The world of logistics and fulfillment is an interesting one. There are many moving parts in the process that brings a product from the factory, to the warehouse, and finally to your door — so organizing and planning deliveries is a titanic accomplishment for any merchant. In fact, companies have gotten so good at fulfillment that same-day delivery is now commonplace across many U.S. cities!
The entity most responsible for these advancements, however, is Amazon. And up until now, they’ve been the only game in town when it comes to speedy delivery and fast service for packages. Now, a number of companies are stepping up their delivery game to compete with Amazon — and where there’s competition between companies, customers get more options than ever!
In the next year, UPS, eBay, and Amazon will be rolling out the stops to get packages to your door even faster than they already do. The planned methods include drone delivery, new fulfillment programs, and thousands of new delivery vehicles. But in this brown-box free for all, which company will come out on top? Here’s the latest on what promises to be one of the biggest years for e-commerce ever!
eBay takes aim at Amazon with its own in-house fulfillment service
Those of us who use eBay regularly have longed for the day when its package delivery would be on par with services like Amazon Prime. Usually, when ordering from a vendor, you are presented with a number of shipping options — but those are typically limited by budget, region, and local carrier requirements.
But all that looks to be changing thanks to eBay’s bold new program called “Managed Delivery.” According to new reporting from Bloomberg, the e-commerce giant is set on taking a more hands-on approach to fulfillment and delivery by providing “end-to-end” shipping services that cover packing and delivery all in one go.
Currently, the company’s plan is to shave down delivery times to just a mere two or three days — a big step up from current delivery times, which vary depending on the chosen shipping method.
One of the biggest winners in eBay’s new push, however, is actually eBay sellers. Rather than needing to worry about taking their packages to the post office and purchasing shipping and packing supplies, eBay has pledged to take care of the heavy lifting — which will give sellers more time to focus on running their online stores.
As of right now, no official date has been set for the new service to debut, but trials are currently underway to test the viability of eBay’s new system. Here’s hoping it’s ready in time for the holidays!
Amazon isn’t the only game in town for drone delivery anymore…
Even though Amazon is arguably the master of the fulfillment business today, UPS has had skin in the game for much, much longer. In fact, UPS and Amazon are officially partnered in multiple logistical fields — from delivery all the way to accepting returns at its brick-and-mortar storefronts.
But now, things are set to change thanks to the advent of drone delivery. Amazon has been aggressively lobbying for government approval to begin drone deliveries within the next year, but UPS is also seeing the inherent potential of autonomous robotic drop-offs.
In a report by The Verge, UPS was identified as petitioning to the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use drones for the last leg of delivery journeys.
Doing this would undoubtedly increase the speed of UPS’s current delivery trajectory, but aside from government approval, the company needs to work around other issues that even Amazon is coming to terms with in its own program.
Still, the idea of multiple sets of flying drones delivering packages is just about the most futuristic thing the mind can imagine (outside of flying cars, but who knows when that’s happening anymore…)
Amazon isn’t taking things lying down
Amazon didn’t get as big as it is by acting passively. The company is well aware of the threats that its competition is mounting, so the natural response is to fortify its existing strengths and refine what works. After all, it’s not unlikely that both eBay and UPS will have some hiccups and growing pains as they try to bring their respective services to life.
A recent report said Amazon had custom-ordered more than 2,000 delivery vans to help with the last stretch of its one-day Prime deliveries. These vans are built with a unique walk-in design that gives drivers and loaders easier access to large amounts of packages.
Curiously, these Amazon-owned vehicles would take away some much-needed business from Amazon’s competitors like UPS and the United States Postal Service, which Amazon currently contracts for late-stage deliveries. Whether or not this is in response to UPS getting feisty with its own drone deliveries is unknown at this time.
With these three entities going head to head, it might seem difficult to predict which one will come out on top. The truth, however, is that their competition with one another fuels a “delivery arms race” of sorts — which leads to better e-commerce and delivery options than we would have had otherwise. And what could be better than that?
Well, okay — maybe a drone delivery. I can’t get over how cool it looks! Watch out for skeet shooters, Amazon!