Delivering the Goods | Chelsie Lee at Shipsi

The ability to order anything online and have it delivered quickly has transformed the delivery industry—and given a distinct advantage to the largest, most dominant retailers, such as Amazon.

But where does this leave the smaller retailers, who more and more depend on online sales? This is the problem Chelsie Lee recognized when she founded Shipsi, a company that enables businesses of any size to link their ecommerce systems to an advanced delivery network—sometimes in only ten or fifteen minutes.

In this episode of UpTech Report, Chelsie discusses how she came to start this company, how their solution works, and in what ways they’ve adjusted their business in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Chelsie Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of SHIPSI, the delivery technology platform that enables retailers to offer same-day and scheduled delivery without managing any of the logistics. She’s a retail, technology, and supply chain expert who has consulted 500+ top retailers and brands on business strategy, growth, and execution.

Among her previous clients are Saks Fifth Avenue, New Look, UGG, O’Neill, Nike and more. In addition to being nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Chelsie is also a contributor to the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a mentor to emerging brands, a surf enthusiast, and a yoga instructor. She currently resides in Venice, CA.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Chelsie Lee 0:00
Call it a local farmer or call it a wholesale distributor who isn’t going to restaurants or can’t get the food or restaurants anymore, but then the grocery stores are completely empty. The shelves are empty. So we give him a web link. And now he can give any of that food to anyone.

Alexander Ferguson 0:26
The ability to order anything online and have it delivered quickly has transformed the delivery industry and given a distinct advantage to the largest most dominant retailers, such as Amazon. But where does this leave the smaller retailers who more and more depend on online sales. This is the problem Chelsie Lee recognized when she founded ship see a company that enables businesses of any size to link their e commerce system to an advanced delivery network, sometimes in only 10 or 15 minutes. In this episode of UpTech Report, Chelsie discusses how she came to start the company, how their solution works, and what ways they’ve adjusted their business in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Chelsie, I’m excited to be with you today. To start us off, I’m going to ask you a question. I want you to describe your company in five seconds. If you had five seconds, what would you say? Shipsi is?

Chelsie Lee 1:19
Delivery for all?

Alexander Ferguson 1:21
I like that delivery for all. And this has been about three years. And your first company that you’ve led coming from corporate tell me how did this begin? What problem did you see they’re like, Ah, I can solve this.

Chelsie Lee 1:34
Yeah. And so coming from corporate, you’re naive to a lot of the resources that you have to and that you have at your disposal. And you don’t always have a plan as a founder. And it’s obviously a lot different. Even if you’re running a team or a department within an organization, it’s completely different. Being a CEO and running the entire company. The major problem that I saw was that every brand or retailer out there had this massive dark cloud of Amazon, and were struggling to keep up with it. And the other is, a lot of times the investment firm or a private equity firm who worked with the retailer was not speaking the same language. And there was a massive gap in there was a lost in translation of the capabilities and the issues that the brands and retailers were facing. And the investment from just didn’t know what those things meant. So I had the idea to go work in private equity. And by that I could solve for it by going to work for retail based private equity firm. And instead mining a co founder, when I called him asking for advice, he had asked me to take a look at a project that he was working on called Shift V. And it was originally developed for traditional logistics and I saw it through a completely different lens I saw on demand and I saw retail and E commerce and the growth and knew that there would be a very fruitful path towards the on demand and online markets.

Alexander Ferguson 3:12
So you really saw that these retailers were losing to Amazon, they could not compete in a fast paced e commerce way of instant delivery. So then, combining efforts with your co founder already had some solution, being able to pivot to solve that problem. Tell me the core of then how does that solution? How does your solution work to solve that problem.

Chelsie Lee 3:34
So we offer on demand or scheduled delivery for any brand or retailer using existing infrastructure and networks. So we are the connector between retail systems or their online website, or their store point of sale system, and all of the delivery networks. So we serve as the conduit between both of those parties, so that any retailer has the ability to offer their consumers scheduled or On Demand delivery without making any major changes to their existing business systems. And then offering a layer of customer service and all the data behind it

Alexander Ferguson 4:15
during this tight time period where people aren’t going out to stores right now. And the mind shift of potentially wanting to shop online and have things just being delivered. Probably stay with us. This will help retailers be able to do without taking much on is that correct? It’s not much of a burden for them to integrate this into their systems. What does that look like?

Chelsie Lee 4:38
Exactly. So to get signed up, it depends on the platform that they’re running on, but most take about 15 minutes to get up and running. So the integration is through their e commerce site that plus an account within our portal makes ships appear or not appear on our solution is built around business rules or criteria. Yuria so that the consumer see is our option. And we have already confirmed at checkout that there is a driver available. We know the consumer location, we know the inventory is there, we know the store is open, there’s a driver, all of these things when the stars align, the option appears when there’s one missing, it doesn’t appear so that we’re sure to exceed the consumer expectations. And so that is the traditional setup, we’re also in the process of rolling out an even easier way to get anyone up and running even faster, even easier.

