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Skip the pumps?

Delivery services are big business, but we need to look past them for new opportunities

This month, gas-delivery service Filld expanded into Vancouver. According to the company’s website, when you sign up, they text you to see if you need gas. If you reply “Yes,” all you have to do is pop the gas cap, and they come fill up your tank.

Gas is priced as an average of the price at gas stations in your area, plus a $5 fill-up fee.

It’s a good deal for busy parents and professionals, and makes a lot of sense for those who own a fleet of cars – but the demand for this type of service says a lot about us.

With the advent of delivery services like Skip The Dishes and Door Dash as well as grocery delivery services from chain stores like Save-On-Foods and upper scale services like Hello Fresh, it seems everyone wants a share of the delivery market.

Over the last five years in the US, restaurant revenue from deliveries jumped 20%, and the overall number of deliveries increased 10%, according to market research from NPD Group. The marketing line these services promises that you’ll be able to spend more time on what matters. But as demand rises, we seem to have less time for the people and activities we love, not more.

“There’s a global trend towards delivery,” Jason Droege, vice president of UberEverything, told the New York Times.

“As people use mobile phones more and more for everything in their lives, we’re starting to see a secular change in how people eat.”

Not that long ago, you’d have to put on pants to rent a movie at the local Blockbuster or stand in line at the bank to deposit a cheque. Now, you can tailor and customize almost everything in your life so you barely ever have to leave your house or interact with a real human being. Yet most business people will tell you that the way they found success was by meeting people, learning about them and studying what they really need.

When we remove those daily interactions – at the gas station, in the grocery store checkout, at the bank teller – we’re losing practice in one of the best ways to do business.

One of my clients (who’s really become a great business mentor), The Secret Garden Tea Company’s Kathy Wyder always tells me business is about relationships. Her teahouse has been in business for 22 years, and seems to be riding out some of these trends just fine.

While we’re hungry for delivery, it would be wise not to lose sight of what brings success in business: quality products and real relationships.


Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at [email protected]