Rob Hango-Zada has a theory about great start-up ideas. Most of them, he says, start over a beer with a mate.
This was the case for his shipping business, Shippit, which recently inked a non-exclusive partnership with Australia Post. Trading stories of mis-delivered online orders with his friend (and eventual Shippit co-founder), Will On, the pair “stumbled across a really big consumer issue” that would eventually form the basis for their ultimate business venture.
Hango-Zada describes Shippit as “a really simple shipping platform for online retailers that focuses on a better customer experience for the recipient”. As many will have experienced first-hand, shipping deliveries through traditional channels can be missed due to a lack of information concerning delivery date and time, and the inability for the recipient to influence this.
Shippit aims to correct this lack of agency, working to be listed by online merchants as a delivery option and allowing individual users of the service to specify a timeslot of delivery, GPS track their delivery, and change their delivery destination, with the ultimate goal of reducing mis-deliveries within the market.
"Being able to partner with such a big player in the market can help us influence and scale the reach of our technology much quicker."
Earlier this year Shippit entered the big leagues, partnering non-exclusively with Australia Post. Hango-Zada says that the origins of this agreement lay in a scalable solution developed for a client that the two businesses shared.
For Australia Post, the partnership offers serious potential to modernise its offering. For Shippit, says Hango-Zada, the lure of Australia Post lies in “the sheer scale for their business. Being able to partner with such a big player in the market can help us influence and scale the reach of our technology much quicker than we could have done by ourselves,” he explains.
The market share that Australia Post retains — estimated to be about 80 per cent of Australia’s postal and delivery market — was also a key consideration.
“Obviously if you want to impact retailer and impact that customer experience, you need to partner with the big guys,” Hango-Zada says.
“Everybody gets into the startup game to be a disruptor…but I come from a background of continuous improvement."
By partnering with such a well-established business (with well-established practices to boot), Shippit has arguably sacrificed its disruptor status. Hango-Zada says that “everybody gets into the start-up game to be a disruptor…but I come from a background of continuous improvement. If you think about any successful business model outside of the unicorns like Uber, for example, it’s all about continuous improvement, a step at a time”.
The partnership between the two businesses represents a significant step.
“We had to realise that there are certain limitations within that industry that we need to adhere to,” Hango-Zada says.
“It’s about balancing both requirements: what does a consumer require, and what are the limitations of an industry that’s been around for so long?”
Going forward, Hango-Zada says Shippit will focus its efforts on refining the delivery experience of customers, and giving online merchants — particularly smaller operators — greater choice and flexbility. Not a bad result for an idea dreamt up over a beer with a mate.
John is a Sydney-based writer covering small business and lifestyle.