The brief history and strategy of PorchBoxDrop
Today is December 19, at about 10 AM. My neighbor, Whitney is a great older guy, retired...an educator. His wife Georgia was also a professional for the many decades they've been married. They have a house next door and another family house in Maine. So, they travel. Their daughter is working in Mexico and this last week they flew down to take in Christmas on the beach down there. Lucky people, but they worked for everything they have.
They're not techie people but they order online. Today, it's a necessity for a lot of people to have to go online and order something they need, which is exactly what they did four days ago while on vaca. Delivery was due yesterday evening and they were emailed by FedEx so Whitney sent me a text asking me to check his porches and his mail box for a small package and bring it home until they returned.
I checked, twice since yesterday evening and then again this morning and nothing is there. I asked what the value of the item is and, at $80, it's a loss that wouldn't bother him. Would an $80 loss bother you? It would bother me. It bothers me that there is a way to prevent the losses porch pirates or delivery mistakes cost us, one and all.
I have a wife that, periodically, is bed ridden due to injuries as a nurse. So, during those times I do it all including shopping, dishes, laundry taking care of the house and dogs...a lot of stuff. When I learned I could have groceries delivered I jumped on it. Ordered the same day from my fav grocer and, an hour later than promised I got a text from a stranger that "my order was starting to be filled" and she was in the aisle selecting the items from my list. Cool. Delivery in two hours the text promised.
It happened as planned, even better than planned. The delivery person who also picked out the fruit and refrigerated goods (I passed on meat for this first time) had individually hand wrapped each piece of fruit and the order was received in perfect condition. About $64 worth of groceries costed me around $72, plus a five dollar tip. Expensive but worth it given my responsibilities at home that day.
However, the days and weeks the followed had me investigating the grocery delivery conundrum of people wanting groceries delivered when they got home from work. Whitney didn't care when his widget arrived, as it wasn't going to spoil if he didn't refrigerate it and the loss of a stolen or otherwise misplaced online order seemed to be only an unfortunate condition of online ordering when out of town.
These two events frame my motivation to start PorchBoxDrop. Both deliveries would have been safe had there been a 'receiving' solution that could be in place whether either Whitney or I were at home to receive the delivery personally.
I learned that 30% of Americans who had ordered online had a "missing" delivery. I also learned that about 56% of us want to order groceries online, but don't for a variety of reasons. Only about 4%-5% do order on line because of those reasons, and then the completed delivery dance begins. That meant, to me, that there was 50%+ of the market place that wasn't ordering online that would possible order online is their objections were addressed.
Granted some of those objections had to do with fear of an unknown person handling your food or a misfitting clothing item having to be returned. However, I believe if we look back in time, to the days when homes had ice delivery directly into the icebox and milk delivery into the insulated milk box, these snafus would be easily handled.
So, I put together a simple solution for Whitney to get small packages safely and securely while he and Georgia are away as well as a solution for me to get groceries at any time of the day that will be kept safely and securely as well as cooled - even frozen - to preserve freshness. The cost is no more that an average loss of one large order (say $150 to $250) to solve the problem.
Assuming some people would want a 'stylish' or, even better, an 'architectural' appearing solution, their storage box would be more acceptable to them and/or their neighbors while concealing and protecting their order, I researched and found concealing deck and porch boxes for another $150 to $250, large enough to contain the refrigeration units. The boxes will conceal an entire (lockable) refrigeration unit and hold a grocery order of $150+ of fresh, frozen and non-perishables quite easily.
Also, I realized that my professional history put me into the most perfect kind of retail and service business for my skills and experience, so PorchBoxDrop was born. If you're not convinced, read the other Blog links and articles and judge for yourself these two questions. 1. Is Porch Piracy a problem that should be addressed before ordering online? 2. Is PorchBoxDrop a simple solution?
Jim Simpson has a 45 year history of delivering services and product beginning in 1973 when he opened his own independent service company leading up to being the Business Development Executive of a Sears service franchisee with 700 trucks on the road in the top US 45 consumer market places. He is a tech innovator, assisting retailers collect digitally on bounced checks and by developing hundreds of mobile ordering web apps and sites, and has a history of assisting small business marketing development as an independent entreprenuer and watched as online and digital marketing revolutionized modern service and retail segments. He lives in Cleveland Ohio, is married and has four adult children (and he orders groceries online).