To avoid breaking any hearts later on in this post, I’m going to put the restriction up top: This only works in San Francisco. You can cry now.
Today Postmates launched Get It Now, a service that will deliver anything that you want, to you, in under an hour. Think about that: anything, to you, now. The service has a network of couriers around the city, who will buy whatever it is that you desire, and hand it off to you.
Of course, your account on the service is then charged for what they picked up for you, and the delivery fee. Total cost to have something delivered? The company has a system in place that will price the delivery based on time of day, and how long it will take to deliver, but the average price is about $10. That’s about right, I think, as using the service will remain an impulse-level purchase.
According to Postmates, their private beta with a little over 1,000 users helped them scale up to 60 couriers. I fully anticipate that they will need more in the future. The service does have partnerships with other courier services in the area, so if it needs to scale quickly, it can with little disruption.
Of course, the service has competition from the likes of Exec, and TaskRabbit, and in a way, Zaarly. The space is certainly hot at the moment. Naturally, those aren’t direct and exact competitors, but the overlap is hard to miss.
The popular black-car-on-demand service Uber is well-known for its technology; the backend of Uber is robust, and helps to keep cars and drivers linked together. Postmates also has an algorithm that is used to ensure that as orders come in, the best couriers for the job (location, etc) is selected.
Users, and couriers each have a mobile application that they use to manage the order, and using digital signatures, each delivery is sealed. Here’s what an order looks like:
Of course, not doing something yourself will always carry a slight risk; you know yourself the best, and thus can cater to yourself the best. But the service, with its comically low price point, and (fingers crossed) battle-hardened product that leans on a small army of people on bikes and vespas, is a tool that can provide far more value than the risk that it presents. It’s cool, in other words.
Now, I’m in Chicago at the moment, and thus couldn’t give the service a spin, but I’m moving to San Francisco, and I honestly think that between Get It Now and Amazon Prime, I’ll never go outside again.
For fun, this is what your courier will hand you at the door, when you sign for the delivery: