Retail Insider Awards – Meet the ‘Delivery Innovation of the Year’ shortlist

Retail Insider recently announced the shortlist for its ‘Transforming Retail Awards’ and over the next few weeks we will be focusing on each of the six categories in the awards.  For each we will be providing a profile of each of the shortlisted entries.

Delivery Innovation of the Year (sponsored by SAP)


1. Starship Technologies

Tesco and Just Eat have both been using the automated delivery vehicles of Starship Technologies to solve the last mile issue. They have partnered with the innovative logistics company to test the potential of robot deliveries in London of groceries and pizzas respectively.

Originally from Estonia the company has developed robotic vehicles that consist of a six-wheeled chassis on which sits a compartment box that can deliver food within a short radius – of up to three miles. In the various tests Starship has undertaken a sizeable 5,000 miles of travel have been accumulated by its robots, which have reached 400,000 customers without any issues.

Human operators oversee things in control rooms and can take over at any point should a robot encounter any problems. One of the advantages of Starship is the cost of the deliveries that work out at between £1 and £3, much lower than for human delivery.

Another advantage of Starship is that such on-the-ground robots are regarded as a safer alternative than drones, which are being held back by aviation legislation. This situation will potentially lead to the technology being commercialised much earlier than for airborne solutions.


2. Deliveroo ‘Roobox’

Restaurants have enjoyed massive increases in sales from signing up to Deliveroo and the next stage the company has moved onto is arguably much more exciting and set to further revolutionise the food home delivery market.

Deliveroo is investing in ‘Roobox’ kitchen spaces. These are essentially fully-equipped kitchens created in shipping containers where food specifically for delivery is prepared.

They are used by chefs from restaurant brands in areas where the brands do not have a presence of physical outlets from which they can service demand for home delivery orders.

The Rooboxes are based in large residential areas that are currently underserved by Deliveroo-registered restaurants but where the data shows there is a high demand for them.

Participating restaurants are able to prepare the food specifically for delivery in these containers and away from their actual restaurants to avoid kitchen congestion. It also means they can create differentiated dishes to their restaurants and therefore set different prices that can incorporate the delivery charges.

Brands so far signing up to operating out of the delivery-only kitchens include Motu (from JKS Restaurants), Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pho, and Chilli Pickle.

One of the clear upsides for these restaurant and food brands is that they can avoid the need to commit lots of capital to opening more bricks and mortar outlets. They can instead grow their sales purely from the burgeoning home delivery market.

Delivery-only Roobox kitchens are operational in five locations in London and also in Brighton. They will be joined by up to another 25 more in 10 cities throughout the UK by the end of 2017.


3. Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Amazon has extended its Prime delivery initiative into the fashion category that has a number of advantageous factors that will make it popular with shoppers who have maybe not considered the company as a retailer of fashion goods.

Among the benefits of the service are:

  • Customers choose three or more items from across clothing, shoes and accessories, which are then delivered to their home as per the usual Prime criteria.
  • They have seven days to try before they buy. Thereby enjoying the ability to try on the clothes in the comfort of their own homes and in a relaxed time-frame.
  • No payment is taken until the customer has decided which of the goods they wish to purchase.
  • Amazon will collect the unwanted items direct from the customers’ home.
  • When customers decide to keep three or four items from the order they receive a 10% discount on those goods. If they keep five or more items the discount rises to 20%.

This is an extremely painless and flexible way for shoppers to buy clothing and other fashion goods online from Amazon and it takes delivery onto a different level. As a result it will make the company a strong competitor in this hard-fought category online.