VIC start-up to launch crowdsourced delivery platform

Delivery small

Melbourne delivery tech start-up Passel will soon launch an innovative delivery platform in Australia that will offer same-day delivery for consumers, and will source delivery operators from an on-demand network of locals.

Once consumers have completed a purchase, they are guaranteed delivery within three hours. They way the platform intends to honour this is through a network on on-demand couriers – individuals working in and near to shopping centres.

The system will match those finishing work in and around shopping centres in the following period and heading in the same direction as the purchaser’s destination, essentially enabling people to help deliver items on their way home. In return for their efforts, the individuals will receive a $10 electronic gift card once receipt is confirmed.

Marshall Hughes, one of the co-founders behind the idea, spent two decades working in freight before conceiving the idea for the business due to a throwaway line: “One day, you’ll be shopping in the hardware store and your phone will ping with a message that Mrs Jones, who lives around the corner from you, has just bought a shovel online. If you deliver it on the way home, we’ll give you a $10 gift voucher.”

When no one else seemed to be delivering the model, Hughes decided to do it himself.

“The biggest change I have seen over the past 20 years has been the growth of B2C (business-to-consumer) delivery,” he told Logistics & Materials Handling. “It has grown really rapidly and, the thing is, it’s hard to do B2C well. Traditional freight structures are not suited to sporadic delivery.

“It is hard to predict when people will want things, and with freight you’re constantly trying to balance supply with demand, so you don’t have drivers sitting around doing nothing,” Hughes added.

The platform’s website notes, “Solutions such as drones and lockers only serve to push the problem further down the line, rather than trying to find a better way to get online orders into the hands of the customer.”

“Because of Passel’s opportunistic model, we’ll be able to deal well with spikes and troughs,” Hughes added. “For example, we’ll be able to find people to deliver for us the week before Christmas when it is impossible to get couriers, and the week after Christmas won’t be a problem for us as our couriers are on demand.”

Passel is due to begin operations in September 2017.