I read with great delight an article by Natasha Stokes this week titled “Staying fresh: How UK grocery retailers are innovating with delivery.” Natasha discusses how the online grocery industry has changed the way larger grocers must do business today, with a particular focus around convenience, customers’ expectations and the importance of the last mile – whether that means last mile delivery or click-and-collect.
One of my favorite quotes from the article is when Natasha interviews Tim Vallance, Director, Head of UK Retail and Leisure at JLL, who stated, “Convenience is an increasingly critical factor for consumers and grocery retailers are focused on meeting their customers’ expectations. Yet getting orders over the ‘last mile’ to homes and offices is a constant – and evolving – challenge. The growth of e-commerce has led to a glut of delivery vans contributing to congestion in city centres, while the cost of home deliveries can cut into revenue.”
What struck me as key was the article’s discussion around the logistical challenges of grocery delivery and click-and-collect. Click-and-collect tends to be a favoured option among grocers as a way to address the often problematic “last mile” fulfillment by customers. Yet despite this approach fulfilling a lot of needs for on-demand groceries, it still has its challenges.
Timing the order packing with the customer’s arrival. Preventing congestion in the pickup zone. Streamlining the process of confirming the right order is going to the right customer. Plus, the continuous problem of more vehicles on the road. As we know, everyone wants the convenience of their favourite ride hailing app or food delivery service, but as more of these services spring forth traffic will be pervasive problem that smart city innovators will have to keep on solving. The same goes for when more consumer vehicles are out on the road pickup up their own online orders.
Natasha’s article also discusses the role that technology plays in this industry. Osado’s online service has long invested in robotics and machine learning to improve the efficiency of packing up orders, something we certainly can expect to see more and more of. “Technology has a role to play, especially if it can keep food fresh or cold through delivery,” states Vallance.
We couldn’t agree more! Read Natasha’s entire article here – we highly recommend it.
At Glympse, we know the importance of grocers working together with technology partners to help deal with some of the issues they are experiencing today. And working with a partner like Glympse, they can truly deliver the goods! Download our Market Brief, The Curbside Pickup and Grocery eCommerce Renaissance, to start planning a refresh to your grocery fulfillment strategy today. Read it here.