The Dispatcher: Issue 4

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Logistics Market Expansion Dominated By Manufacturing, Retail  

The nightmare of 2013, and the roughly two million packages that were delivered late, still looms large in the minds of retailers, carriers, and customers. So let’s check in to see how some of the largest logistics providers and retailers are preparing for this 

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The World’s Most Valuable Resource is No Longer Oil, but Data

A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era.

 

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These are the Transportation & Logistics Predictions Business Insider Intelligence got right for 2018

At the end of 2017, we outlined five predictions for the transportation and logistics industries for the year ahead. We're now revisiting those predictions to see how they stood the test of time.  Here's what we got right about 2018.

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Amazon To Expand Whole Foods: Is AmazonFresh Strategic? Will Amazon Acquire A Grocery Distributor?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning to build and expand Whole Foods stores across the U.S. to put more customers within range of the e-commerce giant’s two-hour delivery service. 

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Skip the Bag Lunch: Students Opt for Delivery Over Food From Home and Cafeterias

Gone are the days of bag lunches and bologna sandwiches. With a tap on a smartphone, students are getting burgers, paninis and sushi delivered right into their hungry hands at school.

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Swift Tip
: Want $250? Refer a Friend to GetSwift 

       How it works:

  1. Refer someone new to GetSwift

  2. Someone new uses GetSwift for 90 days

  3. You get $250 in your account!

  4. Pat yourself on the back

  5. Refer another friend

The Dispatcher: Issue 3

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 2018 Holiday Logistics Guide 

 The nightmare of 2013, and the roughly two million packages that were delivered late, still looms large in the minds of retailers, carriers, and customers. So let’s check in to see how some of the largest logistics providers and retailers are preparing for this 

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Three Future Delivery Trends We are Likely to See in E-commerce

 Of course, many brands are already offering next day delivery, but same day delivery is likely to become very much the norm in the years to come. Research shows that consumers are willing to pay more if it means getting faster delivery. 

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The Scooter Stampede of 2018 is Great News for Urban Transportation

The beauty of the e-scooters that companies like Skip, Bird, and Lime can whisk you across towns and parks for a couple dollars. Pick one up where you find it and drop it off where you like, as long as it’s not obstructing traffic.

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This Self-Driving Car Uses a Fold-Out Robot Arm to Deliver Parcels

Based on a video of Lotte in action, the delivery vehicle can not only drive itself to a secure locker, but even place a package inside with a fold-out robotic arm — eliminating the need for any human intervention.

How to Make Most of Crowdsourcing in Last-Mile Delivery

As the holiday season gets underway, we’re seeing more and more delivery vehicles on the road. But not all of them are immediately recognizable. That’s because many shippers are turning to crowdsourced logistics to tackle last-mile delivery. As the trend gains speed, consider these strategies to make the most out of crowdsourcing.

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Swift Tip
: The Customer Feedback Link automatically checks the pulse of your business 

  • Utilize the White Labeled Customer Feedback link to get ratings and comments in real time

  • Customers can use the 5-Star rating scale as well as leave feedback

  • Proactively reach out to unsatisfied customers before they reach out to you...or worse post on the internet!

The Dispatcher: Issue 2

Mercedes’ AI research could mean faster package delivery

Using a combination of computer vision and AI, Mercedes believes it can help reduce the time needed to load packages onto vehicles and make sure these boxes are in the optimal spot for an AI-created delivery route. More importantly to delivery companies, the system is cost effective.

To reduce traffic, pollution, delivery services hop on the bike

“UPS is very focused on urban logistics, and our ‘cycle logistics’ solutions, which the cargo e-bike is part of, are all designed to address congestion and pollution,” UPS spokesperson Glenn Zaccara said in an email.  


How smart logistics can help a retailer win the same-day delivery game

Retailers can remain competitive if they can determine how to offer same-day shipping at low prices. Same-day delivery is no longer just a plus but an expectation

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The last mile: Logistics’ final frontier meets gig culture
The so-called "last mile" conundrum has stumped otherwise perfectly tuned systems, confronting them with routes and infrastructure that simply aren’t designed to handle the demands of frequent shipments.

