Dealiva is a website/app that lets customers find their daily needs across a network of local stores and deliver those in a timely manner using a peer-to-peer system.
Dealiva is a virtual marketplace of local stores in Canberra, where customers can select high-quality goods and get them delivered in a timely manner through peer-to-peer couriers. Deliveries can be by car, bike, public transport or on foot, depending on customer location and urgency.
Dealiva connects local businesses with time-poor people and the less mobile, for instance, parents, the disabled and the elderly. It offers local businesses the opportunity to reach more customers conveniently, and perhaps also cut costs by requiring less staff/stock in their shops.
Dealiva will deliver, in every sense of the word, faster than they expect.
The demographics and descriptions of our customers are below, based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 census.
1. Time-poor workers – 90% of working age Canberrans (194,000) work full or part-time, 44% work 40 hours or more per week.
Pain – I keep missing the normal opening hours for stores, or I’m too tired after a long day to go to several specialty shops.
Gain – hard to find, specialty goods delivered quickly from a range of stores. Lower carbon footprint from not having to drive.
2. Parents – of households in Canberra, 70% were one or two parents with children (62,000)
Pain – I always need nappies, baby food etc, but it’s not practical to take the children shopping.
Gain – fast, efficient delivery, even to the outer suburbs
3. Students, especially international ones and early adopters of technology – ANU, UC and CIT have about 37,400 students, of whom 10,000 are international
Pain – I don’t want to waste any precious study time! Frequently running out of groceries because I’m still developing my time management skills. Being new to Canberra, I don’t know where to find specialty stores and their opening times. Would also appreciate the chance to work on the side occasionally to fund my studies.
Gain – fast, efficient delivery. Also, opportunities to work part-time as a courier.
4. Less mobile disabled or elderly - 12.6% of the population (50,000) are 65 and over
Pain – Struggle to visit stores, especially distant ones, but also don’t want to keep sending carers and family on errands. Not familiar with e-commerce, don’t really use apps.
Gain – e-commerce made easy, even for those not used to it through a simple website
For all customer groups, we would be fulfilling a functional need to obtain specialty goods and groceries when they don’t have the time or ability to go shopping, including outside normal working hours.
Discussions with many customers brought these insights: Canberra’s opening hours, lack of public transport and geographic spread frustrate many new arrivals. For groceries, many consumers simply didn’t think of getting home deliveries (particularly because they did not trust others to pick the right fruit/vegetables). If they did, they focused on Coles and Woolworths (the latter has an app). Online shopping among students tended to be for clothes and electronics.
Well established peer-to-peer delivery apps, allowing anyone with a car to drive for them. However, they only deliver food from specific restaurants. Our app would deliver specialty goods like makeup, non-prescription medicines etc and (after hours) groceries like milk, diapers from select stores. It would also allow comparison of prices across stores.
Very similar to our concept of online marketplace, but not peer-to-peer delivery. Not yet available in Canberra, but will probably look to move here from Sydney. Only a thousand users so far.
Peer-to-peer delivery allows greater flexibility and lower prices than having couriers as employees with fixed costs.
Natural choice for those looking to buy groceries online as Aldi and Coles do not have similar apps. Helps create shopping lists. Our app would focus more on specialty shops and after hours delivery.
We would like to start by signing up just five stores offering a range of products identified through our customer validation survey and interviews as being of most interest to potential customers. Ideally, these would be a small supermarket or petrol station shop that is open until late (like an IGA or 7-11), a wine merchant/craft beer maker (subject to regulations), a gourmet food deli, a pharmacy, and a butcher. By contrast, UberEats serves approximately 100 restaurants/cafes.
If successful, we would like to continue adding more stores to our network, possibly even fresh food markets and high-volume grocery stores like Aldi or Coles (though negotiating agreements with the latter will not be easy, they offer competing services and margins are low).
We would like to focus on the ACT/Queanbeyan market initially and capture a percentage of its population of 448,000 that makes our venture economically viable. ABS statistics show the region has 194,000 full- or part-time employees; 62,000 parents with one or two children; 18,000 households earning an average of over $3,000 per week; 50,000 people over 65; and 37,000 students.
Once established in Canberra, we would like to spread to other cities in Australia, especially those that do not yet have comparable shopping/delivery platforms.
