When Crowd Delivery, an on demand delivery company, was first launched, it tried to make its interface like every other online shop. But then to test an idea, it basically removed everything.
Within one week Crowd Delivery started to get heaps of traction and has done so ever since.
The secret sauce? Enabling converations between a buyer and the person doing their shopping for them.
Note: This is a short write-up, since this is a great story but I can’t really do justice to the telling of it here 🙂
Warwick has a core value: “No excuses, just results”. Also that you should love your job, believe in it and believe in the leaders.
Warwick is the founder of Crowd Delivery – a service where you write a shopping list conversationally, even across multiple shops, and their “delivery hero” runs around and collects it all; then delivers it.
Originally the UI followed a lot of shopping apps, but a key piece of feedback was that someone didn’t want to do a lot of work selecting products, they “just want to type in their shopping list”. So they stripped it down to that and the business took off.
Amazing stat: 88% of Crowd customers had never used online shopping before.
But why not, when you can do things like ask for two avocados that are ripe and ready; and two that are hard and will ripen later…?
Warwick does customer deliveries every other day and uses the chance to get feedback. He’ll ask them what worked, were they happy.
The design of the app isn’t great, but it works. When problems come up, the delivery staff ring the customer and talk to them.
Hey this lettuce isn’t good, I wouldn’t buy it, do you want me to go to another shop or is there something else you’d prefer?
In ~10k deliveries they’ve had ~5 returns, which is simply incredible.
So much of the app’s success came from removing most of the UI and just letting people type things in. Humans read it and ring and ask questions when they need to. It works!
(upbeat electro-techno tropical music) – So, the first thing I want to talk about is, well, expectations.
So, I love setting expectations, it’s something that I kind of live by, and if you think my talk totally sucks, then just write this down and take this away, cause it’ll be awesome for you, and your workmates, and your wives, and what have you. So, basically the only reason conflict exists is where there’s a difference in expectations, and a failure to communicate them.
So, my mate Henry says it all the time, he got it from somewhere, I’m not too sure. So, I’m going to set the expectation now, exactly about what I’m going to talk about, and what, hopefully, you’re going to get from this talk. Well, first of all, I’m going to talk a little bit about myself and where I’ve come from, and how my business, Crowd Delivery has, sort of, got to where it is, through, like, iteration and what have you. And I guess my talk is not one of those, you know, smashing facts into you.
It’s just more of, like, a story, and hopefully, you can take the moral of it. Kind of like an Aesop Fable kind of thing.
I’ve got kids, so I read that stuff all the time. So, first thing is the Core Value, so, no excuses, just results.
I kind of live by this, because it is awesome. So, I don’t really care about what people like, you know, make an excuse or a reason why something can’t work, it’s all about getting the result.
Like (mumbles) came to my wedding and on the stub he calls at our wedding, it has this thing and my wife and I live by it, now the whole company believes by it.
But, it’s really good because, it doesn’t really matter, but I’ll touch on this a little bit further on. So, learning how to get stuff done.
I guess, so a little bit about me.
So, after the whole school thing, went to Brazil for a year, got drunk, as you do and then when I came back, I grew up on a farm and my parents said you can’t just stick around here, so they basically kicked me out, which was nice! I’ve got a good relationship with my parents so that’s all good and so, I basically thought I don’t really know what I want to do.
So, I went and joined the Navy and became an electronic technician and then after that, I sort of, well, after about two years, I was like, I don’t really want to do this because I’ve got a big belief of if you want to work for a company or you want to do something, you’ve got to believe in the company value, and plus who leads the company.
And honestly, I didn’t really believe in someone telling me to go kill somebody else, I thought that was a bit immoral, so, I got out of that and I met my first ever business mentor.
I said I had big dreams and said I want to be a billionaire and all that kind of stuff.
And he kind of laughed at me and he’s like, well, and I said, well, how do I get there, because, you know, I’m a pretty persistent person so how do I get there and he goes well, the first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to learn how to sell.
