More Americans Are Using Delivery. The Change Is Here to Stay

Delivery has perhaps been the industry most clearly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. When physically going to brick-and-mortar stores became a life-or-death exercise, delivery, which had already grown under the rise of e-commerce, became an even more essential part of how local commerce functions.

Khaled Naim, co-founder and CEO of delivery software company Onfleet, touched on how delivery has changed in the past months, how long those changes will persist, and what technologies are fueling the widespread increase in deliveries.

How much has demand for delivery increased during the Covid-19 pandemic?

It really depends on the sector, but overall in the growth categories such as grocery, food, and pharmacy, we have seen an increase of 150% from where we were a year ago. (And, no surprises here during the pandemic, but services such as catering and laundry deliveries are down.)

How much of the COVID-19 delivery boost will persist after the pandemic has subsided? In what ways has delivery changed forever?

Here’s an interesting recent take from McKinsey on this matter. We see 65-70% of consumers engaging in new behaviors, and of this group, we estimate that two-thirds of the behavior will become permanent. More people will have prepared meals, produce, some or all grocery, and medicine delivered, and we believe this change of behavior will stand beyond the end of Covid.

What technologies are companies using to adjust to increased delivery expectations and volume?

Companies are utilizing delivery management software to help navigate this growing channel. Onfleet is one of these services. Companies are also modernizing their e-commerce platforms with services like Olo and Shopify, and seeking tech solutions for all areas touching delivery: fleet management, scheduling, sourcing, route optimization, driver communications, and customer communications.

How does this play out differently across verticals? For example, do restaurants and apparel retailers need different tech, different preparations?

It depends on the vertical, notably with an earlier consumer and business tech adoption in restaurant meal deliveries. However, Onfleet has seen a shift. While Caviar, Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub focus on restaurant deliveries, our platform serves and integrates across a variety of verticals. Many businesses are turning to delivery, and we have seen more and more restaurants using our system as it integrates with a variety of platforms to help them serve their customers.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.