Remember the days of catalogs, when you called or mailed in orders just to wait weeks, or even months, for packages to arrive? Well, thanks to e-commerce, those days are long gone.
Online shopping has dramatically transformed the way we order and receive items as well as what we expect from the process. And at the rate e-commerce is evolving, it’s hard to say how different package delivery will be five or ten years from now. But some recent developments give us a glimpse into how that future will look.
Speeding up shipping is something customers crave. We’ve already seen retailers striving for one-day and same-day delivery in response to those demands.
A third of shoppers in a recent survey said fast delivery has the most impact on their decision to buy online. And while 63% expect their orders to arrive in three days or less, 70% of shoppers are willing to pay more for the fastest, most convenient shipping options like one-day and Sunday delivery.
So what’s next? There’s a limit to how swift delivery can get, and we don’t have the technology to materialize a purchase into your home at the click of a button. (But we won’t rule out the possibility.)
To stay competitive, it’s likely that more and more retailers will adopt buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) options and express delivery methods. And in the struggle to manage the logistics of that shift, we’ll continue to see advancements in shipping solutions.
The future of package delivery is driverless. Companies like Amazon and Google are already working on drone delivery, and USPS completed a 1,000-mile route to test out self-driving trucks.
It’s hard to imagine a world where drones sail the skies and robots roam the streets, but we may not be far from that kind of future. FedEx’s SameDay Bot, Amazon’s Scout, and several other players are competing in this robotics race. Then there’s Ford’s partnership with Agility, which combines driverless vehicles with robots capable of navigating obstacles and placing packages gently on your doorstep.
No matter how fast or innovative the delivery method, there’s still one obstacle to overcome — how to protect packages once they reach the door.
Some solutions are already available, like detailed tracking that allows you to follow a driver’s route and package alarms that sound when thieves remove packages from your porch. However, these technologies don’t stop porch pirates from getting to your items before you do.
Alternatively, you can use smart lock technologies to grant couriers access to your home, garage, or car. You can even have drivers put away your groceries. If the future involves more strategies like this, it’s not good news for customers who value their privacy.
Another option is using smart lockers, which are emerging in student housing, commercial and multifamily properties, and retail stores. Perhaps the future involves bringing that technology a bit closer to home.
Picture a safe place for packages just outside your door, capable of accommodating standard packages, prescriptions, and groceries until you’re ready to bring them inside. It has a refrigerated section for items that need to stay cold, and it can send you a video update and notification the moment your packages arrive. It’s also prepared for whatever the future may bring, with add-ons like a landing pad for drone deliveries.
To learn more about how this technology could bring peace of mind to the future of package delivery, check out Smiota’s smart package lockers.