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Supermarkets and crowd-sourced delivery


Supermarkets and crowd-sourced delivery

Ian Kerr

In Australia, a major supermarket chain has announced that it will use crowd-sourced delivery platform UberRUSH for same-day grocery deliveries.

Partnerships between supermarkets and crowd-sourced delivery companies are not new. This is further proof that delivery is the new battleground for e-commerce. Retailers are now fighting battles on two fronts: price and convenience.

Crowd sourcing is a real opportunity for supermarket deliveries which include perishable goods and really need to be super-fast.
- Marek Różycki, Last Mile experts

Australia - Coles

Coles Supermarkets have started a home delivery trial with UberRUSH. Under the trial (running in August and September), Coles is using UberRUSH to make same-day deliveries of items that were missing from online orders or which need to be replaced.

The supermarket chain already has its own fleet of small trucks for home delivery of groceries. The UberRUSH drivers will supplement the existing delivery fleet.

Could UberRUSH drivers handle more than one delivery at a time? How many UberRUSH drivers would operate refrigerated vehicles?

Crowd sourcing fills a gap as traditional courier or postal networks use optimised and planned routes for their last mile deliveries and are not suited to urgent localised deliveries which cannot be pre-planned. Crowd sourced operators like UberRUSH are much more flexible in this respect…and should also be cheaper as their model is adapted to this kind of service.
- Marek Różycki, Last Mile experts

Belgium - Carrefour

Carrefour Belgium started testing crowd-sourced delivery of groceries in early 2017. The supermarket giant partnered with bpost's bringr platform for next-day deliveries. (This is in addition to bpost's existing home delivery service for Carrefour.)

Online orders are fulfilled at the local supermarket, and then handed over to the courier who accepted the job via the bringr app.

bringr is used by professional courier owner/drivers as well as "non professional" drivers.

With “non professional” crowd sourced delivery staff, much depends on how well the app used can support and control the quality and efficiency of the delivery. Also, systems for recruitment, distance training and removing underperforming delivery staff will have a key role in the final customer experience.
- Marek Różycki, Last Mile experts

(Interesting to note that PostNL now does home deliveries for Carrefour Belgium's online shop, taking over from bpost combo. bpost still does non-food grocery deliveries.)

USA - Walmart

Walmart has been testing a grocery home delivery service with Uber in Dallas, Orlando, Tampa and Phoenix. Customers who shop for groceries online with Walmart can choose to home delivery for an additional $9.95 fee. There's a $30 minimum spend.

While home delivery via Uber is available from a handful of stores, many more Walmart outlets offer click-and-collect.

Another advantage of crowd sourcing is that it is very flexible and can supplement an in house delivery operation at peak times of day or during seasonal peaks. I am a real believer in crowd sourcing, the key, as always, is in execution!
- Marek Różycki, Last Mile experts

Amazon - Whole Foods - Amazon Flex - oh my!

What will we see when it comes to home delivery at Whole Foods? Right now Whole Foods offers home delivery (in selected areas) thanks to its partnership with Instacart. Online orders can be delivered in as little as one hour.

Instacart reportedly has a five-year contract with Whole Foods. Could Instacart be ditched in favour of Amazon's own crowd sourced delivery platform, Amazon Flex? Or will Amazon Flex just be part of the home delivery mix?

Whole Foods isn't Instacart's only supermarket partner. But if Amazon starts selling Whole Foods' private label brands on Amazon (including Prime Now), where would that leave Instacart?

Does Amazon have a history of learning about a sector, then moving in and taking over? If it cracks the code for supermarket crowd sourced home delivery, then that spells trouble for Instacart, Deliv Fresh, and the like.

Is it all about customer loyalty... or something?

We've previously discussed how delivery is e-commerce's new battleground. So that could explain why supermarkets are diversifying their home delivery options to include crowd-sourced delivery.

But why would Amazon be interested in groceries? There's a school of thought that says Amazon and other online retailers have understood that grocery purchases are made far more frequently than non-food purchases, and that by tagging on to these retailers will earn a bigger share of pocket.