eCourier, the start-up best known for its hi-tech assault on London’s delivery companies, is now targeting the online retail sector with an API it plans to launch later this year.

The firm, which cuts costs by managing its couriers through software rather than human controllers, hopes the API will encourage etailers to use its system for short notice deliveries to shoppers.

It will allow firms to make bookings, perform queries and track couriers from within their own systems, rather than having to go through the eCourier site.

CTO Jay Bregman said he hopes the service will foster a market for same day deliveries:

“Our view is that same day delivery is going to increase dramatically for etailers. Wouldn’t it be great to go online, order the things you want and get them the same day for a reasonable charge – say £10?

“The API is one of the big projects we’re doing over the next few months, along with allowing our website to take overnight international deliveries.”

So is same day delivery an area a lot of etailers are looking to move into?

Steve Borges at etail consultancy Biglight says not at the moment, but that the service could be interesting for the B2B and high-end B2C markets – when you urgently need a new printer at the office, for example.

He adds that it could complement (or potentially compete with) other fulfillment software already being used by retailers, such as that of Metapack.

“Retailers are definitely asking how they can provide a range of convenient delivery options for their customers and trying to find easier ways to use different carriers for different weights and so on. 

“Where larger retailers have wanted to integrate to other carriers for next day, timed slots and economy, they’ve typically used Metapack’s software, which provides a single interface into a wide range of carriers.

“Interestingly, Metapack has also soft-launched an ASP version of its software with an API interface
so this (and eCourier’s service) has got to be good news for retailers looking for more choice.

“Perhaps these guys should be talking to each other…”