As e-commerce exploded in 2020, many merchants were unable to take full advantage. Those with in-house fulfillment and delivery operations thrived — those without faced uncertainty and an inability to scale their online operations.
The global fulfillment cloud technology company has announced a partnership with Uber Direct (NYSE: UBER) to help online retailers ensure those orders are delivered safely and in a timely manner.
“Some customers have an in-house fleet to serve their customers their own way. But, they are also leveraging … the third parties; the ecosystem,” Guy Bloch, CEO of Bringg, explained to FreightWaves. “Some companies just go and focus immediately on the third parties and ecosystem.”
According to ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIQ), e-commerce transactions jumped 24% in December 2020 compared to 2019. A new report released Tuesday by Bringg found that many retailers have invested in new fulfillment channels since the beginning of COVID-19.
The report, 2021 Bringg Barometer: State of Retail Delivery & Fulfillment, surveyed 1,000 U.S. enterprise retailers and brands. It found that retailers invested in curbside pickup (51%), buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) (33%), alternative pickup locations (28%), and same-day delivery (27%) at the highest rates.
“COVID-19 put an enormous amount of pressure on e-commerce, leaving retailers in a rush to implement fulfillment capabilities that met changing consumer behaviors and demands,” Bloch said. “As we look at 2021 and beyond, especially as e-commerce is expected to account for 19.2% of all retail sales by 2024, retailers that prioritize delivery and fulfillment operations will see greater operational efficiencies and provide premium customer experiences.”
For many retailers, BOPIS is easier to solve than delivery, especially same-day delivery. The Bringg survey found that 30% of retailers are prioritizing alternative pickup options in the next 12 months. But, the survey said less than half of those retailers are currently working with a technology vendor to help streamline this entire process.
Bloch said these businesses need “technology that digitizes and connects all the moving pieces.” This includes shipment information, inventory levels, integrations with warehouses and stores, and even delivery fleets.
The report identified the challenge of working with multiple delivery fleets as the biggest pain point for retailers scaling delivery, with 36% of respondents identifying that as their top challenge. Scheduling delivery times (30%) and real-time visibility (20%) are also obstacles.
Bloch insists that retailers with their own delivery fleets “can never be as efficient as crowdsourcing” delivery. That’s where the collaboration with Uber Direct comes in, allowing Bringg to offer its retail and brand customers access to a vast network of on-demand delivery options using Uber’s network.
Uber Direct is an expansion of Uber Eats, giving Uber drivers the opportunity for more miles and revenue through the delivery of goods from retailers.
“We’ve heard from retailers and manufacturers around the world looking to introduce delivery through Uber, as an operationally efficient way to reach their customers or manage internal delivery needs,” Uber wrote in a blog posting announcing the initiative on April 20, 2020.
The ability of Bringg to connect its technology with Uber’s drivers addresses a key pain point for retailers identified in the survey. Respondents cited lack of visibility (39%) and lack of brand control (31%) as key issues when it comes to working with external fleets for delivery, followed by cost (29%). Driver availability (29%) and dispatch and routing issues (20%) are also concerns.
All of these concerns are alleviated through Uber’s tracking technology and large driver pool.
“As part of the delivery strategy, they can now add Uber as part of their operations and lean on them and their massive [scale] to get rushed deliveries to end customers,” he said. “It creates efficiency and a better customer experience … and at the same time, we are giving them scale. For Uber, it has a massive network of drivers, and Uber’s interest is always giving them work and keeping them busy.”
Bloch explained that without logistics, retailers are unable to engage with and meet customer expectations.
“We are the brain that operates the last-mile logistics,” he said. “By us working with Uber, the brain now has access to so many more fleets.”
The Bringg platform is an open platform, allowing users to configure it to meet their operations. For some retail partners, Bringg also provides curbside pickup assistance as well as other custom delivery solutions.