So our guest today is Scott love. And he is the owner of store to door, a new business here in Saskatchewan that many of you may have heard about. But Scott’s a bit of a serial entrepreneur with a passion for local and a real knack for business. So he started his first business when he was 18 years old and spent the next number of years in the franchise and food space.
His franchise includes everything from Subway, Panago pizza, Starbucks, lots of names that we all know and probably frequent on a regular basis.
But no task is too small for Scott, he decided that his next gig and the gig we’re going to talk about today is taking on the likes of Amazon when it comes to local delivery. So without further ado, Scott, please speak and you will pop up onto my screen and let’s chat. Let’s hear all about it.
Cool. Well, thanks, Barb. Thanks, everybody, for having me. And I look forward to discussing some of these local challenges that are going on in our local economy. Like Barb said, I’ve been in business for about 25 years now.
But like, mostly in the food business, and, you know, learn most of my ups and downs in that business. And, you know, when COVID hits back, you know, early 2020, I saw this big opportunity for brick and mortar retail and local retailers, you know, in our local economy, specifically, that they’re going to run into a ton of challenges, getting their product out of their doors, and into people’s hands.
And I could see the rise of companies like Amazon just you know, doing a, you know, an okay job at it. But everybody’s skirting around our local, our local retailers. And that was super concerning to me.
And that’s where, you know, this idea started. And, you know, we knew we had to move quickly, we knew we had to get it off the ground. I had tons of time on my hand because all my other businesses were closed. Okay. So I, you know, hunkered down and launched Store to Door late 2020. And, you know, we’re 11 months later, or 12 months later. We’re seeing some really great things coming from it. And we’ve helped a lot of businesses in those last year.
Yeah, I bet. And in fact, you’re in northern Saskatchewan. You’re actually in Alberta right now as well, aren’t you?
Yet we’re in Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
So let’s just talk about the logistics for a second is it local delivery city limits city product, or is also is there also some, you know, Regina, Saskatoon, intra delivery,
We do stay within our local area around the local retailers. Majority, you know, we do deliver to Emerald Park, Balgonie, Pilot Butte those types of areas. And in Saskatoon and kind of bedroom communities, we don’t enter delivery between city to city that would be hours away. What we really focus on is getting our product from the retailer’s door to the clients that were in one direct route, versus going through distribution channels and that sort of thing.
So I have to think that there’s some pretty sophisticated technology behind where the drivers go, how they get where they need to go in an efficient manner, things like that. Did you have access to that technology already? Or was that part of your development?
So a little bit of both. When we first started, we needed to prove the concepts, we used a third party product to be able to do that. And since then, we’ve built our own products in house. Here in Regina, we have a group of engineers that work on our team that have built this platform. And we continue to build the product out and perfected as we continue to go.
Take. So yeah, you’ve got a lot of technical pieces. And then how many drivers do you have, if you looked at your fleet size, right now?
I’m currently, we’d be over a hundred and in our fleets, we really rely on the gig economy to be able to backfill that, you know, flexibility. This is a driving gig that you can make quick, easy money. It’s not really there for you know, the eight hour worker, because it’s a very grueling job, to be delivering, driving, picking up and all those sorts of pieces. But it’s a good way for people to supplement your income. And we’ve seen a lot of success from that.
So I think gig economy so a lot of university students, part time workers, things like that, I presume,
Yeah, retirees are a big market for us. You know, and just yet anybody that’s looking to make some extra money that can fill it in around their current career. That’s where we see a lot of success from it.
Yeah, yeah, I can totally see how that would work then. So tell me a little bit about the process. So why buy something online? I really have no idea how it’s getting to me as a consumer, but somewhere you get involved. So how does that handoff happen?
Yep. So there’s two ways that we do it. The simplest way is through integration.
So for example, if you’re using Shopify as an E commerce platform, potentially as your local business, which is, you know, doing the whole transaction, we integrate on the back end of Shopify, and when they select Local same day delivery, it would shoot that information across to us.
So that we have all the important information like their phone number, their address, the name, that sort of thing. And as soon as that product is ready and fulfilled, it will be tagged in the back of Shopify, and let us know that it’s ready for delivery. And we would send a driver to come pick it up.
And we encourage the retailers to kind of bundle their packages. So we kind of assign or work with them with different pickup times, so that we can pick up more at one given time, so we can have a better productive route for our drivers. Pay them more, but also, we can pass on some savings to the retailer as well, because we’re picking up volume versus just one off deliveries.
Exactly. And is the cost for delivery, you’re obviously charging the retailer, or most retailers passing the cost off to the customer, or do many absorb it, or do you even know?
