Last Mile: How Startups Solve the Challenge of Delivering to Your Door

Now available: Jo Weber & Chris Jordan's playbook for startups in retail or parcel logistics.

“For founders starting their first business in the carrier or retail industry, Last Mile provides anecdotal, academic and empirical insights in a useful, easy-to-read format. Unlike other books for founders, this guide is firmly centred on delivery services.”


My town doubles in size every ten years.

This creates opportunities for online retailers as well as offline stores. The newcomers need a local corner shop to buy bread and milk, but they are also used to the convenience and choice of living in cities.

Going back to Reilly's "retail gravity", there's a threshold market size that needs to exist before a good or service will be supplied to that market.

There's also a maximum distance that customers will travel to use that good or service.

Distance is a type of friction between you and a shopping goal. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t buy a product or service, but just makes it a bit less likely that you will.

There are two main types of friction: Search friction (not being able to find the information) and Geographic friction (not being near the thing you need).

The internet allows you to find the thing you are looking for, and to have something shipped from the other side of the world.

A while back, I wanted to buy A Rag, A Bone and a Hank of Hair by Nicholas Fisk. I loved it as a child and wanted to read it again, but it was out of print.

A little bookshop in Northern Ireland had it in stock.

Amazon allowed me to buy it without making that rough ferry crossing. It made the type of sale financially viable that wouldn’t have been viable before, because it would have cost too much time and money to visit the store.