Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel for podcastmybusiness.com.au. And today we’re welcomed by Duncan from Sherpa. Yep. That’s the Sherpas in Tibet. I expect is that right? Duncan?
That’s correct. Hello.
Hello. Okay. And but what we’re talking about is something is quite unique and really needed. And we’ve got you on the show, because when I went, we’ve had COVID, and everything else, and it’s certainly impacted your business, I expect in a good way. So tell us a little bit about the Sherpa story.
Sherpa is a technology company, six years old now. An Aussie business and all the success story started 2014 by three, very smart people one of them wasn’t me. And I just run the business, who basically wanted to solve the last mile solution for retailers. So retailers wanting to move goods from one place to another in a very, very short space of time. And the technology was built. And the first customer was a passion customer wanting to get goods from one store to another store across town in the same city, that that retail passion customer is still a customer today, which we’re very, very proud of. But the business has scale moved on from its startup mentality, we’re not a startup anymore, we’re more of scale up and scale up mode. And now doing that same micro fulfillment, last mile solution for the likes of apple in Australia will work. Dan Murphy’s chemist warehouse Rose is only about 15,000 other retailers across across the country.
So started very small, as most of these tech businesses do and scale quite nicely. And COVID genuinely has been very good for the business in terms of the shift to both online and the shift to wanting things now quickly. And there’s no better example of that than the grocery and alcohol example, two categories that thrived enormously during COVID. And obviously, the store shorts, or grocery stores didn’t show up, but the need for people to the want for people to shop online. And what that’s good now saw huge exponential growth. So we as the end deliverer of those goods have benefited massively. And obviously, now we are working with a range of other customers. What COVID did prove was that the raw tech is very scalable. And the business is now probably three and a half, four times bigger. In terms of number of deliveries we’re doing it was pre COVID, which was good story. And now we’re just trying to keep up with that that growth, basically.
Okay, that’s great. So you were mentioning before about the revolution in deliveries. So what do you mean by the last mile? So where does that come in?
Yeah, so I’ve spoken quite openly before about a revolution in this place that we’re in and it is Revolution, the revolution is generally the sentiment has changed massively, and COVID is push that along quite dramatically. It was there before, but it’s certainly more common. Now. The conversations we have with retailers now is, How can you do this? What does it look like? And how much will it cost? A year and a half ago, it would have been? Is this really a thing? Is anybody asking for it? And why would I do this? So the sentiments changed massively.
There is a revolution, there is a huge swing towards people wanting it now. And whether that’s groceries, whether it’s alcohol, whether it’s fashion, whether it’s pharmaceuticals, and there is this huge shift to just wanting the goods now, and it’s a premium offer. And if you want the goods in the afternoon, and you’re online at 10 o’clock in the morning, you will pay more, and you will if you want them tomorrow, or you want them in one to three days. So importantly, we don’t replace any existing freight providers. We don’t come in and replace China post, for example, we come in and offer a complimentary service to customers that want to go. today. That’s all we do is same day delivery. We don’t do next day, we don’t do 123 days, we only do same day.
Right. Okay, so that’s exactly right there, I guess for fast fashion. There’s particular brands that started at a couple of years ago and quite famous for fast fashion, and then being able to send a batch. So that’s created challenges for them. It’s a little bit different. So you work with Australia Post. So what’s the interaction between safe I’m a retailer or small, medium sized business. And a client says to me, Well, I want this pair of shoes that I’ve just custom made for them tomorrow or can get custom made or whatever for tomorrow. Where do you come in
So, as a technology business, it’s the technology that facilitates the end delivery, we don’t sell our technology, we give our technology three to retail customers who want to partner with those who have a need for same day delivery. That’s usually done through API integration, or we have a couple of e commerce platform plugins that they can use. And they will then integrate that technology into their back end and their website. And when the customer is online buying pharmaceutical goods, or a keyboard and an attack consumer comic store, they’ll see an option that says same day instead of next day. And if they choose same day, pay a premium.
