Like so many innovations, from the wheel to the water bottle, the idea of Collaborative Delivery™ was born out of an everyday problem.

On my way down to replace some bathroom tiles in our family condo in Florida, I stopped for a quick bite at a roadside dive outside of Montgomery, Alabama. My phone rang from the contractor, calling to let me know there had been an accident — the bathroom tile had arrived, but it was all smashed to bits.

I figured I could order a box of replacement tiles and have them delivered to Florida the next day. Nope. The closest tiles were in Birmingham, and overnight delivery on Saturday wasn’t an option.

Outside the restaurant near the I-65 overpass, I stood there watching countless cars, trucks and vans heading up and down the interstate. I knew someone had to be on their way from Birmingham down to Florida at that very moment, and if I just knew who they were, surely they’d throw a box of tile in their trunk for an extra $20.

At that moment, I started to wonder about the millions of cars and trucks out on the roads every day. And the more I thought about it, the more I saw an invisible transportation heatmap made up of the places all of us go — driving to and from work, visiting family on the weekends, or even road tripping across the country on vacation. It almost felt like discovering a new sustainable resource that could benefit everyone, from big retailers to regular folks like me.

What if there was a way to tap into all that unused cargo space and put it to good use?

Looking beyond traditional delivery models

Until now, the delivery landscape has only served traditional parcel needs. While it’s defined shipping for the past century, hub-and-spoke companies struggle to meet consumer demand for next-day and same-day delivery.

More than anything, its inefficient “daily sweep” model lacks the flexibility and scalability to meet spikes and lulls in delivery volume — not just in major metros, but also in rural towns and communities all over the country. Not all of your customers live in a NFL city.

Consider the status quo for retailers: Most depend on the U.S. Postal Service, whose retail ground shipping offers ubiquitous coverage but takes anywhere from two to eight business days for delivery. While overnight services from providers like UPS and FedEx clearly exist, the monumental cost per delivery prevents businesses from using these services on a daily basis.

And while there’s little doubt the USPS and traditional carriers will still be major players in delivery, the emergence of alternative delivery solutions has given retailers an opportunity to meet customer expectations without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, many are finding that the landscape is largely made up of tech-enabled couriers with strict geographic footprints, size restrictions, and limited ability to flex when demand peaks.

At Roadie, we think there’s a better way to solve the last mile delivery problem. And the answer might just be right under our feet.

Saving money while delivering results

Collaborative Delivery is a crowdsourced model that taps into existing resources already on the road — employees, customers and nearby drivers in close proximity to stores and warehouses   — to quickly launch and scale same-day and urgent delivery in just about any market in the country. How quickly? From Atlanta, GA, to Aberdeen, WA, Roadie can launch any new market in less than four weeks.

Instead of being limited by the constraints of hub-and-spoke and on-demand delivery services, Collaborative Delivery allows retailers to expand their geographic reach, improve delivery speeds, and save on infrastructure costs. Think of it as a just-in-time logistics infrastructure with the same reliability as a fixed-cost, asset-based delivery model. The result is a true point-to-point resource that makes same-day and last-mile delivery faster, cheaper and, well, friendlier. Because we’re tapping into communities, our fleet of drivers isn’t just earning cash on their way home; they’re helping out a neighbor at the same time.

Want to learn more about how collaborative delivery can change your logistics game? Read all about Roadie’s powerful new delivery workforce.