27 Oct 2015
Casablanca, Morocco
Sustainable Transport

Sheaply connects people wishing to ship packages or make purchases abroad with travellers who have journeys planned to those end destinations. This innovative, alternative shipping method not only reduces the environmental impact of the industry, but also offers a more traditional way of commerce — delivery done by people who are part of a community.

Sheaply is a web and mobile application that connects the buyer of a product with a traveller in that country. When a sender spots a traveller in a country of interest taking a trip, they can send a request asking them to either buy a product or pick up a package they have already purchased. The traveller then carries that package to its end destination, in another community, or another country. This alternative delivery system reduces the packages’ CO2 footprint — the traveller would be taking the trip anyways. It also creates social links between users, building a unique community.

Personal needs sparks new idea:

Sheaply is the brainchild of Hicham Zarrouky. When he and his partner were studying in France, they were constantly needing to send and receive packages from family and friends in Morocco. “Because we were students, conventional solutions for sending packages seemed very expensive,” Zarrouky explains. That was when they had the idea to try alternative sending methods, the first being using their friends as couriers.

“We first had the idea of creating a WhatsApp group so that every time one of us travelled, others would take advantage of that trip to send documents or packages,” Zarrouky says. “As the WhatsApp group got bigger and bigger, friends invited more people, and we became an important community.” That was when Zarrouky decided to formalize the system and create the web platform. The idea was to built a community that could not just be accessed by their friends, but by the population at-large.

Sheaply was officially launched in December 2014.

Innovating in the shipping industry:

Sheaply opens up the world of e-commerce to countries and people who would not usually have access — and it does so in a cheaper and more sustainable way. Since Moroccan currencies are not exportable, few people are able to buy internationally. “When you find a product on a French website, for instance, you cannot buy it because your bank card only uses Moroccan dirhams,” Zarrouky says of the issue. “So you must find someone who lives in France to buy the product and deliver it.”

That is what Sheaply does, with the traveller taking a small commission. Until this point, the only other option was to charter a plane to coordinate delivery.

 

By using this alternative system, everyone can reduce their ecological footprint. Hicham Zarrouky, Co-Founder of Sheaply
Creating a sustainable solution for the shipping industry | The Switchers

Environmental benefits, and more:

While the environmental impact is definitely a unique selling point of Sheaply, it is far from the only one. “I think if the ecological aspect was our only argument, it would not work,” Zarrouky admits. “But we have several other arguments in our favour: cheaper prices, a social experience between sender and deliverer, access to global e-commerce, and more. It is the combination of these that give value to our service.”

Zarrouky thinks Sheaply’s model is part of a broader shift towards more sustainable, economically-friendly models. “I am convinced that in the future, people will no longer use delivery systems, and we will go back to using people instead,” he says. “The rise of social networking sites like Airbnb and Uber show that people are willing to use these alternative, disruptive systems. I think this includes in the shipping industry.”

So far, Sheaply operates between Morocco and France, but the team has worldwide aspirations.

Sheaply Sustainable Transport
Follow us: