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Shopping Malls to Deliver?

12/13/2013

COMING SOON to a mall near you: Home Delivery Service??

Not surprisingly, someone is taking the bull by the horns when it comes to conventional bricks and mortar malls competing with online retailers. And also not surprisingly, it’s a start-up originating in California.

Here’s a synopsis of what’s going on, as written by Jill Krasny for Inc.com and posted/updated on December 12, 2013.

“The phrase “shop ‘til you drop” is taking on new meaning: A Silicon Valley startup, Deliv, is enabling customers to ditch their bags but keep right on spending.

Shopping mall operators Macerich, Westfield Group, Simon Property Group, and General Growth Properties are expected to announce the new partnership Thursday, following a trial at several malls this year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Although the service will be mainly available in California, its owners plan to expand it next year.

The news comes just a day after Amazon brought its same-day grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, to the Bay Area and Home Depot revealed plans to spend at least $300 million over the next two years developing same-day delivery. Rapid delivery has become a focal point of retail, and Deliv offers brick-and-mortar busineses an edge over online retailers such as Amazon, Google and eBay, which offer same-day service in certain markets.”

The full story can be found at http://www.inc.com/jill-krasny/startup-brings-same-day-delivery-to-local-malls.html?cid=em01011week50day12c

This should be of interest to shoppers everywhere, as it ups the ante for service and convenience, as traditional malls and online retailers prepare to do some serious battling for consumers’ affections (and who’s kidding who, their dollars). But it’s of particular interest to us at Aftershock, as several of our clients are shopping malls throughout Canada.

But this is not a new, earth-shattering idea. In fact, it’s something that came out of our own brainstorming sessions with clients over 4 years ago. But unfortunately, due to a lack of infrastructure, budget and will, it remained an untapped, unexecuted idea. But now the times have changed, the competitive landscape has shifted and it’s clearly an idea whose time has come. Certainly Deliv and their investors think so. After all, they’re pouring $300 million dollars into this, in order to offer it as an outsourced service to malls everywhere. And good for them.

So here’s a prediction. (Disclosure: I am loathe to make predictions… I am no Faith Popcorn, Seth Godin or Kreskin. But here goes.)

This will be successful. Massively successful. At least for a time. It will go from being a “perk” that is a pleasant surprise,  to being a service that is simply expected from every retailer. It may even keep the vampires from the door in conventional retail’s battle with the online outlets. Especially in segments where the tactile experience of shopping is important, like clothing/fashion. But the respite it will provide to malls and retailers will be temporary, as the only constant in life is change. The next weapon in the retail wars will come along, and the conventional/online battles will continue to rage. The stakes are so high that it would be foolish to think otherwise. Both sides have to be on their toes, seeking any and all possible advantages. And you, the consumer will be the beneficiary.

We are living in an unprecedented age of rapid change. As the old Buddhist curse goes “May you live in interesting times…” The times for all of us, but especially retailers are certainly “interesting”.

Good luck to Deliv on this intiative. We’ll be watching closely.

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