A new study reports that delivery speed is the biggest concern of online shoppers, while over a third of millennials are frustrated with slow delivery times. In the U.S. alone, that represents more than 27 million people. In fact, younger consumers are the most critical, with over 35 percent reporting that they frequently deal with challenges receiving online orders.
For retailers, that means flexible delivery options are practically a necessity, regardless of whether customers want to pick up at curbside or request two-hour delivery to the door. In fact, customers’ desire for same-day and two-hour delivery has pressured retailers into a frantic search for a delivery solution on a national scale.
At first glance, this feels like a loss for retailers, with a large percentage of a growing consumer base complaining. And the chance to meet that demand simply doesn’t happen overnight. Amazon has set the stage with same-day delivery, owning nearly 50 percent of e-commerce sales in 2017. Retailers are looking for ways to catch up.
But a closer look reveals a huge opportunity for e-commerce companies. Understanding consumer frustrations, and subsequently acting on them, gives retailers an opportunity to build omnichannel programs that set them apart from the competition. Over time, hopefully, they can increase their market share of e-commerce sales.
Historically, retailers have turned to employees or contractors to handle delivery across the supply chain. But that trend may soon come to a close, or at the very least be subsidized by a new type of home delivery service: crowdsourced shipping.
A new global research study reports that nearly 90 percent of retailers expect to use crowdsourced delivery to handle specific orders by 2028. That means almost all retailers will be tapping into existing networks of drivers to deliver one-off products to customer homes, from store to store, or warehouse to store.
Zebra Technologies commissioned the Future of Fulfillment report to address logistics challenges in the omnichannel shopping landscape. In conjunction with Qualtrics, Zebra surveyed more than 2,700 transportation, logistics and retail professionals across the globe.
“Solving the delivery challenge has given rise to a crowdsourcing model whereby retailers, manufacturers, logistics companies and technology newbies are working collaboratively to get products [into] the hands of shoppers faster,” the report states. “That comes at little wonder, as some of the world’s biggest retailers are increasing their same-day delivery capabilities to compete with online retailing giants.”
The crowdsourced or collaborative delivery model creates a completely new type of delivery system, with the flexibility and scalability to handle same-day and last-mile deliveries at a predictable cost. Think everything from shirts and shoes to dressers and dining sets.
There’s no doubt that the $2.3tr global e-commerce landscape has driven the digital transformation of the retail supply chain. The want-it-now customer mindset has birthed a new normal that forces retailers to bridge the physical and digital — to create an omnichannel home-delivery and fulfillment strategy that satisfies the 24/7 bricks-and-clicks shopping world.
And with only 39 percent of retailers feeling that they have a working omnichannel logistics strategy, they had better get moving.
Seventy-six percent of surveyed retailers use store inventory to fill online orders. Merchants are diving into “ship from store” to fulfill home delivery, retrofitting locations to double as online fulfillment centers and shrinking selling space to accommodate e-commerce pickups and returns.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents agree that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. The result has been a spike in concern and investment into the delivery space. Retailers are now seeking alternative, crowdsourced shipping solutions for same-day and last-mile delivery.
Nearly 40 percent of retailers anticipate offering customers two-hour delivery by 2028. It’s no surprise that customers are flocking to the fastest and most convenient shopping experiences. Retailers will need to broaden their home delivery service offerings to compete with online behemoths.
Valerie Metzker is head of business development at Roadie.
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