Entrepreneur Lee Hnetinka is the CEO of Darkstore, a same day delivery service for e-commerce companies. Lee Hnetinka launched Darkstore in 2016 and works to recruit e-commerce partners and expand the company’s services into regions across the United States. As a result of a recent partnership with T-Force Final Mile, Darkstore has expanded into 33 new markets across the United States.
Darkstore’s unique approach to on-demand delivery involves utilizing excess space in storage facilities, malls, and bodegas, essentially turning these underused facilities into local fulfillment centers for companies without brick and mortar storefronts. From these ruban fulfillment centers, Darkstore is able to coordinate same day on demand delivery options for its clients.
In September 2017, Darkstore formed a partnership with T-Force Final Mile, a last mile delivery company that services clients such as IKEA, Office Depot, and Amazon. The partnership allows Darkstore to expand significantly to urban centers across the United States including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, and Austin. With the addition of these markets, Darkstore moves toward helping more retailers offer the convenience of same day delivery to their customers.
A graduate of the University of Buffalo with a bachelor of science in marketing, entrepreneur Lee Hnetinka co-founded Darkstore with the intent to make e-commerce more convenient for customers. The delivery fulfillment platform allows brands to offer same-day and on-demand delivery at affordable prices by shipping from strategically located fulfillment centers. Lee Hnetinka leads the company as chief executive officer.
A revolutionary way to fulfill orders from e-commerce sites, Darkstore takes advantage of excess space in storage facilities and malls to store inventory, rather than charging companies a fee. When an order is placed, proprietary technology automatically routes it to the fulfillment center that offers the lowest delivery rate. Darkstore does not charge fees for extras such as packing materials, storage, or excess weight and size. Undercutting traditional fulfillment fees of up to 25 percent, Darkstore charges just three percent of each item’s retail price, with a minimum of $2 and a maximum of $20.
About the Author
A graduate of the University at Buffalo with a bachelor of science in marketing, Lee Hnetinka serves as chief executive officer of Darkstore, which he cofounded in 2016. In his leadership role, Lee Hnetinka heads a company that provides e-commerce brands with space to store inventory at delivery fulfillment centers, or Darkstores, in New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix. From these centers, Darkstore offers same-day shipping and even one-hour shipping for these e-commerce brands, which include Tuft & Needle and Luma.
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.