chapter 1

Understanding On-Demand Delivery

This guide is designed to help you unlock the power of Shopify’s same-day delivery option to make more sales and exceed the growing expectations of the modern consumer. Instant gratification is something we’re all familiar with; we push a button and expect things to happen instantly. That standard has carried over to the expectations of online shoppers too. Receiving an online order in 3-5 business days is fine and almost acceptable. But when that package arrives within an hour or two, that’s magic. In the Timely Guide to On-Demand Delivery, you’ll learn how the service works with real examples from Shopify merchants. Afterwards, see how companies are marketing the service in order to attract customers and increase sales.

The Challenge of Last Mile Delivery

Have you ever ordered something online and wished you could just get it immediately? Or that you could you schedule the delivery so your package is waiting for you when you get home from work? Here’s the problem: shipping and mass fulfillment of products is a complex, time-intensive process that many companies are still trying to figure out.

The big logistics players can move mass quantities of products around the world, making it low-cost and relatively streamlined to get to your city, but it’s that last journey, to the customer’s front door that creates the costly challenge.

Last-mile delivery has been a complicated logistical issue for retailers and delivery companies for decades. Recently a number of technology companies have jumped into the logistics space to solve this pain point for both local and international retailers. The result has been the emergence of a few large players who have rapidly gained market share through their easy-to-use platforms for consumers and by employing part-time contractors to bridge the last-mile distribution gap in local markets.

Defining On-Demand Delivery

Companies tackling this challenge are often referred to as on-demand delivery providers; companies at your service when a job has been requested. On-demand delivery companies, are increasingly empowering local businesses to reach more local customers, and not rely on global logistics companies to move products around their markets.

Simply put, these larger logistic companies optimize to deliver to certain areas in batches, using one courier to service hundreds of awaiting customers. On-demand delivery platforms leverage thousands of part-time local delivery people to bring products to customers immediately -- or as the name goes, on-demand. 

The Upshot: On-demand delivery is the immediate or scheduled delivery of your product to your customer; initiated immediately after they make their order.

This substantial shift has resulted in the emergence of many niche last-mile delivery players around the world in their respective markets -- ie. whoever manages to employ the most on-demand couriers in a city is said to have the greatest “supply” and can therefore service merchants and customers the best by being the most reliable.

So why should you, as a merchant, be interested in this? Mostly because many of the largest retailers in the world have taken note of this shift to increased efficiency in getting products to customers quicker -- it’s a way of offering superior customer service. With the increase specifically in ecommerce competition, delighting your customers by having their package magically appear the same day as they ordered is proving to be a valued differentiator.

Retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart are taking advantage of on-demand delivery already, working with providers like Postmates, UberRUSH, Doordash, Instacart and Google Express. Amazon Prime is a paid membership level that includes two-day and same-day shipping for some items, making shopping on Amazon that much more enticing. Programs like Amazon Prime and other on-demand delivery services are driving millions of dollars of sales, appealing to the immediacy and instant gratification customers get with a new product in their hands.

On-Demand Delivery with Shopify

While you may not be running a multi-million dollar operation (or maybe you are), Shopify is working to ensure you can compete in both the international and local markets. And that means bringing the on-demand delivery option to your customers.

Working with UberRUSH and Postmates, Shopify merchants in select cities can enable the feature for their stores so that local purchases can get delivered instantly. Before enabling on-demand delivery though, it’s important to evaluate how it fits into your business and your customers’ experience. In the following chapters, we’ll explore how on-demand delivery works and how you can use it to drive traffic and increase sales.

The Upshot: Offering same-day delivery through UberRUSH or Postmates incentivizes local customers to shop with you because you can offer the same or a better level of service than your larger competitors. 

Next chapter

2. How On-Demand Delivery Works

1 min

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