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The Rise of Delivery

June 27, 2010 10:06:49.412

I think there's something of a quiet revolution going on in retail - I say "quiet" because it goes beyond the typical desire to save sales tax involved in, say, an Amazon purchase.

This morning I had a grocery delivery arrive - unattended, on my front porch, with the perishable foods packed in cold packs. Last week, my iPhone and iPad arrived at my door - and while I was home to get those, I had printed out a "leave them on the porch" form in case I had to go out. I rarely go to places like Best Buy any longer; why would I? I can get hard drives and printer ink (the two most common things I end up needing) delivered to my door for a lot less than they charge, and with a lot more choice in ordering as well.

I might be something of an outlier for my age group, but this kind of thing is on the rise. It's just way, way simpler to order stuff. No driving, no hassles with parking - and it's going to drive a lot more change than the blathering you hear about suburbs vs. urban, or about driving vs. mass transit. Add in the fact that a lot more work can be done remotely, and you have a sea change in how people deal with things. To get the kind of services I enjoy:

  • Fast internet
  • Inexpensive delivery of goods

You need to live in an area that's dense enough for, say, broadband to pay for itself, but you don't need to live in a city. It's not that you shouldn't live in a city - whatever floats your boat. It's just that the number of trips required for goods are going to plummet out here in the burbs. You'll still have to drive for other things - kids activities come to mind - but a lot of the rest of it will be fading. I suspect that the big box stores have peaked, and will be finding their prospects leveling out - and even dropping - as this dynamic plays out.

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posted by James Robertson

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