Exclusive Survey: While Retailers Ramp Up Delivery/Pickup Options, Physical Stores May Be Key To Optimizing The Last Mile

The leadup to the 2019 holiday season saw retail’s powerhouses make major investments in their delivery operations, with Amazon investing $800 million in next-day delivery and Walmart expanding its Delivery Unlimited grocery delivery service to 50% of U.S. stores. Additionally, 80% of Target’s Q4 comparable digital sales growth came from in-store order pickup, curbside pickup and Shipt delivery.

Fast forward to 2020 — as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stretches (and in some cases breaks) supply chains, demands for faster and more consumer-friendly fulfillment options put even more pressure on retailers to deliver across all channels.

Results from the third annual Retail TouchPoints Last Mile Benchmark Survey, which collected and analyzed responses from 137 retail executives, reveal that:

  • 67% of brick-and-mortar retailers now make their stores the final location where they store inventory prior to delivering to customers;
  • Top last mile challenges for retailers are managing customer expectations across free/low-cost shipping and delivery times; and
  • Retailers are becoming more pickup-friendly; buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) adoption jumped from 29% in 2019 to 37% in 2020, while the number of retailers that deliver more than half their goods to homes and offices dropped from nearly 50% to 32%.

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