Booking a courier has become as easy as booking a taxi, as yet another app is launching in Singapore to match parcel senders with the nearest couriers.
Called Zap!, its creator Zap! Delivery guarantees the delivery of virtually anything small - from e-commerce parcels to someone's forgotten house keys or water bottle - within two hours.
"If it is a small item that needs to be delivered fast, we want to be of service," said Mr Michael Tan, co-founder of Zap! Delivery, which was incorporated last month with a capital of $250,000.
"We want to make the booking of couriers as easy and transparent as booking a taxi," he said.
Zap! joins the increasingly crowded market currently dominated by RocketUncle, GoGoVan and CarPal, which have emerged in the past year.
Although Zap! will be available for download on both Android phones and Apple iPhones only later this month, its beta version is being showcased today at CommunicAsia.
The region's largest communications trade event, CommunicAsia is being held at Marina Bay Sands and ends on Friday.
Unlike its larger rivals RocketUncle and GoGoVan, which have enlisted thousands of car, van or motorbike owners as couriers, Zap! also wants to enlist people who cycle or those who can deliver parcels on foot. The Zap! software calculates a flat delivery fee - starting from $5 - based on package size, distance, time of the day and day of the week.
App users can track the route of their couriers in real time on a map, and text or call their couriers, much like how passengers communicate with their cabbies using taxi-booking apps. Real-time route tracking is absent in other courier-booking apps.
Payment is only via credit card with the Zap! app, whereas GoGoVan and RocketUncle let customers pay cash directly to their couriers.
Zap! Delivery co-founder Alexander Danilov said that this is for security reasons. "There is a three-day payment holding period to facilitate any dispute from customers over non- or late-delivery problems," he said.
Currently, the only other app that guarantees delivery in two hours is GoGoVan, which also provides passenger and house-moving services. GoGoVan also provides a one-hour express service with a $3 surcharge.
Like the Uber taxi-booking app, Zap! lets users rate their couriers on a scale of one to five, with the rating for each courier published in their profiles.
Mr Marc Einstein of market research firm Frost & Sullivan said that there is a "gold rush" at the moment, as start-ups add the social networking component, via Uber-like apps, to traditional services.
"There is a market for these apps, as people are hooked to their smartphones. But no one can really say which service will get it right," he said.
This article was first published on June 2, 2015.
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