Swyft Helping Retailers Prepare to Deliver on Expected Surge in Fourth Quarter Consumer Ecommerce Demand

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There’s no escaping the fact that those operating within the retail industry have faced some monumental challenges recently. Impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic have disrupted traditional operations, presenting retailers and other businesses with a raft of challenges that have ultimately resulted in decreased store traffic and a loss of sales and revenue. In conjunction with these challenges, there has been an acceleration of consumer behaviour toward online purchases, forcing merchants to enhance their ecommerce capabilities and strategies in order to meet the increasing demands and expectations of today’s digital consumer. And, according to Aadil Kazmi, CEO and Co-Founder of Swyft – a provider of software that supports fast and efficient ecommerce delivery – the need for retailers to do so is more important now than at any time previous.

“The pandemic has certainly altered the retail landscape,” he says. “It’s changed the customers’ journey with brands and the methods and channels by which they’re choosing to make purchases. Retailers have responded by accelerating their digital initiatives and focussing more on the development of their ecommerce capabilities in order to enhance the experience they offer their customers. Given the shortfall in sales that much of the industry has suffered over the course of the past 16 months, it’s going to be imperative that they provide fast and efficient delivery of products. We’re expecting an incredibly busy fourth quarter for ecommerce in Canada, likely representing a surge in online demand of about four to five times the average. To seize the opportunities, and to avoid the disaster that took place during the final quarter of 2020 when most of the major carriers and couriers left businesses in the lurch, retailers are going to need to offer carrier optionality.”

Faster, better, cheaper

The ‘lurch’ that Kazmi refers to is the uncomfortable position that carriers placed retailers and their customers in as a result of catastrophic shipping and delivery delays heading into the lucrative 2020 holiday season. The now infamous ecommerce failure still resonates with anyone unfortunate enough to have been affected by it. And it’s prompting many to become creative in their approach to ecommerce fulfillment and to explore alternative ways by which an enhanced digital experience can be created for their customers. It’s “only natural” that retailers are seeking improvements to their modes of delivery in light of last year’s ill-performance, says Chris Hamoen, Head of Sales and Marketing at Swyft, suggesting that the solution the company provides will revolutionize any business’s ecommerce operations, resulting in greater efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.”

“We offer same-day delivery for businesses of all sizes,” he asserts. “So, whether you’re talking about Holt Renfrew or the local retailer in your neighbourhood, we help them all leverage same-day service for the delivery of their products. And we make it available at a lower price than UPS, FedEx, Purolator, Doordash and all the others. The old saying with respect to developing a business or product is ‘faster, better, cheaper – pick two’, meaning that you can often really only satisfy two of those things. Swyft, however, ticks all three boxes. We’re faster because we ensure same-day delivery. We’re better because of our significantly superior customer experience. And, because of our model and the way in which we’re building the company, we’re able to bring down the price of same-day delivery service considerably.”

Democratizing same-day delivery

Founded in March 2020, Swyft is a technology company on a mission to democratize access to same-day delivery through the development and deployment of its ground-breaking software. Powered by the company’s proprietary algorithm, it helps retailers selling online to remove the risk from their delivery and logistics by opening up their shipping and fulfillment to a number of providers. Essentially, when Swyft’s software captures orders placed on a retailer’s website, it balances those orders in near real-time across a number of local delivery service companies in what Kazmi describes as an “extremely quick and intelligent way”. It facilitates the central gathering and sorting of packages and, leveraging a unique understanding of the markets the company serves, it enables smart routing for the most cost-effective and efficient delivery of product.

In addition, the mode by which Swyft organizes fulfillment, it’s also able to offer an eco-friendlier and more sustainable model for delivery. The company has run some preliminary numbers and has found that it’s able to cut emissions on an average per parcel basis anywhere from 8 to 12 percent, providing the opportunity for retailers to operate their logistics with greater eco-consciousness while meeting consumer expectations around fast and reliable service. It’s another way in which Hamoen, who was recently a key architect for Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE Program in Toronto, believes Swyft is revolutionizing ecommerce delivery for all retailers, despite their size.

