An Australian entrepreneur has developed a revolutionary online delivery service that brings local shopping to customers' doors within two hours for just $7.95.
With cheap 24-hour delivery commonplace in Europe and America, Australia has lagged behind when it comes to online shopping.
This is where Carl Popovic saw a vital gap in the market, finally giving retailers the tools to tackle the likes of Amazon and Kmart.
While major shops can afford to have their own home delivery service, smaller stores usually have to rely on the post office or pricey private couriers.
Linking bricks and mortar retailers with a network of vetted private drivers, eDelivery launched in Melbourne last week and aims to be nationwide by July.
World-first technology, which took three years of painstaking development, means shopping can be delivered seamlessly within just two hours of being bought, all just for $7.95 per package.
Teamed with cutting-edge, lightning fast technology, drivers can be paid up to $50-an-hour, simply by switching on their phones and accepting a job, similar to Uber.
Mr Popovic, who developed the business in his native Melbourne, told Daily Mail Australia: 'It's a world-first. eDelivery fulfills the last mile in the logistics chain.
'The problem has always been getting that last mile of delivery in a competitive context. There are companies are out there who will have goods delivered to you within two hours, but they'll charge you $40 or $50.
'Having a platform that delivers in two hours, for bricks and mortar businesses, for under $8? That's the key to making the whole process work.
'We also have a really good remuneration level for the driver network.'
The painstaking process of creating eDelivery's code was the equivalent to writing 14 volumes of War and Peace, or 52 Catcher in the Ryes.
A woman is seen shopping in Myer department store on Boxing Day, but e-commerce is expected to overtake physical shopping by 2030
eDelivery gives drivers the shortest path possible to ensure deliveries are dropped off in a timely manner at low cost (pictured, the tech in action)
Carl Popovic (pictured) has developed the app in his hometown of Melbourne
Spending three years carefully finishing the company, Mr Popovic believes his expert team have revolutionised delivery.
High-tech modelling was used to make sure drivers are paid well - up to $50 an hour - customers receive goods quickly, and costs are kept low - at just $7.95 a package.
'It was an amazingly long process, and a lot of sleepless nights, needless to say,' he continued.
'It was a huge amount of work. But it's a complete digital platform, designed specifically for bricks and mortar retailers and modeled around that premise.
'$50 an hour is really substantial in a crowd-sourced environment, and the way that happens is we've introduced efficient technology.
'It enables more deliveries to be conducted per hour, which relates to more income for the drivers and lower costs for the retailers and their clients.'
Three women are seen walking in Melbourne on Thursday (pictured) with many hesitant to head back out to the shops because of the coronavirus pandemic
Retailers must be within a 10km radius of the shop, to ensure the two-hour delivery time is possible - including a 45-minute packing window
It links bricks and mortar businesses - traditional, street-side shops - to its network of carefully vetted drivers, who are able to make money by completing simple, local deliveries.
Brick-and-mortar businesses have found it difficult in the ever-growing online shopping world to compete with major retailers, as they often boast lower operating costs and greater flexibility.
But eDelivery allows shops to get packages into customers hands within just two hours, thanks to its unique technology.
There are no upfront fees, and the businesses pay as they go, with each delivery costing $7.95 - while what the shop chooses to charge customers for that is up to them.
The businesses are invoiced weekly and pay weekly.
Myer in Melbourne is seen opening on May 19 (pictured) but footfall is still low because of the coronavirus pandemic
The two hour delivery order and delivery process allows 45 minutes for an item to be picked, packed and labelled, 15 minutes for the driver to collect it and one hour for delivery
The two-hour delivery service model relies on stores being no more than 20km apart from one another, meaning a delivery radiance of 10km.
It allows 45 minutes for pick, packing and labeling and a 15 minute window for drivers to collect the parcel and take it to the customer.
If retailers can't match this 45 minute window, they can extend the estimated delivery time.
'The retailers I've spoken to, they're shaking and scratching their heads as to how this is possible,' Mr Popovic.
