14 July 2015

Crowd shipping ups ante on mainstream retail

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As Australia’s biggest retailers spend vast amounts on smarter, faster systems to transform tangled supply chains, a big question-mark is looming on the horizon. Is the asset light ‘Uber-esque’ Crowd Shipping model going to become mainstream? Will our investment in top shelf infrastructure fail to pay off as a result?

Former Conference Producer, Ben Finnan, recently spoke with Rob Emmett, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Mee Meep, Australia’s leading crowd shipper, about the future of online delivery and the chance of an industry shake-up. 

Ben: How did Mee Meep come about Rob, from an idea to reality? 

Rob: The early conception of MeeMeep came about observing inefficiencies in the transport space. Frustrated by seeing half empty trucks returning to depots, cars with only one person travelling to and from work choking up our roads coupled with high courier rates prompted me to start thinking about a better way to organise the energy moving about our roads infrastructure. The courier and delivery space seemed to be dominated by a few players who were operating on old legacy systems intent on making their processes more efficient but without the consumer in mind. The intent of the initial model was to simply sell spare capacity within the transport system or hitch a ride with someone going that way anyway.

MeeMeep uses an app based platform where movers and senders can organise delivery to and from any location.  As a sender, I place my job on the app and specify the pickup and drop-off destinations and the time I would like the delivery.  Movers see my job, offer a quote and I can select the best price and time available. On delivery, my mover gets rated on their service and the payment transacted electronically through secure channels; in a way its Uber, but for shopping.  

How it works, the MeeMeep Model:

Ben: Rob, what is crowd shipping for those of us who are strangers to the term?

Rob: Put simply crowd shipping is using the power of the people to help solve common delivery needs. The cornerstone of the MeeMeep philosophy is to solve the last mile problem for consumers by orchestrating the delivery of items when, where, how and at a price the consumer wants.

Ben: What impact might crowd shipping have on competition amongst retailers, big and small?

Rob: Crowd shipping will have an enormous positive impact across all retail sectors. Crowd shipping is now starting to solve the ultimate last mile problem across all product categories, both large and small. Traditional models generally do a good job with anything under a 25kg weight, however, frustrations at a consumer level still prevail. We are in the process of implementing the MeeMeep platform with a major retailer who use Australia Post for small packages. They identified their number one complaint from customers who buy online is being ‘carded’ when no one is home – the consumer in this instance would have been served better by simply going in store rather than making a trip to the post office on a Saturday morning while the kids are playing sport. Crowd shipping eliminates this entirely by creating an efficient point to point delivery service when the consumer wants.

Part two of this exclusive interview will be online next Tuesday morning.
Constantly tapping, Ben has always been a drummer at heart and a stranger to silence; much to the dismay of many.  Channelling this energy through a keyboard, Ben found a lust for writing and moved to Sydney to pursue a career in writing and research. As a producer Ben is passionate about discovering new information and using it to help industries move forward.

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