Conventional courier model versus uber-style courier model

By now, most people around the world must have heard of Uber, a mobile application to hail taxis. Operating in hundreds of countries, Uber is valued at billions of dollars. Its business model is very scalable and sustainable. On top of that, Uber basically disrupted the taxi industry in every country. The disruption is so powerful that some governments had to step in to restrict Uber from operating in their country to protect the domestics taxi industry.

Uber works by connecting a driver and a customer through its mobile application in real-time. Upon confirmation of booking, a driver will be assigned to the customer and picks up the customer at his location. The customer’s location will be pin-pointed via GPS. After pick up, the driver can rely on Uber’s map to head to the destination point. This ease of operations has provided convenience for both the driver and customers. Customers can expect much faster pick up and traveling time when they choose Uber taxis as compared to other taxis on the streets.

There are other such mobile applications developed for the courier industry. Similar to Uber, these mobile applications aim to match up a courier and a customer in real-time. Customers will submit a request for courier through its mobile application and a nearby courier will be assigned the job. The main advantage of using this mobile application is faster pick up and delivery speed.

Will this mobile application for couriers disrupt the courier industry like how Uber disrupted the taxi industry? It is unlikely.

The main reason being the perceived reliability of the delivery. Unlike sitting in a taxi where customers will witness the delivery of the service first-hand, customers feel unsecured to hand over their parcels to couriers via these mobile applications. One reason for this is the ease of courier application and little to no training given. Customers wanting to have their fragile items delivered will be more concerned about the training of the couriers. Customers will trust courier companies more than these third-party courier mobile applications.

Furthermore, many courier companies in Singapore such as pca masters have already developed or are in the process of developing their mobile applications which are similar to Uber application. The only difference is that the couriers in charge of those deliveries are all in-house. This will offer customers better reliability and security of trained couriers on top of the benefits that a mobile application can give. Unlike conventional taxi companies which fail to keep up with technology, courier companies are more responsive to technological changes.

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