Amazon campaigns show last mile critically
Amazon’s recent management announcements suggest a continued focus on the last mile.
And the last mile may look markedly different in the months and years ahead as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.
While demand remains strong to have everything delivered to the doorstep within an ever-shrinking window of time, there is growing consumer interest in getting things even faster by picking up goods at lockers, in stores and at the curb.
For Amazon, alternatives to the doorstep as the last point of interaction will do a lot to keep customers and sellers engaged and loyal – where users make their purchases on Amazon but travel to the seller’s local store/warehouse to pick up items. Flexibility is, and will be, crucial as the company continues to jockey with the likes of Walmart for mind share and wallet share.
Beyond the Macro Headwind
On the staffing front, Amazon announced Wednesday (Dec. 7) that it is expanding its senior leadership team (or S-Team, known internally as “Steam”) to include Udit Madan, VP of Worldwide Last Mile.
Of course, Amazon is struggling with the same macro headwinds as every other company, and layoffs at the e-commerce giant will stretch into next year, reducing its workforce by about 0.5%. Long-term strategy points to a continued fine-tuning of keeping drivers on the road, and optimizing stock and distribution.
At the same time, the company is adding benefits for its delivery service partners (DSPs), including an increase in pay and 401-K options. Earlier this year, Amazon announced that through Amazon Warehousing and Distribution it would enable sellers to use “new, purpose-built facilities” for bulk warehousing and automated distribution. And earlier this month, the company announced the launch of Sparrow, which it calls “an intelligent robotic system that streamlines the fulfillment process.”
“The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook: US Edition,” a PYMNTS and CyberSource collaboration that debuted earlier this year, found that 11% of U.S. consumers who ordered online received their last e-commerce purchase at the curb, and 47% of consumers used buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) bought additional products while in store. Amazon, of course, offers local pickup, as consumers can switch online purchases from “delivery” to “in-store pickup” at participating retailers such as Best Buy, Mattress Warehouse and a number of others, although the geographic reach is limited.
Walmart and Target have beefed up their own curbside and in-store pickup. The holiday shopping season may further cement the BOPIS shift: during our Black Friday shopping studies, the data shows that online shoppers placed their orders online and in-store pickup was used by 25% of consumers, nearly double last year’s levels . Curbside pickup also increased, and is in the mid-teens percentage points.
Elsewhere, and in a further nod to omnichannel efforts, Amazon is reportedly aiming to expand the use of its checkout-less technology beyond food and retail.
Along with the management changes, Amazon’s roadmap continues to evolve as it strives to meet consumers where they want to be met, rather than just on a website.