We used to live in a world where if you wanted something the same day, you’d go to the store to get it. With same-day delivery, fast shipping, and things like drone delivery on the horizon, the days of having to leave your house to pick up something are numbered. But while logistics teams are busy developing ways to meet these demands, marketers still have some fundamental problems to solve at the top of the funnel.
If logistics and shipping departments (and companies) are streamlining their processes, what are the opportunities this creates for marketers?
I don’t think it’s about opportunity. Really, this is just the cost of keeping up with the competition today. People expect stuff right now and the pressure to deliver on that is palpable. And it hits everywhere – from marketing offers to product delivery to complaint resolution.
What are the challenges?
Talking about it isn’t the same as successfully doing it. And there’s a big gap between them today. I don’t know of any business that reliably delivers in the greater Boston on same-day. You can see the challenges business leaders are facing. 24% of marketers say they’re doing it; 27% say they’re struggling with it. And that’s where we see that innovation isn’t always a competitive advantage. Getting it right can be a drain on resources in other areas.
How do you see it rolling out?
This is going to be in industry waves – there are some things people need same-day, but some things people can live without. I may not be able to get a TV delivered same-day, but for things like home improvement or auto parts – there are systems in place to get these items to you quickly since that sells. Which is great because when you think about the problems you’re solving when you’re shopping for parts, the likelihood of you needing it right away is pretty high. There’s a national plumbing supply company who delivers next day. Auto parts are the same way. These firms have to compete with the local auto parts store that’s open 24/7 (which is great if you have a running car to get you there).
There’s the difference, right? Same-day delivery vs. same-day brick and mortar pickup.
Exactly. If you really need something the same day, you generally have the option of going to a store to get it. And that’s where the in-store retail experience still has a stronghold.
Do you think the convenience of fast delivery is a credible threat to in-store business?
For sure. But there’s still always some in-store on our horizon. Like we’ve talked about, the in-store experience isn’t always about getting a product in your hand right away. There’s also the delight of the shopping experience, the social component, and the opportunity to compare products. And don’t forget that in-store pickup isn’t the same thing as same-day delivery – so there’s still foot traffic.
How far away are we from 3D printing stuff we need?
We may be close on some things, but it depends on what you want to print. Is a 3D printed version going to be as reliable as buying the actual product? Can it be made out of the proper product (plastic, ceramic, metal) for some project you are working on – or to get the motorcycle going again? Maybe, but maybe not.
If you have a lackluster customer experience leading up to or at the time of purchase, can speedy delivery reinstate your affinity for a brand?
I don’t think so. Maybe you loathe going to their website, but some products have no alternative so you kind of just go through with the transaction. Marketers shouldn’t be relying on fast delivery to save their customer experience – they should be actively improving the customer experience at all stages.
Previous purchases, for example, can tell you what to display. Purchase history should inform future offers. Do you react to your customers’ behavior or do you incentivize their behavior into a future action that you can control?
Drone delivery: creepy or cool?
Cool and way in the future. Seeing it in action feels really far away. Think about the theft problem we’re having with people stealing packages. How much reported theft is in home delivery and now you’re going to signal to anyone within ½ a mile that a package is going over to Jim, your neighbor’s house – that is one of the problems that have to be sorted out. There’s so much pressure on the last mile to the home, it makes the economics of drones harder since so many firms outside of drone delivery are working on that every day. There hasn’t been a big breakthrough in that last mile for a while.
Really, marketers should be more focused on buttoning up their ability to meet existing demands. The drone stuff is cool, but none of that needs to be a focal point if it means taking your eye off the ball in other areas.