Is home delivery dying?

E-commerce retail, home delivery, omni-channel…..just three of many terms used to describe the changes in the retail industry that the world has or is currently encountering.

I was invited to attend a ‘home delivery conference’ yesterday in London, UK. Although the views put across at this event were UK-centric I think they are valid for every retail market, especially as I think the UK has one of the biggest ‘e-commerce industry’ in terms of percentage of sales.

Whilst I was listening to some of the debates and speeches, an unexpected thought came to me….could home delivery be dying?

I have not looked for any research to back up my theory (but keep reading…), but let’s think about what really caused this realisation. The term which kept popping up at this event was ‘convenience’. Home delivery on its own is not always very convenient, at least not for everyone.

For time-poor consumers even committing a few days in advance to being at home for a 2-hour slot, is not always convenient. So, whilst retailers need to perfect their home delivery offering, it is imperative that other delivery channels to the consumer are  given equal importance……especially click and collect. Click and collect without a doubt is a game changer for retail. It’s a must in so many ways that if not at the top of a supply chain director’s priority list, something needs to change.

Every retailer needs to be able to provide a click and collect service asap, it’s a win on so many levels: cost of delivery, opportunity for further sales, reduction of returns etc... The key thing here is also that click and collect is a must (even more so) for pure online retailers. So they need to look at the services now available to ensure they can provide this service, butalso look at partnering with other retailers so their customers get the same convenience as their bricks and mortar competitors.

Partnering, acquiring or building a bricks and mortar presence to enable collections at a convenient time and in a convenient location for your customers is going to be vital for every online retailer.

It is the rise of click and collect and also ‘workplace delivery’ rather than home delivery, that has led me to this opinion that home delivery could soon be on the wane for a vast proportion of the population….at least until smart locks that allow a one-time access to a garage etc to a delivery driver are implemented.

I still think home delivery has a massive future, especially in the grocery market, but I believe that these other delivery methods will be more important to a retailer and more beneficial, and maybe more importantly much more financially affordable.

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