That order will then go through our technology out to our network of Sherpas was 10,000 Sherpas we have across Australia. With the driver app waiting for orders, they will see the job accept the job because it’s near their location, they will drive to the retail store, they’ll pick up the goods, and they will drive the order to the customer’s house or the customer’s business wherever they’ve requested to deliver it. So if you think about how Australia Post is moving millions and millions of passes around every day, we use technology to do it smarter and at a micro geography level, if you like so we match the Sherpas location, to the retail store. And we know the shipper can get there very quickly because we know where he is. And instead of going through the delivery of 123 days, we can narrow that right down to as little as one hour. So we’re doing groceries in one hour, we’re doing all in one hour, I’m doing some pharmacy in one hour. And it’s about matching the proximity of the driver to the store and the end customer. And in most cases with our big customer and big customers, they have you know, hundreds and hundreds of stores around the country.
So the ability to match a small location to a store to a customer is is very obvious. And that’s what we do, we turn every retail store into a mini distribution center. And the rate the inventory the orders, no longer coming from one distribution center, which is typically in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane, and they might be fulfilling pert, they might be confirming Adelaide from that location. We’re now fulfilling that order from the retail store that sits in the middle of Adelaide or sits in the middle of global sits in the suburbs of Perth. So we’ve narrowed the fulfillment time, which we call last mile from one to three days, in some cases, five days shipping from Sydney and Melbourne to as little as one hour because we have Sherpas in Perth, and they have to get the driver app and they open the app, see the jobs, drive to the store, pick it up drive to the customer’s house and deliver it.
That’s great circle, I’ve got a client that has one retail location in Sydney. And they do RC cars and things like that. So as long as they’ve got the item in stock, they just wrap it up and then are able to offer that service for same day delivery. But if they do drop shipments, then that’s a little bit different.
Yes, it is a little bit different. So there are a couple of things that need to be done very well. One is obviously knowing where your inventory is any particular point. So we work with some very big retailers, chemistry, I have a good example. Apple is a big retailer, we don’t have many stores, what’s obviously hundreds of stores. And you have to be very clear in the data packet where the inventory is at any one time because if we are fulfilling an order from a retail store, to a customer who lives you know, two kilometers in a suburban area, and the retailer needs to be able to tell us with competence that that retail store has the imagery in that time, because in one hour, the driver will be at the store waiting for the order. So the retailers are doing it well have nailed the operational side of it. So there is some real operational challenges to do this correctly. And that’s it sounds simple, but it can be hard to do in some cases, making sure the picking and pack process is quicker because you no longer have this ability to just maybe do picking it back at one time during the day.
You have to be constantly checking your orders to see if there’s a same day coordinate because it has to be picked and packed and ready to go because the driver will do that very quickly. So the retailers that are doing this well have changed the way they do thorough operations. So they might have a person who is responsible for the picking and packing process has to be different. And so there are some things that have to be done correctly to make it work but no doubt. If you do do it, right. There’s lots of advantages. I mean, our retail customers tell us it brings people back it’s a retention driver because if they have same day delivery and if they leave and they deliver again, they’ll generally come back to that retail store as opposed to another retailer doesn’t have same day delivery. It’s very scalable, so we can manage 10 orders one day with you we can we can manage to Getting 50 orders the next day that you if you go on a promotion that you can do that yourself as a retailer is incredibly difficult and incredibly expensive. And it’s also incredibly simple.
So we don’t charge any money for the tech, the integrations and I’ve said appraisers are not going to do one delivery, you pay for one delivery, to do 1000 deliveries, you pay for 1000 deliveries. So we’re very much focused on the big end of town. But saying that the product, the app works for anybody. So I can open my app. Now I can get shipper to come to my office, and pick up my briefcase and send it to my house. Because I’m going for an afterwards drinks or dinner.