“I’m very familiar with the needs of small businesses trying to compete in an online world,” he says. “Because the small business community in Canada doesn’t have the interest of any of the major carriers in the country, they don’t have access to competitive rates and so aren’t able to offer them to their customers, making it extremely difficult to compete with Amazon and other larger retailers. We’re able to provide them with those competitive rates and options, levelling the playing field for small businesses and allowing them to offer a best-in-class customer experience. For the larger players, we’re able to offer the same benefits of carrier optionality and diversity. Many of them aren’t able to offer same-day delivery because their delivery service partners aren’t able to provide it at scale. And, because Swyft is able to provide this level of service, we’re allowing larger retailers that don’t sell on Amazon to enhance their offering and elevate the ecommerce experience their customers receive.”

Best-in-class experience and expertise

The company’s Co-Founder recognizes the complications and difficulty in implementing same-day delivery nationwide at scale. And, so he should. Until April 2020, Kazmi served as Engagement Manager at Amazon, overseeing insights and analytics for the online giant’s CPG vertical on amazon.com. He left the company just 14 days before his equity vesting date, bringing with him a plethora of experience and expertise, in order to solve the same-day delivery headache for retailers everywhere. And, what’s more, Zeeshan Hamid, Kazmi’s Co-Founding partner and CTO at Swyft, is also a former member of the Amazon creative and tactical engine room. Working for five years as its Software Development Manager, Hamid is credited with building the company’s last mile logistics and running its delivery execution. Today, the pair are lending their vast knowledge toward the development of Swyft, raising the standards of shipping throughout North America. And, in light of their former employer’s recent announcement of ‘one-day’ shipping, the arrival of their competitive same-day delivery alternative could not have arrived at a better time.

“The move to same-day delivery for retailers is not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’,” Kazmi asserts. “Within the next couple of years, if you’re a retailer and you’re not providing same-day delivery of packages to your customers, you’re going to be losing out on sales, consistently. If a customer is looking for a belt bag, they’re likely to find the same or similar product in a number of places, including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Farfetch, Etsy, Goat, StockX and others. The belt bag is going to be the same price on every one of these websites. The retailer that’s able to offer the fastest shipping is the retailer that wins that customer’s business. And that’s true right across the board in retail. For retailers that are looking to grow their business and protect their base, same-day delivery will serve as their biggest and most important differentiator going forward.”

Full visibility and transparency

On top of the efficiency that Swyft provides its clients, and helping to support the seamless execution of its deliveries, is ultimate transparency in the way of real-time tracking that’s available to online shoppers. Unlike traditional ecommerce delivery which provides only partial transparency into the delivery status of orders, Swyft allows retailers to provide customers with full visibility into the tracking of their package in real-time, as well as an extremely predictive and precise estimated time of arrival, often reducing delivery time windows down to an hour. Customers are also given access to the driver of the delivery vehicle, allowing them to contact them in order to communicate special delivery instructions and other details and information relevant to the delivery. In addition, each of Swyft’s enterprise customers are supported by a dedicated account manager, providing them with a single point of contact in order to troubleshoot around issues and provide insights related to improving the customer experience.

“The real value in providing these layers of service is the ways in which they each contribute toward supporting an exceptional experience for shoppers,” Kazmi explains. “Through real-time tracking, we’re able to dramatically reduce delivery error rates, creating a more seamless last mile transaction and increasing customer satisfaction. And, our dedicated customer support allows Swyft to not only be a fast and efficient shipping carrier for businesses, but to also serve as a dedicated resource to help businesses grow. Our merchant success managers are working every day to bring insights to retailers to help them refine the process around same-day delivery so they get the most value out of it.”

