HUBBED, a Sydney-based startup launched in 2013, has shaken up the longstanding ecommerce delivery space by offering an alternative approach to parcel delivery.
Through its network of partnerships with both transport companies and 680 newsagents, it provides a service it says is more consistent with consumers' online shopping experience than its competitors.
Founder and CEO, David Mclean, left the corporate world after working at Microsoft for over 15 years to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship.
He tells Business News Australia that his "aha moment" came when he realised that competitors in the retail delivery space were focused on online only, rather than creating a solution which caters for the whole customer experience.
"I never believed in this mantra that you are either online or offline, and offline was going to die because online was winning."
"So I thought, why don't I create something that gives me the best of online but also with the convenience of retail with great customer service and in an environment which is convenient to consumers, giving consumers a genuine alternative."
Unlike others in the parcel delivery space, Hubbed, 30% owned by Singapore Post, provides consumers with the option of being able to pick up and send parcels through its national network of more than 680 newsagents.
It also offers failed delivery services for its partnership courier companies, Courier Please and DHL, which allows customers to pick up failed delivery parcels from their nearest participating newsagency.
Mclean says the Hubbed model "focuses on the customer who is ultimately in pursuit of choice, convenience as well as cost effective services".
He adds, "To that end, we had to break the existing status quo. The difference between Hubbed and everyone else is that Hubbed's management of parcels is in line with people's experience with purchasing."
"What I mean by that is, you can purchase 24 hours a day, you can purchase 7 days a week online so why can't you pick up your parcels and send your parcels on exactly the same basis and that is what is unique about Hubbed and what no one else in the market is doing."
Mclean says that Hubbed's network for pick-ups and deliveries is expanding and will later this year also include petrol stations across Australia. This will take its national coverage to upwards of 1,400 newsagents and petrol stations, more than double the size of Hubbed's current network.
This change, Mclean says, will provide even greater flexibility to customers as many petrol stations have long opening hours every day of the week.
Mclean says that Couriers Please and DHL's interest in the Hubbed model was due to its ability to solve the "last mile problem".
"A major thing that all courier companies and logistics companies out there deal with when it comes to ecommerce is trying to solve that last mile problem."
"The costs are really high particularly as sometimes up to 30% of people aren't home when their parcels are being delivered and there is a great amount of dissatisfaction from the consumer's perspective when they receive those failed delivery cards."
Australia's appetite for online spending has continued to flourish in recent years with research in December 2015 from Roy Morgan showing Australians spent an estimated $37.8 billion over the internet in the last financial year with around four in ten buying at least one product online during an average four-week period.
Mclean says that there are further plans in the works for Hubbed's future including bringing ecommerce transactions through digital technology into its network of newsagencies and petrol stations to provide consumers the ability to arrange for returns or purchases on the spot when they do pickups or deliveries.
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