No End in Sight for Innovation in the World of Food Delivery

Commerce’s path, from mall-based retail foot traffic to the ‘90s bloated iteration of digital shopping leading to Amazon’s far-reaching store-to-door tentacles, may appear to have taken a circumventurous route. The exact opposite is true. From the early days of the web to today’s AI/VR-powered shop-on-voice command, the value proposition remains the same—convenience.


The major change from clunky versions of e/t/m/d-commerce (electronic, TV, mobile, digital) to a more transparent experience results from a focus on partnerships and a more realistic view of the value chain. Amazon, as an example, understands that it cannot alone drive the future of purchasing goods and services; the Seattle-based giant has amassed an array of teammates from grocery chains to CPG manufacturers to department stores with Alexa-powered kiosks. There was a time, not so long ago, when Apple, Amazon, Google, and Apple wanted to own every building block from manufacturing to consumer products. Time and a lot of failed experiments had led to more realistic aspirations in the world of commerce.

Grocery delivery is a case in point. Early 2018 points to some dramatic changes in the world of home shopping. Players in the space—big and small–are breaking the meal journey down to micro inflection points to hit consumers when they are taking actions (or inactions, as the case may be) where ordering fresh food and pantry staples are likely to take place. For example, the term “shoppable recipes” is especially buzzy as it refers to turning the passive act of reading a recipe into an actionable event. Companies such as Chicory, Fexy, Serious Eats, Amazon, and Kroeger are using technology to allow home cooks to order ingredients in real time for a given recipe while scanning the step-by-step process of making tonight’s dinner.

Another key inflection point in the meal journey is the delivery process with a focus on the delivery of groceries (and other items) to residences when no one is home to accept packages. Amazon’s 2017 announcement of its Amazon Key at-home product/service raised significant skepticism but “homeowner not present” delivery services are gaining traction in the new year. With an understanding that in successful partnerships each party does what it’s best at, lock maker August (owner by lock giant Assa Alboy) is expanding its August Access delivery service which allows delivery to homes where the owner is away. Teaming up with Deliv, a UPS-backed delivery startup, grocers (using the Deliv Fresh service) and other retailers can securely open the front door of a home to drop off a package.

“Through this unique partnership, we are bringing a bit of magic to the shopping experience,” said Daphne Carmeli, CEO of Deliv, in a statement. “Deliv provides the last mile fulfillment solution for a broad retailer network across the country while August Home supplies the technology to take the final step into the home for a totally seamless experience, start to finish.”

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