Amazon and Argos have raised the stakes of multichannel fulfilment by rolling out hyper-convenient one-hour delivery to the mass market.

This represents the next major step in the evolution of omnichannel retail as it brings back the importance of impulse – something that multichannel retailers have not been able to capitalise on fully to date.

The online customer mission – either web or mobile – has been a considered experience for which product research, item comparisons and price have been the drivers of the journey.

Amazon_Prime_Now

Amazon Prime Now offers Prime subscribers a one-hour delivery service

Product and pricing

The one-hour delivery turnaround allows retailers to fulfil customer needs immediately, but means they will need to re-evaluate the product and pricing offer.

The products that are suited to one-hour deliveries are more diverse than the established online categories, such as household groceries, general merchandise and clothing.

Although many items that will be ordered for immediate delivery are related to these established categories, they are more likely to be an impulse purchase; for example, a Lego set to make the most of a rainy Sunday afternoon or a case of beer when the football match on TV goes into extra time and stocks are running low.

Given that the products available for immediate delivery are likely to represent a subset of the full range, the items need to be selected carefully and promoted well.

Store evolution

Amid these fulfilment innovations, the role of the store evolves yet again.

“Given that the products available for immediate delivery are likely to represent a subset of the full range, the items need to be selected carefully and promoted well”

Toby Byrne, Elixirr

The convenience of knowing that something can be delivered within an hour makes it even more likely that shoppers will browse in-store and choose for the item to be delivered to prevent them from carrying bags home.

At the same time, consumers can be confident that they will have the item in their hands on the same day – probably around the same time that they return home.

App experience

The one-hour impulse purchase trend will be driven by shoppers using their mobile devices to browse and order products, since the process is likely to be competed from the sofa, in a store or on the move.

The accelerated growth in the use of smartphones makes it even more vital for the customer journey through browsing, ordering and payment to be convenient, making impulse purchases as easy as possible.

Argos is launching same day home deliveries

Argos Fast Track has a wider range of products available for one-hour delivery than Amazon Prime Now

I have enjoyed using the one-hour services form both Amazon and Argos.

Amazon wins on user experience – both on the app where ordering is easy and when your product arrives in a satisfying brown paper bag.

Argos wins on the range available for immediate delivery but is let down by the clunky app experience and confusing delivery promises.

  • Toby Byrne, is principal consultant at Elixirr