So, I went and got the worst possible sales job you can get, which is door to door sales selling credit cards. I don’t know if anyone has done door to door sales but it’s a pretty crappy job and I said why do I have to do this? He said, well, you’ve got to learn how to be really persistent, so, in other words, get rejected a lot, and you’ve got to learn how to communicate, which I wasn’t very good at, at the time.
I was like a bumbling mess.
So, I basically went and did door to door sales and I didn’t get a single sale for three weeks. I totally sucked at it.
Then my manager sat me down and said, well, you know, it’s not really working out for you, you’ll probably just quit, and I was like, it’s a commission only job, it doesn’t cost me anything to be here, he only makes money when I sell something and I’m getting fired from it.
So, then I was like, no, I’m super persistent, I hate losing, love winning, I’ve got to stick with it. So, then after the next week, finally the penny dropped and I made one sale and I was like, ah, thank God, and then after another month, I was the best sales person in the office, which was nice, but then, following that, I went to him and said, right, I’ve done this, what else do I have to do? He goes, now you go and get another sales job and I was like, oh man, alright, I’ll go and do that. So, I went and got another sales job, became a manager pretty quick and then moved up to Queensland to run that. I was over that, working seven days a week and I said, what’s next and he goes, now go and be an entrepreneur.
I was like, alright, that sounds like more fun, so, I started a couple of businesses, one was called Dial A Slab, which was delivering beer after hours to people. So, I’d basically just (audience giggles) yeah, so, I’d basically just go into BWS or the Bottle Shop, buy a tonne of beer and stack it into our cupboards at home and then wait for people to call for some on like Friday night at like, three in the morning, and then just go and deliver it.
Now, to give you an idea, that’s totally illegal, you can’t do that, it’s like bootlegging, so after a while, like after a couple of weeks, I was taking off and then we had a call by the government saying you’ve got two choices, you can either go to jail, get a massive fine or you can stop what you’re doing. I was like, alright, we’ll stop what we’re doing. I didn’t want to go to jail.
Then I sort of got into a construction company and what have you and then after that sort of built that from a small company to a relatively big company.
Then I thought, where’s the future, well, it’s definitely tech isn’t it? Because, I mean, in the end, everything is going to be run by robots and AI, whether we like it or not, its just an inevitability.
I was like, well how do I get in front of that, where do I go learn how to programme, so then, I went and taught myself how to programme, got my job at Flight Centre and then What If and last time I spoke at a code, I was working for Expedia, which is also when I actually started Crowd as well.
So, to give you a bit of background, so a bit of context of what Crowd Delivery is. It’s basically an App or a website, where you can order your groceries, like Coles, Woollies, Aldi, you know, alcohol, what have you, that’s illegal now (giggles) and so, you can order all your groceries from multiple shops and then one of our legendary heroes, runs round the shops, picks it up and drops it off to your house in around 30 minutes.
Pretty fucking cool.
If you don’t mind.
So, blowing the customers minds.
So, ideas? I probably should explain this photo as well. It’s pretty random.
I’ve got two kids, ones six and ones about three, four, somewhere around there and they’re awesome, but I walked into the kitchen, this is our kitchen and we walked in there and one of my daughters has got her hand on the ice maker pouring milk over her head, and the other one’s, nappy off, skating around on a scooter in the kitchen.
I was just like, what the fuck are you guys doing in there? Idiots, but if you’ve got kids you might relate to that. But, ideas can come from everybody and this is, I guess, the point of this part, is my daughter thought of Crowd and she was four at the time and she does stuff like this! So, just because someone works with you and they are just like a total nutcase, they could have another good idea.
So, a little bit about our history.
