Tom Allason, Shutl

Member Article

Shutl take Bdaily behind the business

Today’s online shopper can find and purchase pretty much anything in seconds, however, just like the first online transaction 17 years ago, they must still wait days for delivery - and then be at home from 9am-6pm to take receipt. 90% of shoppers cite delivery as their top frustration with ecommerce, it is also the single greatest inhibiter to conversion within a retailer’s website.

Shutl is the first company worldwide to “solve” delivery by enabling shoppers to get what they want, when they want it. A branded web-service offered within a retailer’s website, Shutl enables delivery within as little as 90 minutes of purchase or within a 1-hour window of the shopper’s choice, available same day or any day. The service operates 24hrs a day, 365 days a year and allows customers to watch their deliveries shutling towards them in real time on a GPS enabled map.

Shutl delivery can be available at a comparable price to standard delivery even offered for free by retailers to drive conversion and loyalty. Shutl claims to have the UK’s happiest customers.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

As you would expect from our first full year trading, 2011 was full of challenges for Shutl.

We needed to prove the viability of our business, which meant:

  • Taking service live across multiple retailers
  • Establishing that our value proposition made commercial sense for shoppers, retailers, couriers and of course Shutl
  • Demonstrating that the service was viable beyond London

Without doing the above we would not have a business and would certainly not be able to secure the investment we needed.

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Proving the viability of the business and securing the investment to build the business in 2012.

We:

  • Successfully completed pilot with Argos, UK’s largest multi-channel retailer
  • Went live with Aurora Fashions & Karen Millen
  • Took the service into 11 cities beyond London
  • Grew the business average of 60% month on month throughout the year
  • Secured £1.25m to achieve our 2012 objectives

What is your biggest focus for the coming year?

Our focus for this coming year is to take Shutl mainstream.

We are:

  • Working with Aurora Fashions and Karen Millen to make Shutl delivery available for 90% of UK households by the end of March.
  • Launching the proposition with a number of new retailers and also improving the customer experience that is offered by existing clients.
  • Developing a consumer brand that is strong enough to influence shoppers’ buying behaviour.

If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone setting up their own internet business, what would it be?

Get a product into a customers’ hands as quickly, cheaply and dirtily as is possible. All the assumptions that you make will be proved wrong in some way! Only when you are live will you know what works and what does not… and be in a position to determine if there is a business that you should be investing in. Most importantly do not be afraid of failure, the only route to success is through failure and iteration.

Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of UK business and where your organisation sits within it?

Shutl serves the rapidly growing e-commerce delivery market. We work with multichannel retailers (those who sell online and have stores) - the fastest growing segment of this market - and solve ecommerce’s greatest and longest standing problem; delivery.

Although the overall economy is not so hot at the moment, ecommerce has great prospects as more consumers/businesses shift their spending online. This is an area where UK is really leading the world (highest per capita ecommerce spend) so the outlook is very positive.

Although we do not currently have any direct competitors in UK we have one in USA & 1 in Germany and also face indirect competition from traditional multi-day courier companies like Yodel.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Allason .

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