Get the package there and get it there on time. A simply ask, but one that has become increasingly difficult in recent years as e-commerce has exploded and retailers and e-tailers fight for those dollars. More commerce companies are offering next day and even same-day delivery to lure customers. Moving goods under those conditions, though, requires a special expertise and the right partner.
In New York City now, and later this year in up to 5 additional “major markets,” Homer Logistics is hoping to be that partner. Started 3 ½ years ago by Adam Price, Homer specializes in same-day delivery for retailers and e-commerce companies. Price says the company is expanding to a West Coast market this summer and with plans to add additional markets before the year is out.
Homer’s specialty is actually not the delivery of the products, but the logistics and technology of getting the product from store to door.
“We work with retailers and e-commerce providers to develop software to provide solutions in that marketplace,” Price tells FreightWaves.
Originally started in the food and grocery space, Homer Logistics has now facilitated over 1 ½ million deliveries of various products. “When we originally started out in business, we owned and operated the courier side of the business,” Price says. “Being in the thick of that regulation though is not the right way to scale the business.”
Price pointed to the recent California Supreme Court decision regarding courier company Dynamex, which the court said had illegally classified its drivers as independent contractors as one example of the regulations these companies must face.
Homer is really a logistics technology company. Its software accepts the delivery order, identifies not only the best route, but the best method to deliver the goods, and then contracts with the end delivery provider to make the delivery.
“If you just focus on the most efficient way to move those goods quickly, there’s value in that [technology],” Price explains. “[Traditional package delivery] really does not work in a same-day environment.”
Previously, Price says that retailers looking for same-day delivery options were taking a one-size-fits-all approach, and that meant a more costly approach to delivery. “It would be much more efficient if you could pair up multiple providers and multiple solutions,” Price observes.
Homer Logistics uses its software and connections with local providers to connect multiple retailers with a delivery fleet, handling all the work in the process. A single delivery van may be making deliveries for 4 or 5 retailers at the same time. This gives the retailer a level of scale that can help reduce the cost of shipping a single item. The software also identifies the best way to get that package to final destination.
“It’s often more efficient to walk those deliveries a few blocks [in NYC] rather than run a van in Midtown,” Price notes. For deliveries that require vans, Homer has those connections as well.
Price calls Homer’s service a “localized solution” that generates revenue on fees paid by the retailer.
“We get paid through a retailer transaction fee for our expertise, which is specialization in route efficiency,” he says. Homer’s delivery partners are fully vetted and cover every mode of transport necessary. Using its software, it tries to schedule multi-stop routes as much as possible, often from multiple retailers.
“What’s exciting for us is this is very scalable because we partner with providers that already exist so we don’t have to [build a network],” Price says. He says this provides Homer plenty of opportunity to leverage existing services. “The courier same-day business is very fractured. We’ve found over 3,000 courier providers in the country.”
Because the delivery driver is a reflection of the retailer, Homer provides the retailer some level of control, Price says. For instance, if the retailer wants deliveries made by a person in a suit, Homer will arrange that. But for the most part, deliveries have changed over time. “There is no longer an at-the-door handoff that you saw 5 or 10 years ago, and in 10 years, [it will likely be different still],” Price says.
Homer Logistics has now raised $14.5 million to date to scale its business, which Price says is still happening. “We’re still in a very high growth mode,” he says.
Homer has between 15 and 20 employees currently.
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