Yeah, it’s a little bit of both depending on the industry.
So for example, in the pharmacy industry that we work with a lot, they absorb the cost.
In retail, a lot of cases, what it is depends on what the cart size that they’ve made purchase. And so usually, if it’s $50 or more, maybe it would be free delivery, and they absorb the cost.
But if it’s less than $50, they would pass the cost on to the client. So it’s a little mishmash of both.
But you know, to be honest with you, I think this industry requires us to be able to align and charge people a little bit for delivery. I don’t think it’s the responsibility of the retailer to constantly be absorbing that. But we have to do that collectively, because it’s all over the place. And some sell, hide it in their pricing. They, you know, gather it in other places. But you know, as an industry, I think that needs to change, and we’re starting to see it in the pharmacy industry. Now, you’re going to start to see some charging because they can’t continue to absorb that cost.
Yeah, exactly. It’s a pretty high cost. So when I compare to something like Amazon, and you know, I kind of envision that you’re sitting on your couch one night, you come up with this idea, and it’s like, hey, I’ll take on Amazon. It’s not something that a lot of people, you know, quite think about. Yeah, they wanted that one off, so kudos to you.
Thank you. And, you know, I, the inspiration came more from how I can help local retail, right, if you know, Amazon, yes, is the big juggernaut over to the side. But that’s, you know, we’re really just there to be able to, you know, pass on and be a part of what they’re doing in our local economy.
And it was super concerning to me that, you know, people could be closing their businesses, if they didn’t get out to these clients in some form or fashion, that was more the objective than really to compete with Amazon. That is just kind of what has happened, because of what we’re doing. But it’s really to help these local businesses.
So when you were doing your homework, did you do a deep dive into Amazon’s business model? Because so often, Amazon stuff is delivered for free. It’s just buried somewhere. What did you learn?
That’s right. Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, these big companies or any company, I mean, you’re not doing this for nothing. There’s always a way to make it work, you know, membership models, or whatever it is that they use to be able to supplement and, you know, make their income.
There’s just so many different ways that they take from the retailer. And that was one of the biggest things, you know, me being in the food business, dealing with, you know, Sips and Ubers and DoorDash is, you know, it really bothered me of how, you know, they would say, it’s going to be X amount of dollars. And then next thing you know, it, you know, I’m basically, I’ve lost everything in order to make that transaction.
And we wanted to make sure that it was very transparent and flat fee driven. So that if you’re a retailer, you know exactly what you’re paying for that delivery, and there’s no other charges coming along.
And I think in Amazon’s case, it’s still the same thing. You know, if you’re a retailer for Amazon, you’re getting jammed with tons of different fees to make up for that delivery as well. So, you know, that’s something that we really are really concerned about, and want to make sure that we’re super transparent with our retailers.
You know, you bring up a really interesting point because I don’t know partway through COVID. We’re approaching that two year mark. Partway through COVID. There was a bit of an outcry in terms of how much to skip the dishes and some of the other delivery companies were gouging from that purchase to the point where consumers said, forget it, we’ll we’ll deal directly we’ll pick up, right people actually kind of revolted from that. Did that change at all? Do you know? And did that impact your decision making?
Well, it was a driver to how we created our pricing model. But I don’t think it’s actually gone anywhere in terms of reverse in that industry, specifically, it was Skip and Uber. I know that that’s an industry that’s growing at a crazy pace.
I think they’re expecting it to grow, like another couple 100% Over the next year. You know, it’s just, I think it’s accessibility people, you know, there’s one big thing that people just can’t buy, and that is time.
And I think, you know, if we can, if somebody can save them time, they’re going to take advantage of it. But I want to make sure that these local retailers, or whoever we’re working with stay in business, because they’re ultimately our feeder of our business.
So we can’t jam them and take everything from them, because you’re just gonna, you’re just gonna kill them. Right. And I think some of these other companies, they think there’s all this margin in food, or there’s this margin in retail goods, there isn’t.
And we can all attest that, it just kills the bottom line. But if it’s kind of you’re damned if you do or damned if you don’t in situations specifically COVID, what other alternative did you have? And they took advantage of that. And I want to make sure that we as Store to Door don’t do that. We’re partners, we want to make sure you succeed. But we also have to succeed as well.
You know, that’s a common sentiment that I’ve heard, when it comes to some of the delivery companies, food establishments don’t feel like they have a choice. If they’re not on the app, if they’re not using the service, then the customer doesn’t even consider them, because they’ve completely forgotten about them.
