We’re all pretty busy individuals, whether it’s in our personal lives or when we’re at work. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone would mind some help when it comes to getting things done, right? Take for example if you’re at work jam-packed with meetings and deliverables, but you’re hungry and also need to pick up your dry cleaning or even buying that new jacket you know is on sale, which ends today. Just how are you going to be able to do all of that? You might be able to source it out to TaskRabbit or even Zaarly, but you want someone dedicated and vetted, not necessarily crowdsourced. Don’t get me wrong, I’d totally use TaskRabbit and Zaarly, but I consider them more of a crowdsourced assistant for a variety of other things besides just deliveries. But in the example given above, I’d have to give my trust over to Postmates, an on-demand delivery service that is disrupting the way traditional couriers are currently operating. No longer are they just business resources, but for personal use too.
A battlefield finalist at a recent TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, this “stealth startup” (as listed on Crunchbase) is geared to help make your life simpler by having anything delivered in three simple steps: by using the Postmates app (currently available only for the iPhone), just enter the locations where you want pick-up and delivery, a brief description, and delivery time. That’s it! If you want, feel free to include a photo of the item you want to pick up/deliver. This might make it easier for both the courier and the recipient to know what’s coming. The Postmates app also will allow you to track your delivery in real-time so you know when it will get there–no more waiting around because the courier service said it’ll be there between 7-11am or other ridiculous times. Oh, and Postmates will deliver it within two hours or less!
Being hailed as the “Uber for courier delivery” by PandoDaily, Postmates is looking to bring more luxury and professionalism into the traditional courier industry. In fact, they’re totally disrupting it by offering dedicated couriers that have been vetted and they’re levering cool technologies to make it happen–very much like what Uber did with car service.
So what happens if you’re not able to simply wait up to two hours for your delivery? Does that mean you’re resigned to simply going out and buying it on your own and wasting more of your time? Nope…Postmates has an answer for that and it’s in the form of a brand new app called Get It Now. What it is designed to do is simplify urban logistics–the couriers will go out and purchase anything you want using credit cards and deliver it to you or any recipient within an hour. It definitely seems like a model that FedEx employs with their same-day or one-day delivery service, except it’s now with couriers and the timeframe is WAY shorter. As PandoDaily’s Paul Carr explains:
…the app allows you to choose any product available in any local retail store and have it hand-delivered by one of Postmates’ network of couriers in less than an hour, anywhere in the city. Forgotten your iPhone charger? Postmates will send a courier to buy you one and deliver it to a coffee shop. At a hotel and need contact lens solution and a pizza? Done and done.
Loading the app, users are invited to choose a store and an item. The stores are pulled from a database, but the shopping list is just free text, so you can request anything from a complicated pizza order to a specific t-shirt or a lamp or a sharpie or — well — anything else up to $50 in value.
As you can see, there are obviously some restrictions on what you can have delivered to you–it must be cheaper than $50 in value. And right now, the app will only service those people within San Francisco. Don’t worry, Get It Now is in beta right now so that’s why it hasn’t expanded to other areas of the country, but I’m sure that if this is a success here, then it will definitely grow. Postmates did report that in their “pre-beta” release, Get It Now had almost received 300 orders totaling around $5,000 so there appears to be demand for it.
Just like the original Postmates app, Get It Now offers you pretty much the same functionality that you would expect when you want to place an order or receive it. You’ll get a dedicated courier who will make the pick-up and drop-off and you’ll see who they are and even rate them–very similar to the Uber experience. Perhaps the difference with Get It Now is probably the pricing: you will need to pay the value of your package. In addition, there will be a delivery fee of $4.99-15.99 (most likely depending on the distance traveled), plus a percentage of the package value (estimated at 5%). Since the courier would have purchased your goods using a credit card, the information is digital and can be tracked–you would pay Postmates in the same manner, but through the use of the mobile app. I suppose that when you sign up and start using the Get It Now app, you’d enter in your credit card info and after you sign for the package, it will instantly deduct the amount from your card and email you a receipt.
I think that the Get It Now app, and even Postmates, will be a big hit and help change the way we receive our deliveries. You’re helping out the local economy and putting a bit more professionalism and class into an industry that not many people really care about–nice to see it be disrupted. Plus with the success that Uber has had with their app, I think that the service industry may move into that direction and cater to that model and bring back the goodness in customer service–Postmates has done a great job leveraging that.
Postmates was started in 2010 by Sean Plaice and Bastian Lehmann and is currently still in “stealth mode” (although now that you’ve announced at TechCrunch Disrupt, is that still true?) and has secured $750k in funding from angel investors like Naval Ravikant, Thomas Korte, Scott Banister, Matrix Partners, Huddle founder Andy McLoughlin, Yelp co-founder Russel Simmons, and many more.
Photo Credit: FourStarCourier.com