The on-demand food delivery industry (a/k/a same-day delivery) providing for the delivery of prepared food, groceries, and retail merchandise is the latest area of modern life to receive the attention of technology companies. Tech industry efficiencies in connecting makers and consumers, is now actualized through mobile ordering, payment, fulfillment, and gig worker staffing.
Once in place, the resulting convenience of “the interface” then helps to propel makers and consumers to ever-evolving expectations about fulfillment. All rather magical really, although we have to remember that high school kids have been delivering groceries to home for generations. The same with pizza delivery. Call it the Uber phenomenon … it all seems kind of cool and fresh, but then again taxis did come when we called for them.
The tech-enabled transformation of the on-demand food delivery industry kicked into high gear just within the last decade. Already there appear to be winners emerging as well as some significant failures. We expect convenience store (c-store) operators may have a major role in the next wave of players due to enter this industry – in tourist markets in particular there is a great deal of limited provisioning that occurs at Airbnb units, campgrounds, glamping accommodations, and hotel rooms.
There is no question that the on-demand food delivery industry (and other same-day delivered items) is changing how we interact with what has been a location-based (out-of-home) experience, whether entertainment or other trip purpose. The emotional resonance of a person’s brand relationship is seemingly now more personal, since that restaurant food or we simply love or that merchandise we can’t live without, can be brought to where I am, when I ask.
Each time tech comes to call this aspect of propelling our expectations is always there waiting. Before email existed, FedEx launched (1974) and pioneered easy overnight courier service. Those of us who were around at the time remember how yes, it was helpful and convenient. But it also changed everyone’s expectations about the flow of work product. A work day started to conform to FedEx pick-up times. Our clients came to expect next-day documents. FedEx was convenient but it at the same time it changed the pattern of our daily work life. The same thing happened with word processing software on personal computers – we did less editing when we gave our documents to assistants working on those big word processors. Having a personal computer on our desks, with word processing software, encouraged us to keep writing, and re-writing to a much greater degree.
Same-day delivery of virtually any purchased item – whether durable or consumable is about to become everyone’s expectation. The back-of-house logistics to make this fulfillment happen is already underway. Drones are about to be added as one more fulfillment option, particularly for medicines and the on-demand food delivery industry. Isn’t it curious that the Covid-19 pandemic brought many of us to work-from-home (“WFH”) just as the technology to support same-day fulfillment of almost any item needed, was available?
And since we now have same-day, we’ll be waiting for “give it to me now.” 3D printers have provided a crude beginning, but we hope someone take some time to get us those Star Trek replicators. Now that’s the ticket!