'But once the actual modelling behind it is explained, and the technology to support that modelling, it becomes apparent "my god, why hasn't someone thought of this before?"'
A shopper is seen on Melbourne's Bourke Street on Aprl 27 (pictured) as high streets continued to suffer
Drivers must sign a strict code of conduct (pictured) to ensure they operate safely and effectively
'It didn't become what it is today overnight, it's an evolution. You heard down one particular path and you're pivoted to one direction, then another direction until there was a model in place which I could create a business plan around.'
Mr Popovic had been working with a food-based online service, which he was eventually put in charge of, when he released the potential a tech-based delivery business could have.
Drivers have to sign a detailed code of conduct, stating they are 'polite, friendly and respectful' to customers and retailers, with a zero tolerance policy for drug or alcohol consumption.
They are self-employed, giving them greater flexibility to choose whatever hours they want to work.
'It's a digital service that moves and bends to their requirements,' Mr Popovic explained.
The deliveries cost just $7.95 per item, and are available 24/7 depending on retailers opening hours
The app could help smaller companies compete with retail giants such as Kmart (pictured), which has its own delivery team
'By 2030, approximately half of all purchases will be conducted online. And these are bricks and mortar purchases.
'Given the COVID-19 pandemic, that will be brought forward, n o doubt, absolutely no doubt.
'So the motivation behind people using a service of this nature is it gives people the services they want on demand.
'The millennials are the ones that are conducting online shopping, and they want convenience. And a two-hour delivery platform provides that.'
During the 2019 financial year, Australia Post found shoppers spending $29.3 billion online, up 20.8 per cent on the previous year.
The top performers are health and beauty, accounting for 21.8 per cent of e-commerce, following by fashion with 19.1 per cent and variety stores with 17.8 per cent.
HOW DOES eDELIVERY WORK?
1. Customer makes an order online, which must be 10kg maximum
2. The order is directed to the closest location to be picked, packed and labelled within 45 minutes by the retailer
3. Once the order is ready for delivery, it’s directed to eDelivery for collection through its IT platform - integrated with the retailer
4. The order is then directed to the private driver network. These self-employed drivers are fully checked, vetted and trained
5. State-of-the-art technology chooses the most suitable delivery vehicle of the order. Depending on their size, orders are batched for delivery every 15 or 30 minutes
6. A notification is issued to the closest driver. Driver accepts the order via the app and is directed to the store within 15 minutes, where they carefully scan each parcel
7. Google Maps then provides drivers with the most direct and quickest route for multiple collections and deliveries
8. Customers are sent a text ten minutes before their delivery arrives
9. The drivers get a proof of delivery signature, then moves onto the next nearest spot
Meanwhile, many of the stalwarts of the Australian high streets were struggling to stay afloat even before the coronavirus lockdown.
Household names like Harris Scarfe, Bardot, Roger David, and Napoleon Perdis dropped like flies in the past year with dozens of stores closing resulting in heavy job losses.
Experts claim that the closures could be the tip of the iceberg as consumers continue to turn more to online shopping over bricks and mortar stores.
Australian retail growth is at its worst level since the early 1990s recession and international giants like Amazon and Aldi threaten to further the shake up.
'People want an in-store experience, but in the comfort of their own living room – they want to see, touch and try,” Rebecca Burrows of Australia Post said.
'Leading retailers are also embracing mobile commerce and voice-activated shopping.
'It is those in tune with customers and willing to embrace the latest online technology trends that will have the winning strategy.'
The trend has often left local businesses unable to compete with big brands, as they have a huge market of deliveries so can keep costs relatively low.
At Kmart, delivery in major cities costs $10 and takes anywhere between two and seven days.
If a customer lives rurally, regional delivery costs $14 and takes anywhere from five days to a week.
To sign up for eDelivery, visit edelivery.com.au and to become a driver, visit edriver.com.au.
The Australian high street has been struggling to keep up with online shopping for many years (pictured, two women on Sydney's Pitt Street on April 27)