Consider this before choosing a fleet management software provider

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

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

Check these out:

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

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

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

Where was the software made?

How long has it been around for? 

How large is the engineering team to support your needs?

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

Can the company you choose support scheduled tasks?

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

How detailed is the reporting capability?

What are the hidden costs?

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

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

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

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

Best Delivery Management Price. Best Delivery Management Software Service.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to try Swift out for free? Click here

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

Reduce Parking Tickets in New York City (Swift dispatching)

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

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

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

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

 

FURTHER READING:

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

Predict when your orders arrive with Swift delivery management software

 

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

 

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

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


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

You are welcome : )


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

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

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

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

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

Here are the numbers:

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

Average CSA casual wage: $21.87 per hour

Total working hours in a year: 1920 hours

Total hours saved: 806 hours

Total overhead reduction: $17635 per year

Swift subscription: $2,400 per year

 

Total savings: $15,235 per year

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

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


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

9 Hot Tech Companies to Watch in 2015

from currencyfair

Hot Australian Tech Companies To Watch

CVCheck – Never again will you hire someone whose CV is incorrect or perhaps has more fiction than fact. Employers, property managers, and even individuals can use CVCheck to verify information or add value to their own CV. The company does over 700 checks in 190 countries. Don’t hire another employee without using CVCheck to make sure that they are who they say they are.

Mystro – Mystro is an advanced program is a complete project management site for healthcare professionals. Mystro takes care of appointments, assigning rooms, and more. It makes total office management simpler and more efficient. There are a lot of new features in the works, such as a mobile service area tool and daily updates to service providers that will make Mystro even more powerful. (Facebook – Twitter)

Car Next Door – This is an idea whose time has come: Renting a privately owned vehicle from your neighbor through an online database. For only $25 a day, you can rent someone’s car for whatever you need. This ingenious idea can give a small business or start-up owner the transportation that they need without having to buy a car and vehicle owners get a little bit of extra cash. (Facebook – Twitter)

Remindful – An Australia-based SMS reminder service, Remindful is simple, but effective application that sends an SMS message to clients and customers reminding them that they have an appointment with your business. With this program you will reduce the number of missed appointments and downtime and since it’s only $20 per month, this application can pay for itself after just one saved appointment. (Facebook)

RosterElf – With RosterElf, it is easy to roster staff, avoiding open shifts or double staffing. RosterElf works on a smartphone or a tablet and makes it very easy to share the roster with the entire staff.  It even allows you to use SMS or email notification for employees. No service business should be without this simple and powerful app. (Twitter – Facebook)

HealthEngine – This is a home-grown booking and health directory for patients and practitioners. The patient side provides an easy-to-use directory of providers around the country. Users can search for GPs, dentists, and specialists from all over the country. Providers are able to choose from a number of marketing packages that will help to promote their business on the website and off. (Twitter – Facebook)

Swift – An old idea is getting a new lease on life. They’ve built a sophisticated logistics management platform that gives users visibility over their fleet, automates the distribution of task assignments with a proprietary batching algorithm and communicates directly with the receiver to maximise worker uptime so they can fulfil more tasks. Started as an after-hours alcohol delivery service, it has now expanded to include many more stores and products. This is a great asset for any business that is seeking to expand its customer base without a large up-front investment. (Twitter – Facebook)

Tanda – An online automated time and attendance monitor, Tanda handles rosters, timesheets, and other functions that help to eliminate time theft. The interface is simple and intuitive. It even provides an automated award interpreter, making shift awards a simple process. Every business will be able to maintain more accurate payroll records through the use of these tools from Tanda. (Twitter – Facebook)

SafetyCulture – SafetyCulture has created two products that work together, iAuditor and Safety Culture. iAuditor allows for mobile safety inspection reports and SafetyCulture gathers data from entire teams all in one place. The purpose is to increase and streamline safety solutions in the workplace. The company is an innovator that is setting standards around the world for this type of product. (Twitter – Facebook)

7 Tips to Make Your Delivery System Even More Efficient?

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

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

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

Ask yourself:

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

 

 

Discover the Advantages of Delivery Management Software to Small Businesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

or chat to a smart human


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

Delivery Enthusiasts!

