Goodbye petrol stations, hello superconsumers, and NHS drones

By Maia on Friday, August 3rd, 2018

The store is the new warehouse

Just when customers thought that shopping at Zara couldn’t get any more convenient, the fast-fashion giant finally announces that it will be equipping its stores to fulfil online orders.

A strategy we’ve been promoting for months, Zara is making moves to ensure the processes and tech are in place to run the operation as smoothly as possible. The rationale is simple: the faster and more conveniently an item can be delivered, the more a customer will be likely to purchase it at full price. The rollout will include 2,000 stores across 45 countries, with a complete transformation by the end of the year, making it one of the largest-scale attempt by any fashion company to repurpose high street shops into urban fulfilment centres. A bold move we strongly believe in.

As mentioned in last issue’s ‘Quiqup Insights,’ this will require the full integration between store and online inventory. The effort, however, will prove worth it; it makes far more sense to deliver a product to a consumer from a store shelf less than a mile away than from a warehouse outside the city. With last mile delivery partners available to power their deliveries in smaller cleaner vehicles, Zara will begin to help get gas-guzzling lorries off the streets and deliver outstanding experiences its customers have come to expect. This level of innovation sets Zara apart, a spirit that other retailers would do well to take heed of.

Cleaning up our act

As part of its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, the Department for Transport has just announced a call for evidence on the opportunities available to deliver goods more sustainably and make the last mile greener.

The aim is to work with logistics companies to replace diesel-run trucks with clean vehicles such as electrically powered vans, cars, and bikes (autonomous or otherwise) that will continue to enable fast and convenient deliveries for consumers. All the while benefiting air quality and reducing our city’s carbon footprint. The growth in online shopping has had immediate economic benefits for consumers but it has also led to congestion, noise and air pollution. With over 300k HGVs and 4mn vans on our roads today, that number will only grow as online sales do.

We’re on the cusp of a profound change in urban transport and last mile delivery providers have the biggest role to play. By investing in an increasingly green fleet, they have an opportunity to change the way goods move and contribute to building a city of the future we can all get excited about.

Hocus BOPIS – The superpower of superconsumers

Like omnichannel, conversational commerce, and the Internet of Things, BOPIS is yet another term we need to add to our lexicon. A new breed of buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) consumer is on the rise and 37% make unplanned additional purchases while doing so. But “superconsumers” – consumers who BOPIS at least twice a year – go one step further. Studies show that they buy even more items while picking up their order in-store than they did online. For retailers, superconsumers are the bee’s knees.

Retailers are catching on and some are going out of their way(mo) to keep their superconsumers happy. In fact, Walmart is piloting a self-driving grocery chauffeur service for its customers in Arizona. BOPIS consumers shop for their groceries online and a driverless Waymo picks them up when it’s time for collection. Shoppers, of course, pick up a few more items while in-store and the Waymo car chauffeurs them back home while they sit back, relax, nap, text…

Brick and mortar retailers are rapidly embracing BOPIS and home delivery. Shoppers love the comfort of being able to browse leisurely at home. Some enjoy picking their items up, others want them delivered to their homes. Either way, the message to retailers is clear: create a dynamic model of last mile fulfilment that accommodates all your consumers’ preferences. That’s what turns shoppers into superconsumers.

NHS is flying high

The NHS is going where it’s never gone before. A project team from innovation foundation, Nesta, collaborated with 5 UK city-regions and experts from the NHS to test drone delivery for blood, medical equipment, and pathology samples.

They found “no insurmountable barriers” to the creation of a large-scale drone delivery network linking to the NHS hospitals. But there are surmountable ones: London’s complex and restricted airspace presenting the biggest challenge. The benefits, it seems, far outweigh the challenges. The increased speed and reliability could cut costs and significantly improve patient care.

The report goes even further, claiming that by increasing businesses’ productivity and the city’s overall efficiency, the use of drones could provide a £42bn boost to the UK economy by 2030. It might seem far-fetched today, but sooner than we think, London will evolve and drones will be flying overhead – delivering everything from medical supplies to online retail orders. While, for some, this paints an unsettling picture for the future of the city, when done efficiently and cautiously, these last mile deliveries will help save lives – or at the very least, an outfit.

Recommended Watching

TED@UPS: “What a driverless world could look like” by Wanis Kabbaj

Source: TED

In this seriously fascinating TED@UPS talk, Wanis Kabbaj visualises a city’s transportation network that runs as efficiently as the blood in our veins. He believes we can find inspiration inside us to design the transit systems of the future. Kabbaj previews exciting concepts like modular buses, flying cars and networks of suspended magnetic pods that could help make the dream of a dynamic, driverless world into a reality.

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