SPECIAL DELIVERY: Hobson brings a bit of elan to the business of same-day delivery services. Hobson employees drive red branded cars rather than bicycles, and wear black bowler hats and red vests. It’s a refined approach to conveying purchases from stores to shoppers’ hotels or apartments, freeing them up to shop some more. “We try to extend the shopping experience all the way to delivery,” said Coby Relis, Hobson’s cofounder. Hobson charges hotels $9.50 per delivery and $14.50 for residences. There’s no limit to the number of bags delivered for the same flat fee. Hobson has a growing list of participating stores, including Mango, Desigual, Paragon Sports, Bonpoint, Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Halston Heritage, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Catherine Malandrino, among others. Retailers can pay the delivery fee or pass the cost onto consumers. “Some high end stores will take the cost on themselves,” Relis said. “Some will charge.”
“Hotels love Hobson, because we make them look good and polished,” Relis said. “It’s an amenity for VIP hotel guests.
“We expanded from tourists and hotels to residential and penetrated online,” said Relis, adding that Hobson focuses on local online businesses that do their own fulfilment. “We do the last mile,” he said, referring to delivery.
Relis said Hobson has been approached by malls that are interested in the service, and this month it will introduce a store within a store. He declined to reveal the location, but said the company is also looking at setting up kiosks at “hot spots” such as Herald Square.
Hobson uses recyclable clear plastic bags, so as not to steal a store’s equity. The Hobson name is stripped across the top of the bag. The retailer’s logo is visible on its shopping bag through the plastic. A tamper- and weather-proof seal ensures products arrive in their original condition. In terms of size, the rule is, “If you can box it, we can deliver it,” Relis said.
Hobson guarantees that bags are delivered by 11:59 p.m. “We’re committed to resolve any issue within 12 hours,” Relis said. “We’re very serious about service.”