Forget drones – SMEs need delivery solutions now

Steve Orenstein Zoom2u

With all of the recent hype about Australia Post launching ‘delivery by drones’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that these machines are going to fill our skies delivering parcels door to door, in a much faster timeframe than we’re currently used to in Australia.

This is just not the case. Whilst drone technology certainly appeals, particularly in regional Australia, there are just too many issues to overcome at the moment in densely populated areas.

Drone operators are required to stay more than 30 metres away from people, buildings, vehicles and boats; and not exceed 120 metres height in controlled airspace. Indeed, to send a drone ‘out of sight’ requires special CASA approval, so you can start to appreciate that drones really aren’t the ‘solution’ small businesses are crying out for in Australia today.

We are a nation of online shoppers. NAB estimates Aussies spent $19.2 billion online in the year to January 2016 – about 6.6% of what is spent in physical stores but a rise from last year in all sectors except daily deals. That’s up from $16.6 billion the previous year and around three quarters of that was from domestic sites.

But our traditional delivery services haven’t kept up, so as customers, we’re increasingly frustrated having to wait around for couriers to arrive, standing in lengthy post office queues or having to reschedule a delivery for another date. And then when you are in, the courier doesn’t bother knocking, sticks the notice in your letter box and drives off.

This is the certainly the frustration I felt, which is why I set up Zoom2u in 2014. As Australia Post increase charges and delivery times get longer, small businesses are facing an increasing challenge to get products to their customers both cost effectively and fast. They’ve often invested so much in making the online experience a good one, but the ‘last mile’ is letting them down.

Of course this frustration from both businesses and consumers hasn’t gone unnoticed and many start-ups are coming into the market to try and take market share from Australia Post and the large courier companies. But essentially, many of them are just repackaging existing services and networks as third parties.

To truly help small businesses deliver a better service to customers, they don’t need drones, they need a delivery system that works. They need a solution that delights their customer, that makes the customers life easier, that tells them in real-time exactly when the delivery is going to occur and doesn’t trap them in their house waiting around for a delivery that may or may not ever show up.

Steve Orenstein, CEO and founder, Zoom2u