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

Click here for the full presentation

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Page 36 – Delivery guarantee 

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


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

This is the future of e-commerce logistics!

Jason

 

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

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

Define the problem statement correctly

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

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

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

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

Economics regarding all units

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

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

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

Frequency of Transactions

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

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

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

Meeting the target critical mass

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

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

Choosing the right designs for the business model

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

Scheduled Model or Instant Model

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

Aggregated Supply or Integrated Supply

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

Keep the target market size easily reachable

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

Knowledge about operating domain

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provide OTP and Verification Calls

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

Texts and Calls from within the app

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

Notifications based on events

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

Masking of Numbers

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

Send out broadcast messages

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Other essential factors that need to be taken into consideration

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

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

Twilio API

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

 

Sinch API

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

 

Nexmo API

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

 

Plivo API

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

 

The Verdict: Twilio or Nexmo or Plivo or Sinch?

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

 

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

About Instacart

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

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

An overview of the founders and funding of Instacart

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

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

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

Prominent features 

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

Value Proposition of Instacart

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

 

Customer base of Instacart under three broad categories

User Segment

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

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

Shopper Segment

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

Store Segment

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

A 4-step methodology about the functioning of Instacart

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

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

Source of revenue for Instacart

Delivery Charges

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

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

Membership charges towards Instacart Express

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

Increase in mark-up prices

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

How does the customer base of Instacart grow?

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

How does Instacart recruit shoppers?

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

 

Common challenges faced by Instacart and solutions

Retention of shoppers

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

Cut down the delivery time

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

Insufficient Shoppers

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

Building Customer Trust

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

Wrong delivery by shoppers

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

Ordered product not in stock

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

What is the future of Instacart?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Map API user for your app

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

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

Usage Costs

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

Support Document of API

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

Ease of Use

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

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

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

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

Features of Digital Mapping required for Android/ iOS Apps

Turn by Turn Navigation

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

Real Time Tracking

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

Calculation of Estimated Time of Arrival

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

Capability to re-route or provide traffic updates

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

The Verdict

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

Costs to develop an app like Uber?

Uber has been highly successful and its business model has pushed several entrepreneurs to develop an app that is similar, so that it benefits their business. When you understand the type of apps that are similar to the ‘Uber for X’ type of apps, you would be curious to know what it takes to build an app that is similar. Before getting into the details, let us discuss about the different aspects involved in on-demand apps. However, you might not require all the aspects that are a part of on-demand apps. You might not need some of the features of Uber but you might need additional features as a part of your app, based on how different your business is when compared to Uber.

There are several apps that are already developed in the same lines of Uber. Hence, let us have a closer look at the aspects you need to consider while developing your app.

How similar is your business model to that of Uber?

Several businesses are describing themselves using the Uber for X model and are following a similar approach to eliminate the inefficiency in their processes and achieve better results. This model can be treated as an on-demand service model where services or products are requested and it is serviced either online or offline. However, there are several aspects that vary in their offerings and implementations but the model is similar to that of Uber for X.

To develop an app like Uber, we need to consider the following factors:

  • That the supply is not bound to the platform closely and is used only to aggregate the supply of services.
  • Demands by users are not for sometime later and are required for an instant action.
  • User does not get to choose the service provider in the on-demand model and the easily available one is allocated.
  • There are no much options available and it all works according to a pre-decided procedure.

You can also have a closer look at the case of Venturebeat, which is an on-demand provider, so that you have a better understanding about the factors that need to be worked upon.

If you wish to know more about how the on-demand business model works, you can download the e-book regarding the on-demand business model.

 

Which business vertical do you wish to target with your app?

Irrespective of whether it is a transportation company or any other service, the apps might vary from Uber. But in this example, we are considering the case of Uber and hence, we will look into the details of an app related to transportation.

