Sahiba Patni is the Co-Founder of WeDeliver, an app powering “Direct-to-Consumer” commerce, connecting SMEs and Users via an On-Demand Marketplace Platform. The platform helps users save their time by running their errands and delivering a wide assortment of products – from groceries to beauty products – directly to their doorstep. It also provides tech and logistical support to its vendor partners, enabling them to reach a wider audience base.
WeDeliver is now in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs; here are some insights from Sahiba on the inspiration behind WeDeliver, how it works, and how it is creating an ecosystem that empowers both users and local businesses across London.
What was the inspiration behind founding WeDeliver?
A little over a year ago, I saw a new mother on the tube. She was holding a baby, a dog, a bag of groceries, and a parcel. And she wasn’t the only one juggling too many things. So many of us are living busy lives, and there is never enough time in the day to get work and errands done – let alone get some “me time.” It made me wonder how we can create a system that can make life less overwhelming.
In parallel, in my years living in the UK, I’ve seen a number of home-run businesses and SMEs struggling to scale without the presence of a large marketing, tech, and delivery infrastructure. As a result, they are unable to reach customers outside their limited delivery range, or establish a presence in new areas.
There is a gap in the market; users are struggling to run all their errands on time, while vendors are struggling to reach customers where they are. WeDeliver was born as an attempt to bridge both those gaps.
WeDeliver is an on-demand marketplace platform connecting users and SMEs. From a local bookshop aiming to foster a community of avid readers to a specialised family-run Asian chilli oil provider seeking to go beyond their neighbourhood by providing home delivery, WeDeliver aims to bring them online. Users have the convenience of saving time and having items delivered home, while local businesses get to expand their reach.
Can you explain some of the services you offer?
WeDeliver powers “Direct-to-Consumer” commerce, connecting SMEs and Online Users via the WeDeliver app. This provides an advantage to both users as well as our vendor partners:
WeDeliver’s marketplace model gives users access to the widest assortment of products through a universal catalogue, which combines all the inventory of our merchant partners. They can order a variety of items – from rice to beauty products – all in a single order and have them delivered within a same-day three hour window. Additionally, WeDeliver uses a pricing algorithm; if multiple partner vendors offer the same product, only the lowest priced product is shown to the customer.
By bringing SMEs onto our platform as vendor partners, we provide them with the logistics infrastructure. As a result, they are empowered to expand beyond their usual delivery radius and reach more users. In addition, WeDeliver also provides technological insights and marketing capabilities to expand their customer base. We have a section for advertising (banner placement on the app), in addition to emails.
How does WeDeliver empower SMEs?
WeDeliver runs on a marketplace model. This gives us two advantages
It allows us to be capital-light since all inventory belongs to our merchant partners.
It lets us onboard a wide variety of merchant partners, giving local SMEs a larger footprint. Many vendors don’t have their own tech and delivery infrastructure because they’re too small. As a result, it gets harder to scale in a tech-first ecosystem. This is where WeDeliver comes in. We offer delivery support that enables them to reach a wider audience, as well as data that helps them optimise their product selection.
I would like to elaborate on this with an example of one of our merchant partners – an independent, family-run business that specialises in preparing healthy lunches for fitness-conscious eaters. Partner 1 prepares lunch boxes for the office-going crowd, and Partner 2 drops off the boxes.
As a two-person team, they are restricted by how far Partner 2 can travel. He has to drop off lunch boxes before he gets to his day job in the morning.
WeDeliver’s fleet helped them by:
Arriving at the office close to lunch time
Delivering lunch boxes across the city, which provided an added advantage of a fresh lunch for the users.
We work hand-in-hand with independent businesses in London, and don’t compete with them.
You’ve explained that you want to bring some of the tech prowess of India to the markets in the UK, how are you planning to set up that ecosystem?
As an Indian citizen who immigrated to the UK, I’m proud to see that India has moved from back-end tech support to fronting initiatives and creating inclusive systems that everyone can adopt. Digital payments initiatives, food delivery startups, and home improvement apps have been widely used by users across demographics, and this has inspired me to bring a similar, community-based ecosystem to the UK.
So far, we have integrated an integrated AI-driven pricing system into the WeDeliver app. That means, if a user searches for a product that’s available in multiple different stores in the same area, the algorithm automatically selects the lowest-cost option.
We’ve made this possible with the help of a core team that has previously been involved in building billion-dollar companies around the world. We are lucky to work with tech experts, brand-building wizards, and more.
You are beginning a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, can you explain what you’re using the funds from the platform for?
We recently went live on Seedrs, and are very excited to see where this campaign can take us. Here are some of our plans for the funds we receive:
AI integration: We’re working on making our team more tech-driven, bringing Machine Learning technology into the platform to enhance user experience. For instance, if a user asks for a “paneer butter masala” recipe, they will be able to add all the ingredients to the cart immediately. Or if they ask for a suitable moisturiser for dry skin, WeDeliver will bring up a list of the most suitable products that they can order.
$WeDeliver token: This is a user-focused programme that aims to provide non-order related benefits to build an ecosystem around WeDeliver. This token will form the basis of our loyalty programme using blockchain technology.
Community building: The additional funds will be used to host community events in collaboration with our vendor partners. We also plan to launch a referral program, which enables customers to act as WeDeliver’s brand advocates.