For those unfamiliar, couriers are essentially transporters. Think of Uber or Lyft as couriers for people. Shipt is a popular courier for groceries and DoorDash for restaurant-made dinners. But there are hundreds of companies whose names you don’t know that also offer courier services for various items. Typically, couriers are independent contractors driving their own vehicles and working for companies as needed. An ideal courier can really be anyone who is responsible and has their own reliable transportation (making it a great job opportunity for people who may be in between jobs because of the economic implications of the virus).

More people tapped into the use of courier services when the coronavirus began. A Marketing Technology Insights report from April this year stated, “The global couriers and messengers’ market is expected to grow from $541.6 billion in 2019 to $824.9 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1%.” While growth may be evident in a number of industries, these are the three I believe will have the most staying power beyond the pandemic.

Healthcare: The healthcare industry has been utilizing courier services for years. This includes moving patient materials and supplies, as well as tests. Naturally, we saw a nearly 25 percent increase in business from our healthcare customers during the peak of COVID-19, and that was due to the increase of testing and antibody testing. While some healthcare facilities have a lab onsite, many hospitals and clinics required tests be transported to labs for analysis. That’s where a courier comes in. Aside from testing, many consumers also began utilizing the option to have medication delivered to them from their pharmacy. More pharmacies are beginning to add that benefit as a way to please customers and distinguish themselves from competitors.

E-commerce: The retail industry has had an awakening in the past decade, with shopping malls across the nation shuttering and individual brands being run out of business in favor of online-only retailers. While certainly many stores struggled to stay afloat when the ability to shop was taken away due to COVID-19, some did embrace their online presence and begin offering shipping for the first time. In-store shopping hasn’t disappeared, but having the ability to get product to someone’s door is vital. Couriers can get it done.

Financial: While much of the financial side of business has gone digital, there are still companies that want to have a paper record of things like pay checks, tax documents and retirement reports. Companies can of course utilize the United States Postal Service for these items, but there’s an added layer of security that couriers can provide. For example, companies can often track delivery times more accurately using a courier. And companies can require a signature from the recipient upon arrival using a courier, which isn’t the case with typical postal delivery.

COVID-19 has changed the way businesses operate in more ways than one. For the courier industry, it’s solidified a future in these three industries and others. Now more than ever it’s a courier’s job to provide reliability and trust to businesses and consumers alike.

Ryan Schwalbach is the CEO of NOW Courier, a logistics company focused on providing fast, reliable, customized delivery options for businesses primarily in the healthcare, e-commerce and financial industries.

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