The cost of a failed delivery continues to rise, survey shows

"Today, simply tracking a package isn't enough. Retailers and brands that want to thrive need to invest in people, processes and tools that positively impact last mile delivery and customer loyalty."

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Swift Tip
: Use Automated Alerts to prevent failed delivery  

  • Maintain, retain and build customer loyalty through proactive outreach

  • Let your customers know when to expect their delivery with a customized SMS or Email

  • Send a Tracking Link and customers can follow their delivery on our White Labeled Map...they will even see a live ETA!

  • Solicit feedback with an automatic survey to identify strengths and weaknesses of your business

Introducing The Dispatcher: Issue 1

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Looking Ahead: 11 Predictions On How Drone Deliveries Will Work

As commercial drones gain in popularity, businesses and consumers are speculating about the technology's future role in logistics. Will the systems allow for smarter deliveries at lower costs?

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The Quick and The Late: Testing Same-day Delivery

Same-day delivery offers the tantalizing convenience of online ordering with nearly the . same immediacy of store buying. But how well are stores pulling it off?

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E-Commerce Industry’s Last Mile Needs Create New Demand for Old Warehouse Space

CRE developers can use everything from old government facilities to brownfield sites to capitalize on the need for last mile warehouses.

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You Can Send a Scary Clown to Deliver Doughnuts (and Nightmares) to Your Friends

You don't really know how much you love doughnuts until you're faced with the decision of whether or not it's worth it to snatch one from the hands of a scary clown.

Cannabis Delivery Is the Next Big Trend in the $10 Billion Marijuana Industry

Staying ahead of the curve is how you make the most money in the stock market, which is why we're eyeing the explosive new cannabis delivery sector.

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Swift Tip: Use Your Data to Find Efficient Gaps

  • The heatmap shows where you are currently doing deliveries....but our Swift Experts suggest using what you don't see.  

  • Analyze the empty spots to target new or restrict low volume delivery areas!

  • Use your average delivery by hour or day of the week for smart driver roster planning

GetSwift prepares to deliver

From The Australian - David Swan

Melbourne-based delivery logistics software outfit GetSwift has landed the “godfather of angel investment” Sig Mosley and former Defense Advanced Research Projects scientist John Wilson as senior advisers to its board, as it looks to push further into the US.

Mr Mosley, who has been the most prolific tech investor in the southeast of the US since 1990 having invested in 120 start-ups, said he was very impressed with the Australians and their business “made all the sense in the world”.

“We know logistics and we are very involved with logistics, there are very few companies that have this kind of growth pattern that go from inception to this point, this stage of scale,” he said, adding he and Mr Wilson were planning on investing, but the company had already gone public in Australia.

“It’s funny, we don’t usually have companies go public at this stage,” Mr Wilson said.

GetSwift’s platform uses algorithms to optimise the delivery service for enterprise firms, focusing on the last mile of deliveries, and is used in 51 countries. Mr Wilson said he hadn’t been able to find a natural barrier to the company’s growth.

“The fact they’re already in multiple language markets, and multiple time zones, and scaling smoothly; there’s just a frictionless component to their growth that suggests they may be on a very high trajectory, with all the ingredients there,” he said.

Mr Mosley is currently the record holder of the largest southeast venture capital deal with the $US5.7 billion acquisition of Tradex by Ariba. He is also a director of The Imlay Foundation, Techbridge, and Entrepreneurs Foundation of the Southeast.

Mr Wilson meanwhile helped develop flexible TV screens and electric vehicles, beginning his work with electric vehicles in a 1993 project with the US DARPA.

While in Washington, he also served as executive director of the Southern Governors Association and Washington office director of the Southern Legislative ­Conference.

GetSwift executive chairman Bane Hunter, a former Foxtel and Viacom executive, said he was thrilled and honoured to have the US executives on the team.

“Their advice, networks and experience will be an important contributor as GetSwift is poised to transform the SaaS logistics sector, not just in Australia, but globally,” he said.

Little Caesars hopes to overtake Australian pizza market

Ernie Koury, Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia, hopes to open 400 stores across the country.

Ernie Koury, Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia, hopes to open 400 stores across the country.

IF YOU thought the pizza market was already overcooked, think again — because a US heavyweight is hoping to take a big slice of our $3.7 billion action.

