WeDeliver, the B2B company that started just over a year ago, is redefining intracity delivery. WeDeliver currently serves independent retailers in Chicago’s River North, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Loop, Old Town and West Loop neighborhoods.
“WeDeliver is different from a traditional courier in that we use the same model as Lyft or Sidecar,” explains Daniela Bolzmann, Co-Founder and CMO. “We take excess capacity in the community so stay-at-home moms, teachers, students, veterans, bright friendly people who have extra time, a car and a smartphone and want to help a local business with deliveries to make some extra cash.”
The folks at WeDeliver took one look at how deliveries are handled now and knew there had to be a better way. “What we saw in the industry was a very transactional experience where you’re dealing with your courier or UPS guy or some person who’s been doing the same thing for 20 years. The status quo is lackluster and mundane at best, and unfortunately consumers and business operators are at the receiving end of that experience,” Bolzmann says.
“When you screen for friendly, outgoing, and detail-oriented individuals and train them to focus on experience, the end result is transformational, not merely transactional like the alternatives.” The added bonus is that WeDeliver’s Delivery Specialists are, more often than not, customers or potential customers in the businesses’ coveted demographic.
Bolzmann says business owners are caught off guard when WeDeliver’s Delivery Specialists show up for the first time because they’re “blown away” by the unexpected level of caring and professionalism. She compares the initial experience to the reaction of someone who’s only taken taxis. They have no real complaints and then they give Lyft, Sidecar or Uber a try. “The experience is eye-opening and one that causes you to rethink every cab you have ever hailed,” Bolzmann says. “You never thought is was a horrible experience before, but now you are determined to never take a traditional cab again.”
Like many young companies, WeDeliver is comfortable with technology. Its customers get real-time information and updates as their goods are carried with care from Point A to Point B. This technological comfort level helps explain why WeDeliver chose to work with the Valkre SaaS platform, which it won in last year’s Techweek LAUNCH competition.
Lawrence Brown, WeDeliver’s director of community relations, has especially high praise for how Valkre has been able to help quantify the value merchants capture from WeDeliver. “It’s kind of a gut check that puts us all on the same page to start the conversation both internally here and in each individual’s mind,” he says. “From there it went to putting it on paper and then narrowing it down and weighting the value proposition. Most of the feedback we’ve been getting from merchants has been in line with what we thought it would be. It’s a great systematic way of capturing how they truly feel about WeDeliver.”
The urgency to quantify value capture is especially important to WeDeliver, because, as with all startups, there is little room for error.
“The impressive thing is that as a startup we’re moving so fast and we’re working with so many types of businesses right now that capturing the intelligence from each merchant is important,” Bolzmann explains. “We can look at that data, analyze it and decide which direction to move forward. As a team, we need to be unified and confident in knowing where we should be going with our business. Otherwise, it’s just assumptions.”
WeDeliver saw the importance of a software solution not only for the value proposition work, but also from the personal experiences of its employees. “We’re doing this with Valkre primarily for the company, but also for the sales team so they know what they’re selling,” Bolzmann says.
In a typical sales call, the rep tries to sell the prospective client and, if the client raises an objection, responds to that objection. “But what we've learned is how to receive customer feedback without instantly defending yourself and your company. It’s harder than people think. It’s important to learn a style of interviewing that generates unbiased feedback.”
Defining a value proposition is important to all companies and WeDeliver took note of this early on. And success has quickly followed. Most recently in April at Google Entrepreneurs Demo Day, judge Steve Case liked what he saw so much that he decided on the spot to invest $100,000 in WeDeliver.
Come join us at next week's Techweek Chicago to learn more about the WeDeliver story. Lawrence Brown and Valkre's VP of Product Development Matt Cobb will speak during the Startup Summit on Friday June 27th.