customers.

He said one of the advantages of being public is that it allows companies to instantly gain credibility and respect. Prospective clients, especially large ones like government departments and large enterprises, give more credence to suppliers of products and services when they're public companies.

"What has always held us back to some extent was the due diligence process when interacting with large enterprises, especially as a startup. They do due diligence on companies, products, and people," Hunter told ZDNet.

"We thought the easiest way to provide full transparency is by being a public company. Any questions [prospects] have in regards to viability will be answered."

The second reason, Hunter explained, was the underlying sense across Australia's startup ecosystem that local companies cannot use local funding to roll out on a global scale. He said there are some local VCs and financiers who don't want their money going overseas.

Hunter pointed out, however, that there is a significant difference in market size between Australia and the US, and that emerging startups should be encouraged to think globally.

Thirdly, reflecting on the company's previous experiences with raising equity investment, Hunter said going public was a more sound choice for GetSwift.

"We had plenty of offers from VCs in the US. But the costliest lesson that any startup can actually learn is to be very careful with what comes attached with the capital [they raise], and what kind of partners they're going to get on the cap table. We've learned a number of lessons," Hunter said.

Lastly, Hunter and Macdonald both said going public will allow the company to contract the time it takes to scale.

Macdonald highlighted that the company doesn't necessarily need capital; it operates in a "very lean" manner with less than 10 staff globally.

Currently, GetSwift operates on a pay-as-you-go model, charging on a per transaction basis -- there are no setup or ongoing maintenance costs, or contracts. The prices are tiered/discounted based on the volume or enterprise level of the company.

GetSwift has also been growing across industry verticals. As of September, it's been used in over 40 verticals including food delivery and medical cannabis distribution in the US. Hunter also said 100 percent of enterprise prospects that were presented with proofs-of-concept had converted to clients.

"It was important for us to be agnostic in terms of verticals. We see a lot of competitors that tend to focus on specific verticals ... to reach the maximum amount of people across the maximum number of verticals, we would need our product to be agnostic," Hunter said.

"A lot of companies come to us saying that their support reps are getting up to 50 calls per day, for example, from milk bar owners wondering where their drinks are. The field rep might take up to 25 minutes to locate the driver if he picks up the phone and then another five minutes to relay that message back to the milk bar. What companies are keen to do is consolidate that overhead," said Macdonald.

While they're proud of the progress they've made, Hunter and Macdonald are adamant about staying grounded, appreciating that they're an Australian-founded company, and not making unrealistic claims about the future.

"We don't believe in hype. We believe in facts. We believe in data. Aside from technology being in the cloud, we do not believe in having our heads in the cloud," Hunter said.

While they did not reveal GetSwift's product roadmap, Hunter and Macdonald said they're always keeping a close eye on, and evaluating opportunities to use, emergent technologies like drones and autonomous vehicles.

"From a startup perspective, it's not enough to be incrementally better. You're going to go up against some behemoths out there that are better funded than you, have much larger teams, and quite frankly have more expertise in terms of how the market operates. You have to be quantifiably better," Hunter said.

"For us, it's not about coming out with fancy new product features or product enhancements. It's about understanding our customers, their constraints, their business objectives, and the timeframe they have to achieve those objectives. That allows us to go back and tailor the product. That's how we're maintaining growth."

GetSwift to raise $5m and list start-up GetSwift on ASX

From Financial Review (Yolanda Redrup)

Former Melbourne AFL footballer Joel MacDonald will take his logistics management platform, GetSwift, public via an ASX listing to raise $5 million.

Unlike most early stage businesses that go to the public markets as a source of capital, though, GetSwift does not need the cash.

GetSwift chairman, former media executive and Blue Chilli president Bane Hunter, said the capital raising was aimed at proving the long-term viability of the business to prospective customers, who expressed concerns about its cash levels when doing due diligence.

"So the primary reason for listing, for us, is the issue of visibility and governance. Then, heart on hand, we wanted to show that you can use Australian institutions to leverage your global penetration," Mr Hunter said.

Joel MacDonald in 2012 during an AFL match, a game that taught him to get back up after a knockdown and do it for your team. Sebastian Costanzo

The start-up has constructed a series of algorithms which let businesses optimise delivery routes, streamline their dispatching and task assignment, send branded alerts automatically to customers about their orders, and capture digital proof of delivery via photos or signatures.

Mr MacDonald founded GetSwift off the back of his experiences running the delivery start-up Liquorun.

