In the first quarter of 2017, nine major US retailers filed for bankruptcy. The media is now calling it the “Retail Apocalypse”. Mass store closures are now a regular occurrence,
and the drop in retail employment is being felt in the broader economy.
Is it the beginning of the end for traditional retailers?
Just as post offices found a new business model sending parcels for online deliveries,
we see a new business model for traditional retailers.
On-demand commerce combines traditional retail, online commerce,
on-demand transportation services and improvements in driverless and robotics technology,
to create a shopping experience better than the online-only players can.
Two things that make on-demand commerce
There are two key features, that make on-demand commerce quantitatively different
to what we have now, and much more than just an improvement on the current state
Making it possible to buy online from a physical store and have products delivered at short notice
While large e-commerce companies can do deliveries from DC faster and cheaper, local stores can
beat them in delivering to local residents.
However to make it cost-efficient involves streamlining the process so
there is no need for delivery staff to physically make purchases, wait in lines or look for parking.
On-demand commerce demands that cash flows be handled seamlessly (behind the scenes)
and delivery staff will be able to simple pick up an order and leave.
As driverless cars come into use, the ability for the driver to walk into
a store and have the car ready at the doorstep at the right time - without
the need for parking, will further enhance efficiency.
Just as the parcel business was an unexpected boon for the post offices,
on-demand delivery, driverless technology and robotics will cut out much
of the advantage that online-only e-commerce has.
Aggregating multiple retailers in a single platform to provide shoppers
with great variety and range
One of the advantages the online-only retailers have, is an almost limitless
product range. Traditional retailers can try to mimic this on their online
platforms, but in reality the economies of scale the largest online-only
retailers have, make it difficult to compete.
In the past traditional retailers have seen each other as rivals and
importantly have been very wary of listing on online platforms for fear
of price comparison driving down margins. These factors have prevented them
from joining forces and aggregating their products to counter the ‘infinite
range’ online-only retailers can provide.
On-demand commerce platforms are necessarily location based. On-demand
deliveries make sense within a small radius around the store, but as distance
grows the cost increases with each mile.
As a result any price comparison only makes sense with the nearest local
retailers. And so on-demand commerce platforms give retailers a way to work together without the risk.
What are we doing about it
The very first requirement for on-demand commerce is to create a single searchable database of rich product
information such as product photos and descriptions, with store locations and addresses connected to
live bricks-and-mortar store inventory. If we don’t know what is available where, deliveries will be error prone and time consuming, and the whole thing is dead on arrival.
Our Instore product does one simple thing for retailers. But it's a key step in making on-demand commerce a reality.
For now it lets shoppers view local store inventory on a retailer’s website. For the immediate future,
that’s all. But the crucial part is that it directly interfaces with your POS and ecommerce platforms,
and mathematically ‘joins’ the records to their corresponding version in the other system.
There is no manual data entry required. Just a few button clicks.
With five button clicks, every retailer can join the first stage of the on-demand commerce revolution.
We’d love to have you on board.
Get the Instore widget free for 60 days
All we need is a few details. We promise to keep them safe.