As the divide between e-commerce and retail shrinks, online shoppers are wanting to get their orders quicker than ever.
And while many stores might see that as a logistical nightmare, Deliv founder and chief executive officer Daphne Carmeli sees that as an opportunity.
Carmeli launched Deliv — a “last mile” logistics company that crowd-sources drivers to make deliveries on the fly and helps serve retailers who might be reluctant to plug into the Amazon delivery machine.
“What’s very important is maintaining the brand and not having anybody disintermediate between you and your customer,” Carmeli said. “So we decided that were going to build a backend service. We would never sell goods and we would never compete with retailers.”
Deliv, founded four-and-a-half years ago, built a driver base, taking an approach that looks something like Uber’s, and uses it to help stores get goods to shoppers quickly.
“Same-day delivery is not new, but it’s hot,” she said, pointing to the growing influence of Amazon in the commercial equation for retailers.
“Amazon has clearly changed the landscape for commerce, continues to set the bar for the customer experience and in the last 24 months has pretty much put speed and flexibility of fulfillment in the foreground of that battleground for that customer experience,” she said. “That’s not new for Amazon. In 2005, Amazon came out with Prime and then very quickly, two-day shipping became the standard.”
Amazon is now clearly on a new push and has been investing in warehouses to bring inventory closer to consumers for its Prime Now service, which Carmeli said was turning same-day delivery into the new standard.
“Today, 40 percent of the nation’s population is within 20 miles of an Amazon fulfillment center,” she said. “Five years ago that number was 5 percent.”
But while companies such as Webvan and Kozmo failed to gain traction despite millions in dot-com boom funding, Carmeli said the technology to make such a service work has finally come of age. Retailers positioned for buy-online-pick-up-in-store programs know their inventories down to the stockkeeping unit. And drivers can also be more easily connected and tapped at will.
Carmeli said retailers can gain more than just speed by moving to more same-day shipping, noting that some have seen a 30 percent increase in conversion rates with a same-day delivery option.
“We’re also seeing halo effects when you offer same-day,” she said. “Maybe I don’t want same-day, but I know it’s there and what you’re really offering is choice and sometimes that’s the value and people want to come because they know there’s choice.”