From groceries to pizza to clothing and more, technology advances and new partnerships are making waves in how items are delivered to you.

 

Autonomous delivery service

Both Walmart and Kroger have worked with Nuro on a self-driving grocery delivery service. Walmart soon will launch a pilot program in Houston that will use Nuro's self-driving R1 car, while Kroger previously teamed with Nuro on an autonomous delivery service pilot program in Arizona.

“Walmart is committed to serving our customers whenever and however they choose to shop,” Tom Ward, Walmart’s SVP of digital operations, said in a release. “We are excited to work with Nuro and continue to learn as we are incorporating self-driving technology in our delivery options, learning more about our customers’ needs, and evolving Walmart’s future delivery offerings.”

Autonomous delivery will be available in the coming months to customers in the Houston area who have opted into the program, and Walmart plans to extend to the service to the general public later in 2020.

Nuro, “a robotics company transforming local commerce through driverless delivery,” shares partnerships with brands such as Walmart, Kroger and Domino’s.

After receiving orders through a mobile app, Kroger store staff loaded the R1 and it then traveled to the customer's home. Customers were able to schedule same-day or next-day delivery.

"Nuro envisions a world without errands, where everything is on-demand and can be delivered affordably," President Dave Ferguson said in a statement. "Operating a delivery service using our custom unmanned vehicles is an important first step toward that goal."

 

GPS delivery tracking

After testing its new GPS delivery tracking technology for most of the year, Domino’s Pizza is ready to start adding it to their stores across the U.S.

Approximately 25 percent of Domino’s stores nationwide will have this technology in place by the end of 2019, while many of the remaining locations are expected to have it in 2020.

Customers will be able to see an interactive map on the order confirmation page that shows the location of their order and delivery person. Additionally, customers will receive an estimated delivery time and can opt into text alerts that let them know when their order is on its way, when it’s about two minutes away and when it has arrived.

In the U.S., Domino’s generates more than 65 percent of sales via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo and Twitter – as well as Domino’s Hotspots®, an ordering platform featuring more than 200,000 unique, non-traditional delivery locations. In late 2017, Domino’s began an industry-first test of self-driving vehicle delivery, and in June 2019 Domino’s announced a partnership with Nuro, furthering its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery.

 

Partnering with Postmates

Old Navy and Postmates have entered an exclusive partnership that will benefit holiday shoppers. 
Old Navy is offering on-demand delivery for customers who use their Buy Online, Pickup In-Store capability. With on-demand delivery by Postmates, Old Navy customers in the 4,000-plus U.S. cities that Postmates operates in can have their gifts brought directly to their doorstep.

While it costs $8.99 for delivery per order, the duo offered a perk for last-minute gifting needs. From Dec. 21 through Dec. 23, Old Navy and Postmates had free delivery from Old Navy stores for customers using Buy Online, Pickup In-Store. Postmates Unlimited members could get free delivery all season long.

"We're always looking for ways to create an incredible shopping experience for our customers regardless of where, when and how they choose to shop with us. Last year, we launched Buy Online, Pickup In-Store, offering customers the option to pick up an online order in their local store within two hours," said Jamie Gersch, Old Navy Global CMO. "Partnering with Postmates to provide same-day, on-demand delivery creates an even deeper convenience proposition during the bustling holiday shopping season."

To take advantage of this offer, customers within the delivery radius can place their orders on OldNavy.com and select the Buy Online, Pickup In-Store option. They will be notified when their order is ready for pickup and can select the option for a Postmate to pick up the items on their behalf and deliver it to them.

 

Looking forward

Michelle​ Sequeira Yee, Senior Loyalty Consulting Director for Bond Brand Loyalty, says many of these services now are becoming the norm.

“As brands like Walmart, Kroger, Dominos, and Old Navy look to capitalize on customer expectations for instant delivery and constant information, these once disruptive mechanics, introduced to us by Amazon Prime and Uber, are quickly becoming commonplace shifts to our retail marketplace,” Yee said. “Disruptive brands that were born and bred from innovative roots will continuously push experiences to levels we haven’t considered yet and will continue to put pressure on traditional retailers to meet these new standards.”

She also notes that perhaps speedy delivery should be just one of multiple factors retail brands focus on.

“But can these brands out Amazon, Amazon, who clocked in their fastest time from click to delivery in just 14 minutes and 8 seconds,” Yee added. “Or will it be time for brands to balance agile and efficient operations with what could be their biggest differentiating factor – looking to dial up the human side of their customer journey considering more experiential elements, location based in-store services, dynamic pricing, and more immersive shopping experiences?”

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