After the idea was conceived, so, the way that it was conceived with when my daughter thought of it, we were all sitting at the dining table doing a bit of programming work as you do at the weekend, and my daughter had this little shop set up and then she goes, Dad, do you want anything from the shops? I was like, yeah, I’ll have some milk and bread and maybe a bit of chocolate and she goes, cool, and I was like, how do I order and she goes, well, you just use your phone and I was like, smart arse, I was like, alright, there you go, done.
Then I was like, cool, so, is it like click and collect? Am I going to come and pick this up like we did with Coles at the time or are you going to deliver it? She goes, nah, Poundy’s here, who’s our dog, Poundy, Poundy’s here, he’ll just drop it off on the way home. I was like, ah okay cool, so Poundy works for you, she was like, nah, just someone at the shops, I was like, so just a random person at the shops just picked my groceries and then dropping off? She’s like, yeah, and I was like, well, how do I pay for it? She’s like, through your phone, I was like, that’s a good idea.
Jees, that’s a billion dollar idea child, high five, happy days.
After that, ideas are worth nothing, obviously, they worth the piece of paper they are written on. You’ve got to execute it.
So, the second part is prototyping them, built the app and tested it on over three hundred people. So, the way we did that, we’ve obviously built the prototype and I think a few guys have spoken about doing prototypes and what have you in this talk, which is good. So, basically build a prototype and then I’ll be that person on the train sitting next to people.
I’d just go and sit next to someone and go, good day mate, how you going, look, random question, I’ve got an idea for an idea for an app or whatever, service, explain it to them, and then get some feedback, get up, walk over next to someone else, good day, how you going, and then sit next to someone else. I pretty much did that every single day, day in, day out on the way to work and back from work.
So, I was that pest on the train, that was just like, don’t sit next to me, man. Super weird.
So, after we tested it, I even did it on a plane actually, just moved around the plane sitting next to people. Started building an Android MVP, minimum viable product, obviously, and then we sort of got that out there and then did that on the weekends.
Then we launched to over 200 customers.
So, basically just went round and door knocked around our suburb, everybody, every single house, and just signed them up to the app, signed them on to the service and tried to get them to use it.
Now, when you first do that and when you first try to launch a product, usually, you just fall flat on your face and nothing actually happens.
So, we signed up over 200 customers and then we found that everyone had iPhones, so we had to go build an iPhone app, ‘cos obviously like, the stats are totally wrong, everyone does have an iPhone, but then, because I used to go round and door knock, so, I’d basically come home from work, working full time, come and door knock and then sign up the customers and then go round and door knock those exact same customers and say, why did you not use this, why did you use this, you know, get some feedback, because I really want to know how to actually get this going. One customer, when I knocked on their door, went, well, your whole looking for products, it’s just really hard to use, I don’t really get it, I just want to type my shopping list in and then have someone deliver it.
I was like, so you basically use just a free text box, like you just type it in? She was like, yeah, and I was like, ah well, we’ve got nothing to lose, so fuck it, lets do it. So, basically just removed everything we’d ever done, so, everything we’d already built, we basically removed everything, just stripped it all away, you know, totally the opposite to the Shopify thing and we just had a text box where you just type it in. It was like, super basic and I thought it was just super crap but, we basically did that and then as soon as we did that orders just started taking off, which is really weird. You basically remove everything, change everything you’re trying to do and then you just get heaps more traction, which is bizarre. Then, customers started ordering around 12 times a month, which is a fair bit, you’re talking 30 – 50 grocery shops around 12 times a month, which is insane.
So, ah, I dribbled a bit there, anyway.
(giggles) So, when people started ordering 12 times a month, I was still working full time and my wife was working and so, pretty much from July all the way back, working a full time job, doing everything after hours at night time, on weekends and what have you. But when your customers start ordering 12 times a month, I’m sitting at work and my phone goes “scheuww”, and I go, I’m just gonna go to lunch, just like, zip off, do a delivery, come back and then go, ah, another one, call my wife, can you do this delivery and she’s like, yeah, alright, so she’d leave her job and then another one would come in and I’d go, a man, I’m just gonna go to the bathroom, piss off for an hour, come back (giggles) and as you can imagine, if you do that at your job, like if you were the boss, you’d probably fire me, so, I got fired.