Established in 1959, American pizza chain Little Caesars has their sights set on Australia’s fast food market, and hope to become the biggest pizza franchise in the country.

Opening its first store in Casula in 2014, it’s been a slow burn for the franchise to develop across the country — with just four stores currently sitting in NSW.

But according to Australian director, Ernie Koury, the goal is to boom that number well into the hundreds over the next decade.

Ernie Koury is Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia. Source: News Corp Australia

Ernie Koury is Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia.Source:News Corp Australia

 

“The market itself could easily sustain 400 Little Caesar franchises,” Mr Koury told news.com.au.

“But it’s important to get it right. This is not a contest of speed, and about how many stores I can build as soon as I arrive.”

Mr Koury, said his slow rollout is part of the plan to “develop the exact product required for the Australian consumer”.

“If I came to Australia and opened 20 stores at once, then realised we needed to change the format of our business to cater for local requirements — that would be much harder to do,” he said.

“That’s why we opened a single store, provided a product, and observed how it suited the marketplace.

“When you begin any venture like this, you need to make sure you have a core offering that you can watch, manage control and develop.”

Little Caesars Pizza currently has four stores in Australia, with the goal of reaching at least 400. Source: News Corp Australia

Little Caesars Pizza currently has four stores in Australia, with the goal of reaching at least 400.Source:News Corp Australia

 

Mr Koury says after Sydney, he hopes to open five more stores in Australia by the end of this year. And while he isn’t definitive on location, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and regional Queensland are all in his sights.

As the third largest pizza franchise in the US, Mr Koury says his ‘Hot-N-Ready’ offering — which allows consumers to purchase and collect a pizza within 30 seconds — is an industry gamechanger.

“There’s lots of meal time choices out there, but it’s how we service our customers — by eliminating the planning and ordering ahead — that can’t be beaten,” he said.

“You can walk in, and within 30 seconds you can have a pepperoni or cheese pizza available straight away.

“Pizza is traditionally a longer term sale process with a lot of planning involved. But with our drive-through service, it actually takes longer to receive your change than to get a pizza.

“It’s something you can’t get anywhere else in the country.”

Australian’s love their pizza, with Dominos and Pizza Hut gobbling up majority of the fast food pizza market. Picture: Jono Searle.  Source: News Corp Australia

Australian’s love their pizza, with Dominos and Pizza Hut gobbling up majority of the fast food pizza market. Picture: Jono Searle. Source:News Corp Australia

 

The Australian pizza market is currently dominated by Dominos, who have around 600 stores plotted across the country. Their franchise accounts for almost half of the sector, with Pizza Hut coming in second.

Last year, Pizza Hut brought out a significant portion of the troubled Eagle Boys pizza chain after they went into administration, and begun converting some of their stores with Pizza Hut’s own branding, boosting their overall store count to more than 320.

Research by IBISWorld predicts revenue growth of 2.3% in the pizza industry from $3.5 billion in 2013-14 to $3.9 billion in 2018-2019.

In the US, Little Caesars comes in as the third biggest pizza chain — after their first store was opened in Michigan almost 60 years ago.

The company has over 4000 stores in the US alone, and according to Nation’s Restaurant News, was recording annual sales of US$3.4 billion ($4.5 billion) in the US in 2015.

In Australia, the franchise has around 120 employees across NSW in its four stores.

“My father was the first franchisee to start Little Caesars in the western states of the US, starting off in Arizona” Mr Koury told news.com.au.

Domino's Pizza currently has more than 600 stores across Australia. Picture: Jamie Hanson. Source: News Limited

Domino's Pizza currently has more than 600 stores across Australia. Picture: Jamie Hanson.Source:News Limited

 

“As a chain that was around Michigan, his store was the first Little Caesars to start the expansion across the country.

“From the age of seven, I was rolling dough with my family, where myself and my siblings worked from a very young age.

“Arizona turned into one of the best markets in the country, which is when he set his sights on Australia.”

Moving to Australia in 1986 to scout the market, Mr Koury’s father decided “the time wasn’t right” to bring the pizza franchise down under.

“My brother and I owned El Paso, Texas and a store in Southern Mexico which we sold in 2009,” he said.

