Same-day delivery is a growing demand from consumers and is now offered by 51% of retailers. This number has tripled in the past year, up from 16%. According to a new report from BRP, as many as 65% of retailers plan to offer this service within the next two years.
In an effort to smooth out the process, the number of third-party delivery services has also increased to 32%, up from 20% last year.
"With Amazon offering same day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible,” said Jeffrey Neville, vice president at BRP. “Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving vehicles soon a reality and a few food delivery start-ups already testing the concept.”
According to the Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey, other imperatives beyond same-day delivery include improving personalization. In fact, 38% of respondents indicated that personalization is a top digital priority.
How are retailers moving along the personalization experience? A lot are testing out artificial intelligence (AI). Already many retailers started integrating machine learning into their organizations and 56% plan to utilize AI within the next five years. Other innovations include voice technologies, such as Amazon Echo, virtual reality and augmented reality. Nearly half of retailers, 46%, plan to implement augmented reality in the next five years.
Another priority is creating a seamless customer experience across channels. 49% of retailers will offer customers the ability to start and finish their shopping journey anywhere within the next five years. This includes starting on any mobile device and finishing with same-day delivery or pick-up in store. And mobile's role in the process will continue to grow, as 41% of respondents said that improving mobile shopping is a top priority.
Finally, retailers need the technology in place to offer a unified customer experience across channels. According to the report, 54% of retailers are in the process of creating a consistent brand experience as a top priority.
“Retailers need to transform their disparate systems and processes into one unified platform to offer a seamless shopping environment. The challenge is that customers are not likely to remain patient while retailers try to reinvent themselves," Neville said.
This includes an organizational structure of cross-functional teams that can work together to deliver the necessary customer experience. 49% of retailers said they are shifting their digital commerce areas from within marketing to align with the store organization.