How Will on Demand Services Change Ecommerce Delivery?

There are so many on-demand services available today that it’s a wonder we haven’t all turned into spoiled children throwing a tantrum if we don’t get what we want right now. We have access to a seemingly endless supply of movies and TV shows at the touch of a screen with Netflix, and all our favorite songs no more than a few taps away thanks to Spotify, so it makes sense that new apps have emerged which can provide you with almost anything you want on the same day.

Watching - and endorsing - Netflix on-demand service
photo credit: LoKan Sardari / Flickr

Take Bizzby for example. It’s an on-demand app which will send a professional to your house within 30 minutes to do a job – think plumbers, handymen, beauty services – so you don’t have to book an appointment or joing a queue. Just tap your phone and have a pro sent to your house to do your chores, and then you’re done.

Apps like these affect the world of ecommerce too. People usually want their goods as soon as possible, which has lead to the rise of companies like MyHermes, which makes use of local drivers who deliver goods on behalf of companies. This is good news because it means someone from your neighbouring street can attempt to deliver your package; if you’re not in, they leave a card with their number so you can phone them and rearrange delivery for the next suitable day (or if they live close enough they might even deliver it that night if you’re lucky).


This is certainly a rival to Royal Mail and FedEX‘s service as MyHermes supports the local community as opposed to what many will agree is a large corporation. Ecommerce retailers might also think twice about shipping with Royal Mail Despatch Express and opt for the more friendly and local MyHermes.

Shyp is another provider of “on-demand” delivery services. Simply upload your goods to their app, and someone will come and take them away, pack them and ship them for you so you don’t have to go to the hassle of doing it yourself. This will certainly rival Amazon FBA and Royal Mail DMO.

Take a look at Uber too, who use a similar strategy – they have started using their taxi service as a means of delivering goods: if they have a particularly quiet period, any unused vehicles are used to deliver groceries with their “Corner Store” feature. Postmates adopts a similar model, aiming to deliver goods including “lunch, dinner and groceries” to people in cities, in under 1 hour with the use of local couriers. They have partnered with Starbucks to deliver pastries and drinks to customers.

Pizza delivery dog
photo credit: PINKE / Flickr

And how will this affect ecommerce retailers? For starters, cheaper, more on-demand delivery could result in bigger delivery companies reducing their shipping costs. If locals are delivering goods quicker and at a potentially lower price, they will need to keep up with the competition. Royal Mail, for example, could see a decrease in retailers opening Royal Mail Online Business Accounts (Royal Mail OBA) and may take this as a sign that that there’s a lack of willingness to commit to a large corporate shipping service, with retailers favouring small, local couriers.

You could also argue that many people won’t want to order from online retailers, who may take days to deliver their goods, when they can order from an on-demand shipping company like Uber, who can bring them items within an hour. However, it’s also worth noting that online retailers are often used for purchasing goods which are not readily found on the high-street, and that on-demand services like Postmates and Uber are perhaps better suited for those buying everyday essentials – i.e, items you probably wouldn’t go online to buy anyway – and that this might not change ecommerce delivery at all.