“Then in 2014, I packed up my family and moved to Australia — opening a store in Casula later that year.”

Mr Koury said his business model went through some major adjustments in 2016, after feedback from consumers from his pilot store.

Initially, Little Caesars didn’t have the delivery service, and they also served a pizza “too big” for Australian consumers.

“We needed to launch a fleet of scooters because delivery is so big here,” he said.

“Customers also complained that our sizing was too big, there was waste, so we changed our pizza from 14-inches to 12-inches, and lowered our price for Pepperoni and Cheese to just $5.”

Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza offering means consumers can get their 12-inch pizza in just 30 seconds. Source: News Corp Australia

Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza offering means consumers can get their 12-inch pizza in just 30 seconds.Source:News Corp Australia

 

Australia has become hot property for American fast food chains looking to expand their empire.

In 2016, controversial burger chain Carl’s Jr. opened their first Australian store on the NSW Central Coast.

The chain, which is known for it’s over-the-top burgers and sides, already operates in more than 30 countries.

At the time of opening, Carl’s Jr. had the vision of setting up more than 300 restaurants over 10-15 years.

To date, the chain has just two stores in the country.

Since its inception in 1948, burger chain In-N-Out has gained a cult following all over the world for its simple but tasty burgers.

Based out of Irvine, near Los Angeles, In-N-Out outlets can be found all over California. It’s also expanded to outlets in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Oregon.

And while the chain has no intention on moving permanently to our shores, they have ‘popped-up’ in several establishments across Sydney over the years — causing burger-mania in its wake.

Just last month, the chain set up shop in Surry Hills, where obsessive burger lovers lined up hours ahead to get their hands on a burger.

From a nutrition standpoint, Australia has one of the highest obesity counts in the world — with almost two in three adults either overweight or obese.

That’s more than 10% higher than in 1995.

With consumers shifting away from fast food options, and into healthier alternatives to combat our growing waistline — Mr Koury believes his offering still has a place in the market.

“We make our dough from scratch, and never use concentrated tomatoes in our sauce,” he said.

“We are always exploring new products, and are working on a salad concept within our stores. “But from a nutrition standpoint, we take measures to make our pizza healthier — by not using oil in the pan, and having corn meal instead, and by not adding MSG to our pizzas.

“So when I look at pizza, and people say its horrible for you — we aren’t selling it as an every day option. It should be a fun food, and a treat.”

Red Rooster says home delivery a silver bullet

from news.com.au

 

IT’S the year of the Rooster, and not just for the Chinese.

Red Rooster, the ageing chicken brand founded 45 years ago in Western Australia, is undergoing its very own cultural revolution, with plans for a major expansion into NSW and Victoria as it sets its sights on Domino’s in the home delivery market.

Chief executive Chris Green, who joined two years ago after nearly three decades at McDonald’s, has kicked off a massive transformation program, refurbishing ageing stores, rolling out a fleet of 400 distinctive red delivery cars, and launching a loyalty program which has already signed up 300,000 members.

With 360 stores, Mr Green plans to open 15 to 20 new locations every year out to 2020. Red Rooster is now turning over $480 million in revenue and is on track to hit $500 million this financial year off sales growth of more than 5 per cent.

“This financial year we’re going to have the strongest growth for a long time,” he said. “The previous year was probably three to four per cent, but the last two years we’ve been outpacing the industry.”

Delivery, he said, has been the key to Red Rooster’s new-found success. Launched two years ago in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills, delivery has expanded to 240 stores and now accounts for 10 to 30 per cent of sales, the majority of which has been incremental growth.

“We refer to it as the ‘silver bullet’ internally, it’s massive,” Mr Green said.

He said while Domino’s had dominated the delivery market, “Woolworths and Coles don’t deliver roast chickens, so there’s sort of a hole in the market”.

“The growth has been amazing,” he said.

“It’s introduced new people to the brand, whereas in the past they might have driven past some of our locations, which maybe didn’t look so good on the outside. Probably a key part of it is the red delivery car. These shiny red cars are all around the neighbourhood of the franchisee providing great marketing.”

Red Rooster has invested around $1.5 million developing its own online ordering system, as well as partnering with Menulog. “People are discovering Red Rooster on Menulog, and it might be either the first time they’ve had it, or they haven’t had it for a long time,” he said.

