WE Vancouver: Lifestyle couriers add zip to Vancouver deliveries

Lifestyle courier Tom Malcolm makes a Zipments.ca delivery to the WE Vancouver office.— Image Credit: Martha Perkins
Lifestyle courier Tom Malcolm makes a Zipments.ca delivery to the WE Vancouver office.— Image Credit: Martha Perkins

It’s not likely that you have a sudden need for a camping cookstove or new Khamsin hoodie. But there is a chance that instead of driving to a Mountain Equipment Co-op store you’d love to have that cookstove delivered to your home tonight after work. If you have plans to go, how about having it delivered to you at the café where you’ll be having lunch?

But perhaps you want to make a little extra money. You might want to be the person who delivers the cookstove to a MEC customer in your neighbourhood.

Welcome to the Zipments courier community.

Zipments originated in New York but has been brought to Canada by Rob Safrata, a member of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City Action Team.

Zipments.ca went live for the first time last Wednesday in Vancouver and the North Shore. Right now it’s just business-to-consumer deliveries through two retailers — MEC and Edible Canada — but more business partners will be signing on in the new year. And, as the launch is rolled out, individuals will also be able to use Zipments.ca for their own courier needs.

Making it work is an army of “lifestyle couriers” who can take on as many deliveries as they want, turning it into a full-, part-time or even occasional job.

“It fits my lifestyle and allows me to participate in the shared economy,” says Tom Malcolm who delivered a zipments.ca package (from zipments.ca) to the WE Vancouver office. A recent MBA grad, he’s helping to launch the “delivery your way” service in Vancouver and also decides which courier jobs he’d like to do. He just checks his smartphone app to see what deliveries come up and if he’s available — and fast enough to beat another courier to it — clicks his acceptance of the job.

Same-day delivery times can be fine-tuned to the half-hour from nine in the morning to nine at night.

It’s the type of service MEC had been looking for, says the vice-president of operations Gary Faryon. “Retailing has changed because the customer is now in charge,” he said in a telephone interview. Other couriers aren’t as nimble when it comes to where and when deliveries can be made. With Zipments, the customer is in charge, often texting directly with the courier. “Retailers have to embrace new technologies to compete,” Faryone says.

Faryon’s glad his company can now offer same-day delivery as part of an omni-channel retailing model that can be more flexible and responsive.

“Our members have never asked for same-day delivery but people’s time is limited so people look for different ways to cut things out of their schedule. One is to have [orders] delivered to their door,” he says.

He likes that the consumer will be able to communicate directly with the courier and believes it’s a very social way of doing deliveries. MEC charges a $15 fee but that should eventually come down.

He still expects to see many members still shopping in the store. “There’s something to be said for the experience” of touching and trying out the products, he says. “For some people it’s exciting and entertaining.”

Read the full article on WE Vancouver by clicking here.

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