Final-mile delivery will not go back to pre-pandemic levels, says Khaled Naim, chief executive officer and co-founder of Onfleet. Shippers need to make adjustments.
The changes that retailers thought would take place in e-commerce over the next seven to 10 years accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s no going back, Naim says.
“I think they will last for the foreseeable future,” he says. “Retailers have to adapt to survive in this new environment. They can't rely on foot traffic anymore. We're seeing an incredibly rapid adoption of same-day delivery and the necessary e-commerce technologies. The changes are here to stay.”
Among those changes, Naim says, is the imperative to begin last-mile delivery. Not only are people ordering more online, they have huge expectations around what that experience looks like. “People place orders on demand and expect deliveries to show up within an hour, if not half an hour. So that's a completely new sector that we didn't see a couple of years ago. It didn't even exist a couple of years ago, but this kind of quick commerce space is a new one that we saw emerge during the pandemic. And I think it’s here to stay. Consumers expect to be able to order something as small as a $50 basket size and have it show up same day.”
The technology infrastructure needed includes routing and dispatching, real-time tracking and customer-facing communications, Naim says. Driver supply also is critical. Vital questions include: “How do you staff up a fleet of drivers? How do you train them and onboard them to provide that kind of experience? Or do you work with third parties, and how do you rely on those third parties to provide that experience?”
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.