Quick Delivery e-Commerce is Back
In the San Francisco Bay area and Atlanta, two e-commerce companies are betting on the appeal of almost-instant delivery.
Back in the ’90s, Kozmo offered speedy delivery of anything an urban dweller might want or need fast, without leaving their home or office. Pack of diapers or a bag of Cheetos – everything was delivered under an hour. No delivery fee, and no minimum order amount. Although they turned a profit in New York, Kozmo expanded to other cities too quickly, infamously burned through USD 280 million in venture capital, and went bust in 2001.
Kozmo’s former CTO went on to launch MaxDelivery in 2005, which Springwise featured earlier this year (along with Turkish After-9). Here are two more ventures that are giving the instant gratification model a try.
San Francisco-based LicketyShip is currently in beta, and delivers to select areas around the Bay (including San Francisco, Berkley, Oakland, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Santa Clara, and Marin).
Besides what seems like a more prudent approach to spending VC dollars, LicketyShip delivers within two hours instead of one, and charges around USD 20 for delivery. Also, instead of holding inventory or employing a stable of bike couriers, LicketyShip works with local retailers and delivery companies. An extensive database continuously tracks product and courier availability. The company’s database features over 20,000 articles, including lots of electronics and office supplies.
On the east coast, Zifty has been offering Atlantans fast delivery since 2004. Zifty delivers food, movies, magazines, snacks, and household goods in about an hour, and partners with restaurants to deliver meals. The company employs drivers, but keeps costs down by paying them per delivery. All orders have a delivery fee of USD 0.99, and an additional USD 2.99 is added for orders from restaurants. Orders with a subtotal over USD 50 get free delivery, and those placed more than 2 hours in advance get 50% off the fee. Minimum order size is USD 9.95.
Now that everyone’s online, and consumers are willing to pay extra to save time and get instant gratification, similar uber-convenience concepts are popping up in cities around the world. One to copy to your neck of the woods!