Ecommerce

How On-Demand Services Will Change Ecommerce Delivery

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Written by Jodie Pride
16th April 2015 • 6 min read

With so many on-demand services available these days, it’s a wonder we haven’t all turned into spoiled brats, throwing our toys out of the pram if we don’t get what we want right this second. Think about it – you have a seemingly endless stream of movies at the touch of a screen with Netflix, and an abundance of your favourite tunes no more than a few taps away thanks to Spotify, so it makes sense that new and exciting apps have emerged which can provide you with almost anything you want that same day.

Take Bizzby for example. Bizzby is an on-demand app which aims to send a professional to your house within 30 minutes to get your job done – think plumbers, handymen and beauticians – so you no longer have to book or queue up with the masses. Just tap-tap-tap away and have a pro sent to your home to do your dirty work, and then you’re done. Easy. 

Apps like these affect the world of ecommerce too. People often want their goods as soon as possible, which has lead to the rise of companies like MyHermes, which makes use of drivers in the local area who will deliver goods. This is pretty great because it means someone from your neighbouring street can attempt to deliver your package, and if you’re not in, they leave a card with their number. Ring it, and rearrange delivery for the next suitable day, or if they live close enough (and are feeling generous) they might even pop around to drop off your item.

This is certainly a rival to Royal Mail’s service. MyHermes supports the local community as opposed to what people might see as a large corporation. Ecommerce retailers might also think twice about shipping with Royal Mail Despatch Express and opt for the more human, friendly and local MyHermes. 

This seems to take inspiration from grocery stores which offer same day or nominated day delivery of groceries, and uses vans in local areas as a means of transporting the goods. You can choose a day when there’s a van in your area and have your shopping whenever you want it – this isn’t necessarily on demand as in “I want it right this second; it’s on demand in the sense of “I want it on this day and at this time”. Take a look at Uber, who use a similar strategy – they have started using their taxi service as a means of delivering goods: if they have a particularly quiet period, any unused vehicles are used to deliver groceries with their “Corner Store” feature. 

Postmates adopts a similar model to Uber, aiming to deliver goods including “lunch, dinner and groceries” from restaurants and stores to people in cities, in under 1 hour with the use of local couriers. They have also partnered with Starbucks to deliver pastries and drinks to their customers. 

Shyp provides another meaning to the term “on-demand” delivery service. You simply upload your goods to their app, and someone will come and take them away, pack them and ship them for you so you don’t have to go to the hassle of doing it yourself. This will certainly rival Amazon FBA and Royal Mail DMO. 

And how will this affect ecommerce retailers? For starters, cheaper, more on-demand delivery could result in the bigger postal services reducing their shipping costs. If locals are delivering goods quicker and potentially at a lower price, they will need to keep up with the competition or risk losing business. Royal Mail, for example, could see a decrease in retailers opening Royal Mail Online Business Accounts (OBA), and may take this as a sign that fewer companies opening a Royal Mail OBA could mean that there’s a lack of willingness to commit to a large corporate shipping service, with retailers favouring small, local couriers. 

It could also be argued that many people won’t want to order from online retailers, which may take days to deliver their goods, when they can order from an on-demand shipping company like Uber, who may bring them their goods within the hour. However, it’s also worth noting that many people use online retailers to purchase goods not readily found on the high-street, and that on-demand services like Postmates and Uber are perhaps better suited to buying essentials and groceries – i.e, items you probably wouldn’t go online to buy anyway – and that this might not change ecommerce delivery at all. Only time will tell.

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Written by Jodie Pride

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