Two university pals have launched a new business to combat careless couriers, and have secured a string of high-profile clients.
Kate Kennedy and Lucy Major, who met whilst studying at Newcastle University, were frustrated by the goods they bought online arriving in tattered boxes by harried couriers eager to get to their next drop-off.
A friend’s birthday present that arrived three days late, in a crushed polythene package that looked like it had been used in a game of rugby was the final straw, and the beginning of the business that would become Urban Bundles. Kennedy and Major said they saw an opportunity to change the mindset of both customer and retailer when it comes to the delivery experience.
Twelve months on, the high-end, same-day delivery service is reported to have been a success, winning contracts with retailers including; Aquascutum, Thomas Pink, a luxury department store and a global beauty brand.
The difference with Urban Bundles is that the smart suited and booted drivers are fully trained in customer service and this, rather than making the maximum number of deliveries, is the priority. Vehicles carry premium livery – either the customer’s own branding, or smart Urban Bundles colours.
The company also uses a range of special vehicles to fit the client’s brand, such as classic cars, vintage bikes or quirky electric vehicles, meaning the full retail experience continues right to the customer’s front door, and has recently worked on an exclusive experiential project with MR PORTER at Canary Wharf.
Kennedy said: “Premium brands want to distinguish themselves, and with the growth of online shopping, tailoring the delivery to the customer is the obvious next step. Although we are seeing retailers getting excited about click and collect, we think instant gratification is the next step! I think that same-day delivery will be the buzzword soon – people want things immediately, and that’s the only way online shopping will replicate the in-store experience.”
Major said: “Distribution centres are on the whole outside city centres, which means there are inevitable delays in getting goods to customers. However, the Urban Bundles model goes straight from store to customer’s front doors – so less delay. We’ve already signed up 25 independent boutiques and we are working with the larger luxury retailers and department stores too. We’re attracting clients with our bespoke software and our innovative, flexible services such as ‘wait & return’.”
Urban Bundles concentrates on specific London postcodes at present, with plans to expand in the future.