The news that Amazon has introduced its Prime Now service to the UK, offering one and two hour delivery to addresses in London can be looked at in a number of ways. But it can’t be ignored.
Such is the way of the world with the behemoth of ecommerce that it casts a very long shadow, and so it is we find ourselves going up the Amazon this week on eDelivery, whether we like it or not.
It’s not a new phenomenon. CitySprint launched its London-based same-day b2c service, offering one-hour delivery in June too. While it must feel nice to have led where Amazon shortly thereafter followed, it is the latter that will always grab the lion’s share of attention from people. As seen by some of the ‘OMG’ type remarks that greeted the Prime Now news yesterday on Twitter.
But that’s what happens when you have millions of loyal, regularly-purchasing customers. It does no harm to remember that Amazon started out selling books so that it could build a customer base it could then start selling other things to.
Now Amazon is offering free delivery within two hours to much of London, other parts of the UK will follow, we are told.
For an industry that already struggles to cope with the competing demands of high customer expectations where service levels are concerned and the reluctance by those self same customers to pay for the enhanced services they want, these are interesting times.
Among eDelivery readers, the jury is out on whether Amazon’s ‘On My Way’ crowd-shipping model will take off significantly. Some think it will have a small role to play, others that there are too many potential regulatory pitfalls. One remarked that perhaps the biggest influence it will have is in forcing the rest of the industry to innovate.
Innovation is going to be a necessity in this industry. Those that won’t – or can’t – deliver new services, more flexibility, better alternatives, are going to get left behind. And in a world where some drivers are operating on a self-employed basis, leasing their own vans, and getting paid around 50p per parcel, Amazon Prime Now may have just made investments in new technology and processes harder to ignore but even harder to pay for.
Elsewhere on eDelivery this week, we have a case study of European omnichannel success from EDI-Soft and SkatePro, Scandinavia’s largest online skate shop, which is opening a network of stores to bolster its thriving online operation.
Meanwhile DPD is getting more involved in the Nordics, and is to handle all international parcel volumes shipped from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland to the rest of Europe, on behalf of PostNord.
In Wales, the birthplace of ecommerce (well, sort of) is up for sale. The Royal Welsh Warehouse, in Newtown, Powys, was built to house the world’s first mail-order business in the 1870s, and was latterly home to Great Universal and Shop Direct. Now it’s up for grabs with a guide-price of £750,000.
And finally, although the earlybird discounts for eDelivery Conference are no longer available, there are still plenty of reasons why you should attend, you’ll find details here.
If you haven’t yet subscribed to eDelivery why don’t you embrace change and go and do that right now? You’ll get our weekly newsletter summarising the main stories we’ve covered, and we’ll keep you informed of other big announcements, but we won’t spam you – that’s not how we stroll. You’ll find details on that here.