Roadie, a crowdsourced last-mile delivery platform that is owned by UPS, is expanding availability of an app that allows same-day delivery and pickup of ecommerce orders by Roadie drivers from warehouses to local customers, which was launched a year ago by sports apparel retailer Fanatics.
The service, called Roadie Direct, uses an app that enables pre-sortation and staging of local orders in a designated area within a facility, processing and fulfilling them in hours instead of days. It allows for later cutoff times than allowed by traditional carriers, expanding delivery windows. Fanatics has been using it at its six U.S. distribution centers.
Marc Gorlin, founder and CEO of Roadie, said using Roadie Direct enables retailers to bypass the step of sending goods to offsite sortation centers, speeding up the process and enabling same-day delivery. He said many companies already have the capability in house to sort, stage and deliver orders right from the warehouse.
“It eliminates the need to sort and resort merchandise,” Gorlin said. “Regardless of when orders come in, warehouse employees are guided to route them to be picked up by same-day delivery drivers, if the customer is in range.”
Gorlin said the app works for both owned facilities and 3PL centers. The smart sortation technology can be added onto existing scanner software to guide pickers to load the right bins for Roadie drivers. Fanatics uses a color-coded system to make the process even smoother. The app comes with pre-built integration with Zebra scanners but is device agnostic.
Roadie Direct took about five months to develop, and the company has had key learnings from the Fanatics deployment. For instance, the retailer set up drop boxes outside its facilities for undeliverable orders that come back after hours, resolving them the same day.
“We’ve been quietly adding customers and we’re ready to launch at scale,” Gorlin said. “We partner with the operations teams to make sure it’s set up with the best chance of success, and it can now be set up much faster.” He added Roadie Direct can work within an owned facility or a contracted 3PL.
Roadie has a network of 200,000 crowdsourced drivers it says can reach 95% of the continental U.S. within hours. Founded in 2014 in Atlanta, it was acquired in September 2021 ago by UPS.