Team eCommerce Next interviewed Mitchell Nikitin from Via.Delivery to get more insights on Via.Delivery’s alternative delivery location network and the ways in which it will help pure play e-commerce merchants compete with retail giants like Amazon. Following is our interview with him:
What is Via.Delivery?
Think of us as a digital carrier focused on alternative delivery. Via.Delivery is a next-gen digital logistics and cloud-based platform that enables pure play e- commerce merchants, without brick-and-mortar stores, to offer a less expensive and more secure shipping option to their customers at checkout.
What’s the big news?
We’ve just launched in the US market with 20,000+ pickup locations helping the millions of online retailers, who don’t physical storefronts, compete with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world by giving them the technology to rapidly activate Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and offer their customers access to nearby convenient commercial pickup locations, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, with dramatically reduced shipping costs.
Why do retailers need this type of service?
More than 50% of online shoppers abandon their carts at checkout because of the high cost of shipping. Via.Delivery has removed that purchase barrier. Pure play e-commerce merchants can now offer their customers a more cost-effective option right at checkout. Depending on the merchandise, these retailers can expect an 8% to 34% increase in conversion rates.
Alternative delivery has been slow to gain momentum. How is Via.Delivery offering this service in an accessible way?
We’re the first to offer an alternative delivery option to the customer at ‘checkout.’ Until now, it’s been a complicated process. Customers didn’t know how to use it, so they didn’t. Via.Delivery takes out the guesswork. As the customer begins to complete their purchase, a map pops up with a list of convenient pickup locations. With one click the shopper saves time, money and the package is held at a secure location for up to 5 days until it’s picked up.
How does your service positively impact the supply chain?
Delivering to commercial locations increases the density of delivery routes. When several parcels are shipped to the same commercial location, instead of being dropped off one by one in residential neighborhoods, it eliminates the need for so-called ‘residential surcharges.’ Additionally, it helps to increase the overall last-mile capacity of the carrier, reducing the need to hire extra drivers and buy extra delivery equipment.
What is the implementation process for merchants?
It’s very quick and easy. Shopify merchants, for example, would simply go to the Shopify apps store to download the app then notify Via.Delivery that they want to get up and running. Our team will ask the merchant a few questions and provide rates. Within a few hours, the business owner will receive a DocuSign and it’s a done deal. Deliveries can basically start the next day.
Does the consumer pay anything at pickup?
We designed this platform to be as frictionless as possible for online shop owners and consumers. The customer only needs to present a photo I.D. to receive their package. No fees are collected or required of the customer for this service.
How do you see this changing shipping preferences during the next 5 to 10 years?
During the next few years, the US will begin to move away from the current residential shipping model, in which couriers go door-to-door dropping off packages, and toward a local pickup service or pickup location. It just makes more sense economically and environmentally. Alternative delivery is already the preferred residential shipping method in Europe and Asia. I’m confident the US will be quick to follow suit.
About Mitchell Nikitin
Mitchell Nikitin is on a mission to transform the shipping and delivery markets. He is the founder and CEO at Via.Delivery, the company enabling pure play and direct to consumer online merchants to compete with giants, such as Amazon, by offering Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) experiences. Drawing on executive leadership experience in logistics, e-commerce, retail and IT, Nikitin is leading Via.Delivery’s efforts to build the world’s largest alternative delivery network. In addition to being an advocate for logistics efficiency, he’s passionate about helping startups monetize and he serves as a mentor for Alchemist Accelerator. He’s also a former racecar driver.
Via.Delivery is the alternative delivery location company poised to transform the shipping and delivery markets by building the world’s largest alternative delivery location network. The company is helping the millions of online retailers that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations compete with Amazon and traditional retailers by giving them the technology they need to rapidly activate Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and giving their customers access to thousands of convenient commercial pickup locations with dramatically reduced shipping costs.