(giggles) Which is good, probably the best blessing in disguise. So, that was the end of July and then when I got fired, my wife said, you’re the main bread winner, you’ve got to get another job, you can’t just do nothing.
I was like, nah, I need to get funding, I need to do Crowd full time.
So, considering that 98% of startups fail to get funding and only 2% do, within two weeks, I finally got a little bit of funding, like 60 grand, just to do it full time.
Since then, we have pretty much solved all the rest or heaps of other problems and now it’s gaining really, really fast.
But, the point of this whole thing is the UI, so, to give you an idea, this is the grocery online shopping market and the alcohol ones.
Alcohol is more like your delivered wines and what have you from like Vinomofo, if any of you guys have heard of that.
So, that’s the market for online shopping.
Now, an ordinary online shop, with all the products and what have you, there’s only 88% of people, well, 88% of Crowd customers never used online shopping before.
So, what does that tell you? It’s like, well, if heaps of your customers, if you’re trying to copy all your competitors and if you totally change it around, then you might create this whole different market segment, which is totally awesome considering people just type their shopping list in, it’s like super basic and that’s a pretty cool stat and it just goes to show that removing everything sometimes can work and it’s all about crap design. So, as an example, this is Coles, this is Woollies, they’ve got all their products and most companies have all their products there and your company might be the same.
You might have products on your website, whether it’s an online shop or something and then you get feedback from your customers, but you’ve got to speak to your customers and I guess, a really like cool part about what we do is we talk to our customers every single day. Every day.
I’ll go and do deliveries all the time.
When we launch in Melbourne, then I’ll go and do deliveries in Melbourne because I wanna speak to the customers.
I’ll go and knock on their door, deliver their groceries and go tell me how we can be better. Tell me like, what was your pain point in the whole on boarding process, this, okay, well, how do we make that better? How was the shopping a bad experience for you? How can we make that better? It’s all about asking your customers because that’s what we’ve come up with, which is pretty shit, I think.
I don’t really like it at all but it seems to work, which is bizarre.
So, you basically just order from multiple shops which you can’t there, which is cool.
So, like, the bad UI and I guess the moral, I’ve spoken really, really fast, the whole presentation is done, the moral of the story is that you can take away multiple things from this whole story but one of them might be ask your customers and talk to your customers about how you can iterate over things but also, you know, I guess part of our service and with the whole chat bots and what have you is we call our customers, it’s like we actually speak to them on the phone and we ask them what they think.
So, if they order a shitty lettuce or if they order a lettuce, sorry, and it is crap, like you go to Coles and it’s like some mangled kind of lettuce then we’ll call the customer and say, look, I wouldn’t buy this, so, do you want me to go to another shop and get it or do you just want to miss out, that’s up to you and then they can make that choice.
We’ll probably get to the chat bot one day, like eventually, when we’ve got like AI and what have you, but, I mean, right now, how can you actually speak to your customers and how can you iterate over what you are doing in speaking to your customers in every single way and make sure you’re communicating with them at a really personal level.
Honestly, people do think that ours is a chat bot and there are some pretty random stuff in there, it’s awesome.
Like some people write can you get me a slurpy, it’s alright, you can have a sip, it’s fine! (giggles) It’s like, okay, we’re not going to do that! (laughs) But, you can take away the persistence of getting a product started out of this story. It’s up to you guys but hopefully, I’ve inspired you to do something and if you hate your job, maybe you should quit it and go and do your own thing, unless your boss is sitting next to you, don’t do that. (laughs) So, that’s about it, that’s all from me, so hopefully, you’ve learnt something, thanks very much.
(applause) (upbeat electro-techno tropical music)