"As it continued to grow and expand around Australia we ran into the same challenges: where is the driver; who to dispatch jobs to; and how to optimise the most efficient route," he said.

"Technology can solve all of these problems, but when we looked at it from a 30-foot overview, we realised it was a much larger problem on a global scale. But unless you have the budget of an Uber or a Domino's, most companies can't solve these problem profitably."

While GetSwift started off as a product to help manage Liquorun's logistics, it quickly emerged as a stronger business in its own right and won the interest of major US business Whole Foods, who invited the company to the US.

In the past 16 months the business has grown from nothing, to being used in more than 50 countries by companies such as Instacart, Lion Nathan and Shopwings.

In the last financial year it banked $348,404 in revenue, and through the listing it will be valued at just over $25 million.

Listing rules

The company is tracking towards a December listing. Also in December, the ASX is considering introducing tighter listing rules, meaning companies with less than $5 million in net tangible assets and also valued at less than $20 million would be blocked from the exchange.

GetSwift clears these hurdles.

"We've reviewed these requirements and we pass both tests, so for us, we think it is a positive outcome for the whole ecosystem," Mr Macdonald said.

GetSwift has an issue price of 20¢ a share and Cygnet Capital has been managing the raise.

The company also completed a pre-IPO capital raise of $1.5 million earlier this year, which was reported by Street Talk.

While the company has just filed its prospectus, it has already completed its roadshow and Mr Hunter said there was a high degree of interest.

"We met with a number of institutions, private wealth funds and also brokers, and universally we were well received," he said. "I've been on a number of roadshows from the other sides, and it could not have gone better."

Mr MacDonald said he was aware of the challenges young companies faced in going public, such as investor scrutiny when the business model is still being finalised, but he was prepared to tackle them head on.

"It comes down to our communication. What you see and what we say is what you get. Every change we make will be raw, honest and directly communicated with the public. That's how you build trust and transparency with shareholders," he said.

"I was an average footballer. But moving into this game that we call business, you get knocked ... and it's not just for two hours, it's 24 hours a day. I built the ability to take those knockdowns and get back up and do it for your team, your fans and even Australia.

Trading Valley for Alley: an Aussie founder’s guide to moving to New York

So, you want to move your startup to the US? Well, you have a choice.

You can head on over to the typical place to base your company: Silicon Valley, or you can follow our route and head to the Big Apple, the undisputed epicentre of business in the US.

There are distinct advantages to going east instead of west. Dubbed Silicon Alley, New York’s startup scene has blossomed over the past couple of years on the back of it being a hub for collaboration between startups and America’s largest companies.

For instance, by moving to New York as opposed to Silicon Valley, we were able to secure multiple deals not just with US companies but also European, South American and emerging markets to grow our global delivery logistics platform.

But it’s not an easy move. The sitcom Silicon Valley details – with some degree of accuracy – the tropes and tribulations of the Valley. But there’s very little out there on New York’s startup sector, and how you balance living and working in one of the world’s busiest cities

So, off the back of our experiences, here are our most practical top tips for cracking the scene and giving your business the best chance to succeed in New York and the East Coast of the US.

Before you move, jump on the Australians in New York Facebook page – it will help you find an affordable place to live

What’s the hardest part about moving to New York? It’s not finding contacts or talent for your company. It’s finding an affordable place to live.

Whatever way you slice it, living in New York is expensive. And it’s tough to find a bargain apartment from a distance ‘in a neighborhood you would want to live’ – unless you are willing to pay an agent up to $7000 to find one for you. So consider jumping on this Australians in New York Facebook page straight away. One of its main functions is connecting Australians with affordable living arrangements.

Also, consider where you want to live in New York. Its transport systems – both public transport and ridesharing networks – are excellent. Living a mere 15 minutes further away from where you are working could save you thousands and land you a more spacious pad.

Finding a place to work? Consider these hubs and coworking spaces

Unless you already have some cash behind you and have already arranged an office, you’re going to want to find a good cafe or public space to work from when you first arrive.

This WorkFrom community site provides a really good map of WiFi cafes across the city. Below are a few of our personal favourites:

  • Freehold in Williamsburg
  • Hotel Lobby of Marlton Hotel
  • Soho House Meatpacking & Ludlow
  • Standard East Hotel
  • Cafe Orlin in East Village
  • New York Public Library

The last one is easily a favourite spot. But beware, you can’t take phone calls.

