Redefining on-demand home delivery

We helped Distribution Innovation amplify the power of a decades-old delivery service, and explore a completely new area of business.

Distribution Innovation develops technologies and services for media companies and media distributors. Simply put, they take care of the entire value chain from getting a fresh media product from the printing press and into the hands of the consumer. Their stack of technology services are related to distribution, publishing, retail, payroll and payment.

More than 2.2 million products are delivered through their system every day, and DI’s technology is reaching approximately 4 million households.

We have been working with Distribution Innovation (DI) for over three years helping them improve their existing stack of products and services. Our partnership with DI allows us to set aside around 20% of our time dedicated to their projects for “free usage”, meaning exploring new ideas and concepts. No strings attached, other than that it should benefit DI in the long run. Morgenlevering is a direct result of this way of working together.

Together with DI we had been playing around with an idea of a concept that was somewhat similar to a on-demand home delivery service (think WB Smith door delivery), meaning that as a user you could select a variety of magazines, newspapers, books and other newsstand goods like coffee and get them delivered to your front door the next morning. You open your door and there it is, no delivery guy, no calls.

Through several workshops the idea was refined and adjusted, and we started expanding the concept up to the point where they decided to make it a project and create a prototype for a 5 week pilot test period.

The opportunity

This case was interesting to DI for several reasons. Through their network, DI reaches the front door of 89% of Norwegian households, but so far the products delivered are mainly subscription products such as newspapers. These are products that are in a steep downward spiral circulation wise. To compensate for this decline, the distribution companies need to add more products and packages to their portfolio besides newspapers.

At the same time there is a clear global trend where consumers are expecting faster and better home delivery of products, and more and more services are started in this market. Norway is different though, due to one of the most difficult geographies in the world to operate in within the market of distribution and logistics. The alternatives when it comes to home delivery services are often slow and expensive, and it’s considered “home delivery” when you have to pick up your order at the local post office or at the grocery store (In Norway, local grocery stores have pretty much taken over the role of the post offices).

This situation makes the technological and logistical stack of Distribution Innovation the most cost-effective and quick delivery method in Norway.

So the question at hand became: “How could we create a concept that utilizes and expands the existing delivery infrastructure and adds significant value to consumers?” Or in layman’s terms: “What if the guy bringing you the newspaper also could bring you breakfast, magazines and coffee?”

The existing infrastructure distributes freshly printed newspapers to the customers front door by 6am.
Through customers can order within 9 pm to get their order delivered by 6 am the next morning.

The idea

“Utilize the speed and reach of the existing newspaper distribution to deliver valuable consumer products overnight.”

The process

The entire process was fast and experimental, moving quickly from user research, through wireframes, design, development to the final product. At the same time strategic product partnerships were made along with testing and adjusting the current delivery infrastructure.

A total of three months was spent from project kickoff to launched pilot.

The prototype

The solution

After extensive user research and several workshops, the concept of Morgenlevering (literally meaning Morning Delivery) was established. The intention of the service is to give consumers the experience of instant convenient luxury and a way of treating themselves to something extra. The website and identity had to reflect that level of quality.

We created a website that offers high quality consumer products such as fresh gourmet breakfast, quality coffee beans and tea, newspapers, magazines and books. The consumer orders before 9 pm and will get the products, freshly delivered to the front door by 6 am.

Since the concept pretty much hadn’t been done before (not aimed at Norwegian consumers at least) the core focus for the prototype was to showcase the quality of the products, convey the message of the speedy delivery and exercise that same level of quality and speed in the user experience of the website. Using Stripe for payment handling we could create a seamless checkout flow. The use of Craft allowed us to set up a clean and simple CMS for the administration of products, and made it easy to integrate the solution with DI’s other technical platforms.

The result

The pilot started out with a small test area of 6 000 households. Due to a high level of demand, the distribution was first expanded to 25 000, then 600 000 households during the period.

The concept hit a sweet spot with consumers, which was a great achievement due to the uncharted waters which is on-demand home delivery in Norway.

Morgenlevering was awarded Innovation of the Year at the Schibsted Consumer Sales Awards 2015. The jury said: makes use of a unique distribution network and shows that it is possible to find new and unconventional revenue streams. It is a great example of a by-the-book innovation process that is both courageous and outside the box, with great potential and opportunity for local adaptation.

Now we are working closely with Distribution Innovation to further develop the current prototype and service into a standalone product.