And to skips credit, you know, people go to the app, what’s in there, they place their order, they don’t even go looking elsewhere. So are you starting to see something similar with retail? Where if delivery isn’t available? Or if delivery charges aren’t clearly stated? Customers go elsewhere? Or do you hear much from customers? What’s kind of your ear to the ground on that?
You know, one of the key things that we wanted to make sure is that we weren’t a third party marketplace. Because of that specific reason, you know, all these retailers worked so hard with their marketing budgets, you know, building customer relationships, and being able to pass that off to a third party marketplace, to make that customer now vulnerable to be taken by another brand. Because their prices, maybe 50 cents, or $1 cheaper.
We just didn’t want to do that. And so what we did is we actually, white labeled our product. So all the branding, and everything is, is the company that we’re working for at that given moment.
So if it’s Bella Chic here in Regina, specifically, when we do a delivery, it’s Bella chic communication all the way through it door to door, we’re not there to build our business brand. We’re building, we’re there to build your business brand.
And I think that’s something that’s really resonated with retailers. Is that Yes, I do not want to put that I’ve worked so hard for this customer. I don’t want to make them vulnerable and out there to be taken away from me. Because I need to be part of this thing that everybody’s saying I need to be a part of. And I think that’s one of the competitive advantages that we have. And we’ve been able to give to those retailers.
Yeah. So okay, that’s a really interesting point. I actually have a delivery coming later today. And I’m quite sure that it’s you guys. But in fact, I don’t know, as far as I know, I made my purchase from my retailer. And yeah, I have no idea who actually shows up with my product. But I did contact my retailer this morning and said, Hey, I’m gonna live between 11 and 12. Can you not ring the doorbell? Right, right. It’s those little things when you have dogs where you’re like, Oh, no. Things you don’t think about? Yep. Okay.
So that’s actually a really different approach, not having that common marketplace. Because there’s a number of folks who even locally do have that, here’s our marketplace, you can buy through these folks, and it gets delivered. So you guys really change that up?
Yeah, and the thing is, every time you touch somebody else’s hand, there’s margin to be taken away from that in that retailer, right? So less, less touches, more opportunity for that margin, the stay in Sask for that retailer, and less points of contact because that’s where errors happen. I mean, we have errors, you know, we’re human where you got human elements or business. But at the end of the day, less touches means less opportunity for failure. So, you know, I think that’s a really important piece as well.
Yeah. Absolutely That kind of makes me wonder like Where would this system break on you?
But really what brakes on us are the biggest challenges throttling up and down with our driver capacity with volume, you know, expectations. So because a retailer in one day could have 20 orders or packages, we don’t get any foresight on when that’s actually going to happen. It just happens for them, there’s site all of a sudden gets traffic, they sell, they do a sale, and they need this product out.
So, you know, maybe that retailer didn’t do any deliveries three days prior, and all of a sudden, they have 20 that day. Okay. So that’s kind of the biggest challenge, but we have human beings. And that’s why we don’t rely on our tech 100% is because we have to have human beings dispatch this and make sure that these things are being addressed. And we’re on it right away.
And they’re located here in Regina. They’re doing the job every day, every hour that we’re available, to make sure that we do get these things out in the time that we’ve, you know, we’ve said we can do it for so yeah, that’s how we that’s the biggest challenge that we have.
Okay, yeah, that makes more sense to me then. So you guys aren’t touching the food industry at this point? I presume?
No, not in the you know, prepared foods. We do. Working for a boutique grocery is what I call them. And so local and fresh, for example, in Regina is a company that delivers grocery and frozen items for them.
We do you have meal prep companies that prepare, you know, frozen products, I guess and we deliver for them. But we don’t do any delivery specifically for any fast food restaurant business. We just let those guys fight that battle over there. And we want to make sure that we’re because we can’t really guarantee to get it done in an hour. It’s pretty hard to do a lot of logistic challenges around that. And we just didn’t want to get in that realm.
Yep. Yeah. Okay, that makes more sense to me then. So tell me about your I’ll call it customer acquisition process based on everything you’ve told me. If I was a retailer, it sounds like a no brainer to me. What are the obstacles or is your growth trajectory, just straight up at this point?
It is straight up at this point. So but we have onboarding capacity, we have a whole team of sales and lead generation that are, you know, basically working in different market places, going, you know, really surrounding some of our key retailers that we work with making sure that we’re you know, touching them saying, hey, who can we help in your local neighborhoods, you know, referrals and that sort of thing.
We can always take on more, and we continue to on a daily basis. You know, we say it’s a no brainer, but you know, in a lot of cases, maybe a local retailer, you know, they’ve been delivering their products, and they feel comfortable doing that.
