Mark Stevenson is sitting at a red light. In his trunk, his back seats, and every other available inch of his car are shopping bags full of merchandise. Mark checks the Shoppler app to figure out the best route to his customers. Within seconds he has his trip planned. He’ll be able to make every stop in one go without backtracking.
Mark is part of a growing number of drivers hitting the roads in the name of ecommerce. Uber shook the taxi industry by making ridesharing easy for people and profitable for drivers. Instacart is working toward upsetting Amazon’s grocery program by connecting shoppers with personal assistants who will purchase and deliver groceries. Shoppler aims to do something similar with clothing and general merchandise. The difference? Shoppler drivers aren’t paid by the customer. They deliver and return items for free.
Right now, Shoppler’s services is limited to select cities in California. The company is small enough to provide drivers with a unique opportunity. Drive for Shoppler, receive equity in the company. Mark explains why he chose to become a Shoppler driver:
“It doesn’t pay, though customers are generous enough with tips that I don’t have to worry about losing money. What it does do is give me a chance to get in on the ground floor of something I think will be very big. Shoppler brings high tech to a very old school concept. Delivery people. Customers use to have all sorts of stuff delivered to their houses by actual people. People that they got to know over time and trusted. Stores and their customers had better relationships. Communities were more tightly connected. Suburban sprawl, an expansive postal system, and big box retailers chipped away at that. Now people are moving back to the city, the postal service is reducing services and increasing costs, and big box retailer are falling out of vogue. Shoppler is the next big thing. I’m working for equity in the company. Some people think I’m crazy, but I couldn’t have afforded to invest any other way. I mean, imagine…What if you could have gotten a piece of Uber before it became a nationwide success?”
I think Mark may be on to something.