Here Technologies, a provider of location and mapping solutions for companies worldwide including UPS and FedEx, has created a free navigation app that helps small business owners optimize ecommerce delivery routes by providing turn-by-turn navigation for multiple stop routes.
The app, called Here WeGo Deliver, was created in about three weeks by engineers at Here after the company decided it wanted to do something to help out local small businesses struggling as COVID-19 shut their doors to customers and online became a lifeline.
“Dozens of ideas came through, we decided to focus on three, and Here WeGo Deliver is one of them,” said Kirk Mitchell, SVP of Americas for Here in Chicago. “It was done quickly by a couple key engineers. We don’t typically deal with end customers, but COVID-19 was taking away jobs of servers and staff at cafes and restaurants.”
While restaurants and cafes have been the primary beneficiaries of the app so far, it could be used by any manner of small local businesses doing ecommerce delivery. Here is not conducting a major marketing push behind Here WeGo Deliver but is working through channels to get the word out.
Mitchell said it’s a very lightweight tool for optimizing and scheduling deliveries, relying on basic data attributes vs. the thousands that power a technology like UPS’s Orion navigation system. It was trialed in Australia by a restaurant chain called Casual Mondays, which saw good results, including adding frozen meal delivery for its customers.
The app is free through the end of the year, but Mitchell said Here has no plans to productize it. Delivery stops can be imported by Excel, and drivers receive navigation links by email which they click open to get their directions. There are plenty of ecommerce delivery services and apps out there, but they command a fee that can be as much as 35% of an order, and many SMBs operate on very thin margins.
“Businesses are able to take staff that normally would be waiting tables and keep them employed,” Mitchell said. “They’re able in some instances to reduce the time of deliveries. But the key benefit is, using a planning tool that would otherwise cost them a lot of money.”