For an app to have similar functionalities like that of Uber, the best option would be to consider companies that provide Software as a Service, or SaaS for your app.

There is already an app called TaxiHawk in place that provides similar services to over 25 businesses worldwide.

However, if you are looking to build an app for a specific business model, you might have to get down to the details and the approach might change.

To address this issue, the best solution would be to follow a top-down approach. You would have to consider the app to have several modules such as matching, tracking, scheduling, payment, notifications, review, signup etc. which form integral components of the app. Hence, there are generalized codes available for each module that are highly generic and can be used for nay on-demand business models. 

Once all the modules are shortlisted, you might have to make several custom changes to suit to the requirement of your app.

 

How do on-demand apps evolve?

There is an evolution model that needs to be followed when you plan to develop an app that is similar to Uber. You would have to take into consideration four crucial aspects before developing an app: Discovery, validation, efficiency and scale. 

All the parameters pertaining to these aspects must be taken into consideration before you plan the evolution of your app.

Apps of this type have to go under several stages and only when it passes these stages, it can be scaled based on the need.

 

So finally, what would be the cost incurred to build an on-demand app?

By now, you would be having a clear idea about the factors that are considered while developing an app like Uber and the costs pertaining to each factor.

For an app that focuses on a single region and should have the capability to handle 500-1000 transactions daily, the development costs would range from $100 - $200k based on the platform and the business model.

This cost is incurred when you have to start the development of an app afresh in a developed country like the USA.

If you make use of pre-built tools and APIs like Swift for dispatching and a custom CMS for booking, the costs might come down by 40%. If you have an experienced team, the costs can range from anything from $40 - $80K.

Real-time delivery tracking: A better logistics future

The Logistics industry in undergoing one of the biggest consumer trends in recent history and now consumer expectations in transport and logistics are rising. The need for more convenient and transparent transport and delivery services is one of the reasons Swift is growing so fast. Thanks to pioneers like Uber, Postmates, Lyft, Sidecar and Instacart it is now no longer acceptable to not provide real-time updates and tracking for on-demand deliveries. These technology companies understand the importance of on time delivery and delivery success. They are in the business of delivering on time and if they can’t do that then what is the point!

Gone are the days of a 16 digit tracking number and waiting on hold for 20 minutes with an operator. Companies who do not adjust to this shift in demand will lose market share. The great thing is, it is very affordable to adapt to new technologies and now it doesn’t make sense for a small start up or even a multi national to invest in a development team or build their own delivery tracking platform.

Today, communication is paramount for a successful delivery and a little bit of technology is currently missing from some of the largest logistics companies in the country. This is where small delivery businesses can develop competitive advantages and carve out shares in niche markets by offering a better service.

Real-time delivery Tracking the future of Logistics?

As mobile adoption rates increase, days are becoming limited to receiving delivery to a set address. The future of Swift will enable merchants to deliver to the GEOlocation of the customer 20 minutes before arrival time. If the customer stays within a standard deviation of that location then delivery will still be able to completed all while ensuring convenience for the customer and updated delivery routes for the delivery driver.

Imagine a world where you order something online at home and then go down the road to have a coffee with friends. Imagine a courier walking right up to you mid coffee and you sign for a delivery. This is the future of urban logistics!

 

Reduce missed deliveries!

If you are a restaurant that delivers then you have a tight window to get food to the customer otherwise time decays freshness, profitability and customer satisfaction. The statistics say that 1 in 5 deliveries are missed due to the customer not being contactable when the courier arrives. Missed delivery contributes to huge losses especially for courier carriers and there seems to be some key technology that is missing that could easily improve these statistics.

As the number of online transactions increase, so does the volume of attempted delivery failures and businesses can gain a competitive advantage if they are able to reduce their missed delivery count.

