MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The online order and delivery company 876Get, based in this parish, is seeking to expand its platform to incorporate more web-based businesses, offer its services to more towns, and in the near future enter the regional market.
Founder and chief executive officer of 876Get Omar Fennell said the company has grown rapidly since its inception in July 2020.
"It is an e-commerce ecosystem consisting of the customers that we sell to, the businesses, and then we turn around and deliver the items. We consider it the trifecta, so we are starting in Jamaica and we are moving to the rest of the Caribbean as quickly as we can," he told business leaders at the inaugural 876Get e-commerce summit in Mandeville recently.
The event, which saw presentations from the financial sector, digital advertising and delivery sector at the Golf View Hotel, was aimed at building a vibrant community for tech and ecommerce founders in the Caribbean.
Fennell, who is also CEO of a computer store called FennTech, said it is becoming more attractive for businesses to go virtual and avoid overhead costs associated with office and store locations.
"FennTech started [with a store] in February 2007 and then we moved fully online in March of this year. We discarded the store and we just decided that we are going fully virtual," he said.
He said his company is working on a platform for more businesses to operate solely online.
"In 2022 what we have now that is very interesting is that we have businesses that only exist on 876Get… Soon if you want to open a business…we will ensure that you have everything that you can put your products online, get them delivered to the customers," he said.
"We are creating what we call delivery communities, so Mandeville by itself, you should be able to put something online and get it delivered without [hassle], you should be able to deliver in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and all the towns that we are in," he added.
The company's logo, which was created by R-one creative studios, includes the colours of the Jamaican flag — black, green and gold — as well as 876, Jamaica's area code.
Unlike many companies that experienced a fallout in business during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 876Get grew.
"We had the pandemic. We had lockdowns and there is a very important business [that came onboard] Flamin Wok [restaurant] owned by Junior Lowe. When we developed 876Get, Junior said to me, 'I must get on 876Get', so most of the trials Flamin Wok was a part of," Fennell said.
He pointed out that 876Get was able to facilitate deliveries for businesses across three parishes during COVID-19 lockdowns on the E-commerce National Delivery System (ENDS).
"In 2021 we became a part of ENDS so as a result, 876Get focused on St James, St Ann and Mandeville. Everybody [competitors] were in Kingston, but now everybody starts to scurry and try to reach the other areas. Our strategy was that we are going to start from home in Mandeville and we are going to build something that we know is secure," he explained.
He said that 876Get is operating in Mandeville, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Spanish Town, Linstead and will be expanding to May Pen, Old Harbour, Santa Cruz, Junction, Spalding, and Christiana soon.
He added that the delivery company will be targeting Kingston by the second quarter of 2023.
"We are going to cover all the towns in Jamaica. What we are doing now is just starting…The veins of delivery are not very good in Jamaica. We believe that it can be better and that is where 876Get is going," he said.
Fennell said 876Get will soon be launching a digital wallet.
"The 2.0 version of 876Get is almost ready… There are features that it will have including a wallet which our customers have been asking for. You [will be able] to add $15,000 to your account and then you can use it until it is done, you can use it for a number of things that we are going to be adding," he said.
He added that there will also be an incentive programme launched.
"There are going to be incentives for drivers and customers who refer the company to others and they are purchasing," he said.
His wife, Carolyn Fennell, is head of operations at 876Get. She said the company has overcome many challenges to date.
"This journey has had many hills and valleys as with any business starting out, especially in a sector that is not fully developed. There are a lot of lessons that we had to learn… Human resource is a challenge especially when we are spread across so many areas, but the key to all of it has been in each area we have a person who is a team lead, who reports to a member of the management team at periodic points throughout the day," she said.
"The key thing is to have a system in place and these systems have to be minute by minute, because ecommerce is real-time, you have to be on the ball, you have to have your eyes on it 24/7," she added.
She said the company was "self-funded" until it incorporated car owners investing their vehicles as delivery units.
"It is all about sacrifice and building. When we got to a point where we needed to expand and our resources were depleted, it also meant that we had to get creative, so we introduced an invite only entrepreneur programme, where people would come in [and] partner with us, buy one of the little cars that you see branded. The car is theirs and then they would not be involved in the day to day management," she explained.
"We started an entrepreneur programme where we have now six people who have invested in the company by putting a car in there and each week they get a little change [money] in their bank account and they smile," she added.