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The One-hour Shipping Option For Online Purchases

What Is The Need?

No doubt, buyers want their purchase now. In addition to delivery costs, many online shoppers abandon their shopping cart because of delivery time.

On the store side, hundreds of thousands of ecommerce stores seek to differentiate themselves in meaningful ways to attract customers.

Impatience and differentiation combine to create a need, and a business idea to meet that need.

The Idea

Create a one-hour and same-day shipping service that caters exclusively to online businesses.

The service would guarantee delivery of products (there would be size, weight and ordering time restrictions to be sure) within one-hour from purchase within certain geographic areas, and same-day delivery for most other items when ordered by a certain time.

This business would be ideal for any large metro area. In this case, it would offer the service as a shipping option for local online stores. Within the limits of transportation and geography, this kind of service could expand to serve an entire region and even provide national or global service with its one-day service.

One important strategy with one-hour delivery pertains to branding. The ���”one-hour” benefit would enable this business to carve a unique niche in the well-established shipping world. Of course, not all deliveries could be made in that time-frame… but many could. This unique benefit would set this company apart.

This service would be of great interest to many ecommerce sites, helping them to reduce cart abandonment rates and satisfy anxious customers�in short, adding value to the customer experience.

How it would work:

Online businesses would offer the service as an option along with UPS, FedEx, USPS and other shippers. Any geographical or time restrictions would be explained, as would costs. Certainly this service would rank as premium service and would cost more. One-hour service would require a courier-style delivery�in simple terms a driver would be dispatched to the online business to pick up and deliver each item.

Building this business would require, at a minimum:

– An automated online platform that interacted with client ecommerce websites. This could be as simple as receiving emails with the all order information

– A team of local and dependable couriers with GPS systems

With success, the business could expand by investing in more complex technology that included robust tracking and routing capabilities, as well as a customized pricing engine that could adjust depending on the delivery area.

This would be a very modular business. So, if successful in one geographical marketplace, it could be duplicated (franchised?) in another. Duplication in well-defined territories might indeed be the best way to grow. In this way, the business could maintain its one-hour advantage and avoid direct competition with the shipping giants.

Tapping The Market

Consumers don���„�t really think about shipping all that much until they reach the shipping page during the ordering process. We don���„�t think consumer advertising would work. Instead, we believe direct contact with online merchants should form the marketing foundation. This might include direct e-mails, calls or physical mail to decision makers at the merchant. Following this up with in-person presentations could provide effective, targeted marketing to the right audience. Once a merchant implemented the service, the consumer would be able to make a choice-at exactly the right time.

The Numbers

Revenue would be derived from delivery fees (shipping charges) paid by the consumer. However, if the service proved to increase sales conversions, it would not be out of the question to charge retailer clients a small monthly fee.

Farther out, a potent revenue stream could come from franchising the concept.

Who Should Start This Biz

Entrepreneurs located within a large metropolitan area would be good matches for this business. Those with excellent people management skills would certainly put those skills to work managing a team of reliable couriers. Technical skills in creating custom software applications or access to these skills would also be required.

Why This Is A Powerful New Business Idea

People love convenience. When people buy something, they usually want it now. Online purchases are of course subject to delivery times. So, a business that shortened delivery time to one hour (or one day) would meet an immediate need. This business would likely be located in a major city and cater to local online businesses and customers. The business could charge a premium for its super-fast delivery service. With success, it could be duplicated in other cities, or be established as a franchise business.

This Entrepreneurship article was written by Jeff Frutkin on 1/7/2010

Jeff Frutkin is the founder of provides new business ideas for aspiring entrepreneurs.