Hobson Acquisition Helps Zipments Prepare for Holiday Shoppers

Zipments, a New York City-based online delivery and “crowdsourced courier” service, is gearing up for a busy holiday season—and the company is hoping a market expansion and the summer acquisition of a same-day delivery service will pay off.

In addition to New York, Zipments now operates in San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. As part of its growth strategy, Zipments also acquired New York-based Hobson, a courier service offering same-day delivery from stores, in July for an undisclosed amount.

“Hobson focused on retail delivery, and that’s an area everyone wants to pursue as [consumers] buy more and more online,” Zipments CEO Garrick Pohl says. “We were interested in Hobson’s portfolio of clients and method to service those clients—we liked that their fulfillment method didn’t involve a massive technology upgrade.”

Zipments, which was founded in 2010 in Grand Rapids, MI, has a mobile app that connects couriers, retailers, and consumers for same-day delivery service. Local pickup requests are made through the Zipments mobile app or website, or by selecting Zipments during the check-out process while shopping online with participating retailers.

Zipments delivery requests are then automatically dispatched, based on the mode of transportation and amount of time needed to complete the delivery, through its app to a network of couriers. Thanks to the Hobson acquisition, customers can now request one-hour or three-hour deliveries and track the status of those deliveries in real time.

According to research by comScore, Neustar Localeze, and 15 Miles Agency released in April, nearly 80 percent of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases, with nearly 90 percent of those purchases taking place at a store’s physical location. Zipments wants to capitalize on shoppers’ desire to support local businesses by offering a way for customers to get their purchases from boutiques or small regional chains delivered.

“A lot of brick-and-mortar businesses don’t have the technological skills to do online fulfillment,” Pohl points out, adding that Zipments can deliver a bigger variety of goods faster with its new acquisition. “Hobson had a good footing in brick-and-mortar, and we had a good footing in e-commerce.”

Pohl says Zipments now works with New York brands, like B&H, plus roughly 30 retailers—Casper, Warby Parker, UrbanStems, and Plated, to name a few—that have flagship stores in other major markets. Zipments plans to expand to additional cities in 2015.

Pohl says as the on-demand economy evolves, Zipments is a “very complementary” e-commerce service that is poised to grow along with the startups that are capitalizing on new shopping trends.

“[Companies like Casper and Warby Parker] didn’t exist a few years ago, yet, collectively, they’ve raised hundreds of millions in venture backing,” Pohl says. “They are expanding quickly, and they need partners who can scale with them.”

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