Ten years ago, ordering a book online and receiving it in the mail a week later was revolutionary. At the time, this state of the art retail experience was seen as way ahead of the curve. Yet for traditional bookstores, no warning bells were sounded, no fears were sparked.
Five years ago, having any hot meal delivered to your door within 30 minutes, for the same price as take-away was excitingly novel. Yet there came no immediate retaliation from restaurants and fast-food chains.
Today, on-demand delivery specialists like Sherpa can deliver online orders from Australian retail outlets within 60 minutes. For the forward-thinking brands utilising Sherpa, convenience is the promise that separates them from competitors and drives brand loyalty amongst customers. For the brands who aren’t, sound the warning bell.
The reality is, brand loyalty, like all rapid advances, is tempered with WIFM – ‘What’s In It For Me’. Whether I need a bottle of wine, a dress to wear tonight, medication for my child or groceries for my dinner, if a retailer can get me my products within an hour of me purchasing them online, then I am now loyal to that retailer. And that experience will result in repeat and more frequent purchases.
The prediction of consumers wanting more convenience is a fairly safe one. While there is no doubt the future customer will want to continue the recreational, high involvement retail indulgences like trying on new perfume, sunglasses or jewellery, most will not be as excited about functional retail chores. These purchases, such as pharmaceuticals, hardware, stationery, pet food and groceries can be delivered straight to the customer from their favourite retailer’s nearest outlet, without them having to travel to the store, search for and collect the item, pay for it and then travel back home before consuming it. Customer convenience has narrowed to a simple definition; getting the product the customer wants
into their hands, now.
These new expectations will soon become standard amongst consumers. Because once they have experienced the new, it’s very hard to go back to the old. Just imagine if trading hours were scaled back to five days per week, or if EFTPOS terminals were removed. Ohh the horror!
This gradual process is called ‘convenience creep’. Some retailers twigged with the advent of Click and Collect but that has now proven to be just a cautious dip of the toe into the waters of complete customer fulfilment. Delivering what the customer needs in full is already happening, and it doesn’t involve drones or high-speed vacuum pipes linking your front
door with the local shopping centre.
Sherpa is Australia’s leading on-demand Delivery App. Using a crowd-sourced pool of vetted drivers with their own vehicles, Sherpa allows retailers to scale the supply of drivers during times of peak demand without wearing the debilitating cost of capital infrastructure and vehicle fleets. This also gives bricks and mortar retailers the opportunity to capitalise on
their proximity to the customer by utilising their network of stores as mini dispatch centres, getting their product in the hands of the customer faster than the pure-play online retailers with rural warehouses.
This is the evolution that will quickly become the standard. The widespread immediate- gratification mindset that has become ubiquitous amongst consumers is changing what it will mean to be a retailer in the next 10 years.
It’s now up to forward-thinking retailers to propel the evolution and be the disruptors that stake their claim on the future of retail.