New Research Finds More Than Half of C-store Retailers Now Offer Last Mile Fulfillment

Curbside pickup

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Convenience retailers are known for going the extra mile; now some are going the last mile.

According to the NACS Research study, "NACS Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail," 57 percent all of convenience retailers currently offer some form of last mile fulfillment.

Retailers who do not may be missing potential sales due to changes in shopper purchase and service expectations. However, retailers offering last mile fulfillment options too quickly may not be fully aware of potential pitfalls that could limit their effectiveness, NACS explained.  

"Our findings show convenience retailers are employing a wide range of last mile fulfillment options with some being more popular than others," said Lori Stillman, vice president of research at NACS. "We also found that one third-party provider is being leveraged more so than others, while many locations are using their own staff for delivery." 

Industry suppliers can also use last mile fulfillment to increase product reach. 

"There is an opportunity for suppliers to educate retailers on how last mile fulfillment can more effectively match products to changing consumer behaviors — like those that will have a lasting impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic," Stillman said. 

"Additionally, third-party last mile service providers will see how the convenience landscape differs from other delivery and gain a better understanding of how [quick-service restaurant] delivery both differs and compares to convenience retail," she added. 

The study includes findings from 140 convenience retailers around the world, representing single-store operators to companies with 500-plus stores. The study explores how readily convenience retailers are adopting last mile fulfillment, current and anticipated use of delivery services, retailer options for accepting orders, and the difficulties retailers face with adopting last mile fulfillment services. 

NACS defines last mile fulfillment services as order fulfillment processes that deliver goods to a destination. Fulfillment could occur to the customer's home or office, curbside, lockers or in-store pick-up.

To download the study, click here.