Lee Hnetinka is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Darkstore in New York City. Echoing a business model developed by Uber and Airbnb, Lee Hnetinka and the Darkstore team are a rapidly developing player in the same-day delivery fulfillment industry.
Darkstore is capable of fulfilling a variety of standard shipping requests from multiple locations. However, the business is best known for its same-day delivery capabilities and, in some cases, one-hour deliveries. A technology-driven company, Darkstore seeks to innovate and enhance fulfillment processes whenever possible.
Traditional fulfillment practices began in 1997 with the rise of the Internet, and for more than two decades it has gone largely unchanged. Due to this stagnation, most brands spend up to 25 percent of their revenue on fulfillment matters. Meanwhile, Darkstore’s modernized approach can lower fulfillment costs to just 3 percent.
Darkstore further innovates delivery fulfillment by developing and maintaining their own API rather than relying on third-party support. Lastly, the company has invested heavily in smarter business operations via a commitment to AI and automated services. Every decision the Darkstore team makes is in the name of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
A successful entrepreneur in the field of e-commerce, Lee Hnetinka founded the on-demand delivery service WunWun. After selling the company, Lee Hnetinka went on to collaborate with Wilson Lee to form Darkstore, which also provides on-demand delivery services.
Since its introduction through companies, such as Uber, on-demand delivery services have become a revolutionary player in the e-commerce marketplace. The technology allows customers to receive what they want in a much shorter time frame than what is available via traditional shipping options.
For example, customers can walk into the mattress store Tuft & Needle in San Francisco, California, and decide to buy a mattress. As long as they make their purchase before 4pm, they will receive their mattress at their home the very same day because Tuft & Needle employs on-demand delivery services. Previously it would have taken as long as three days to receive the product.
Smaller businesses across the nation have begun to take advantage of the efficiency of on-demand delivery services in their local area. These businesses offer a diverse range of products from package delivery to childcare services.
Founded in 2016 by Lee Hnetinka, Darkstore provides on-demand fulfillment for companies that ship products to customers. Lee Hnetinka’s company enables brands without local inventory to store their products in fulfillment centers nationwide and facilitates product shipment via its own API and intelligent routing service. Recently, Darkstore partnered with T-Force Final Mile, a last-mile delivery service, to expand its market reach.
The partnership with T-Force Final Mile allows Darkstore to expand to 33 additional locations across the United States, bringing its total number of fulfillment centers to 40. Brands are not charged to store their inventory in a Darkstore fulfillment center, but Darkstore collects a 3 percent fee for each item that leaves one of its storage locations. Products are shipped to consumers from Darkstore facilities through independent service operators such as local courier companies.
Darkstore offers a hosted shopping cart, making it straightforward for e-commerce brands to provide on-demand delivery service to customers by using only one line of code. Darkstore’s e-commerce software and partnership with T-Force Final Mile supports Darkstore’s goal of becoming an invisible retailer.