From a self-funded start-up to a booming pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) parcel network that is capturing local market share, Hubbed is launching in nine overseas markets and has created a challenge for global entrants
In 2014, when e-tailers attracted $16.6 billion in online spend, a unique fledgling PUDO network, called Hubbed (hubbed.com), was established to make retail deliveries far easier for retailers, carriers, and consumers. Since then, the network has grown to more than 2000 locations, has captured significant market share, has launched in New Zealand, and is about to expand to nine overseas markets, including The Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
With a background in the technology and retail sectors, Hubbed founder David McLean recognised that newsagents, once the centre of local communities, were now a distressed channel. Why couldn’t newsagents remain a central community hub by giving people a new reason to visit – that is, via parcel collections? He put his own savings into kick-starting Hubbed, which included hiring three staff members and developing a multi-service technology for newsagents, which included parcel collection. In the first year, Hubbed onboarded 300 newsagents across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Hubbed then began approaching logistics companies to utilise the technology. A significant problem that logistics companies were experiencing was having no place to leave parcels if they couldn’t be delivered. Hubbed fine-tuned its technology to make it parcel-collection centric and skewed to carriers. Its first client was Couriers Please in 2015, when the Hubbed network was at 500. It was at this point that Hubbed began to take off.
In 2015, Hubbed brought on DHL. That same year, it attracted investment from Singapore Post. The investment enabled Hubbed to refine the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of its PUDO network over two years and expand its network of carriers and locations. Last year, Hubbed enabled carriers to invite customers to choose their preferred Hubbed PUDO locations directly through the technology.
Hubbed recognised that its major advantage would be due to its agnostic business model. Its agnostic technology solutions enable online retailers to seamlessly integrate ‘Click & Collect’ in their existing systems – regardless of the carrier. Hence, it allows them to exercise complete control over the carriers they use. Similarly, carriers gain advantage from the Hubbed technology as it allows them to be able to utilise Hubbed locations to drop off and pick up parcels, thereby increasing their success of first-time deliveries. Consumers also benefit from having 24/7 access to convenient locations, such as a 7-Eleven store or a BP service station, to collect their parcels.
In 2017, Hubbed also partnered with TOLL. In 2018, it brought on Sendle as a client, and partnered with Pack & Send to expand its network further. Last year, Hubbed began working with FedEx and UPS and brought Repco stores into its location network.
Hubbed’s carrier clients began asking if the network could expand in overseas markets. In 2019, Hubbed leveraged the Pack & Send, Repco and GAS petrol station networks to launch in New Zealand with over 200 locations.
Its partnership with Singapore Post has given Hubbed credibility in Asian markets. As such, Hubbed is about to launch into Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and The Philippines, where it will switch on 3000 additional network locations, to bring its total network size to 8,500 locations. It is currently eyeing the USA, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia for further network expansions.
David says that even though Hubbed is growing overseas, the boom in online retail activity – especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – has made significant room for further growth in the Australian market. In the first week of May alone, Australia saw 109 per cent growth in online transactions compared with the same period the previous year. In fact, David says there are three major reasons HUBBED has grown so quickly. Firstly, a network of 24/7 convenient locations with parking and no queues makes Hubbed a unique PUDO network that can move parcels rapidly. Secondly, Hubbed’s PUDO locations are trusted to keep parcels safe because the network meets the standards of compliance. Thirdly, Hubbed has invested deeply in technology integration with its key logistics partners.
David says: “Hubbed was established in the Australian market at the right time. Having grown our network from the ground up, we have remained the experts at managing PUDO networks – and we have been a big supporter of small, local businesses throughout our journey.”
 NAB, ‘Online Retail Sales Index: In depth report – January 2015’: https://business.nab.com.au/online-retail-sales-index-in-depth-report-january-2015-9980/
 Emarsys 2020, ‘COVID-19 Commerce Insight’: https://ccinsight.org/.
Pictured: David McLean, CEO of Hubbed