If you are looking for a coworking space try The FarmNeueHouse, and New Work City. They can fit you out with a casual spot for a price.

Network, network, network

You’ll find plenty of like-minded entrepreneurs in New York, but it’s a big city, so the trick is all about finding them.

Coworking spaces are a great place to start, so while you may not want to pay for a desk, you do get the added benefit of networking if you invest in one.

There are a few other key meetups, however, that you should consider. One of the best – and free – is DUNY or the Down Under New York Tech Meetup. It’s growing in influence. Financial Services minister Kelly O’Dwyer and Victorian Small Business and Innovation minister Philip Dalidakis have addressed this group in the past six months.

If you are looking to move further up the chain and network with like-minded professionals, then consider a membership at the SOHO House. It’s exclusive on the basis that it looks for people with unique backgrounds rather than high net worth. It’s also global, so there’s that added benefit.

Keep in mind that in New York, you may have hundreds of acquaintances but only one or two might be true mates. It’s a big city, but it can be lonely.

Timezones are a killer, be ready to work late – and don’t move over early in the year

Get ready to put in some long days if you are still doing business back in Australia. Just as your New York business day comes to end, Australia starts waking up.

Conference calls and Skype meetings between your 6pm to midnight become a very normal routine for an Aussie techie living in New York.

Managing your New York day routine and schedule is the key to making this work. It’s true that New York never sleeps, so you’ll never be without a place to eat or something to do afterwards if you do burn the midnight oil. Business in New York does not stop on weekends so don’t be surprised if you get emails on a Sunday, with a response expected the same day.

Speaking of timezones: do yourself a favour and don’t make a New Years resolution to move your office to New York at the start of 2017. It’s freezing in February. The best time to move and acclimatise is March through October.

Trade coffee meeting for phone calls – and when you do meet, leave the right impression

Australians love to get things done over a coffee. In New York, the best you’ll likely wrangle initially is a 20 minute phone call.

Typically, the New York lifestyle is based around trying to cram as much into each day as possible. Phone calls play well into this dynamic. In New York, business relationships get built over time and are mostly based on success.

If you do finally meet in person, keep your appearance in mind. Execs and New Yorkers alike tend to gauge your status by looking at, in no particular order, your shoes, your watch, and your grooming. You don’t have to dress like a fashion model. Just be mindful that there is a larger focus on appearance and expertise in New York than in other cities.

If you don’t do anything else: get a local involved with your company before you move

One way to avoid a lot of grief and cultural shell-shock when you move over to the US is to partner with a New Yorker, or at least a US citizen.

Thanks to having our current chairman, Bane Hunter on board before I moved, I learned the easy way not navigate the complexities of the US market including minor details, like which public holidays Americans are willing to talk shop on. On some holidays, like Thanksgiving, they prefer not to be disturbed.

But his help extended beyond understanding cultural pleasantries. We landed our first enterprise deal on the back of Bane’s relationships in New York.

Adapting to New York is always going to be a challenge, but a familiar face and some grassroots knowledge can give you the edge you need to succeed.

Image: Joel MacDonald. Source: Supplied.

GetSwift closes $1.5M pre-IPO raise

 

From Financial Review (Anthony Macdonald)

Chinese real-estate portal Juwai, which has completed a $10 million pre-initial public offering raising, is targeting a local float late this year.

This column understands the latest raising was supported by local and Hong Kong-based institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Juwai, which connects Chinese property buyers with sellers in other parts of the world, is aiming to raise about $30 million for its run at the ASX.  

Brokers Baillieu Holst and Evans & Partners managed the pre-IPO raising of convertible notes to investors, as revealed by Street Talk last month.  The notes convert into shares at the time of listing.

Despite a clampdown in Australia in some areas of foreign lending, the Juwai business continues to grow in its key markets.

 

Elsewhere, boutique corporate advisory firm Cygnet Capital is finalising a pre-IPO funding round of $1.5 million for GetSwift, a smart delivery platform that facilitates the management of drivers, dispatch tasks and track goods delivery in real-time.

The funding round to a select group of investors, is said to have been well received, and the company is targeting an ASX listing to raise at least $5 million.

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."

 

www.getswift.co

 

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, Liquorun.com. 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 Softwareadvice.com)

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.

  

Introduction

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.

Conclusions

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.

Methodology

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" growth.......click 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:

adshoppers.jpg


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.