The new store push will be focused on inner-city areas in Sydney and Melbourne, where the brand has traditionally had difficulty finding drive-through sites. Most of the prime real estate is taken up by McDonald’s.

 

A new, smaller-format store in the style of Domino’s or Subway shopfronts, will solve that problem. “In Sydney, there are actually about two million Sydneysiders that can’t access Red Rooster,” Mr Green said.

“But this new model, because it’s reliant on delivery, it opens up a lot of new areas.”

Franchisees’ capital expenditure for the small-format store is around $350,000 to $400,000, compared with costs in excess of $750,000 for a typical drive-through location. Rental costs are also much about half those of a drive-through, generally under $100,000.

“We’re targeting $20,000-plus per week in sales [at the new stores], but our first location in Goulburn has already exceeded all expectations,” Mr Green said.

Going forward, the business is aiming for a 50/50 split of drive-throughs and small-format shopfronts. Currently the business has 300 drive-throughs, 30 smaller stores and 30 stadium or airport locations.

“When we can get a drive-through that will always be an option, but in built-up areas like the northern beaches or inner-city Sydney, those locations are very difficult to source,” he said.

Mr Green said Red Rooster was taking lessons from Domino’s, even rolling out GPS tracking to more than 40 restaurants. “They’ve absolutely been the leader but I would say in the last two years we’ve almost become off the charts as a strong competitor,” he said.

“There are some things that Domino’s does that are gimmicks, we’re probably a bit more focused on the customer.”

‘FAILED TO EVOLVE’

The Red Rooster brand has “enormous opportunity” that has largely been missed over the past decade or so, Mr Green said.

“I’d always admired Red Rooster as a brand,” he said on his decision to leave McDonald’s. “It probably was at its height in the ‘80s and ‘90s and it went through a bit of a decline after that.

“They were owned by Coles in the ‘80s and ‘90s and that’s when the brand did really well. It had that parent that was able to guide it both from a brand and real estate perspective.

“But from around 2000 to really about three years ago, it failed to evolve, and mainly that was a lack of reinvestment in the restaurants, so a lot of restaurants did become rundown.

“So it was a big attraction — a well established Australian brand with lots of opportunity to capture and grow.”

Mr Green said the first thing he did when he came on board was work with franchisees to refurbish the ageing stores. In his first year the company worked with franchisees — Red Rooster only has 10 company-owned stores — to refurbish 75 restaurants, when in the previous two or three years there had been fewer than 10.

“A lot of the signage was replaced, the exteriors were painted, gardens were cleaned up, the dining rooms, floors, settings, tables and ceilings [were redone],” he said.

“So that was big. That signalled a lot of change to people that had maybe stopped visiting Red Rooster because the competitors looked better.”

Menu changes, including salads, updating the 30-year-old coleslaw recipe, and introducing new seasonings, have also had an impact, he said.

Overall, the Year of the Rooster is looking big for parent company Quick Service Restaurant Holdings, which also owns Oporto and Chicken Treat.

QSRH was bought by private equity firm Archer Capital for $450 million in 2011. Archer is mulling either a stock market float or sale of the business later year.

Mr Green said if he had to bet, he would say an IPO was more likely. “But it’s open to both,” he said. “The most important thing is we have differentiated strategies for all three brands and different target markets.”

QSRH’s three brands have a 25.4 per cent market share of the $2.9 billion takeaway chicken shop industry in Australia, according to IBISWorld, behind KFC operator Yum! Brands which has 41.6 per cent market share.

Restaurant group Collins Foods, which also operates a number of KFC restaurants in Queensland, WA and NT, has a 15.5 per cent market share, while Nando’s sits on 10.8 per cent.

“Like many fast-food providers, [QSRH] has faced increasing competition from new forms of fast food over the past five years,” IBISWorld industry analyst Andrew Ledovskikh said. “Profit has remained relatively steady despite weak revenue growth, as a focus on franchising revenue has supported profit margins.”

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 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.

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.

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, Liquorun.com.

“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 Liquorun.com 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 www.getswift.co 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, Liquorun.com. 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 Liquorun.com  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 www.getswift.co 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!