Our vision is a virtual marketplace website/app that lets customers find their daily needs across a network of local stores and deliver those in a timely manner using a peer-to-peer system by car, bike or on foot. The 194,000 working age Canberrans have a higher than average disposable income, but are time poor. There are many parents and a growing elderly population of 50,000. These groups struggle to access Canberra’s many specialty food shops, most of which have a weak online presence and few undertake deliveries. Geographic spread, weak transport infrastructure and restricted opening hours also restrict opportunities for businesses and consumers. At the same time, Canberra has 37,000 students who could potentially work as couriers. What makes our passionate, international team unique and qualified is local knowledge and community focus – we would actively aim to deliver to retirement villages and nursing homes. Our team has a programmer, a business analyst and a creative networker. We seek a mentor with startup experience, who can advise us on business processes, and introduce us to networks to facilitate stakeholder engagement.
We will create a website first, then an app. We already have a mailing list with more than 30 interested customers/couriers based on our survey (102 responses), which we will grow. Once we have signed up our initial five participating stores, we will advertise Dealiva in those stores through posters or stickers. We would also like to create a promotional YouTube video, and have a marketing specialist/graphic designer who can help us. Targeting certain influencers to test the user experience will enable us to refine our website/app and reach people in those influencers' networks. Flyers or posters will target parents in childcare centres and libraries, and the elderly in retirement villages/ nursing homes. Other low-cost marketing options include: door-to-door outreach, ads in local newspapers, stalls at universities (particularly to attract couriers) and stickers on delivery cars and bikes. We will also consider social media (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram), and perhaps ads on TV, radio and public transport, subject to our budget. We might need to consider a phone service so that less technologically adept customers can reach us.
We will encourage loyalty through special offers from participating stores for our customers only, and, once it is economically viable, discounts for introducing a friend. We will also respond to reviews and feedback. The service will have a rating system for both couriers and customers (like Uber) to encourage participation and mutual ratings.
Our team has coding skills. We have already created a draft website at thedealiva.com. We also created an online survey and leveraged our collective social media networks to validate our proposition with over a hundred potential customers/couriers. We are also creating a mockup of our app, but will need to outsource the actual creation of a prototype and underlying algorithms. Being active and enthusiastic, we also used a vehicle owned by one of us to do a live trial of an actual order, its assembly and delivery. At the initial stages of the venture, we would all be willing to work as couriers with our cars and bikes.
We used our team’s finance experience and our mentor’s insights to create a business plan and estimate our initial set-up costs and future revenues. As we speak over half a dozen languages between us, we also studied the business models and value propositions of international competitors in Indonesia, Russia, Germany and the US. The main networker in our team will lead approaches to the initial five stores identified through our survey as being of most interest to potential customers. We also have content writing skills and a marketing/design professional in our network, who has already helped create our logo.
We have identified the following costs and needs for our venture
-assets: registration fees (company name/structure, domain name, patents for algorithms,
-networks: customer validation - need to ask everyone we know/meet to complete our survey at https://dealiva.typeform.com/to/ZLZwoi, input from marketing professional within our network, leveraging our own social media networks to promote the venture, leveraging mentor's skills to refine business plan, establishing network of store owners and couriers.
-materials: hosting, website/app maintenance, marketing budget, licensing Google Maps and payment components of our venture)
-skills: accounting skills to manage costs and revenues - our finance specialist can be trained to do most of this, using MYOB or similar, but reconciliation needs to be done by a professional accountant. Coding skills to create a prototype and underlying algorithms.
To be able to launch, our project would need $12,580 in its first year of operation. These costs are broken down below:
Our main costs would be app development and marketing. GoogleMaps offers a $200 credit, which would cover most of our costs, and the Stripe payment module harges $1.75% of transactions + 30 cents. Some hosting sites might also offer payment processing.
1. Store owners: 5 niche/local stores in Canberra initially. They will provide us with a price list of goods that we can deliver, and we will provide a virtual market and delivery service for them. It would increase our profitability if we can get stores to package any purchases to save time for our couriers (actual stores will be identified based on customer responses to our survey/interviews)
2. Marketing specialist: we will give a graphic design partner exposure on our website and an addition to their portfolio of work (already a partner, helped design our logo)
Our customers are time-poor and less mobile people who are not able to find niche products and specialty items, or need items delivered urgently, or need them after normal store hours.
Our value is in providing delivery services with a guarantee of product quality and same-day service. We also provide specialty products from trustworthy and well-known local stores.
For our store owners, we will provide value by helping them expand their scale of operations and attract new customers for their products.
Our customers will pay a fee for each order:
1. $5-10 for single products and a short delivery distance (short enough for delivery within 20 minutes by bike or on foot/public transport)
2. $10-20 for more than one product from a given store and/or longer distances (requiring delivery by car)
A survey of over 100 potential customers/couriers revealed that 87% were willing to pay a minimum of $5-10 and 71% were willing to pay a maximum of $10-15. This is consistent with the wage expectations of potential couriers, would enable us to pay our couriers at least the minimum wage of $19 per hour, and make a modest profit.