It’s the mid-year of 2019, and you’d agree that so much has happened – and is still happening – in the world of package and parcel delivery service providers. Likewise, in any other industry, consumer needs and expectations are on the rise – in addition to getting sophisticated as well – in the light of everyday tech adoption and improvement. Without any iota of doubt, it is manifest that every stakeholder – service providers, clients – have so much to benefit from this dynamic economic sphere.
Join us on this voyage as we examine the changing market for deliveries, analyzing what exactly is inducing the change, the exact form in which the change is coming, the impact of this change on other reliant markets and many more. Away from that general approach, we’d see how all this ties together with the Dubai delivery service market by examining how delivery companies for the Dubai market have fared in light of these changes and what more to look forward to in the nearest future. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
The shape of the global delivery market
The world over, the market size of parcel delivery is estimated to be around US$350 billion, with Asia-Pacific accounting for up to 41% of the global market share. As always, the market has considerably matured in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia while most of Africa and others are just taking the first cradle steps in the market. The primary stimulant for this market’s astonishing growth remains online retail, which, in 2018, was valued over $2.7 trillion in 2018.
You would agree that new technology has been pretty outstanding in its usage as it gradually evolves to become an indispensable integral part of our daily lives. Not only does it help to track elementary health levels like heartbeats, or monitor your daily sugar intake, it’s proven itself useful in revolutionizing and bettering economic and business activities. After all, the essence of tech is to better our lives – that’s if you can avert your attention from its catastrophic usage in specific atomic and nuclear ways. As we’ve all seen, the changing market for delivery services provision and rendition cannot, in any way, separate from the extensive and continual investment in and adoption of technology.
Gone are the days of brick and mortar-based package delivery approaches where customers had to physically go with their goods to physical package delivery stores to request for their service. Now, one can effortlessly request their goods to physical package delivery stores to request for their service.
Now, one can quickly ask that a package delivery company send a rep to come to pick something up and deliver the same to another party, all through a mobile app or website, without leaving one’s comfort.
For the most part, artificial intelligence and Big Data have and are still playing active roles in the prompt and flexible delivery of parcels and packages to users. Importantly too, no one can altogether separate the indirect push by digitally-connected millennials in this adoption rate as we see who jump into the client base of any company that satisfies their digital drive to get everything done on the net without stepping outside of the comfort of their home.
One prominent term that keeps coming up in this market nowadays is last-mile deliveries. Last Mile delivery refers to the final movement of goods from a major hub to the end user’s destination such as home, office, or wherever else he chooses to pick it up.
Moreover, as consumers increasingly shift their attention to e-commerce for all their shopping needs, this last leg in the goods delivery system has also become more challenging. However, all thanks to delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and lately Amazon, B2B, B2C, and peer-to-peer deliveries are increasingly becoming that which one can look upon with pride.
Innovations in courier services
As can be seen, the success and growth of courier deliveries attribute to technological advancements and adoption in the market. Through technology, the global courier delivery market has witnessed ground-breaking innovations and new trends. Thanks to technology, gone are the days of week-long deliveries within the same city due to inadequate staffing or cumbersome pre-delivery and delivery processes. Hence, with technology, users can secure package delivery services on websites and smartphone apps.
Here, let’s take a look at some of the innovations.
Automation in logistics:
Usually, pre-delivery tasks like sorting and destination tags are generally the main contributive factors that hitherto stretched delivery periods for too long, because they are a manual task. However, at the moment, Big Data and Machine Learning — or synonymously, robots — are now being deployed in courier deliveries, to smoothen and ease the formerly-cumbersome and time-consuming pre-delivery logistics. In some situations, the package doesn’t even need to be taken for onward sorting to a courier warehouse – everything is stipulated by the user through an app or online platform, in the confine of his home. The delivery company designates its personnel to work on the user data provided, all in real-time.
Comparatively to Uber’s operations, companies are now providing efficient same-day deliveries with the help of independent deliverers that are ready to make some cold cash. Some of these companies advertise freelance delivery jobs on their respective platforms to inform interested persons about available part-time delivery jobs –so far, an enthusiast has a vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or in some instance, foot, with which to complete the last-mile courier delivery.
It’s so far proven to be beneficial for both retailers and their customers – with the former being able to get online orders to their customers swiftly than before, translating to more customer reliability as well as availing the latter more shopping satisfaction with the flexibility that it offers. What’s more, crowdsourced delivery is cheaper for companies because of its tech-heavy and asset-light nature. Contracted couriers provide their transportation means to make deliveries and are typically paid per delivery or shift, retailers save big trough this trend.
Ford is already experimenting on Digit, a human-like delivery robot; not to mention Amazon working on Scout, a delivery bot; FedEx isn’t lagging too as it makes moves to launch a similar bot. More so, flying robots like drones are already being deployed to facilitate fast deliveries of postal and packages. In Africa, for example, some health start-ups are already implementing these small, crewless aircraft to facilitate deliveries of lightweight essential health-need packages like blood. Its adoption rate, however, is still pretty low. Nonetheless, it’ll get better over time as companies realize the vast potential it has to enhance fast deliveries.
