A new courier service based on an Uber-for-documents model is launching in Cape Town and may spread to other cities.
Picup, which launches on Thursday, aims to disrupt traditional courier services by offering near instant delivery of documents and small parcels.
The service will operate exclusively on the WeChat social networking platform.
“Customers value their time, they’re demanding immediacy, efficiency and simplicity and this is exactly what Picup aims to achieve by letting customers order a licensed, verified and fully trained professional driver directly from WeChat seamlessly – no paperwork, no confusion, no problem,” said Grant Isaacs, Chief Picup Officer.
Once users have registered on the service after downloading WeChat, it’s a matter of entering the details of the delivery. The company then promises efficient service throughout the Cape Metro.
The often tedious nature of paperwork battles is seen as an ideal opportunity for the service to thrive.
“Imagine standing in a queue at Home Affairs only to realise that you’ve forgotten your ID book at home. With Picup, you can arrange for a driver to collect and deliver the document for you – all on your mobile phone and without losing your place in the queue,” said Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa.
Users will be charged a minimum base rate plus a per-kilometre charge, but the system is cashless and quotes are instantly generated based on the user’s location.
The company is also attempting to pre-empt concerns about drivers that may place users at risk by conducting a face-to-face interview process as well as insisting on detailed personal information for new drivers on the system.
If the Cape pilot proves successful, the company intends roll-out into other South African cities.
“While we are launching Picup in the Cape Town area, there are plans to expand to other cities as the model is easily replicated and can be amended as we launch city by city,” said Isaacs.
WeChat has over 500 million regular users, most of those in China. WeChat, though, trails Facebook-owned WhatsApp which has over 800 million users.