How to Deliver Goods Around the Country With the Help of Strangers

March 14th, 2017

Mobile / People-to-People / Product Development / Case Studies / Web // Oksana

If you have ever needed to deliver something, you probably thought “Oh, perhaps, one of my friends is going there” at least once.

Or you heard that someone’s traveling to another city and you’re like “Oh, hey! That’s awesome - can you please take this little package along to my relatives/friends?”

Or you wanted to get paid to deliver packages as you're traveling.

Sharing economy businesses are on the rise today as more and more young adults become conscious about ecology, saving and efficiently using the natural resources, and simply saving money.

People to people or p2p delivery service (also known as “crowdshipping” or crowdsourced shipping) is one of the sharing economy areas that competes for the market share along with traditional delivery options like post offices, FedEx, DHL, and others.

According to the statistics of 2013, over 8 million people fly every day (around 3.3 billion people per year). Considering it’s 2017 right now, and counting other means of transportation other than commercial planes, it is safe to say that right now the numbers are at least 1.5 times as high.

Ukraine is catching up with the trends, but while the idea of crowdshipping has always been present - people often send care packages to family in other cities with friends who go that way - there was no one official business that would provide a platform for organized people-to-people delivery.

Most people rely on traditional post office services, but there are many young people, especially students, travel to and from various cities, for study purposes or simply traveling. Most students, also, would not mind the additional source of income to cover travel expenses.

Enter, Brinfy.

The main idea of Brinfy is to bring together those people who want to send something from one place to another and those who are willing to help with the delivery.

The exchange process and benefits

Every idea should be pilot tested, but before you test and do anything, define the user problem you are solving with your idea.

Drawing the exchange process helps to see what does each of the participants get and what each of them can offer to the others. Using it, you can understand the main needs of the business model participants.  

When you clearly see what is desired, needed, and can be provided, it simplifies the process of creation and implementation of the tools you’re developing.

It also helps to find more interesting models and solutions that would change the way your users are solving the challenges right now, since very often the accepted and widely-used solutions hide the true need and don’t allow to create new and improved ways.

Here’s the basic exchange process for Brinfy (click to enlarge):

Factors important for SENDER

  • The goods are delivered
  • The goods are delivered safely
  • The goods are delivered under agreed terms (cost, place, time)
  • Special delivery options
  • Specific deliveries (large packages, animals, etc.)
  • Delivery Helper ratings (either trusting the ratings on the website or trusting someone’s recommendation of a certain delivery helper)
  • The availability of a delivery helper (for the timeframe required)
  • The ability to save money on goods delivery

Factors important for RECEIVER

  • The goods are delivered
  • The goods are delivered safely
  • The goods are delivered under agreed terms (cost, place, time)
  • Special delivery options
  • Specific deliveries (large packages, animals, etc.)
  • Delivery Helper ratings (either trusting the ratings on the website or trusting someone’s recommendation of a certain delivery helper)

Factors important for DELIVERER

  • Payment guarantee
  • Legitimate goods (animals) for delivery
  • Personal safety
  • Ability to choose what to deliver and when
  • Ability to easily earn additional income

There were three available business models that could be applicable for the process - peer to peer shipping, courier delivery, and marketplace. But since marketplace was a more B2B model and we were aiming to reach ordinary people, we decided to go with the sharing economy model (similar to what BlaBlaCar uses.)

Here’s the business model for Brinfy (click to enlarge):

Prototyping your user story

After you have defined and described your exchange process and chose the business model that you want to pursue, creating UI/UX is the next step.

While user interface (UI) is important, one of the main things to pay attention to at this point is user experience (UX). Your UI might be amazing, but if your user has to scratch his forehead and think for a minute where to click to order the service, then something is wrong.

Prototypes are extremely helpful for this task. Before you do any of the development, create a prototype of your app to click around and perfect the process. While it may take additional time, in the beginning, you’d be grateful for it afterward, because the prototyping process saves you money and minimizes stress levels for your developers (and you, too) since they can see how you want things to work.

(We do UX for our projects and here's a list of mockup and prototyping tools we love.)

Stay tuned for our next article about Brinfy. We will be talking about the creation of a project plan for this peer to peer delivery service and nuances that are good to know when you’re planning your business from the ground up.

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Author: Oksana

With over 10 years of experience with IT industry and over 4 years in project and product management, Oksana is an expert in business analysis, marketing research, project launch and management, product and process quality control.

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