Alexander Ferguson 5:40
What’s this size of retailers that you’re really looking to work with right now,

Chelsie Lee 5:46
we’ve shifted our focus. Traditionally, we’ve worked with large enterprise retailers with a lot of distribution locations and doing a lot of volume. But we’ve really, really shifted to more of a community driven, and localized or high even more hyper local outreach. We’re helping organizations through a lot of different manners, a lot of different verticals, especially during this time that we would not traditionally work with, just because they, they don’t have that many customers that are ordering from that area, or they’re a smaller brand. But for example, there’s a food wholesaler that traditionally sells to restaurants. And we’re not really you know, it really that interested in getting in the food space. But this caught a local farmer or call it a wholesale distributor, who isn’t going to restaurants or can’t get the food or restaurants anymore, but then the grocery stores are completely empty, the shelves are empty. So we give him a web link. And now he can give any of that food to anyone. And I mean, that setup process is 510 minutes. So

Alexander Ferguson 6:58
it almost seems like a plug and play solution for anyone selling something to just Alright, now I actually have a whole delivery network available to my product. Exactly. Yeah. How does then your technology differ from any other competitors or other options out there?

Chelsie Lee 7:14
Uh huh. So we have a unique solution in that when our hand is in the pot, we bring enormous value to everyone involved. So what I mean by that is the retailer has the ability to use their distribution or stores warehouses, distribution centers, as fulfillment centers. And we are not limited to a specific geography because we are an aggregator of all of these networks. So for a retailer, the value prop is not no limit on geography, or we we don’t have a limited geographic reach, we battle out the best price and the networks available for them, we do the integration into their systems, we send out the notification the real time tracking the communication behind it, our delivery networks like it because on average, they make five to six times more for delivery, if they’re a driver, and the success rate increases or improves by anywhere from 15 to 20%. If you are a delivery network,

Alexander Ferguson 8:18
I appreciate how it’s a win win win win for all parties involved. That’s the best case conversion

Chelsie Lee 8:25
we across our database, that conversion rate improves by 13%. From mine even on traditional methods, so just by having our option there, we actually incentivize or were positively contributing to regular shipping methods even

Alexander Ferguson 8:43
being around for another three years, what kind of Stats Can you share on the usage and growth?

Chelsie Lee 8:52
We have been busting at the same since launching. So actually, I have the exact you know, we really in 2018 we’re focused on building the product year over year growth was over 3,000% 2019 It’s easy to get that kind of percentage when your revenue is so small, but even including that we have grown to over 200% 2019 to 2020 just in March alone or using March numbers. So we are you know we are continue to grow and will continue to grow we’re you know every week we grow anywhere from 10 to 80%.

Alexander Ferguson 9:38
And the the the quantity of users and activity on there probably is a an exponential curve, the more retailers that you bring on so like what’s like the daily or even to share, like the number of transactions and activities happening on the network.

Chelsie Lee 9:57
Yeah, so you know, a few years ago I would have I told you a couple 100. And I would tell you a couple 1000. Now, I will tell you 10s of 1000s. In a normal state, we’re going through a transition right now with a lot of mandates for store closures. That are non essential items, you know, a lot of our customers are selling regular items, and they are not essential. So we are adjusting and adapting and the team and the the collaboration amongst the team I could not be more proud of, especially during the current environment, we have explored multiple ways to still use our technology. And then new product rollout that I mentioned, that’s an example of the team really coming together and exploring our product and COVID has forced everyone to get creative in a lot of different ways.

Alexander Ferguson 10:48
Looking forward to the future, then what’s what is Do you see the company in the near term next year or so I in the long term, what in the next 510 years.

Chelsie Lee 10:59
In the immediate term, it is really helping out a lot of these local organizations, through some of this community outreach. To date, we’ve delivered over a million diapers, for families in need, not something that I thought that we would get into. But there’s a need and why not use our network. So I think you know, the next three months is still about helping communities helping brands, if it’s a matter of them, not selling anything, or still being able to sell something, we want to support them in that. And then it is also testing out some of these turnkey lightweight products to see how we can adapt and utilize them to help anyone or take advantage of this opportunity for different a different vertical or different go to market. So the short term is about really expanding the diversity, the breadth and the depth of our customers. Getting a little bit creative and flexible on our products and making it even more simplistic and learning how we can utilize that long term. As far as more of a three to five year it’s really about us being the leader on the on demand and delivery space for retail technology, and utilizing some of the learnings even from the current environment or advantage. So towards the end of the year. In q3, we’re also rolling out something that came up quite organically with our product, which is if a customer is going to the store and buying something, going to the store making the purchase taking it out with them immediately. Great. That’s what’s going to one bucket. Anything else, whether it is on demand delivery, or scheduled delivery, or curbside pickup or buy online ship from store, our technology already does all of those things. So that has been a massive learning curve. The fact that we can support curbside pickup or a retailer can lean on ship the to do every other model every other channel of getting product to their consumers. Aside from them buying it in the store and it’s one vendor to deal with and it’s one person about out it’s one sales cycle. It’s it’s really just a win win win.

Alexander Ferguson 13:19
Be sure to check out part two of my conversation with Chelsie, in which he talks about the importance of leaning on mentors and finding the right support network to help your startup get off the ground.



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