4 ways crowdsourcing helps retailers make the most of delivery from store

Same-day delivery is not going away. Amazon and other e-commerce giants “are committed to pushing same-day delivery into the mass market,” McKinsey & Company research notes. And customers are coming to expect faster delivery.

This shift was underway before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crisis kicked it into overdrive. As Valerie Metzker, head of partnerships and enterprise sales at crowdsourced delivery company Roadie, puts it: “The coronavirus finished what Amazon started.”

The question now isn’t whether retailers must offer same- or next-day delivery to compete. Instead, retailers must consider how they can make those options a permanent part of their fulfillment. After all, promising shorter delivery times may win retailers more business in the short term. But making good on that pledge repeatedly over time is the key to their longevity.

Buy online deliver from store (BODFS) is a revolutionary mechanism for omnichannel retailers to use their store networks to enter the same-day/next-day delivery space. Similar to buy online pick up in store, BODFS empowers omnichannel retailers to use their brick-and-mortar locations as forward-distribution centers for the last mile.

It’s possible to do this without spending a fortune on delivery infrastructure. Coupling BODFS with crowdsourced delivery allows retailers to increase capacity when they need it, helping them meet sudden spikes in demand without delay. The result? Think more conversions and increased customer loyalty.

Consider these key benefits of using crowdsourced delivery for a winning BODFS strategy.

1. Distribution from store networks means faster deliveries

The most reliable way to reduce last-mile delivery costs while increasing the speed of order arrival is to move inventory to the smallest unit of fulfillment in a retail network. In many cases, that smallest unit is the retail store.

But having inventory closer to customers doesn’t matter much to retailers if they don’t have a way to fulfill orders quickly. Crowdsourced delivery gives retailers additional capacity to make deliveries between carrier sweeps, to supplement their own fleets and even to replace their delivery infrastructure entirely.

For many retailers working with Roadie to offer same-day delivery, the proximity of inventory to customers supported by BODFS has been critical to offering ultrafast fulfillment, Metzker said.

“If you only have a warehouse in the Midwest but you have storefronts close to metro areas, you can put more inventory in those stores and do deliveries from those stores to service the metro area,” Metzker said. “Being able to spread out that inventory, where it makes sense, helps retailers be more efficient.”

2. Skip capacity limits and surcharges

Retailers need to ensure fast and on-time delivery. But added cost and capacity limits in parcel networks have many retailers looking for alternatives. Because crowdsourcing platforms like Roadie sync with a network of independent drivers, retailers can get nearly unlimited capacity. That means they aren’t penalized when they need to fulfill more orders than usual.

“That’s really important for the retailer, especially if it’s a smaller retailer, because it doesn’t cap their business. They can continue selling, even if they thought they were at capacity,” Metzker said.

3. Efficient transport no matter the order size

Traditionally the bane of retailers, big and bulky orders can be costly to ship and often have long delivery timelines. Whether large, heavy or odd-shaped orders are frequent or rare, retailers can tap into the crowdsourced network to find a vehicle that’s right for the job.

Rather than routing the order through traditional channels, a crowdsourced delivery driver takes the product directly from the store to the customer — saving time, money and headaches each step of the way while ensuring the order arrives on time.

4. Existing vehicles and less packaging complement sustainability goals

Crowdsourcing typically uses passenger vehicles already on the road in the community where the order is requested. That means no more putting an order on a truck and watching as it gets bounced among distribution centers before landing on a frustrated customer’s doorstep.

Retailers looking to enhance their use of crowdsourcing can even batch orders to reduce the number of vehicles used to transport products to customers.

Less packaging material is another advantage of crowdsourced delivery. Because items are brought from the store directly to the customer in a passenger vehicle, they don’t require as much padding and protection as orders traveling through traditional parcel or trucking networks. In most cases, products can simply be placed in a shopping bag for pickup. The streamlined delivery process that gets products to customers faster also means less exposure to damage and theft.

Combining crowdsourced fulfillment with delivery from store can help retailers make good on the promise of faster order arrival for all their products and to all their customers. Learn more about how crowdsourced delivery can help retailers BODFS by visiting Roadie.com.

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