Seamless integration

Swyft’s software is easy to introduce, allowing retailers to integrate their Shopify store in as little as three clicks, and fits effortlessly and seamlessly with any ecommerce platform. And, the company offers a spectrum of options with respect to integration. Clients can decide to leverage Swyft’s API connection, providing them with unlimited customizability options and access to advanced customer experience tools through a merchant dashboard. Or, they can choose to begin using Swyft’s services through a CSV upload, allowing them to get started with same-day delivery in less than three days. In addition, Swyft is also in the process of actively building partnerships with leading providers of enterprise resource planning and transportation management systems in order to include prebuilt integration into the platforms, further reducing integration times.

With such a robust and innovative solution to the same-day delivery conundrum for retailers, it seems instinctive to want to compare Swyft’s services with those of Amazon Prime, pitting them in competition with one another in a race to last mile supremacy. However, it’s not the way Kazmi sees it. Though, he certainly recognizes the potential that the company is currently tapping in order to continue growing and expanding its creative fulfillment offering.

“We don’t really look at ourselves as competitive to Amazon Prime,” he says. “Amazon has built an amazing and comprehensive logistics platform for Amazon sellers. We’re servicing all of the retailers and brands that sell outside of Amazon. Having said that, from a service level and performance perspective, we stack up very closely to Amazon Prime, which only offers same-day delivery in a select few markets and for certain products. At the rate that we’re growing, we’re going to cover the majority of Canada by the end of this year, servicing just about every major market.”

Ownership of customer data

Equalling the same-day delivery service of Amazon Prime is not only representative of an impressive feat by the company, it also enables it to offer an alternative to those currently selling with the ecommerce juggernaut. And, according to Hamoen, it provides a potentially massive competitive advantage to any retailer choosing to partner with Swyft in the way of access to customer and transactional data.

“For brands who really value their ability to offer same-day delivery, they’ve been forced to partner with Amazon in order to provide that service,” he says. “But today, they can decide to partner with Swyft and own their customer information while providing an equal or better customer experience. Without ownership of your customer information, it’s a race to the bottom for brands. Brands increasingly want to know who their customers are, where they made their purchase, why they made their purchase and what else they might be interested in to enable them to start building a meaningful profile of them. But, if you’re selling on Amazon, you’ll never have access to that information. Swyft allows brands to own their customer data and relationships, build a community and following and interact and engage with them in a really profound way.”

Rapid growth and expansion

Supporting Swyft’s incredible vision and the growth that the company is currently experiencing, Inovia Capital led a significant funding round with support from global venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures. And, further credence is given to Swyft’s sharp rise in the fulfillment space when considering the fact that it is the only carrier company that Shopify has invested in directly. Though its services are currently limited to the Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles markets, Hamoen says that the growth the company is experiencing is rapid and will only continue to intensify throughout the months to come, positioning Swyft as one of North America’s fastest expanding providers of delivery and fulfillment services.

“We’re in the process of launching our services in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. All of these markets will be covered by the end of the year, and there’s more to come. Within the next couple of years, Swyft will be operating within every single market throughout North America. And, before long, we’ll be seriously looking at international expansion in order to offer our services in Europe. However, our focus today is to help retailers in the markets we serve offer same-day delivery in an efficient and cost-effective way and to head into an important fourth quarter ready and prepared to capitalize on an increase in consumer ecommerce demand and enjoy a successful and prosperous holiday shopping season.”

For more information about Swyft and how it can help transform the ecommerce experience that you provide for your customers in an extremely cost-effective and efficient way, visit www.useswyft.com

Article Author

Sean Tarry
Sean Tarry
Sean Tarry is an experienced writer who leverages his unique storytelling abilities to bring retail industry news and analysis to life. With 25 years of learning, including over a decade as Editor-In-Chief of Canadian Retailer magazine, he’s equipped with a deep understanding of the unique world of retail and the issues, trends, and innovators that continue to influence its evolution and shape its landscape.

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