And I don’t want to say my brief code from my laptop in it. It works at any level. And last week, I used it to send a bottle of gin to my friend whose birthday because I could no longer make it to Berkeley, but I want to send the present anyway. And there’s no other way that I could have got that across town, which was probably 1015 kilometers, didn’t want to drive it myself. So I’ve got to share it with come to my house, pick it up and go to his house and deliver it. So it works across the full scale micro menu to do one delivery or the lighter bullets can tap might have doing 1000s of deliveries every week. And the advantages that it turns your distribution turned your store into a distribution center. That’s the real power.
Yeah. And that’s what they’re doing that quite a bit, I think supercharge them. So what platforms do ecommerce platforms you integrate with?
Well, we’ll do any, any platform, we have plugins or Shopify, and we have plugins for WooCommerce. WordPress, the API version, which is more common for the big end of town will work with anything, basically, there will be some configuration that the retailer can do themselves on their end. But we’ve also got specifically a Shopify plugin, because there’s quite a lot of fashion businesses small to medium size that are on that platform. But by far, the most common is the integration piece where we give our API documentation for nothing. And they, their dev teams, or tech teams go through it in fine detail. And then they customize it for whatever some of their needs are. Some of our customers have delivery windows where they can offer their customers, I want it at nine to 10, I want to attend to 11, I want to get 12 to one. And some customers just have a one button, which just says same when it arrives in the day, just that it arrives same day. So that’s on there. And that’s all completely configurable in the API documentation. And that’s by far the most common way is through API.
Okay, you didn’t say Neato, which is what my client uses. So that’s a challenge working with that
yeah, there’s lots of different systems out there. The challenge is trying to cover every single one. We do offer the API’s only to customers should be able to use the API, do we, you know, it’s a constant challenge with our with our team and our tech team? Do we try and cover every single ecommerce platform available? No, because it’s just not efficient and not manageable. So we try to cover the main ones. And then the API route is usually the most customized advisable for the tech team. And we find that we don’t have much negative feedback around those. When you get into e commerce plugins, there’s usually some limitations around them. So we just generally prefer API just because I returned.
Yeah, I was intrigued by your comment about getting someone to deliver a drop of a bottle of gin, which is a great idea. So Sherpas are in the Himalayas? Have you delivered any actual llamas, via the Sherpa service,
we have actually not a real one. But we do have a, we’ve got a seven foot llama in the office. And then we kind of use as our mascot because it is it is all of our branding our logo, we have delivered that to some marketing events and some scheduled events that we’ve done. So we put that in the back of my shirt, which is quite interesting, because we’ll book a Sherpa to come to the office to pick up a llama, which is the logo of Sherpa. And so we’ve done that a couple times, which is good, which goes down quite well. And we’re genuinely here in the office. And he kind of looked over to make sure that we are doing the right thing.
Tony skinner 14:10
Now there you go. See, I popped in my head and I thought I’ve got to ask that question and you had an answer, and you’ve done it. There you go. That’s awesome. Anything else you’d like to add?
No, nothing really, I mean, you know, the product works for any range, you know, an individual retail function. The business is definitely the beginning of time. And we’re getting lots and lots of questions on a daily basis from those but now that the service works for anybody wanting to get any package good from A to B in a very, very short space of time. So any questions anything not sure I’ve got to ship it off to you and we’ve got a team that can help you. And, and we’re very happy with the way things are changing the revolution of delivery, we see that the overall tide is rising. We’re not the only guys doing this which we’re very very fine with. But if the overall tide rises, then we will benefit. And I think the retail goes well. So it’s a really exciting time really, honestly, last year was a complete. And generally a dog breakfast retail. We did very well out of it. But we’re also very well, but most people didn’t do very well on the time now is really, really exciting. Retail has changed the ones that were like articles again, it’s pushed people to invest more in digital push people to invest more in fulfillment and last mile, and the tide is rising, and we’re very happy. So we’re here to help anybody who needs help and contact is
Tony skinner 15:31
fantastic. Okay, great. Look. Thanks very much for your time. And so you did mention Sherpa.net.au to get that in because it’s not.com And people will get confused.
But thanks so much for your time.
Thank you. Take care.