H&M’s comeback, the Mercedes Sprinter, and how understanding Amazon means winning the last-mile

By Maia on Friday, October 19th, 2018

Swedish Retail Mafia

H&M has had a rough run in the last year but the retail giant is coming out swinging. Three months ago, H&M began testing same-day delivery in Berlin, offering fast and convenient deliveries across the city. Last week, it dropped a cool £15 million into Klarna, kicking off a partnership to build an omnichannel payment service.

“We want to make it possible for customers to move freely between the various channels and choose how they want to shop and experience our offering online and in store.” –  Daniel Claesson, Head of Business Development,  H&M

Clearly, H&M want to elevate its customer experience and evolve with shopping trends – flexible payments and pain-free returns are certainly steps in the right direction. With the company also investing in same-day delivery in Europe, this could be the beginnings of an interesting omnichannel strategy from a retailer that’s always been known as something of an innovator.

Mercedes pimped its rides

Source: Daimler

Mercedes’ Future Transportation team has just unveiled its newest release – an AI and computer-vision powered cardo sensor system, (CoROS). Embedded in their new Sprinter van, CoROS identifies, scans, and records packages as they are brought into the vehicle and recommends the optimal loading position based on the package’s size and final destination.

Designed to automate an often manual and laborious process, CoROS automatically looks up the customer’s order along the delivery journey and directs the driver to that customer’s packages via LEDs installed on shelves.

Mercedes has also integrated what3words into its entire range of cars and vans, ensuring that even locations without addresses can be found quickly and easily. Could the Sprinter become for the last-mile what the Prius has become to ride-hailing services? Only time will tell.

Partnership makes perfect

Source: DoorDash

Two four-letter “F” words are dominating the world of last-mile delivery: ‘fast’ and ‘flex’.

Bringg and DoorDash know it and have come together in a strategic partnership to enable restaurants to offer fast and flexible deliveries. Similar to Deliveroo’s Marketplace+ proposition, restaurants that use Bringg’s SaaS logistics platform will be able to supplement their in-house operations by tapping into a white label fleet provided by DoorDash, expanding the scale and reach of their deliveries.

We love seeing partnerships like these. Navigating the world of e-commerce and last-mile delivery can be a daunting challenge for young startups and scale-ups, especially when they’re up against giants like Deliveroo and Uber. Perhaps a key to success for all is collaboration and strength in numbers.

Partner insight: PostTag – Last mile partnerships – where do we go from here?

For a while now, I have been adamant that the biggest hurdle in the last mile is the final 100

metres. That’s where the biggest financial and efficiency gains can be made – and certainly the most visible difference from the consumer point of view.

But what’s stopping us even getting to the starting line is the need to bolster partnerships

between tech startups, retailers and delivery companies. What many tech and delivery startups lack in the scale, reach and resource of their would-be retail partners, they more than make up for in agility, collaboration and shortened lead time to deliver – and vice versa.

When we recently gathered 25 tech vendors, delivery companies, food service companies and more for the Last Mile Consortium to discuss partnerships, we heard about a number of ways in which retailers are, often inadvertently, blocking progress. As one of the group said: “to be blunt, we’ve got the skills and the retailers have got the money – why aren’t we working together?”

“The market is simply not set up or ready for the partnership culture we’ll need to fix the last -mile,” said another of the participants in the LMC discussion. “We’ll start with any retailer open to working with us.”

Bottom line? We believe that if all parties realised the potential of collaborating to get the problems of the last 100 metres behind us, we’d be onto a winner.

Paul Yewman, CEO, PostTag

Recommended listening

Amazon and the last-mile, with Marek Rozycki – Postal Hub Podcast Episode 130

Illustration: Angelica Alzona/Gizmodo

What kind of acquisitions has Amazon been making in the last-mile across Europe? Will Amazon surpass DPD in its last-mile delivery efforts in the UK? How does Amazon Flex’s crowdsourced model give them a competitive edge? And what technologies will they deploy next to enable faster and more flexible same-day and out of home deliveries?

All these questions and more are answered and discussed by Marek Rozycki (former Amazon VP Logistics Europe) in the latest episode of the Postal Hub. Enjoy.

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