Last Mile Challenge

Solving the Last Mile Challenge and Other Issues Facing Retailers

by Jenna Sindle

While we’re not fans of the retail apocalypse hype, it’s plain to see that retailers are in a period of transition. From working out how to retain share of wallet via innovative loyalty programs to figuring out how to solve the last mile challenge to get you that kayak you ordered online, there are no end of problems in search of a solution.

In this week’s roundup we’ve chosen three stories that showcase how retailers are entering new territory to thrive during this period of disruption. Let’s check-in on how grocery chains are rising to the challenge of Amazon, how UPS is addressing the last mile challenge, and what Walmart is up to with its exclusive subscription program.


Rising to the Challenge of Amazon

Nikki Baird, a contributor at Forbes, recently identified the ways in which grocery store chains are responding to the challenge of Amazon. With just the one Amazon Go store, the company doesn’t have a large footprint in the grocery store space…yet. However, since their acquisition of Whole Foods they’ve found plenty of ways to disrupt the marketplace besides adding new stores.

What does Baird see?

She identifies six key trends from scan-and-go to lab stores that will help said grocery stores revitalize their offerings, attract and retain customers, and rise to the challenges put forth by Amazon in this space.

Wand to read the full list of trends and why they’ll reshape the grocery experience for consumers? You can do that here.


Jetblack is the New Subscription

Walmart has generated much interest with its subscription fee-free home delivery service just as Amazon announced a substantial increase in the Prime subscription fee. But this week, the mass retailer announced the launch of Jetblack, a subscription-based concierge shopping experience.

With a waitlist in the thousands already in place, it seems that the $50 monthly fee and the ability to text orders have resonated with consumers. In comments to Bloomberg, Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University said, “I don’t know if it will work, but I know it’s a good idea. No traditional retailer has done a better job than Walmart of grabbing the mic back from Amazon.”

Jetblack is also the first business to come out of Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8.

Want to learn more about Jetblack. The full article is here.


The Last Mile Challenge is Real

There’s been a lot of discussion this year about the last mile challenge for retailers. As we shop more frequently online and as the number of products we can purchase expands, this has created some headaches. From slow delivery of packages resulting in overwhelmed infrastructure, to figuring out how to delivery kayaks, surfboards, refrigerators and other large objects, it’s an area ripe for disruption.

Recently, UPS announced that it would be upping its ‘overmax’ fee by 30 percent to dissuade shipping of oversized or irregular items. Its aim is to push these items back to freight carriers and free up the burdens on its systems for the “small and medium-size packages, which can zip through [its] automated sortation hubs.

Perhaps this move creates an opportunity for innovation in the freight delivery market?  Time will tell.

You can read the full impact of the changes at UPS here.


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