With GPS-enabled devices, customers like you can now be-in-the-know about the status of their packages – either inbound or outbound; This is mainly due to the advent of mobile-friendly technology solutions like smartphone apps and mobile-friendly websites. Delivery service providers are now forced to factor in smartphone-friendly solutions that avail costumers to track their packages and perhaps if need be, interact with the delivery personnel. Gone are the days when you had to repeatedly check a tracking code for a status update on your parcels. Now, customers can choose to receive push notifications, SMS text alerts, or perhaps GPS tracking on your smartphones.
Equally important too, is the rise of functionalities like signature capture, proof of delivery, and many other tech solutions.
QR codes and RFID tags:
Delivery service providers are gradually adopting Radio Frequency Identification to better messenger and courier services. It involves storing data and retrieving the same through radio waves. Contrary to a barcode scanner that requires a user to pass each bar code over a scanner, RFID works wirelessly enabling the inventory of an item, by merely pointing at it and not having to unwrap or unbox it. A robust RFID Scanner could inventory all the items in a room by directly looking it at them, making the inventory process far much more comfortable than before.
GPS-optimized delivery routes:
Delivery companies now benefit from an array of intuitive internet-based routing optimization software which effectively enhances the delivery process. Through it, courier companies send dispatch co-ordinates to drivers’ cellular GPS devices, increasing product delivery speed. Some route-planning software even goes as far as providing clever shortcuts pass on instructions to dispatchers.
Point of sales devices:
This disruptive technology allows delivery companies to, through their representatives, accept parcels on the go and store the information in its virtual inventory. It obliterates the need for a brick and mortar setup where customers would otherwise physically go drop parcels at physical stores and request for its delivery, saving time and resources on both sides.
The end result
To summarize, all of the above varying innovations and technology adaptations in the delivery services market put together, has led to several intended and unintended positive consequences for the package delivery market. Some of them include:
• Faster delivery time
The aggregation of several technological innovations in courier services has led to a phenomenal increase in the market for deliveries. It has led to a noticeable rise in checkout time with the availability of various delivery options like same-day deliveries, overnight deliveries, and many more. Whether it is groceries, hot foods, or luxury goods, consumer expectations concerning fast deliveries are now delivered. Gone are the days when delivery estimates were vague and often incorrect.
• Real-time visibility
Gradually, delivery service providers are now availing their customers a fully transparent and trackable package delivery process, all in real-time. With these different solutions, customers are becoming aware of the status of their packages, as well as the ability to interact with the personnel, if the need arises.
• Competitive prices
With the deliveries market getting more and more competitively stiff in light of the advent of several cut-throat innovations, there was no doubt been – and will continue to be – a growing reduction in the prices paid by users of delivery companies. As companies find newer and creative means to reduce costs in their baseline, so also would they continue offering competitive prices in a bid to jack up their client base. In the past, same-day deliveries used to be a novelty service provided at exorbitant rates. However, with more and more delivery companies offering it, the prices are getting significantly lower.
• Growth of dependent sectors
E-commerce delivery, food delivery, pharmaceutical product delivery, groceries deliveries, are some of the few that are heavily reliant on delivery services companies. Faster and efficient delivery services are, therefore, encouraging new users to patronize these reliant sectors to guarantee their products would be speedily delivered. Alternatively, how wouldn’t the delivery-only kitchen sub-sector experience growth when their delivery companies do a great job at fast deliveries?
• Increased consumer expectations
Tallied together, technology innovations in the market have increased customer expectations from package delivery companies. Same-day deliveries, on-the-fly timing, and paperless billing are some of the minimum criteria that end-users now use in determining whether to go for a particular package delivery company or another.
How Dubai fares with the rest
Comparatively, Dubai’s logistics market is indeed a budding one, evident in how more and more delivery companies open up to service the Dubai market, offering the latest and responsive postal and package delivery services. Also, like other markets, Dubai has its fair share of traditional delivery companies who run on years of networking in the package delivery market, amid stiff competition from recent package delivery start-ups armed with the latest technologies.
Besides, with the mainstream adoption of technology in the market in recent times, customers have come to trust and rely so much on these new start-ups. The reason is not far-fetched: the start-ups ease the earlier-cumbersome process of tracking delivery points, following the package in transit, and many more. All of these coupled together make them reliable and capable of retaining their customers’ trust. So, for any start-up coming on board the market, the oft-paraded question to ask is what innovation or specialization are they bringing to the market, which may make their service attractive to customers. Thus, last-mile deliveries remain one of the growing demands in Dubai because of the never-waning need to simplify hitherto cumbersome package transfer and transport approaches. Food deliveries, gift deliveries, grocery deliveries, flower deliveries, and many more, are some of the significant products that often seek to be delivered.
More so, the food delivery business in Dubai is of note, a pretty interesting one. Matter of fact, it can be said to be more developed and expansive than other countries of the world, including the United States. Taking food delivery has become more of a lifestyle of the people than as a luxury – as it unfortunately still is in Europe and other parts of the world. More than half of Dubai consumers order food through mobile apps as against the negligible percentage that does so in the US and other countries. Perhaps this may be so because the state experiences adverse weather conditions for most parts of the years, limiting the possibility of visiting a restaurant on those last days.
On the whole, because of this enormous market potential, there’s an ensuing race to discover novel ways for food delivery through technology. Recently, Exponent Technology Services experimented delivery of Burgers through drones, showcasing that the competition is indeed a never-ending one.
After all, the race is but only for the swiftest.