AFTER A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, THE FUTURE OF DELIVERY IS LOCAL
BY MARC GORLIN
efore the pandemic, consumers were satisfied with one-click ordering that came with two-day delivery, or even next-day delivery. Not anymore. In an extremely short period of time, ordering goods in the morning and having them delivered to your home the same afternoon was recast as a musthave service, providing a lifeline for millions of families. Same-day delivery surged like never before. The pandemic presented many steep challenges for retailers and their supply chains, but among the most urgent was: how could they get goods as close to the end consumer as possible? Suddenly, retailers of all sizes had to figure out how to re-engineer and extend supply chains locally, transforming logistics and fulfillment into hyperlocalized and
distributed operations. And then, they had to figure out how to incorporate flexible, on-demand, reliable, same-day delivery into the equation from all those new locations. What do businesses need to thrive in this emerging local-delivery world? There are four key expectations. 1. Speed According to Ware2Go, nearly all consumers — over 90% — see two- and three-day shipping as table stakes. One-third of consumers expect same-day delivery. And while customers put up with delayed shipments in 2020 because they really had no choice, don’t get used to it. It won’t last. COVID basically finished what Amazon started: It taught consumers that they don’t have to wait. Same-day service is available in a variety of models, with a consistency and cost that matches or beats the performance of traditional parcel carriers.
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Creating a fast, reliable home delivery program stands to help retailers win big. More than three-quarters of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand again if delivery was fast. 2. Agility, Flexibility, and Optionality No longer does fulfillment happen from one or two distribution centers. Hyperlocal fulfillment means deconsolidating inventory and spreading it across sometimes hundreds of brick-and-mortar retail sites. Those facilities are now tasked with triple duty responsibilities: offering consumers traditional stores to shop from themselves; operating as local fulfillment centers for online orders shipping direct to consumers; and serving as local pickup sites for buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) orders. Consumers are getting anything and everything delivered to their homes. A delivery might be a small package of time-sensitive medicines, a repair part for an appliance, printer ink cartridges,
PARCEL September/October 2021