The Philadelphia-based startup is encouraging major store chains to sign up to a network that will enable customers to buy online and have the goods delivered to the nearest Shoprunner partner store for pickup.

ShopRunner Seeks to Build a Delivery Community among Major Stores

In a  recent L’Atelier  article, RelaisColis, a French home parcel delivery service, pointed out that delivery remains a weak point for a number of e-commerce sites, which could well put users off making online purchases. However there are a number of initiatives on the market which aim to remedy this problem. In France there are firms such as Cytissimo and Colis du Voisin; in the United States, there’s BufferBox, which offers secure parcel deposit centres, and Amazon Locker works on the same principle. Now there’s a new kid on the block, ShopRunner, with a slightly different approach. Responding to the concerns of those potential customers who are worried that their goods will not be delivered in good condition, or even end up stolen, ShopRunner’s concept is to provide a network of stores, each of which serves as a delivery point, even if the goods in question do not come from that particular brand or chain.

Stores network

The idea is to enable the customer to go and pick up his/her package at the participating store which is closest to where s/he lives, which will not necessarily belong to the company on whose site the item was purchased. The startup’s founders reckon that such flexible delivery mechanisms could help to increase the size of the average online shopping cart by 50%. To date, several major retail chains have joined the scheme, among them Toys"R"Us, Claire’s and a number of Timberland’s US outlets. Once the user has registered with ShopRunner, s/he can make purchases on any of the partner store sites and then go and collect it at one of the network’s in-store pickup points. The scheme promises 2-day delivery free of charge.

Pick your store

How this process works in detail is that when you the customer are going through the online purchase process and get to the delivery stage, you chooses the ‘ShopRunner’ delivery mode. The site then asks you to choose a store delivery point in your neighbourhood from a list of eighty that are currently participating in the scheme. You will subsequently receive notification that the parcel has arrived, together with a bar code, on your mobile device and can then go to the store and pick it up at the most convenient moment for you. The startup scheme is currently in test mode in Philadelphia, and the founders hope to see it expand throughout the United States.

By Damien Bréteau