Online shopping has become not just a convenience, but a basic necessity for a lot of consumers. I can guarantee most of us would have received fewer holiday gifts this year if it weren't for the good people at FedEx and UPS. So I'm certainly not knocking online shopping, but there is one major problem that arises when you get a lot of stuff delivered to your house: what if you're not home? Doorman, a service being pitched on Shark Tank this week, alleviates that worry and makes ordering online even easier.
Doorman was created by Zander Adell, Pixar's former Technical Director. Adell figured out that, even though people love the convenience of online shopping, they were worried about the possibility of items being stolen if they weren't home, or annoyed at having to go pick them up from a distribution center — which negates the whole reason they shopped online in the first place. So Adell created Doorman, a service that holds your package until you're home, then delivers it to your door. Amazon's drone program won't get off the ground for at least another couple of years, so until we can have our entire shopping carts dropped directly at our feet, Doorman seems like an excellent alternative.
So how does it all work?
Step 1: Order Your Stuff
OK, you probably already knew that one.
Step 2: Address It To the Closest Doorman Facility
Instead of having your package delivered to your house (and potentially be stolen or arrive when you're at work) send it directly to Doorman, where your new stuff will patiently wait for you.
Step 3: Alert Doorman When You Get Home
You can use their app to let Doorman know you're ready to receive your package, whenever it's convenient for you.
Step 4: Doorman Delivers!
This is the best thing ever! Doorman will drop off your stuff anytime between 6 p.m. and midnight.
Step 5: Pay Up
Don't worry, it's not that bad. Doorman charges $3.99 for a single delivery (less than you probably paid for shipping or to insure your package), $19 a month for unlimited deliveries, or $29 a month for unlimited deliveries and returns.
Of course, no system is perfect, and there is one serious downside to Doorman: right now, it's only active in San Francisco.
Sorry everyone who doesn't live in that one city, for now you're out of luck. But the Sharks could change that this week. If they invest in Doorman, the service could expand to other parts of the country very soon. The business is easily scalable and super convenient. I'd gladly pay four bucks if it guaranteed my purchases wouldn't be stolen, and it's also worth that amount to avoid the hassle of going to a package distribution center if you miss your mail.
It's an easy call, Sharks. Doorman is clearly the future of online shopping.