Expectations around home delivery are constantly evolving — people want things delivered faster.
Amazon is at the forefront of delivery innovation, with investment in drones to speed up delivery in the long term and a recently announced a trial of delivery to a pick up point within minutes of ordering at five US university campuses.
In the case of same day home delivery, it is becoming more widely available as the likes of House of Fraser, Currys PC World, and Zara (within London) now offer this service.
Despite this, demand remains fairly low.
A recent GlobalData survey found that 28 percent of people in the UK have not yet used same day delivery but intend to in the future, while the same number of online shoppers (28.9 percent) do not ever intend on using same day delivery.
Alongside this the vast majority of online shoppers (77.8 percent) are unwilling to pay extra for the service – of those that would pay for same day delivery, 70.5 percent are only willing to pay between £1 and £5 for it.
With consumers not prepared to cover the full cost of same day home delivery it will be difficult for retailers to make this option profitable.
Same day home delivery is not all that new.
In 2009 online fashion giant Asos launched same day home delivery for those living within 50 miles of its Hemel Hempstead warehouse for £16.95.
However, fast forward several years and Asos has replaced same day home delivery with convenient alternatives such as precise one hour delivery slots and evening delivery; both are less time pressured and lower cost, making it more viable.
These alternatives have been adopted by the likes of Next, New Look, and John Lewis to offer convenience without the pressure of same day home delivery.
While retailers that rely on efficient delivery as their USP should continue to invest (such as Amazon and Argos), not all retailers will find it necessary.
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The requirement for same day home delivery relies on a sense of urgency that is more prevalent when purchasing essential items such as food & grocery.
Sainsbury’s and Tesco have recognised this and are catering to this demand, with Tesco launching home delivery within one hour in London, and Sainsbury’s within 30 minutes (also in London).
Though demand is currently low, fashion retailers offering same day home delivery cater for those in a last minute rush to find an outfit for an occasion without the luxury of time to shop in store or wait for standard delivery.
The increased availability of delivery saver schemes and lower priced next day shipping options are leading to consumers becoming accustomed to low-cost fast delivery.
The shift away from standard fulfilment options may potentially boost demand for same day home delivery in the long term, though only if it is offered at an accessible price.
Other retail sectors — home and garden, for example — are unlikely to have this sense of urgency placed on their products, weakening demand for immediate delivery.
Also, in some cases it would be unrealistic; for furniture, for example, where items are often made to order.
With same day home delivery currently being an unprofitable and unnecessary solution within many retail sectors, retailers need to offer convenience in other, cheaper ways, for example, the use of one hour scheduled delivery or same day click & collect (where system capabilities allow).
These alternative delivery options can help retailers develop the capacity for fast delivery and test demand, without the high costs and time pressure of same day home delivery.