Here are some tips on how to reduce missed deliveries:

Provide a realistic delivery window based on routing

A delivery window between 9am & 5pm just won't cut it anymore. Calculate the delivery route based on previous data and provide a tighter delivery window estimate then use technology to track the driver so as he approaches send the customer more updates to ensure they are home

Over-communicate

When an order is received, email and SMS the customer. When the driver has been assigned, SMS and email the customer. When the driver has picked up the item, SMS and email the customer so they can now expect a convenient delivery window. When the driver is 5 minutes away, SMS and email the customer. You will need to use a delivery management service to help you communicate the delivery status and then watch your delivery fails decrease!

Use real-time SMS notification technology

Customers are always on their phone but not always on their email. Don't take the chance and rely on a customer being notified by email. A good delivery management software should allow you to email and SMS the customer in real-time the exact status of the job to ensure a successful delivery. 

Provide Real-time Tracking

One of the primary reasons for failure reported was because customers were not at home for their allotted delivery slots, in spite of being alerted to expect a courier that day. Customers just want the piece of mind to know where there delivery is in real-time so they can plan their day better. The whole point of e-commerce is that it is convenient. Hanging about waiting for a delivery man to come isn’t, which is why consumers take a chance and pop out for a minute, and by the time they return, the delivery man has come and gone. With real-time tracking, you give the consumer a convenient way to continue their lifestyle whilst having access from their mobile to when they should pop back home to accept delivery!

Allow Two-way Communication between Customer and Driver

The customer should be notified 5 minutes before arrival. If they are still not there, the driver should be able to call them quickly to ensure delivery. Vice versa, if the customer will be down the road then at least there is a channel of communication available to ensure both parties can locate each other at time of delivery. Sometimes it might just be a simple text message that tells the driver to go around the side gate because the door bell does not work. Enabling this simple form of two-way communication will reduce missed delivery losses each week.

 

Not everyone has the budget or time to set up an SMS carrier, automated emails, or real-time tracking system to communicate with customers delivery status updates which is why businesses who deliver look for delivery management software as an important tool to help improve their missed delivery count.

10 Variables to Dispatch Deliveries Like a Pro

Dispatching deliveries is a procedure for assigning employees (workers) or vehicles to customers. Industries that dispatch include transport, logistics, couriers, emergency services, as well as services such as cleaning, plumbing, handyman, mobile tanning, mobile massage, pest control and electricians

To design an efficient dispatching system and to be able to estimate reasonably accurate delivery times, a large set of variables need to be taken into account.  

"An efficient dispatching system needs to quickly rank a set of variables relevant to the industry: time, distance, load capacity, traffic, weather, perishability of items, and carrying capacity and then model it against previous data for similar delivery routes in order to dispatch efficiently and accurately estimate time of arrivals” says Keith Urquhart, Chief Technology Officer of Swift dispatch management software.

Here are 10 variables you should consider to create an efficient dispatching system:

How quickly does the job need to be dispatched?

Is it same day or does it need to be done in 60 minutes? Routing and dispatching can become extremely efficient when understanding the time sensitivity of a job.

How big is the load of the delivery?

Furniture, envelope or there might not be a load measurement for service based businesses. This impacts who can move items form A to B in your fleet.

How are the traffic conditions for the suggested route?

This is important for managing arrival expectations for your customer if traffic conditions are not normal and alternative routes need to be taken

Are the items perishable and require priority?

If a courier is carrying a pizza and a case of beer, the model should consider whether dispatching and assigning the pizza delivery first is more efficient than delivering the alcohol delivery second. The key calculation to consider is what is the perishability of the items being carried and set a multiple against certain items. Pizza might stay optimal hot for 20 minutes so if the system calculates the beer can be delivered first and pizza second all within 20 minutes then a directional distance smart route would then take priority.

Who is the fastest courier?

Before dispatching, your data can tell you who is quickest in the area. It might be because their vehicle is a bicycle in the middle of New York City and so the system should place higher value on bike messengers if they can carry the required load.

Who is the closest courier?

After ranking the fastest couriers it is then time to calculate who is nearest to pick up.

Which mode of transport do they have and can they carry this item?

