BOSTON — Most retailers are responding to consumers' expectations of quick access to products by offering same-day delivery, according to the 2017 Digital Commerce Survey from retail management consulting firm BRP.
Currently, 51 percent of retailers indicate they offer same-day delivery, a sharp jump from 16 percent last year. Within the next two years, 65 percent plan to offer this service.
Delivery through third-party services, such as Uber or Lyft, also rose from 20 percent last year to 32 percent this year, as retailers try different ways of offering customers the flexibility to shop, purchase and receive goods on their own terms, the survey found.
"With Amazon offering same-day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible," said Jeffrey Neville, vice president at BRP. "Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving vehicles soon a reality and a few food delivery start-ups already testing the concept."
Consumer behavior and mobile technology are dramatically changing the traditional retail model, according to the report. As Amazon continues to disrupt brick-and-mortar retail through the acquisition of Whole Foods, bankruptcies and store closures are making daily headlines and the phrase "retail apocalypse" is a common topic.
These changes require that retailers adapt to the new customer journey to accommodate the blurred lines of retail and innovative methods of shopping driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods. Retailers may need to reinvent themselves to effectively blend the physical and digital worlds to maintain customer loyalty.
According to the report, key customer imperatives for the future are:
Personal — Combining behavioral, historical and customer profile data aids retailers in delivering tailored and relevant content to meet customers' individual needs. Thirty-eight percent of retailers indicate that improving personalization is a top digital customer experience priority.
Ubiquitous — Customer expectations for a personalized, seamless experience require retailers to follow customers' journeys as they research and shop from anywhere. Nearly half (49 percent) of retailers will offer customers the ability to 'start anywhere, finish anywhere' within the next five years.
Unified — Retailers' technology, processes and organization need to be unified and aligned across channels to offer a seamless and consistent customer experience. More than half (54 percent) of retailers indicate that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top priority.
The complete 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey is available for download here.