Dumping delivery woes

How Pudo aims to offer a new shipping solution for retailers growing their e-commerce offerings.
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Retailers looking to ease the pain consumers have when it comes to delivery may have a new option as Pudo looks to expand its presence and role in the Canadian market.

Pudo partners with retailers such as grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations to provide a network of pickup and drop off locations for packages, focusing on online purchases. Consumers who sign up for Pudo pay a fee to have packages shipped by couriers like FedEx or UPS to one of these locations to be picked up at their convenience, instead of having to travel to one of the couriers’ brick-and-mortar locations to pick up a package if they’re not home when it’s delivered.

The company currently has partnerships with more than a dozen retailers, including Hudson’s Bay, Amazon, Walmart and eBay. Frank Coccia, CEO of Pudo, says it is currently courting other Canadian retailers by offering a 30% discount on shipping for products customers decide to return (Coccia says that retailers have anywhere from 5% to 20% of their online purchases returned).

Pudo locations are now populating partner retailers’ e-commerce sites as shipping options at checkout, and the company is in the process of creating a digital play to build its social platforms ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“We’re partnering with retailers and giving them a bricks-and-mortar presence across the country,” Coccia says. “That puts us in a position where they can help them to serve a customer at a touchpoint that they prefer, which reduces overall dissatisfaction with the process. And it’s courier agnostic, which allows us to help level the playing field for them, since the consumer market is the only source of new revenue for them.”

A 2012 study by comScore commissioned by UPS said that while 83% of online shoppers were satisfied with the experience, only 50% were satisfied when it came to shipping options. That’s something Coccia says causes dissatisfaction not just with shipping, but with the overall prospect of online shopping in the minds of consumers.

“We’ve established a number of relationships with the large retailers to get the model right, but right now, this is our coming out party into a huge industry,” Coccia says.

Coccia says from there, Pudo will begin to explore other advertising platforms, although its main priority is to expand its network of partner locations.

At its inception in 2008, when it was still known as My Courier Depot, Pudo was looking to partner with grocery stores as its partner locations, but has since been pursuing more convenience stores and gas stations, as they tend to offer extended hours.

Pudo currently has 5,000 locations across North America, 2,200 of which are in Canada. By the end of the year, the company is aiming to have 3,000 in Canada, with as many as 4,000 by the end of 2016. Globally, Pudo is aiming to have 18,000 across North America by next year’s holiday season.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., e-commerce platform Shopify has partnered with Uber to create UberRUSH. Though the service is built around giving those who build an online store through Shopify access to same-day shipping, it also offers the option of shipping to any location at that moment, wherever the consumer happens to be.

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