We talked to Haddon Dixon on how Aircart delivers fresh groceries and everyday essentials and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Haddon Dixon: We’re doing ok, thanks. It’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone, with dramatic changes to our way of living. Luckily here in Australia, we’ve been isolated from the worst of COVID-19 with relatively few cases than other countries, primarily thanks to proactive government measures and a sensible community that cares for each other.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Aircart?
Haddon Dixon: Aircart is an on-demand or same-day grocery delivery platform bringing thousands of fresh groceries and everyday essentials from local supermarkets in as little as an hour through a community of approved personal shoppers. Our dynamic model allows customers to order products from retailers on the Aircart platform, with orders directed to personal shoppers who earn money shopping for and delivering orders. This creates a convenient and fast way for consumers to buy groceries, a seamless way for supermarkets to fulfill e-commerce orders, and a great way to earn money.
In late 2018, I arrived home from work one evening and opened the fridge to see what I could have for dinner. Lo-and-behold, there was nothing there. I went to the supermarket and while there thought: “Why can’t I just get all this stuff delivered right away instead?” Coming from a logistics background, the question sat at the intersection of my expertise, interest, and curiosity. I thought about the problem – the complexities and intricacies – and conceptualized Aircart. Through insights, the unique Aircart model was designed to solve key issues of grocery shopping and the multibillion-dollar challenges of grocery e-commerce delivery.
How does Aircart innovate?
Haddon Dixon: Aircart is built on innovation and is designed to address modern-day problems that cannot be solved using traditional methods.
One of our key innovations – and a first for Australia – is our bespoke payments processing technology, which we’ve built partnering with the likes of ASX-listed organizations and global leaders in the payments sector. Part of this technology is our Aircards – specialized payment cards issued to personal shoppers so that they can pay at in-store checkouts securely, without having to use their funds. You could probably go as far as saying Aircart is part-fintech.
Each time we have an opportunity to solve problems, we look to innovate. Aircart is not built on traditional thinking, so it makes sense to build what fits well with the future and where things are going.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Haddon Dixon: The events of COVID-19 have changed the world’s retail and e-commerce landscape forever. Consumers now, more than ever, are requiring a safe and trusted on-demand delivery service for their groceries and essentials. As a grocery delivery platform beta-launched just before COVID-19, Aircart has been affected considerably, with increased consumer demand and interest from people wanting to become personal shoppers. Meanwhile, grocery and supermarket retailers became apparent in their need for an efficient and cost-effective on-demand e-commerce and delivery solution. Covid further emphasized our perfect market-entry timing.
COVID also allowed us to think carefully about our safety-focused policies and processes, flowing through to how our product has developed. Providing a safe experience for Aircart customers and shoppers is our top priority. From our secure technology to the care taken when groceries are picked and delivered, safety is underpinned by trust. We will continue to partner with advocates of safety and develop a protective environment for Aircart users.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Haddon Dixon: Restaurant meal delivery platforms are our key competitor. We are aware some retailers and supermarkets have test-trialed these platforms in select stores, with a limited selection of goods, with reportedly poor outcomes, while also viewing them as competitors. We discovered that retailers reportedly find the unit economics problematic, primarily due to the high staffing costs incurred in picking sporadic orders – which Aircart solves for. When applied to grocery, these restaurant meal delivery platforms are essentially trying to fit a square peg into a round hole—understanding and empathizing with supermarkets on their pain points as our crucial distribution channel is essential to us.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Haddon Dixon: I usually fall back onto three things when overly stressed: Going for a walk/exercising, listening to podcasts, and reading a book.
Going for a walk or exercising along the beach has always made me feel calm and relaxed. If I haven’t seen or been to the beach or ocean for a while, I feel a little lost. I’ve been told it has something to do with being able to see the horizon.
There’s not much else better than turning on a podcast and listening to a story or something funny. They say laughter is the best medicine. I agree.
If I have enough time to, I’ll read a book before bed. I find diving deep into a biography or autobiography delightful. Especially when the story is full of real-life challenges and obstacles that you can relate to.
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