Neighbours can now pick packages up for each other in Toronto
Toronto neighbours are evading package theft by helping each other through a new system that connects people who live in the same building.
MyShoperon is the brainchild of Catherine Chen, who for about seven years worked in the corporate world at a large law firm but left in 2018 to join the startup scene.
In her building, there were rules that packages larger than 30 pounds could not be accepted by the concierge and would be returned to the warehouse if the resident was not home.
"In 2019, I helped my neighbour with her parcels a few times because she couldn't take time off to be home for the deliveries," Chen tells blogTO.
"That's how the idea of neighbours helping neighbours for packages first came to me."
MyShoperon works by having residents at buildings sign up to be "shoperons," like Chen had been for her neighbour, who are notified when packages are delivered and go to pick them up immediately.
They then notify their neighbour, who comes to pick up the package from them. This can help avoid issues like the package being returned or even stolen.
Shoperons are verified and rated to ensure trustworthiness. They're targeting people who work from home to sign up, and in return for receiving the packages shoperons will be able to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
Chen launched the startup in April 2019, it would turn out to be a prescient idea. When the pandemic hit, people started buying literally everything online, even the basics they'd normally go out to get.
"The package volume became a major issue, Chen says. "Where to get extra space to store all the packages in the building?"
"Also, residents are in Zoom meetings non-stop, and cannot get their packages until much later. Packages get piled up."
That's when Chen started reaching out directly to big residential companies Tridel, Crossbridge and FirstService Residential, and was quickly hooked up with Tridel's "innovation team."
They identified certain buildings that could really use the service, and Chen visited to watch package flow in the lobbies and talk to concierges. Then, she presented her findings to the condo board.
The startup project so far has been approved for Tridel's Alter tower at Church and McGill, and they're hoping to officially launch it in that building as soon as COVID-19 restrictions loosen just a bit more, with residents already signed up to be shoperons.
Another Tridel tower, Form, at McCaul and Queen, will likely be the second building to launch the solution, and Chen is meeting with Crossbridge and FirstService Residential property managers as well.
"The property managers all agreed that our solution is innovative, and doesn't occupy space like the lobby, office or parking garage," says Chen.
"More importantly, there is no significant upfront cost, unlike smart-lockers."
If you're finding you're having issues getting your packages because of overflowing package rooms, overwhelmed concierges, size restrictions or because you're not able to get to them (sometimes even before they're nabbed by someone else) you can request a demo for your building through the MyShoperon site.
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