Where next for deliveries? Your mobile, of course

Andy Scothern, Managing Director of eCommonSense, reckons it’s easy to remember when the idea of using a plastic card instead of cash seemed like something out of Star Trek, and that after we’d all made mind-shift, the idea of then using our mobile phones as wallets seemed a far easier transition than the one that preceded it…. so what next for the mobile?

As with all things new, the really hard work goes into changing perceptions and in this case; that cash as ‘Del Boy’ would have recognised it, in its literal and physical form, would no longer be required to live a normal life.

Similar perception changing has been achieved by the market leading retail and courier companies.

Late order cut off times (10pm, Next), reliable timed deliveries (DPD) and let’s not forget that Amazon didn’t actually steal your money, as maybe you thought they might when you first bought online way back in 1996, when they were a new business and market disrupter.

So doesn’t delivery-to-mobile deserve to be the next logical step for delivery excellence and delight?

Hang on a minute – delivery-to-mobile!? That’s a nightmare, as mobiles are just that… mobile, right!

You can imagine the scene. Some unfortunate courier driver unwillingly running the London marathon course in hot pursuit of Mo Farrah who just ordered a new pair of trainers for delivery to his mobile phone. OK, so it’s clearly not appropriate for every customer, retailer or courier.

However, if you were planning to be on the beach in Cornwall all day with family and friends and you fancy a beach barbeque or a pizza, how cool would it be to have the goods be delivered to your windbreak and not have to leave the beach?

OK, perhaps delivery to a roaming mobile may be a bit too much to ask, but if you’re in a chalet or static caravan on a campsite, or a camper van on the coast, why not at least have a ‘use my current location’ delivery option on the mobile retail site?

From a business-to-business point of view, plumbers, builders and maintenance companies would love the idea of goods actually arriving in the right place at the right time to the right person, as time off site is cash lost and they would surely pay a premium for the service.

In the real world, of course, there would have to be a bunch of caveats and business rules around such a service.

Such as having to commit to being in a postcode area for the timed delivery and perhaps a text being triggered when you were within say 500 metres of each other (hopefully dispensing with the classic carnation in the lapel to effect the required level of validation), whilst perhaps accepting a penalty if you’re not where you say you’re going to be. But the technology exists, so it should not be too difficult.

Phone tracking, diary sharing, dynamic courier allocation of the kind that powers Shutl and order management software such as Virtual Stock and the like, and from that you’ve got most of the component parts needed.

The trick will be to find a retailer who can justify the service and has the motivation to tackle it, as it’s an unfortunate reality that it’s those retailers’ legacy systems, rather than customer desires, that too often drive corporate innovation, or lack of it.

I just want to see somebody do it, so next time I’m in Cornwall I can get a delivery of charcoal, good food and a crate of cold Magners, appearing on the beach at 12 minutes past 5.

Now that would make a memorable holiday and retail experience!

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