Critical Elements for Same-Day Delivery Success
Postmates. Instacart. Deliv (including its recent acquisition of Zipments). Uber. Amazon Flex.
These are all popular services dominating same-day/on-demand delivery service headlines. These services, especially those found in large metro areas, are becoming increasingly popular for consumers seeking groceries, apparel or other goods quickly, and for retailers looking to monetize the demand for instant gratification.
Same-day delivery has introduced a significant convenience factor for consumers and even offered new ways for brick and mortar locations to compete in the ever-growing omnichannel world.
Diving into the ecosystem, questions do arise about this nascent market. How will it impact retailers? What does this new on-demand world mean for e-commerce and transportation? There are still many kinks that need to be worked out. For instance, these services have many supply chain and logistics complexities that make the simple-sounding concept very challenging to execute. Combine that with the uncertainty surrounding the long-term consumer appetite for these services, and the retail industry has a lot to think about when it comes to launching a successful program.
Same-day delivery service is not just about overcoming logistics challenges – it presents an operations problem as well.
Success means having inventory visibility and proper systems in place.
Inventory visibility is fundamental to same-day delivery success, but for some retailers this presents a technology gap. An accurate record of which inventory is available to consumers for same-day delivery is crucial. Without appropriate inventory management technology in place, a retailer can’t even think about an on-demand program.
Another important component is the communication between the applications and the systems that power different aspects of the ecosystem. As an example, the communication between a retail store and a driver is crucial in terms of inventory visibility and accuracy. This real-time inventory knowledge, and resulting trust in the information provided, is required when stores are picking product and drivers are being dispatched to a store for pickup. The driver doesn’t want their time wasted, and the store doesn’t want to waste resources either.
Appropriate technology and effective systems that streamline operations are critical elements that are often overlooked when discussing and evaluating same-day delivery services. Using technology to bridge the gap has the potential to make the on-demand delivery space very successful for retailers and the Uber-like services looking to be their delivery partners.