Last-mile delivery has always been a headache and a half for the e-commerce supply chain. But the problem has taken on new urgency in a world where consumers now demand same-day deliveries, often within a narrow time window. That's led to the rise of on-demand services like Amazon.com's "Amazon Flex" program and Uber's UberRush, which use "citizen couriers" to deliver the goods when and where consumers want them.
One of the latest entrants in the space is Roadie Inc., an Atlanta-based startup. Like the other "social delivery" specialists, Roadie aims to connect businesses or individuals with items to ship with drivers who are willing to transport them. But the app comes with a twist: The company only matches senders with drivers who are already heading in the right direction, thus avoiding unnecessary trips and saving time and fuel.
With Roadie, shippers post details and pictures of the item(s) they want to send—a "gig" in Roadie parlance—via their computers or smartphones. Drivers who are headed that way then make offers based on location, price, and availability. By taking advantage of the extra space that already exists in passenger vehicles, the Roadie app eliminates the time, cost, and carbon emissions associated with dispatching a dedicated driver on that route, the firm says.
Roadie supports door-to-door delivery in 50 states, offering insurance and real-time tracking for each gig. Drivers earn anywhere from $8 to $50 for local gigs and $650 or more for long-distance delivery, the company says.
Roadie promotional video: