How Crowdsourced Delivery Will Change the Game for Retailers

Contributed by Valerie Metzker, Head of Business Development at Roadie. 

Customer expectations for faster and more flexible delivery are at an all-time high — and there’s no indication of slowing down.

For retailers, that means flexible delivery options are practically a necessity — no matter if customers want to pick up curbside or request two-hour delivery to their door. In fact, customers’ desire for same-day and two-hour delivery has pressured retailers into a frantic search for a delivery solution on a national scale.

Historically, retailers have turned to employees or contractors to handle delivery across the supply chain. But that trend may come to a close, or at the very least, be subsidized with a new type of home delivery service: crowdsourced shipping.

A new global research study reports that nearly 90% of retailers expect to use crowdsourced delivery to handle specific orders by 2028. That means almost all retailers will be tapping into an existing network of drivers to deliver one-off products to customer homes, from store to store, or warehouse to store.

Zebra Technologies commissioned the Future of Fulfillment report to address logistics challenges in the omnichannel shopping landscape. In conjunction with Qualtrics, Zebra surveyed more than 2,700 transportation, logistics and retail professionals across the globe.

Solving the delivery challenge has given rise to a crowdsourcing model whereby retailers, manufacturers, logistics companies and technology newbies are working collaboratively to get products in the hands of shoppers faster. That comes at little wonder, as some of the world’s biggest retailers are increasing their same-day delivery capabilities to compete with online retailing giants.”

The crowdsourced or collaborative delivery model creates a completely new type of delivery system with the flexibility and scalability to handle same-day and last-mile deliveries at a predictable cost. Think everything from shirts and shoes to dressers and dining sets.

There’s no doubt that the $2.3 trillion global e-commerce landscape has driven the digital transformation of the retail supply chain. The want-it-now customer mindset birthed a new normal that has forced retailers to bridge the physical and digital — to create an omni-channel home delivery and fulfillment strategy that satisfies the 24/7 bricks-and-clicks shopping world.

And with only 39% of retailers feeling that they have a working omnichannel logistics strategy, they better get moving. Among some key findings to consider include:

  • 76 percent of surveyed retailers use store inventory to fill online orders. Merchants are diving into “ship from store” to fulfill home delivery, retrofitting locations to double as online fulfillment centers and shrinking selling space to accommodate e-commerce pickups and returns.
  • 89 percent of respondents agree that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. The result has been a spike in concern and investment into the delivery space. Retailers are now seeking alternative, crowdsourced shipping solutions for same-day and last-mile delivery.
  • Nearly 40% of retailers anticipate offering customers 2-hour delivery by 2028. It’s no surprise that customers are flocking to the fastest and most convenient shopping experiences. Retailers will need to broaden their home delivery service offerings to compete with online behemoths.

Contributed by Valerie Metzker, Head of Business at Roadie, the only collaborative delivery network with over 80,000 pre-qualified drivers covering all 50 states. Roadie has made deliveries in more than 9,000 cities nationwide — a larger footprint than Amazon Prime.


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