November 23, 2015 | Written by: Caroline B Poser
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Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Paris, deliver.ee offers France’s first urban delivery network for online merchandise orders. The startup sought a scalable cloud hosting platform for the applications supporting its delivery service.
According to Sébastien Poudat, deliver.ee co-founder and CTO, “We needed 100% reliability with what we planned to do. Once an order was placed, it would immediately be assigned and dispatched to a courier, so we’d have to be super-responsive and available.”
By teaming with IBM, deliver.ee received startup funding and support to launch its business. The company provisioned virtual servers in the SoftLayer Paris data center, quickly and easily migrating workloads from its DigitalOcean environment.
Online retailers simply add the deliver.ee checkout option through a plug in or the deliver.ee API and customers can choose to receive their locally delivered purchases the same day or by appointment, wherever they like.
Michael S. Levy, co-founder and CEO, said, “Deliver.ee has developed an algorithm that connects the right people to do the job with the right vehicle in the right place, just like Uber does. We have the largest and most versatile fleet in France for local companies. We have everything from bikes to large trucks, and we offer a service where people can come with a two-man team, for furniture, for example. Customers are very happy to get their new couch and television in time for the football game that night, rather than having to wait the typical two to 10 days.”
Deliver.ee offers tracking via GPS, delivery status in real time, and proof of delivery. “This is important because you no longer have to wait all day for something to be delivered,” Levy elaborated. “So we’re giving back the power to the consumer to decide when and where to receive their delivery. And we’re giving back the power to local stores. It’s the revenge of the ‘brick and mortar’: they’re going to be able to compete with, and maybe even beat, Amazon at this game.”
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Merchants have seen a major increase in their conversion rates (between 20 and 30%) and their average basket (up 50%). “People who use deliver.ee have higher order values than the usual transport options. They order something because they want it in the next two hours, and then 45 minutes later, they have it in hand. So they’re like, ‘Wow!’ and they’re a customer for life,” Levy stated. “And today we have more than 60 brands that work with us.”
The deliver.ee solution minimizes the ecological footprint of deliveries: the majority of transport partners use environmentally friendly vehicles (cargo bicycles, scooters, and electric vehicles). Levy said, “We actually got some money from the French government to build this because we’re planning to demonstrate that we can reduce the carbon footprint of retail.”
What’s next for Deliver.ee? According to Levy, “It will be to improve the algorithms for predictive analysis. We’ll be able to create a machine learning engine for real time optimization. For example, a courier may be able to do another pick up en route to a delivery, and then instead of just the one delivery, make two.”
Poudat added, “We’ll address the traveling salesman problem in a sense, in that we’ll be figuring out the optimal routes for our couriers to deliver to a given set of customers based on all these factors predicted by the algorithm.”
Levy concluded, “To put a cherry on the cake, we are launching a new service, giving our clients’ customers the ability to log into their account and choose, ‘I want to return something,’ for example, a dress they bought online that doesn’t fit. They’ll see a little calendar from deliver.ee and be able to choose a day and a time when they want someone to come to their home or office to pick up the return. And it will be done for them.”
Deliver.ee provides its services to 10 cities in France and has plans to expand in other markets in Europe and the United States. The company anticipates deploying additional cloud resources, including bare metal servers, in SoftLayer facilities worldwide as its business grows.
For more information, read the SoftLayer case study here.