Sydney startup Zipmate relieves the disappointment of missed deliveries through its on-demand service

- February 8, 2016 3 MIN READ

It feels like Christmas when a package shows up at your door and you finally get to see and feel your online purchase, which may taken weeks to arrive. On the flip side, there’s nothing worse than returning home to a note at the door saying you missed a delivery and the package has been returned to the post office for pickup, especially when it’s already after hours.

We’re accustomed now to getting everything on-demand, when we want it. What good are delivery services if they clock off at a certain hour and god forbid we have to wait another day to see our precious goods? For those deliveries on demand – which, let’s be honest, is every delivery – hassle-free service Zipmate has opened its platform to Sydney shoppers.

Launched last week, Zipmate is looking to relieve that particular brand of disappointment that comes with missing deliveries. Cofounders Naby Mariyam and Hyacinthe Hamon saw that the logistic services of Australian delivery companies were substandard and have yet to keep up with the demands of online shoppers and decided to create a solution.

“We found out that more than forty percent of ecommerce products get returned to the depots. So that is a lot of wastage and an inefficient process, but on top of that it makes the customers really unhappy,” said Mariyam.

“Even though ecommerce has come a long way, I don’t think logistics have made the change to be able to cater to the demands of modern day shoppers.”

Zipmate’s platform allows online shoppers to schedule their packages to be delivered on-demand, with this demand continuing into the after hours. Shoppers sign up to the website and are given a custom address to use for any national or international online checkout. For example, when paying and checking out items on ASOS, users can fill in their custom address given by Zipmate. The parcels are shipped to Zipmate, where a personal shopper then delivers all received orders from depot to doorstep at a time that’s convenient for the shopper. Deliveries can be scheduled between 6pm and midnight seven days a week, covering the hours that the local postie doesn’t.

Personalised messages are sent to the shopper once the Zipmate depot has received the package and then once again to confirm the scheduled delivery time. Packages are delivered in a one hour window and customers have the ability to track their delivery through the Zipmate app, which shows real-time location and movement of their package.

At this stage the depot is located in Bondi, covering areas around Bondi, Balmain, Tamarama, and Ryde. In the coming months Mariyam and her team expect to expand their coverage throughout Sydney but for the time being they are working on road testing their product and meeting client needs and expectations.

Zipmate customers can either pay by the purchase, which is a $10 service fee, or for those who are shopaholics there is a monthly plan of $49 giving access to unlimited deliveries and returns. First delivery is free to all customers and there is a cancel anytime policy with no lock in contracts.

The delivery service market is full of startups trying to relieve the pressure of mainstream delivery services. There’s everything from grocery delivery to beer delivery and hopefully soon puppy delivery. There is a huge demand for on time or convenient deliveries and thanks to companies like Airtasker peer-to-peer delivery is an available option 24 hours a day. Other startups like Zoom2U allows customers to book by 12pm for same day delivery by 5pm. A tracking app that works much like Zipmate also gives customers the assurance of where their package is and when it will arrive. Zipmate is bringing Airtasker and other courier services together.

These days it’s all about satisfying the customer and offering the fastest and most reliable service. Like any of these delivery services the biggest challenge is disrupting the marketplace and getting customers to come on board. For Zipmate the challenge will be expanding while keeping up with customer demands, and watching the space for others that want to tap into ecommerce delivery.

“In the US [this product] is quite common but in Australia it is not. But also, Australia is a great market place and we’re quite tech savvy and our customers are willing to try new products so that’s a really great opportunity,” said Mariyam.

Mariyam hopes to have 50,000 users by the end of the year and will soon be opening up the service Android and iOS users on mobile. A key advantage which Zipmate aims to tap into is creating a strategic partnership with online retailers and ecommerce platforms. These partnerships are yet to be confirmed but will be crucial for expansion and customer traction.

Currently Zipmate is working on some seed investment but won’t reveal all the details until the deals have been locked in. For now the startup is working towards a promotional Valentine’s Day delivery service for all those romantics out there who want to send their loved ones same day delivery roses or chocolates.

Mariyam said, “We’re expecting really high demand, so we’re just preparing ourselves because as a startup you don’t know how the market is going to react. We want to make sure that the customer experience is absolutely seamless.”

Image: Naby Mariyam. Source: Supplied