date22 May 2017

The Amazon effect: How the world’s biggest e-retail business changed delivery

When Amazon launched as an online bookstore in 1995, it was based in the Seattle garage of founder Jeff Bezos. Fast forward 22 years and there is no bigger name in e-commerce.

Today, the company sells not only books but almost every kind of media, as well as clothing, toys, electronics and even groceries. It has operations in near-countless countries and commands more than 18 million square feet of warehouse space in the UK alone.

One of the key elements of Amazon’s colossal success is undoubtedly innovation – especially around the delivery process. Its constant attempts to get products to customers faster and more conveniently have set the standard for retailers and couriers worldwide, while providing plenty of inspiration for those looking to compete.

Top speed

The advent of Amazon and its early competitors allowed people to shop around the clock – consumers no longer needed bricks-and-mortar stores to be open, nor did they need to travel to them. This, in turn, meant less waiting, and before long Amazon’s customers could have products delivered to their doors within 24 hours of ordering.

Next-day delivery may not be an Amazon invention, but the Seattle giant certainly made it the norm. The 2005 introduction of Prime pushed the idea even further, giving users the option to pay a set annual fee for unlimited one-day deliveries on their purchases.

Nowadays, the Amazon Now service allows customers in some areas to receive certain products within two-hours, putting even more pressure on other retailers to speed their own processes up.

The customer in control

For those who don’t want or need their orders to arrive within two or 24 hours, there are other delivery options available. Amazon has always given its customers plenty of flexibility in terms of not only delivery times but locations too.

Prime subscribers can forego their right to free one-day delivery to have their product sent in 3-5 days, gaining store credit in return, for instance. There are also options for Express and ‘No-Rush’ deliveries, each one carrying its own cost or benefit.

Amazon has also changed the delivery dynamic by giving customers control over where their products are sent. The company now uses thousands of ‘Click and Collect’ locations across the UK, including its own branded Amazon Lockers.

It’s this kind of flexibility that cannot be ignored by other retailers and delivery firms.

Constant innovation

In more general terms, Amazon’s commitment to innovation serves as a big example to its peers and competitors. Not content with dominating its industry, the company continues to move forward by investigating ways to enhance the delivery process. A prime example would be the recent drone trials which saw it test remotely controlled aircraft as a way of carrying products to customers’ houses. If implemented, such a method could help to reduce costs, pollution and traffic whilst allowing consumers to get hold of items even more quickly.

Efficiency has no doubt played a huge part in Amazon’s rise. Here at TouchStar, we’re committed to helping delivery businesses across all industries maximise efficiency too. To find out more about our electronic proof of delivery solutions and how they can help you, get in touch today.