This holiday season has seen the rise of on-demand courier services, and it promises to spice things up for small, local businesses looking to make fast, cheap deliveries of their products to customers.
The concept of on-demand delivery is certainly not new (think: failed dot com company, Kozmo.com, which promised to deliver a variety of goods at any cost to customers in less than an hour). But, with recent announcements by both Uber and Amazon that they have launched their own courier services to deliver packages, it’s now a viable reality.
And that is very good news for small businesses looking to expand. In October, Uber began offering its delivery services in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City in a partnership with local businesses. As the company states on their website: “In hundreds of cities across the globe, you can press a button and get a ride in minutes. Now, through UberRUSH, business owners can use that same technology to get customers pretty much anything in minutes.”
By partnering with UberRUSH, businesses can not only easily, quickly, and cheaply manage deliveries, but they can expand their delivery zone. This is made possible by the fact that new couriers are always available, and they don’t need to make round trips. To make the deal even sweeter, Uber has joined up with eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify and ChowNow, to provide the smoothest customer experience possible.
Shortly following Uber’s announcement, Amazon.com revealed its own entry into the logistics space. Amazon’s initiative, called Amazon Flex, relies on contractors who have their own cars and smart phones to instantly deliver products that were purchased via its online sales platform. Flex is currently offered as part of Amazon’s premium one-hour delivery service, Prime Now.
One of the direct results of Amazon’s and Uber’s entry into the on-demand delivery space is the rise of the freelance delivery industry. As the demand for freelance couriers increases, we’ll likely see a number of individuals launching part-time or full-time businesses performing deliveries. Or, a more elaborate example: how about a person who invests in a small fleet of electric bikes, then hires other people to make the actual deliveries? There are many possibilities and a lot of potential all of which is poised to help the local economy- this year and beyond.