Now Culture promises faster and faster fulfilment of goods and services. Delivery itself will continue to transform. We will start to see growth in delivery to non-fixed addresses, such as the location of your phone or your car. Companies like Curbside and Shyp have already started to offer this service.
The idea of the ‘sharing economy’ in this space is also an interesting one. Uber could theoretically deliver you a package whilst dropping off a passenger. And there is much hype around drone deliveries with many including Amazon and Google trialling and innovating in this space, but viability is still up for question and regulation may well preclude their launch in the immediate future.
Overall, although there are many companies innovating in the delivery space it is likely to be the big players with their extensive existing infrastructure, such as Amazon, Google and Uber, who are all best positioned to make headway in the race for faster and more convenient delivery.
In store, shopping will also transform with certain parts of the shopping experience being done away with altogether. Cashless payment will be taken to the next level. We will be able to walk straight in and out of shops having automatically paid for items already with no need to checkout.
But how much faster than instant can we get? How about brands knowing we need things before we even do? Brands will use data and analytics to anticipate that something needs to be bought and work out a way to get it there in advance. Predictive delivery and ordering will be the future.
Step by step, we will also see humans taken out of the shopping process, developing a form of invisible commerce. Initially, you could tell your virtual assistant via your wearable that you need more milk and it would automatically reorder for you. The flaw in this process at the moment, with services like Amazon Dash, is that you still need to physically prompt them.
But with the rise of connected home products, our connected packaging, smart fridges and smart shelves will decide when we are running low on milk and automatically reorder, taking human interaction and decision making out of the process altogether. Things will simply be there when we need them.
What this means for brands
Understanding the consumer journey will be key. What barriers are there that we can take away to make things quicker and easier? We need to be prepared for a much more streamlined, instant purchase journey. From an advertising perspective, our communications should be primed around all possible journey outcomes and be adaptive, reactive, contextual, time sensitive and crucially, in the right place at the right time, delivering the right messages to the right consumer.
Once you provide instant, there is no going back. That instant response to a customer query, the delivery that arrives in an hour - it becomes an expectation. Set up your infrastructure to deliver
this on a permanent basis. Partner with companies that can help you deliver this strategy. Make everything available online. Use instant messaging, phone or video chat. Provide instantly downloadable resources or real time information.
When things cannot happen instantly, be straight and transparent with consumers. What is the situation and why. If there are benefits to waiting for something, promote these and be clear what they are. Be flexible with your delivery options and keep consumers informed at each stage. Give them the option to change or improve things immediately.
In order to provide this kind of instant service, privacy and security issues are raised. To provide real time information, instant one to one customer service or to deliver something to a convenient spot we might need to know people’s personal details, locations or daily routines. Brands will need to tread carefully in this area.
Convenience and speed will become what sets brands apart from each other. Offer and promote something different from your competitors in this space. Consumers will be more susceptible to switching in this culture of ‘now’. Take advantage of this rather than suffer as a consequence.