You should do a detailed study about their procedure of dispatch; does their transport vary according to the goods that need to be dispatched? If so, then find out what kind of transport they use for different items and then rank vehicle multiples against the required load to be dispatched.

What is the current job capacity of nearby couriers or drivers?

If you are an on-demand delivery company then the dispatching system should identify who is the least busy in the area. Perhaps you set a maximum carrying capacity of 3 so the software needs to identify who is full and who is available. A transport dispatch system might have a carrying capacity of 1 person or a ride sharing app might set a limit of 3 persons if those people are travelling in the same direction.

Is there a driver moving in the same direction that could deliver faster?

Sometimes it is more efficient to move a good with a busier driver if they are moving in the same direction and all other parameters line up. This simple math can dramatically reduce your driver costs and maximise delivery margins.

Probability of another delivery job in that same area being received within 5 minutes based on previous data?

After some months of data collection, Swift can accurately calculate the the probability of an order being received in any location within the dispatching area. This becomes extremely important for assigning tasks in the same direction whilst utilising the carrying capacity of your fleet

 

Once jobs have been dispatched effectively, you can then use a smart delivery management software that tells your driver which jobs to complete first based on the above parameters. 

Have any questions about the above or how Swift can help improve your current dispatching system?

Get in touch with one of us today!

 

 

4 tips when building your own courier app

After starting a courier business the best business decision one can make to improve efficiencies, save costs and impress more customers is to build delivery management software to automate all of your manual delivery processes. But before you think about investing thousands in courier tracking app or fleet management technology consider these 5 things that will save you time and money

Look for delivery management software tools

Instead of spending time and money on building your own logistics software application, there are now many delivery management SaaS providers who will offer similar functionality for a fraction of the price. Write down what you need your software to do and approach all companies to see which is the best fit within your budget and feature requests. If most services can cater to 80% of your needs is it worth building your own software or is it better to save that money and allocate it towards marketing and other investments that will contribute towards your business delivery growth. On-demand delivery software is now becoming a part of the on-demand stack and it no longer makes sense to build your own delivery management software and courier apps.

Stay lean with V.1 functionality

A quick and easy way to know what you want is to make a list of the functionality of all of your competitor apps and then as a team go through each one and delete that features that are not 100% relevant to your business. By staying lean and launching your MVP (minimal viable product) you will save your company time and money and this will allow you to build only the most important features into your software. When we built version one of Swift, we made some big assumptions on features that we thought we needed. Features that would have blown out our budget by another $100,000 if we built them. Looking back, I am glad we focused on launching an MVP product as most of the assumed features would now be irrelevant to our delivery software needs.

If you have decided to build your own courier fleet software than it will be good to first build the core and important features of the application and then wait to add more features. Keep an eye on the market and see what features other courier services have added to their software to enhance their efficiencies and experience for their customers. To save even more money, look to see if you can integrate a delivery tracking tool with a simple delivery job assignment algorithm that you might be able to find on the internet.

Ensure Automated Capacity Utilisation

If your deliveries are time sensitive and have a tight delivery window (aka on-demand delivery), then make sure that your software can automatically utilise capacity on your network of drivers. You can utilise capacity by setting limits for orders that drivers can accept so the fleet is utilised efficiently and not one driver is stacked with too many jobs which slows everyone down. You can also utilise capacity by offering emergency jobs to drivers for higher compensation to bring more drivers onto the network during surges in demand. Stabilising the work load and incentivising backup drivers within your delivery fleet network will lead to improved customer satisfaction and good business and for a busy company the only way to successfully do this is to automate through software. Perhaps if you are starting out, look to partner with local on-demand delivery companies who you can call upon in the case of surges in demand.

Let the software make decisions for your drivers

If you really want to maximise the uptime of your delivery drivers then you should have your management software tell them which delivery to do in the exact order based on a number of parameters (distance, time due, traffic, smart routing, perishable vs non-perishable items) this will make the life of your couriers extremely easy, will ensure that all deliveries are made on time, and increase the volume of orders your fleet can fulfil per hour (incredibly important for wage earning fleets)

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