Last-mile delivery services have been changing over the last few years. The term classically refers to companies that bring products from shipping centers to their often more rural destinations. More recently, crowdsourced delivery services have extended the term to mean delivering food or other goods from the store to the consumer.
Crowdsourced and on-demand delivery services have made same-day delivery from services easy and affordable. A number of restaurant delivery services have been offering food from different restaurants.
Now it has expanded to grocery, local retail shops, e-commerce and more. Some of the services discussed in this article will only deliver food. Others will deliver just about anything. Some of the services are localized to specific areas or geographic regions while others operate globally.
They use different rates and pay structures and provide different services and ranges of services. Here is an analysis of the most successful crowdsourced services. There are a number of clone sites with differing success.
Deliveroo is a London-based crowdsourced delivery service active in several countries throughout Europe and Asia. The country dispatches riders who go to restaurants to pick up take-out from local restaurants that don’t offer delivery. The rider then brings the food to the customer at their home, place of work, &c.
The service has expanded from its humble beginnings to offer information, exclusive offers, and sales, and other services. Its website is now a place for users to view menus, browse catering options, and even get deliveries from Deliveroo-exclusive kitchens. Deliveroo editors organize options by flavor, ethnic style, cost, and more and also share their favorite picks. These services are great for those who are hungry but aren’t really sure what they’re “feeling.”
Postmates is a San Francisco-based delivery company that operates within the United States. It’s similar to Deliveroo, but they don’t only deliver takeout. Users can get takeout delivered, but they can also get groceries and alcohol delivered.
The fact that they deliver alcohol is a big selling point for the company, as a lot of restaurants that offer takeout don’t serve alcohol or don’t allow alcohol to be included in takeout orders. There are also times when one might have enough food in the fridge but might be running low in the liquor department.
Users can also track their delivery so that they know where it is and when it will arrive. As is the case with Deliveroo, Postmates users can search by location rather than need to see lists of stores or restaurants that they may not have been aware of previously. Users can also pay an annual subscription fee to avoid paying fees with each delivery.
Uber Eats is another San Francisco-based delivery service active around the world. Launched by the popular crowdsourced ride-sharing company Uber, Uber eats works similarly, through a mobile app. As is the case with Postmates, users can track their delivery drivers so that they can plan around their expected delivery times. Uber Eats is more like Deliveroo in that they only deliver food from restaurants with take-out services – no deliveries from grocery stores or liquor shops.
Active throughout the United States, GoShare calls itself “your friend with a truck.” The service dispatches drivers with four different sizes of trucks, from smaller pick-ups to full-sized box trucks. Rather than just delivering food, GoShare drivers will deliver more or less whatever a user wants, whether that’s delivering a couch from the furniture store, dropping off a load of old things to the resale shop, or helping a user to move.
The service has tracking just like the food delivery services above but it also has insurance for its trucks that also covers whatever a user is having shipped. That way, if anything happens to the delivery, all that the user loses is time.
DoorDashis a San Francisco-based food delivery service activities throughout the United States and with a few locations in Canada but most densely on the West Coast. The service works along the lines of Uber Eats or Deliveroo – it delivers from collaborating restaurants but not from grocery stores or liquor shops.
It offers similar service to some of the others in that you can track deliveries and browse available restaurants online but it lacks a lot of the more sophisticated web presence of sights like Deliveroo.
Swiggy is a crowdsourced delivery service similar to Deliveroo or Uber Eats but is based in India. It only delivers from restaurants that offer carryout and offers live tracking so that users can see where their drivers are and when it may arrive. They promote fast delivery and no minimum order.
Something that they don’t largely advertise but is still exciting is their bug bounty. Bug bounty programs payout to hackers to identify potential security issues in the website to protect user data.
The Hitch is designed to be available everywhere without using localized hubs like the other crowdsourced delivery services that have been discussed so far. Whether Hitch is available near you isn’t about whether Hitch has an office near you, it’s about whether people in your region have discovered Hitch yet.
The company calls itself an “on-the-way” delivery service and prides itself on being greener than other crowdsourced delivery services because it encourages drivers to make deliveries along routes that they would already be traveling for other business rather than make a separate trip.
Hitch works like GoShare but Hitch doesn’t provide the truck, and you can’t choose what vehicle gets dispatched. However, they will deliver pretty much anything provided that it fits in the available vehicle. The website also states on the website that it won’t deliver drugs, weapons, or people.
Pretty much anything else is fair game. Users may not want to have Hitch deliver any grand pianos anyway, though, as they don’t have the insurance that GoShare has. When shipping valuable items users can request a “verified travelers” to deliver the item, but that’s about it.
The service doesn’t offer to track in the same way that other services discussed above offer tracking. Rather than letting users see exactly where a driver is, the driver takes a geotagged photo to confirm the pickup, along with an estimated arrival.
Roadie is another “on-the-way” delivery service like Hitch. They work similarly but stress longer-distance deliveries. This is potentially pretty big as most crowdsourced delivery services, including Hitch, restrict deliveries to the local area.
Roadie has a program similar to Hitch’s verified traveler program, but it also covers deliveries up to $10,000. It also offers real-time tracking similar to most of the services described above.
Roadie also offers a shipping calculator so that you can check the price of your delivery before you seek out a driver. Roadie also has a lot of good press. They may not be a big company like Uber or a familiar name like Postmates, but they work some big companies including Walmart and Home Depot.
Some companies see these services as expanding their business while saving them the expense of offering such services themselves. However, more and more grocery stores and retail stores are offering local deliveries in order to compete with or capitalize on the last-mile delivery craze.
Food deliveries used to be a nightly occurrence in most places, in the form of milk and egg men. Deliveries of other groceries and even furniture were also once much more common. Between the erosion of the ubiquity of these services and the current boom in crowdsourced delivery, people missed last-mile delivery.
Now that the technology has arrived for people to source last-mile delivery for themselves, it has become an expectation again, leading more brick-and-mortar businesses to strive to offer it.
Whether you’re a business looking to deliver your goods to better serve your customers or an entrepreneur living in an area not covered by any of the services described above, starting a crowdsourced service to cover last-mile delivery in your area is easier and more affordable than you may think, not to mention potentially profitable.
There’s plenty of inspiration in the wide variety of services, features, and structures exemplified in the above companies. Some of them, like GoShare, involves a pretty high start-up cost given their insurance structure and the fact that they provide their own trucks.
Other services with structures like that of Uber Eats or Postmates have comparatively low start-up costs. Most of these services also open themselves up to competition because of how they limit their deliveries.
Most of them will only deliver food but a similar service that would deliver anything may have a pretty serious market. GoShare, Hitch, and Roadie offer these services but aren’t widely available in all areas.
Hitch and Roadie are also exciting in that they demonstrate that these services don’t require offices in a big city in order to thrive. Most of these services are unnecessarily based in and around large population centers.
The smaller and more spread out communities that are most in need of these services are often the last to get them, making these areas prime opportunities for industrious spirits who can bring them these services before bigger names have gotten around to them.
If you are running a startup and working on creating a last-mile delivery service or reverse delivery service, it would be prudent to utilize existing delivery clone services for creating the MVP. Instead of spending month creating your mobile apps and platforms, you can focus on the business infrastructure and partnerships.
If you look into the success of these companies, business model and execution has been the key. Locologic is a proven last-mile delivery solution, that be integrated with any delivery or pickup related business.