Anyone home? Online home delivery services make Hong Kong the capital of convenience
Why hit the shops in sweltering heat, when Chillers’ drinks, Merci Dandy’s designer clothes and WeCut personal grooming can all be delivered to your door
Even though Hong Kong is the capital of convenience, not everyone has the time or inclination to run around town for everything they need, especially in the summer. Thankfully, home deliveries are just a tap or mouse click away, bringing everything from French couture and beauty services, to gourmet eats and drinks, right to your door.
Two pals from Paris were first in the fashion stakes when they launched Merci Dandy – an online styling and dressing service for men – in January 2017. Simply by inputting a few details about their preferred look and style, users can have an entire outfit curated for them, and home-delivered for their selection – with no obligation to buy.
Company co-founder Chloé Berger says the concept is well known in Europe and the US, but she couldn’t find it in Hong Kong after relocating to the city in 2015. Coming from Paris, fashion is really important to Berger.
“When we arrived in Hong Kong, we realised it can be difficult for men to get great clothes to fit their needs. Online shopping doesn’t solve this problem.”
The partners represent mainly French brands, some of them as the sole distributor, enabling style-savvy Hong Kong men to curate an exclusive designer look.
Within two days of ordering, an outfit arrives as a coordinated set: shirt, trousers, shoes and accessories, to be tried on in the comfort of one’s own home. The client may either keep or return any or all of the items, paying only for what they keep, and no fee for the service.
About half of the clients are busy executives who “don’t like shopping, but they do like to look good and dress well”, Berger says. They might want a stylist’s help selecting an outfit for a special occasion, or to create a stylish workday or weekend wardrobe. “We also have fashion-forward clients looking to find trendy new brands,” she says.
A good percentage are women seeking to improve their partners’ fashion sense – and many ask why there’s not a service for them also. It’s something Merci Dandy may look into in the future, Berger says.
When it comes to taking care of your precious garments, the app-based dry cleaning and laundry service Impressed offers free pickup and delivery to your door. Status updates even let users track the status of their cleaning in real time.
The service is available most days until 12am, which company co-founder Victor Siu says solves another problem for city dwellers in Hong Kong – where dry-cleaners close in the early evening, when many people are still working.
“This avoids people having to waste personal time [at] weekends, or make special arrangements during weekdays to drop off their laundry,” he says.
With so many summer parties lining up, the app-based, at-home service offered by WeCut has all your hair and beauty needs covered. Founder and CEO Vic Kwan worked in the hairdressing industry for over 20 years when he hit on the idea of assembling a cast of beauty professionals, and having them available on-call.
“People don’t need a shampoo in a salon any more,” he says. “They also don’t want to spend time coming into Central just for a blow dry or manicure.” Inspired by the Uber model, Kwan developed the WeCut app enabling clients to choose their preferred stylist, appointment time, and location. “Our clients love it,” he says.
You can buy just about any gourmet delicacy in Hong Kong, these days – just not always in the one place. Honestbee’s shopping concierge app and website removes the hassle. The company trains personal shoppers to hand-pick your order from a wide range of stores, promising freshness in every item, and delivering to your door within an hour.
Its founders say Honestbee, established first in Singapore in 2015, is “one of the latest companies to conquer Asia with our expertise in complex technology, and one of the most advanced players in the on-demand sector”.
There’s also no need to go out in the heat to quench a thirst. Chillers is billed as Hong Kong’s first on-demand cold drinks delivery service, covering 95 per cent of Hong Kong Island, most of Kowloon and Sai Kung. Its menu spans a wide range of beers, wines, Champagne and spirits, and a few clicks on the Chillers app or website should have your favourite bevy delivered to your home or office in under 45 minutes.
But what if you don’t want to think at all? Already, certain connected appliances can self-order product supplies as they run low, but Amazon has bigger plans for its Dash technology. The company promises to save consumers’ time by “putting their home on autopilot”.
The technology being showcased in a select number of Alexa-connected smart homes in America shows how customers in the near future “can schedule auto-deliveries of household essentials, reorder products with the press of a button, and book recurring or on-demand home services through Amazon”.
And if you won’t be home to accept delivery, you can always get Alfred to do it. As well as being Batman’s butler, Alfred is a system of smart lockers developed by Hong Kong company Pakpobox, giving 24/7 access to users via their mobile phone.
Pakpobox systems are currently being rolled out in strategic locations across Hong Kong, but the company envisages a time when every residential estate will have one. We won’t need letterboxes any more, they reason – so its smart lockers can replace them.
Ultimately, says company co-founder Christian Secci, Alfred will be “a one stop, every day app for different delivery services – parcels, laundry, groceries and food”, as well as the conduit for returning goods to the e-commerce supplier.