We spoke to Andrew Stewart, Director of World Options. Andrew discusses his role in World Options, how the company sets itself apart and is meeting a unique demand within a booming industry. Andrew also delves into what a franchisee can expect in their journey with the company, what kind of support they receive and much more!
Eden Exchange: Hello Andrew, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. First off, can you tell us about your professional background and experience in the sector?
Andrew Stewart: My early career was spent with courier company DHL where I spent 15 years in ground operations, senior sales and management positions throughout Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve also been involved in the digital graphics and professional imaging sector with Ilford Imaging where I managed the Asia Pacific region, then five years in Switzerland as Global Sales and Marketing Manager.
Since my return from Europe I’ve been running my own business working with international digital printing and packaging manufacturers, for whom I develop and set up their product distribution channels throughout Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Eden Exchange: How did you come to be the Director of World Options and what has that been like so far?
Andrew Stewart: It started with a phone call three years ago from my colleague Malcolm Rees who pitched the idea of launching World Options in Australia. At the start it was challenging; talking to the carriers about the concept and staring a business relationship without any history in Australia. The carriers we are working with, like TNT, took a real leap of faith and gave us a cost structure we could work with and provide our franchises. Getting the World Options software platform integrated with the carriers was also a major challenge. Fortunately, we have a core member of the World Options Australia management team that has an extensive an IT background and who was able to guide us through the carrier integration process.
The next challenge was to set us up, so we were fully compliant with the franchising code – we engaged a company that is focused on franchisee law to guide us through this part of the process.
The next stage was finding the right franchisees – this still remains the biggest ongoing challenge. We’re looking for sales-oriented people, those who will get out of bed in the morning and hit the road – a combination of physical cold calling, prospecting on the phone and persevering with the sales leads.
Eden Exchange: What does World Options do? What makes World Options unique in the market and why is it a good time to be servicing the delivery and transportationservices industry?
Andrew Stewart: World Options is a reseller of freight and logistics services to small-to-medium businesses. We negotiate heavily discounted rates with carriers and then pass these rates on to a franchisee who, in turn, develop a territory targeting small-to-medium businesses.
This is relevant to domestic air, road; international air express and freight (both export and import) and international sea. We have also developed tailored programs for customers involving warehousing, pick, pack and distribution.
Let’s start at the target market – we exist to provide value-added services to the small-to-medium market. The major freight and courier companies have their sales efforts focused on the larger volume customers. As a result, small-to-medium businesses don’t receive the most competitive rates or receive a great deal of attention from the carriers – that’s where we come in.
Our unique selling proposition is that we offer attractive pricing, face-to-face sales and service representatives (which is our franchisee) along with a proprietary software portal that is integrated with our carrier partners. Through our portal a World Options customer is able to compare pricing options (based on service or cost), make bookings online directly with the carrier of their choice, track the delivery and obtain a proof of delivery.
Eden Exchange: How does your service cater to so many different types of customers? How does that work?
Andrew Stewart: As a business we are focused on the small-medium customer, they can range from an office-based customer through to a developing online shopping portal. Our software can be integrated with most of the major shopping platforms, meaning we are able to cater to a broad range of online retail clients.
Eden Exchange: Talk us through the process behind your business – how does it work with the franchisees and how does it set itself apart from others in the market?
Andrew Stewart: We have negotiated high volume discounts with our partner carriers which we pass on to our franchises. They then apply their mark up (their margin) and sell to the customer. Of that margin, the franchisee will retain 80%.
We manage the carriers, the discounts and payment of the carrier. In addition, we invoice the franchisee’s customer and collect the money. As soon as the invoice has been paid, we are able to pay the franchisee, which we do fortnightly. The franchisee is free to develop their market, find new customers and manage their existing customers.
We differ from online freight brokers in a number of ways:
- We offer a face-to-face customer experience – the customer has a person to talk to, to discuss their freight requirements with and to also support them if there are problems or new opportunities.
- Online providers are just that – online. The business is cost-based with little to no customer service.
- Our portal is extremely user friendly and can be tailored to meet the customer’s needs.
- Our model makes it possible to satisfy the carrier’s needs as well as provide the customer with an attractive pricing proposal.
Eden Exchange: Are businesses like World Options in high demand around the world?
Andrew Stewart: Absolutely, the small-to-medium enterprise segment is growing quickly, as is online marketing and sales.
The World Options business globally is experiencing significant growth and Australia is no exception by growing at 15-20% per month.
Eden Exchange: What has been the main success so far and what are your plans for the future?
Andrew Stewart: Our immediate plans are to grow the number franchisees operating in Australia. We want to continue to work with our franchisees, customers and carrier partners to offer new services and opportunities.
We will also continue to discuss pricing with our carrier partners – our objective is to offer attractive pricing to the customer as well as provide the franchisee with a platform to develop their own successful business.
We are also continuing to develop our portal, making our customer experience even easier.
Eden Exchange: Where do you foresee the greatest development of your business? What are most excited about in predicted technological advancements?
Andrew Stewart: The greatest area of development must be our franchisees – they are the customer-facing element of our business. This we hope to achieve through regular sales and product training sessions, both group and individual.
On the technological side, we are continuing development of the World Options portal. We strive to make the portal easier to use, easier to navigate and improving the functionality in line with the carriers.
Thank you Andrew, it has been a pleasure.
About World Options
World Options can help solve your business logistics and shipping needs with a simple-to-use, affordable online shipping portal that will improve your bottom line and meet the demands of your customers in just a few clicks.
We provide businesses instant access to the World’s leading parcel carriers in one place, at substantial discounts regardless of your parcel delivery volume. Shipping to all Australian and international locations to bring you the best courier service on offer.