And what I say to them, in most cases is that, you know, if you go spend an hour outside of your business, you know, what could you be doing in an hour to build your business rather than out there just driving around? Let us do that for a minimal fee. And you spend that hour on building your business and probably, you know, making three, four or five, maybe 10 times what you paid me to do that delivery.
So you know, that’s kind of the feedback and that we like to give. But, you know, when the retailers are onboard, they feel that they can really validate that point. Because once they do see the value in what we do, they can just turn around, they’re building their business.
Exactly. It’s interesting that you say that, because one of the things that I often see from local business owners is we don’t put a value on our time. And so whether I’m driving around doing deliveries, working in the office, or heaven forbid, just relaxing, there’s a value to that time. And it’s so easy to say, Oh, well, you know, that’s just my admin time, but we have to put a value on it. Because time is such a finite resource. And it just disappears. Right? It absolutely disappears.
Totally. And I you know, from my experiences, typically, if I would ever take anything or deliver something in any of my businesses, it was never just straight to the clients. And then back. In most cases, I would go to Staples, or I would go to wherever, you know, and next thing, you know, and I’m gone for an hour and a half.
And that’s, you know, and you know, on average, I kind of look at it and say like a typical business owner, that’s probably, you know, they should be netting out, you know, anywhere from 75 to $100 an hour is what their time is worth. Well, that’s a huge amount of money that you spent on a delivery that you could pay somebody $10 to do. You know, so yeah, I agree with you 100% And it’s something that took me a long time in business to really understand the importance of value my time. And once they realized that it just made me that much more productive as well.
People think I figured it out yet to be honest, God, there’s so many times that I, why am I sitting here still doing this? Like walking away?
Yes, no doubt, it’s hard. I mean, we only want to do the best for ourselves and, and try to save money and all these sorts of things. But sometimes you have to really understand the return on that investment and make sure that you understand what that calculation is because you could be wasting time on some things that definitely could be done differently for you.
Exactly. One of the obstacles that I expected that you would mention, but you didn’t was that some local businesses aren’t set up for E-commerce, e-commerce purchases, or, you know, they might still be doing the phone. If they’re not set up. If you’re talking to a retailer who is not set up. Is that where the line between you and the retailer happens? They have to be connected to e-commerce and then you can take over note you’re shaking your head. What does that look like?
We recognized that real early in our, in our business and building this piece of tech is that, you know, that was our initial plan, ecommerce integration, simple. Once we started talking to retailers and actually getting out into the fields, 95% of local businesses do not ecommerce setup, or even have the ability or have the funds to do it, because it’s not cheap, it takes time, takes money and that sort of thing.
So what we did is we actually built a portal that they can manually, it’s like three lines, you know, it’s their cell phone number, their address, and the customer’s phone number or the customer’s name. And they can do that in our portal, and dispatch and deliver it to us within 15 seconds. Okay, and it’s all trackable there in that portal, they can see where the delivery is, what you know, what’s the status is that if it’s been delivered, what’s the delivery notes are proof of delivery of it, the picture signature, Id scan any of that sort of stuff.
So they have that all their fingertips. And we see that specifically in the pharmacy business, they do not have ecommerce, right. So they use our portal, we also have CSV upload. So if you’re doing, you know, massive amounts of deliveries, and you don’t want to type them in individually, we can upload a CSV file for them, and have that done as well. So we came up with a solution. And that’s, I would say 80% of our businesses are using that portal versus integration.
So lessons learned, what lessons learned, would you take away at this point already, even though it’s only been a year?
The biggest lesson is, you know, you have to, you have to listen, listen to your marketplace, listen to your customers, they’re going to tell the story of what we need to do to satisfy them and do it right. You know, things that we assumed as important to the retailer wasn’t necessarily a case specifically, like we just discussed E-commerce versus, you know, ability to do non e commerce. These are all things that we had to do by listening. And, you know, we also have to be vulnerable and understand that making mistakes. is Okay.
And that’s it. We’re out of time. Thank you, Scott, so much for joining us today to talk about Store to Door and the expansion you’re seeing across western Canada, as well as everything you’re doing to support local businesses.
If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or find us on social media at abovethefold.ca. We’d love to have you on as a guest in 2022. So drop me a note and we’ll see you next year.
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Scott Love is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for local and a knack for business.
He started his first business when he was 18 and spent the next number of years in the franchise & food space. His franchises included well-known names like Subway, Panago Pizza, and Starbucks.
No task is too small for this entrepreneur; he decided his next gig would be taking on the likes of Amazon at the local level with Store to Door. Let’s hear how it’s going!
Connect with Scott @ Store to Door