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Shutl rockets into international markets

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Less than a year on from winning “Digital Champion” at the Growing Business Awards, Shutl is continuing to show strong growth potential. The courier firm, which specialises in rapid deliveries, has strengthened its relationship with UK clients and is preparing to launch in the US. 

The firm works with retailers to offer a faster delivery option, often completing orders within less than an hour. Its fastest ever delivery was in less than 15 minutes. 

It’s expanded its UK coverage and can now deliver to 84 per cent of the UK in geographical terms, and has an ever growing roster of retail partners on board. 

But what really seems to excite CEO Tom Allason is the prospect of getting stuck into the US market, the largest for online home delivery in the world. 

Moving into the US would be a big challenge for any retailer, and he admits that initially Shutl planned to hone their success in the UK before expanding abroad.

“A lot of people said it was way too early and we’ve got to nail it here first. And we kind of felt like that too,” he says.

But Shutl were soon generating interest from American firms who were seriously keen on bringing Shutl to the US. 

“We had a retailer who was twelve times bigger than Argos, our biggest possible UK client, fly over their operating board to see us,” he says. “They had to come on two separate jets because their corporate insurance wouldn’t let them fly together.

“These are the kinds of people it took us years to speak to in the UK, and we were going straight in there, and they were being really nice to us. That’s when we thought maybe these Americans are going to take us seriously.” 

He also says that the American business mindset is a lot less conservative than that of the UK. 

“Americans are more willing to do stuff. The European state of mind is to just keep the status quo and do nothing, whereas these guys were like ‘Yeah! let’s do it.'” 

Allason says that the key to launching in America has been to built a great team out there. This will ensure not just a strong subsidiary, but protection of the British operations from any disruption caused by the expansion. 

For now Shutl is firmly focused on the American and British markets, but Allason says that the firm has its eyes on other countries such as Germany in the future. 

He says that awards, such as the Growing Business Award, have been useful in strengthening their credibility as a firm. 

“When you’re selling to people much bigger than you, like multi billion pound organisations, and you’re tiny, awards make you look a lot bigger and give you a bit of credibility,” he says. 

“They’re also great for morale. When you do something as a tiny firm, you have those kinds of days when you think ‘Does what we do really matter?’. So getting an award is great for motivation.” 

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